The Birmingham Masters Scholarship offers a £2,000 tuition fee discount and is available for students who are domiciled in the UK, are on an eligible Masters course, and are self-funded. The full eligibility requirements can be found on the University of Birmingham website.

What makes a good candidate for the Birmingham Masters Scholarship?

The Birmingham Masters Scholarship is to “support the brightest and best students seeking Masters study”, but it’s hard to know exactly what this means!

When I first started my application for the Scholarship, my average grade was at 68% (a high 2:1 Honours degree). I thought I probably wouldn’t get the Scholarship as I didn’t have a First-Class degree. But I thought I would apply anyway and try to write a really strong personal statement. I’m so glad I did as I was awarded the Scholarship!

What is the application process like?

I spent about a day on my Scholarship application and most of that day was spent on the personal statement! The first steps of the application process are very simple. They require the details of the course you’ve applied for and your personal details. You then attach a copy of your transcript from your undergraduate degree (or your interim transcript if you haven’t finished your studies yet.) Finally, it comes to the important part and you have a chance to make your application stand out with a personal statement.

When I got to this stage of the application, I thought long and hard about what I wanted to get across about myself and how I could show that I was one of the “brightest and the best”. It can be hard to describe yourself in under 2000 characters, but it is possible. And this blog is to tell you how I did it!

What to write on a personal statement?

The main advice I would give you for your personal statement is to make sure it’s specific to you; make sure you highlight your strengths! There are some key points that I focused on, and writing them out definitely helped me.

These key points were:

  • My academic strengths,
  • Why I am passionate about my subject,
  • Why my personality traits would make me an exceptional Masters student, and
  • The career path I want to go down.

When talking about my academic strengths, I didn’t just focus on my undergraduate degree. I highlighted my record throughout my whole life, going back to A Levels, GCSEs, and courses outside of academic qualifications. It was important to me to show that I had a strong record of high achievement; not just at university, but in my school life and personal time.

The main message of my personal statement was how passionate I am about my subject and why! I study Maths, so I started my statement with a quote from my favourite mathematician, then explained exactly why I would be an excellent Maths student. I think a good mathematician is someone who can think outside of the box and take risks, so I put this into my statement and focused on times in my life when I have displayed these qualities.

Finally, the career section could be easy to miss but is very important. As much as a Masters course is challenging and fulfilling in itself, what do you want to gain from it? Do you want to do a PhD after? Do you want to go into a big industry? How will your Masters degree help you achieve your goals? Outlining what you want to do in the future shows more about you and how the Scholarship could benefit you.

And finally…

The most important part of your Birmingham Masters Scholarship application is to highlight your achievements and personality.

And remember, don’t doubt yourself or feel under-qualified to apply. I achieved a 2:1 Honours degree and am proud to say I am now a Birmingham Masters Scholarship holder.

Shaunagh is currently studying an MSc in Mathematical Finance at the University of Birmingham, and received a Birmingham Masters Scholarship in 2022-23.