This article provides advice on what you should cover in your personal statement, tips on what to include and how to get further advice and feedback.


Your personal statement

Your personal statement is a way of conveying your reasons for wanting to do the course and to demonstrate your ability to complete the course successfully. The application process for postgraduate study is very competitive and a strong personal statement will be crucial to optimise your chances of success.


What to include in your personal statement

Each university is likely to provide its own guidance regarding what to include. You should check the requirements carefully for each application, which might include a word or page limit, or specific content requirement. Your personal statement should cover the following areas:

  • Your reasons for choosing the course

    • Here you should try to outline your reasons for undertaking postgraduate study and specifically this course. Try to demonstrate your enthusiasm for further study and/or research and refer to previous academic study and achievements.

  • What interests you about your chosen subject?

    • You need to demonstrate that you are quite clear about what the course will involve and why it appeals to you.

  • Details of any job, work experience, placement or voluntary work you have done, particularly if it is relevant to your subject

    • Here you should try to include the skills and the experience you have gained from these activities. Consider the skills that you will need to be successful on your course and where possible, provide evidence that you possess these skills.

  • How your programme choice fits with your future career plans

    • If your chosen course is vocational, this section will be especially important and you will need to include evidence of your related work experience and career exploration.

  • Your social, sports or leisure interests

    • For some courses it might be useful to provide evidence of additional skills which may be of use in your studies. For psychologically challenging courses it would demonstrate that you have an outlet away from your studies.

If you are an international student you may also like to include the following:

  • Why you wish to study in the UK

    • Outline your reasons, this could include the course offered / research, cultural experience, and/or desire to improve language skills.

  • What evidence you have to show that you can complete a higher education course that is taught in English

    • Provide details of the studies you have completed in English.

You can find further information and advice on applying for postgraduate study on the Careers and Employability Service website. If you are considering postgraduate study at the University of Portsmouth you can find out more here.


How can I get in contact for more information and advice?

The Careers and Employability Service has a dedicated team of friendly, experienced advisers on hand to talk to you. You can find out more about the support available from the Careers and Employability Service, access a wide range of information and advice and find out how to contact us by visiting our website at


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