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Graduate Study in the UK and Ireland

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Photograph by Robert Peck, BK '15

Applying for Fellowships for Postgraduate Study in Britain or Ireland

Postgraduate study in the United Kingdom or Ireland offers all kinds of exciting opportunities, but finding the right fit is key. Start by attending one of the annual spring-term information sessions and hearing from past applicants (calendar here), and/or attend virtually. Then take your time following the steps below, have fun exploring options, and we'll look forward to talking further with you (learn how to book an advising appointment).

1.  Explore graduate programs

Before you spend much time exploring fellowship options, the first step is to consider whether or not graduate school is the right next step for you, and if so where best to pursue it:

  • Consider whether or not graduate study is the right next step for you, given your preparation to this point, interests, and longer-term aims and aspirations.
  • If graduate school isn't a sensible part of your future plans, check out one of the other great options available for fellowships and jobs.
  • If graduate study in Britain or Ireland does sound like a good idea for you, you'll want to explore which degree courses there might be the best fit.

2.  Explore fellowship options

Once you have a shortlist of universities and degree courses, it's easier to narrow the list of places to look for funding/fellowships for which you might consider applying:

3.  Apply

Once you have a shortlist of fellowships for which you'd like to apply:

  • Establish a timeline
  • Talk with potential writers of letters of reference
  • Come to a workshop (calendar here) and/or read our application advice
  • Work on essays and cv, and gather other application materials (official transcripts, proof of age/citizenship, samples of written work, art portfolios, and anything else required)
  • Don't forget logistics (are there interviews? when? do you need to budget for travel? do you need to apply separately for the degree course?  what's the next deadline?) 
  • You don't have to go it alone: with a little forward planning you can book an appointment for advice on applications, whom to ask for letters, essay feedback (when allowed) and more

4.  Compete

Whether you're asked to interview with a campus committee or an external selection committee:

  • Read our interview tips and advice from past applicants
  • Gather any other application materials needed by finalists (official transcripts, proof of age/citizenship, samples of written work, research proposals, or whatever else is required)
  • After an interview, take time to write up notes for yourself (you might be surprised what you've learned) and perhaps advice for future applicants

5.  Consider plan b...

Fellowships are competitive, especially this group of fellowships, so:

  • Have a plan b, and possibly a plan c (it's helpful to know that if worse comes to worst, the worst-case scenario is good one). Alternatives might include graduate or professional school at home, an internship or job, or perhaps another fellowship.  Do yourself (and your recommenders) a favor, however, and don't apply for too many different things: you risk spreading yourself too thin and not doing a good job on any of your applications.
  • Remember that there is value in the fellowship application process itself, if you put the work in. If the worst that comes out of applying for a postgraduate fellowship is that your subsequent applications for jobs, graduate or professional school, etc., are the stronger for your having thought through what you hope to do in the world, practiced writing and talking about this in an interview, and garnered advice and strong letters from professors and other mentors, then that seems like a valuable outcome.

6.  If you go

Here are some resources for postgraduate study in Britain and Ireland: