Whatever postgraduate qualification you want to do, the university will want to establish you can handle the challenge in an interview. 

Whether you want to study a taught master’s degree, a master’s by research, a PhD, or an MBA, the university will want to establish you can commit to and handle study that’s more challenging than your undergraduate course. 

Your ability to solve problems will be under scrutiny as will how well you assimilate new ideas, think flexibly and reason analytically. Admissions staff will want to feel you’ll suit their course and that you are motivated.

Interview questions

  • Interview questions vary but you’re likely to be asked about why you want to do a PhD, master's or MBA in general, and this course in particular. Try to answer as fully as possible.
  • The other main thing you’ll need to prove is how laterally you’ve applied skills and knowledge to new problems in your previous research. 
  • Talking about your extra-curricular activities is useful providing you make them relevant to your intended study.  
  • Answer questions specifically and don’t just say 'yes' or 'no'. 
  • You may also be asked about your time management.

Some of the 'soft skills' important at interview include:

  • actively listening to the interviewer – and establishing a rapport
  • engaging in debate – but politely so!
  • not pretending you know the answers when you don’t
  • being authentic – be yourself
  • avoiding jargon when it isn’t necessary
  • taking general questions such as 'where do you see yourself in five years?' seriously 

And, of course, the interview is an opportunity for you to ask questions too. Also, see if you can speak with postgraduates before and after your interview to get a feel of how they rate the quality of teaching, research and supervision.