Supporting documents

When you apply for postgraduate study, you should include the supporting documents relevant for your application. Typically we will require the following documents.

Please consult departmental webpages for information about any specific or additional requirements they may have.

Proof of your previous degree(s)

This would usually be in the form of an academic transcript or certificate. If these documents are not written in English, please include an official translation. If you have not yet graduated please upload your most recent transcript, showing your results to date.

If you are studying qualifications from an institution outside the UK, please also include documents indicating the marking scheme used. If you are able to submit these at the point of application, this will help us to correctly formulate any offer we make to you.

Academic references

The University of Sheffield requires two references to support your application. These should be supplied by academic staff at University-level institutions where you have studied previously. If you have been out of education for the last two years, you can send one academic reference plus one from your current employer if you wish.

In their references, your referees should provide their personal opinion of your ability and suitability to undertake postgraduate study, in particular your previous academic achievements, especially in comparison to those of your peers, and any distinct strengths and weaknesses (eg motivation, commitment, independence, ability to work under sustained pressure). If your first language is not English, your referees should also include their opinion of your proficiency in written and spoken English.

For most courses you can upload your references directly to your online application. Alternatively you may be required to ask your referees to upload your references themselves via our Referee Portal.

There is no official reference form, but please make sure that your name and the title of the course you have applied for (and your applicant number and choice number if you have them) are included on any documents that we are sent.

English language certificates (EU and International applicants)

This will usually be your IELTS certificate. For more information about acceptable English language qualifications, please see our English Language requirements webpage.

A supporting statement

You should supply a statement of at least 300 words giving your reasons for applying and any other information you want to include in support of your application. Among the issues you may wish to cover are how your previous education and experience relates to the course, and how the course fits into your long-term academic or career plans.

For postgraduate research applicants, the statement should also include details of the area of research you wish to pursue. For subject areas such as science, engineering and medicine, where the programme of research may link into an ongoing research project, include a brief outline of the area(s) of interest along with the name of preferred supervisor(s), if known. Applicants for research within the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and the Faculty of Social Sciences are required to provide an outline research proposal. This proposal should be about 500–1000 words in length and should incorporate the following information:

  • Title of proposed thesis
  • The main aims of your research (eg why you think it is worth doing)
  • Identification of links to any previous work or hypothesis
  • Any resources available and any required
  • The methods of research proposed (eg survey, case studies) and a plan and timetable of work

More information about writing a proposal is available on our research webpages:

Writing a proposal

Curriculum Vitae (CV)/Resume

You may also wish to supply a curriculum vitae (CV) or resume. This is particularly useful if you have professional experience that is relevant to the area you wish to study.

Supplying your supporting documents

You can attach supporting documents to your online application, either when you apply or by logging back into the form using your email address and password. You can log into your application at any time and add additional documents, even after it has been submitted.

If you have any problems attaching documents to your online application, please contact us:

Problems using the Postgraduate Online Application Form

If your application is successful, please be aware that you will need to show us the original paper copies of your qualifications documents when you come to register at the University.

What if my documents aren't ready?

If you have not yet finished a course, or simply haven't managed to scan your documents yet, you can tell us via your online application that you want to provide your documents later.

You can also tell us that you do not intend to send a supporting document for a specific category, although you must bear in mind that it is unlikely a decision can be made on your application without all of the supporting documentation.

Uploading documents at a later date

You can upload documents after you have submitted your application simply by logging back in to your online application.

Back to applying for a taught postgraduate course

Back to applying for a research degree