We’ve asked experts in the field and created a simple list to tell you about the important differences between undergraduate and postgraduate personal statements.

Professor Carol Tully – Head of Admissions for Modern Languages & Cultures, University of Bangor

'The institution or department you’re applying to for postgraduate study wants to know you’re committed to the subject and the degree programme, so it’s a slightly different sell.'

Ana Ghaffari Moghaddam – Third year law student and Careers Coach, University of Liverpool

'For your postgraduate personal statement, speak about the modules you enjoyed in your undergraduate degree, the skills you developed, and how you ‘ll apply that in your postgrad role.'
  1. When you’re writing a postgraduate personal statement, you have more experience to draw on

    If you’re looking at studying a master’s programme, you’ll already have lots of previous study experience you can utilise. Academic experience, as well as any extracurricular activities, can go a long way to showing why you’d be successful at postgraduate level.
  2. An undergraduate personal statement isn’t specific to a university

    With an undergraduate personal statement, the same version will be seen by all the universities you apply to. That’s why focus around the subject and your passions is so important.

    Postgraduate statements will need to be tailored to the university you’re applying to, so make sure you research the provider thoroughly.

  3. A postgraduate personal statement will be shorter

    A postgraduate personal statement will be much more focused, and therefore shorter. To stand out when you’re applying for a master’s, the sooner you get to the crux of the point, the more likely you’ll stand out and be remembered.
  4. You’ll need to be a lot more specific on a postgraduate personal statement

    Postgraduate personal statements are all about specialisms. At undergraduate level, you’ll talk about subjects broadly, whereas at postgraduate level you’ll need to get into the nitty gritty of a very specific topic. The more you can show your expertise on a specific area, the more likely you’ll be successful.

Louise Carr – Student Recruitment Officer, University of Liverpool

'There’s an expectation for a postgrad to have much more idea of what they want to do in their further research. In an undergraduate, they don’t need to know what type of history, for example, they want to specialise in.'

Chloe Ng – HE Career Coach, Manchester Metropolitan University

'Since postgraduate personal statements tend to have a lower word count than undergraduate applications, you’ll need to be more succinct about what you chose to include.'


Writing a personal statement for undergraduate study is different to postgraduate, so make sure you understand the differences to make the most of the space you have.

We have all the guidance you need on writing a personal statement so check out our other pages for more advice and guidance.