Find further study: applying
Find out about when and how to apply to postgraduate courses.
When to apply
Ideally, you should start your enquiries before your final year, especially if you're hoping to study overseas, but in practice very few people do!
Many popular vocational courses are full by Christmas, and so you need to apply early in the autumn. Primary age range PGCE courses and journalism are examples.
For many taught and research degrees, January/February is the peak time to apply, although you are advised to start looking into opportunities well before this, and deadlines for funding applications may be earlier.
In most cases the closing date is simply when the course is full!
For most postgraduate courses there is no central clearing system, but there are some clearing systems and closing dates for specific vocational courses e.g. teacher training, law and clinical psychology.
How to apply
For most courses, you apply individually to as many universities as you like. Application processes vary across departments, disciplines and institutions; in many cases, you will need to complete an online application form, although sometimes advertisements for PhD projects request a CV and a covering letter. If you're looking for a PhD project, it is worth writing a speculative application to potential supervisors to inquire about the possibility of working with them.
You may see taught and research courses advertised as late as a few weeks before the course begins, but don't count on leaving it that late if you want a choice, or maximum chance of any funding.
If you are interested in applying for a PhD, take a look at our how to apply for a PhD helpsheet.