Writing a postgraduate personal statement

The personal statement is your chance to differentiate yourself from the other applicants applying for your programme, and to describe why we should offer you a place to study with us.

Primary page content

Your personal statement should be unique to you and tailored to the programme you're applying for - make sure you include the title of the programme. Lengthwise, it should be around 2 sides of A4 and written in formal English.

Before you upload your personal statement, get someone you trust to check it over. Be especially careful to check the spelling and grammar. The statement is supposed to demonstrate your writing skills and so there should be no mistakes.

Normally applications are read by an Admissions Tutor. They will more than likely be reading lots of applications from people with similar qualifications, which is why your personal statement really needs to stand out.

David Winstanley, former Head of Recruitment and Admissions, explains how to write a postgraduate personal statement

What should I include? 

Make sure your personal statement includes the following things:

Why have you chosen this particular programme?

Because the Admissions Tutor will probably teach on the programme you're applying for, they will be particularly interested in hearing about your passion for the course.

Take a look at the programme content carefully and work out what interests you about it. You can then make sure that your statement outlines how your interests match what's taught within the programme. You should discuss what you've studied in the past, including any relevant research or programme work you might have done, and show how the studying you've done is relevant to the course you're applying for. If you can, try and include subject-specific language that shows you have a grasp of the topic.

Also think about why you particularly want to study at Goldsmiths, for example, particular academic staff. It is useful to look at the staff profile of the programme leader on the relevant departmental webpage to find out about their interests. 

Your experience

As well as discussing your studies, you could also mention extracurricular activities, membership of clubs or societies, or relevant work experience that you have undertaken.

Focus on the skills that this experience has given you and how they are relevant to the programme you want to study.

If you are applying to a practical programme then discuss your relevant background in this area. Similarly, if you are applying for a theoretical programme, it would be helpful to demonstrate your knowledge in this area.

Future plans 

How could studying this programme help you in the future? Highlight any career aspirations that you might have and how studying this programme will help you achieve them.

Top tips

  1. Remember to use the title of the programme you’re applying for
  2. Check your spelling and grammar: The statement demonstrates your writing skills and so there should be no mistakes
  3. Be positive: The statement should present your most positive aspects, so avoid statements like ‘I have no knowledge of’
  4. Be concise: Your statement should be 1-2 pages long
  5. Get the document checked by someone you trust