The first step towards your postgraduate dream is to check eligibility criteria for the desired research program. While Different conditions and criteria may apply depending on the location, university ranking, and research program.
The key admission criteria for postgraduate are:
Many research programs and courses from top universities around the world require a high GPA to enter. Preference is given to candidates with higher grades.
If your undergraduate GPA does not meet the admission criteria, try to improve other admission factors to make your application more appealing.
A recommendation letter is a strong endorsement of a postgraduate applicant. It is written by your undergraduate professors to boost your chances for admission. In general, recommendation letters are brief and formal statements highlighting the key strengths and positive qualities of the applicant. They are personalized as per the candidate’s characteristics and explain why they will be successful in postgraduate studies.
Statement of purpose
A statement of purpose (SOP) is an essay telling the admission committee who you are, what your objectives are, why you are a perfect candidate for their research program, and where you are seeing yourself in the future as postgraduate alumni (your professional goals). Also known as the application essay, SOP is carefully reviewed by the admission committee and treated the same as other admission criteria such as the candidate’s GPA and test scores.
Research track record
The research track record refers to the candidate’s past projects and outcomes related to their domain of expertise. This may include the list of publications (books, edited books, book chapters, journal articles, conference proceedings, creative works and so on), completed coursework projects, industry involvement, programming skills (required for your postgraduate research), and so on. As a postgraduate candidate, it is important to differentiate between refereed and non-refereed outputs. Last but not least, it is recommended to not include in-press publications if they are still under review.
English proficiency test
More than 90% of the research programmes require English test scores. Postgraduate applicants must meet the minimum English language requirements for entry into a research program. This requirement for programs such as business and general science is higher compared to other programs such as engineering and information technology. All postgraduate applicants need to provide one of the forms of evidence to demonstrate their English language proficiency. The most common tests are Academic IELTS, TOEFL iBT, Pearson (PTE), and Cambridge-CAE.
It is important to note that candidates who do not meet the English language requirements for their research program of choice may still be eligible to apply and receive conditional offers. Most universities provide high-quality courses to help candidates improve their English language skills as a pathway into postgraduate courses.
GRE and other specialized exams
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized test that candidates take before applying for a postgraduate degree. The GRE is an assessment of the candidate critical thinking, analytical writing, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning skills. It is a must-have test for postgraduate application to US universities. GRE is also accepted by universities and institutions in destinations such as Canada, UK, and Australia.
It is highly recommended to first check the eligibility criteria for your targeted universities and research programs. Proceeding with the application without satisfying those conditions may result in postgraduate application rejection and disappointment. Also, not meeting these criteria significantly reduces your chances of securing a scholarship.