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Can I apply to a master’s without a bachelor’s degree?

Can I apply to a master’s without a bachelor’s degree?

If you entered the workplace without getting a first – or undergraduate – degree, the good news is that this does not prevent you from applying to postgraduate education.

Here at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), we recognise that you’ve been learning all your life and have built up a wide range of abilities and transferrable skills. 

The University has a commitment to help you to use your previous learning to apply to and sometimes gain credit towards your University award. We may be able to recognise learning you have gained through many different types of experiences and professional development which have not previously been linked to achieving a qualification or certificated award.  

If you are considering applying for one of our master’s courses without a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, you can contact our Course Advisers, who will give you advice and guidance, helping you determine how best to promote your prior experience. Below are some of their top tips to get you started in preparing your application. You can also read our practical guide to writing your personal statement. 

Relevant professional experience 

Experiential – or practical – learning is a highly effective way to learn, which is why so many campus-based courses offer placement opportunities to students. If you are pursuing a master’s in a field in which you have already worked professionally, you might have a distinct advantage to other academic applicants. Without realising it, you may already be familiar with content covered by an equivalent undergraduate degree and potentially a master’s too. 

The first thing to do is take a look at the course content for both the undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in your subject, matching this to your own experience and knowledge. You’ll need to highlight this when preparing your CV and personal statement, explaining more about your responsibilities and the activities you’ve completed in different professional roles, as well as what you have learned along the way.  

Prior education and training 

If you’ve been employed for some years, you may have completed professional learning during that time. Perhaps you’ve undertaken a short course or some other form of in-house training. Our admissions team want to see a commitment to learning, so it will prove to be an advantage if you can demonstrate continued development and learning throughout your career.  

Even if you haven’t done any on-the-job training, you can showcase some of the transferrable experience and skills you’ve gained that will help prepare you for master’s study. Producing reports and project briefs, for example, or giving sales pitches and presentations all require research and writing skills.  

Since online study requires you to be self-disciplined and highly motivated, think of instances from your professional (or personal) life where you have shown initiative, gone above and beyond or perhaps worked to tight deadlines to illustrate this. 

Personal commitment  

If you are interested in studying one of our people-oriented courses – be that in the area of public health, human resource management, social policy or business – be sure to tell us about any voluntary work you’ve done and other experiences where you’ve supported or interacted with individuals, groups or communities. Have you ever managed or coached a local sports or activities club, or volunteered at a local community centre or care home? 

Whether driven by professional or personal reasons, or both, we want to understand your passion for your chosen subject/field. If you are looking to upgrade and expand your skill set or gain a qualification necessary for further career progression, explain why you want to study our course and how it will help you achieve your goals. 

Next steps 

Our part-time master’s courses are taught fully online, which means you can continue to earn while you learn, scheduling your study around your professional and personal commitments. To find out more or how to apply, please get in touch with our friendly Course Adviser team by email via, call us on +44 (0)1772 925 931 or complete the form below.

You can also check out our straightforward application process:Application guide

Have questions?  

We'd love to hear from you. Get in touch to discuss your course of interest and ask any questions about studying.