Postgraduate application FAQs

This webpage is designed for international applicants as a series of frequently asked questions about your application to the University of Sheffield.

If you cannot find the answer to your question here please use Ask Sheffield, a database of frequently asked questions and details of how to contact us directly.


What are your entry requirements?

The University of Sheffield has high entry requirements as we are an international leader in teaching and research and places are competitive. Choose your country or region to find out specific entry requirements.

What is the course content and modules that I will study?

Details about the course you will be studying can be found on the postgraduate prospectus under the relevant course listing.

Who can help me with my application?

We can help you with your application. Choose your country or region to select specific information about your country. Our contact details are there and you can also find information about our local representatives in your country that will be able to help you.

Can I study part-time?

International students who are from outside the EU will not usually be able to study part-time. In order to get a visa and gain entry clearance to study in the UK, you will have to be enrolled on a full-time course. Individual circumstances vary, so there may be exceptions.

Can I register for a PhD by distance learning?

It is possible to study towards a PhD degree whilst undertaking the majority of the programme of research away from the University at an approved location.

There are two schemes dependent upon the student's candidature and also their fee status: The Joint Location Scheme for Overseas and European Union Students is available for full-time study (please note: a minimum of one year must be spent in Sheffield) The Remote Location Scheme for Overseas and European Union Students is available for part-time study, but you will be required to attend the University to meet certain statutory requirements, including all viva voce examinations.

When do your courses start?

Most postgraduate taught courses start at the end of September and only have one admission per year.

For PhD research you can start at any time during the year. You can state your preferred start-date on the application. This will however be subject to departmental approval.


What documents do you need for my application?

Typically, we need the following supporting documents with your completed application:

  • proof of your previous academic qualifications (e.g. undergraduate degree transcript). If this is not in English, you must provide a certified translation.
  • academic references
  • English Language certificates (EU and Overseas applicants)
  • professional references
  • a supporting statement
  • curriculum vitae (CV)

We also require a research proposal for PhD applications.

Have you received my supporting documents?

After submitting your online application, you will receive an acknowledgement email within two working days, giving you your application and choice numbers.

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.

You will then be able to trace the progress of your application online by logging back into the Postgraduate Online Application Form.

What is a transcript and do I have to send it in?

A transcript is a statement of the modules studied and grades attained to date on your programme of study. It can be issued before the completion of your course to demonstrate your performance record before you receive your final degree results, as well as after you graduate. It usually contains the following information:

  • start date
  • programme of study
  • a list of modules that you have taken to date, together with the results and marks or grades achieved
  • the institution(s) where your programme of study was or is to be delivered
  • title of your research thesis (if applicable)
  • qualification and final result achieved for your programme of study
  • leaving and conferment date (if applicable)
Do I need to send you my exam results?

Yes. We require an official/certified copy (this is a photocopy stamped by the issuing university to prove its authenticity) of your final transcript, as proof of your undergraduate degree result.

You should upload these documents to your online application.

If you are not able to attach particular documents to your online application, you can send them to us by post:

The postal address is:
Admissions Service
The University of Sheffield
Level 2, Arts Tower
Western Bank
S10 2TN

Please ensure that you write the application and choice number on all documents that you send to us.

Do I need to bring original documents with me to registration?

Yes, we will need to see your original documents before you are allowed to register. Admissions staff will be available at registration to verify your qualifications.

How should I send my supporting documents to you?

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 are not able to attach particular documents to your online application, you can send them to us by post:

Admissions Service
The University of Sheffield,
Level 2, Arts Tower
Western Bank
S10 2TN
United Kingdom

Please remember to write your name and application number on all correspondence that you send in support of your application.

How should I submit my references?

You can upload your references to your online application for most courses. Alternatively it may be necessary for your referees to upload your references themselves via our Referee Portal.


When do I have to apply by?

For most courses, there is no specific deadline for postgraduate applications. As our taught Masters courses start in the autumn (end of September), we recommend that you apply early in the year (January/February). You should be aware of the course start-dates and give yourself plenty of time in which to apply. You should also allow time to make any financial, travel and accommodation arrangements, if you are offered a place.

There are some courses with deadlines. Please check with the departmental Admissions team for further information.

Staged admissions for postgraduate applications

Our most popular courses receive many more applications than we have study places available. To manage the competition for places on these courses, we operate a staged admissions process, with application and decision deadlines throughout the year.

Applications are submitted in the normal way, via our Postgraduate Online Application Form, but we give preference to applications that exceed the course entry requirements. Applications for entry in September 2020 open from September 2019.

Follow the links below for details of the courses that assess applications in this way, and the dates of the stages they will be using for September 2020 entry:

Can I apply before I have my final results?

You do not need to wait for your final examinations before you make your application to Sheffield. In fact, we encourage applications from students who are academically strong, but have not yet taken their final examinations. Departments are happy to offer you a place on condition that you achieve a certain percentage in your final examinations or subject to satisfactory references. This way, a place is reserved for you until you get your results.

How do I defer my offer?

To request a deferral of entry to the next admission the following year, you should contact the academic department. Deferrals are not automatically given and you may be asked to apply again for the following academic year. If you don’t defer, your place will be released and you will have to submit a fresh application. Your application and documents will be destroyed. Contact details for the academic departments can be found in the information for each course.


How long does it take for a decision to be made on my application?

It normally takes academic departments around 4 weeks to make decisions on applications. Please also allow time for your offer letter to reach you in the post. It is not uncommon for offer letters sent to overseas addresses to take 4 or more weeks to reach their destination.

Will I be interviewed?

If you have applied for a taught master programme, it is unlikely that you will be interviewed – decisions are usually made solely on the basis of information provided in your application.

If you are applying for PhD research, some departments may interview you as part of the decision-making process. This may be a telephone interview.

What does a conditional offer mean?

A conditional offer means that there are requirements that you will need to meet before you can start the course. The conditions will be stated on your offer letter. Once you have met these conditions (e.g. achieving a certain IELTS English Language score or a minimum score in your current studies), you should upload documents proving this to your application. When you have met all the conditions of your offer, we will send you a new, unconditional offer letter.

Unsuccessful application

My application to Sheffield was unsuccessful. Can I find out why?

If you require feedback, you should contact the academic department directly in writing. This can be done by email. Contact details for the academic departments can be found in the information for each course.


What is ATAS?

ATAS is the Academic Technology Approval Scheme. From 1st November 2007 non-EU/EEA students coming to the UK for some Taught Masters programmes and some research areas will have to get an ATAS clearance certificate BEFORE applying for a student visa. The areas affected will generally be science and engineering and will be identified by JACS codes.


What English language qualifications do you accept?

English language qualifications we accept.

Can I study English at Sheffield before I start my course?

Yes. We have an English Language Teaching Centre (ELTC) which offers many different English language courses that you can take.

I took my IELTS 2 or more years ago. Does it still count?

No. You will have to take another IELTS or evidence of another English language qualification.

I studied at an English speaking university. Do I still need IELTS?

Applicants with a first degree taught in English will not generally be required to provide other evidence of English language proficiency.

Postgraduate research

What is the difference between a PhD with Integrated Masters and a normal PhD?

The PhD with Integrated Masters combines a taught Masters programme followed by PhD training and research.