A Masters’ or Postgraduate Degree application abroad, is a task countless Nigerians are openly and secretly (mostly) avidly pursuing. Some people are aware of the general requirements, and some aren’t. Regardless of the category you fall into, here are general requirements for obtaining a Masters’ degree in foreign countries:
The general anthem and response to the prevailing Nigerian situation has been ‘Japa.’ So many see getting a Masters’ degree in just about any foreign country as the Panacea to all problems. But the reality is that proper planning is required before relocation, so one does not get stuck, stranded or have to come back home because of dire circumstances (especially if that wasn’t part of the plan).
Factors as knowing what one wants in life, a career plan, ideas on where one wants to settle down, proper research on the chosen country for a Masters’ degree and the opportunities it offers for immigrants are important items to consider in undertaking a Masters.
Some Nigerians have been known to go to European countries for Masters but face difficulties in gaining employment because of language barriers. Some have to undertake numerous postgraduate degrees to stay legally in the country.
Good research, a plan and backup plan, as well as interviewing those already pursuing a Masters’ degree in the chosen countries, can help prevent a myriad of problems.
2. Statement of Purpose (SOP)
Many universities require a Statement of Purpose, which is an essay on one’s purpose in line with the course they wish to study in the University, the career path, and how they have prepared for the chosen course. Specific graduate courses require a related undergraduate degree course as a base for the graduate course. In some instances, it is possible to have done a completely different undergraduate degree course, though some undergraduate courses will still need to be undertaken during the Masters’ program.
3. Curriculum Vitae
The Curriculum Vitae is generally required for University Post-Graduate admission. They would need to see evidence of one’s work experience and one’s activities over the years and how they align with the chosen course.
3. Academic records
Academic records and results from the previous higher institution and sometimes secondary schools are typically required. Usually, a minimum Grade Point Average of a Second Class Upper (2:1) is necessary for some universities and countries. But some Universities still accept a Grade Point Average of a Second Class Lower (2.2) and even possibly lower grades.
However, if the benchmark is not reached, a Postgraduate diploma will be a prerequisite to the actual Masters’ program. Some people may also be granted conditional admission to the condition of attaining excellent results and a commitment to work hard.
This particular requirement requires extensive preparation as obtaining transcripts from the University may take much time. Some universities may need the transcripts sent to a Credential Evaluation Service, such as World Education Services (WES) or International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS). This is for evaluating one’s results to the chosen country’s standard (Such as converting one’s GPA in 5.0 form to a 4.0 GPA form as required in the United States).
Early preparation is ideal for getting one’s transcripts early to be sent to the University in time. The original transcripts may also be sent in a sealed and untainted form, but the University’s preference determines this.
5. Entrance Examinations and Proof of Language Proficiency
Depending on the country, the University and the course, specific standardised tests like Graduate Record Exam (GRE), Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), and tests of English proficiency such as International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) may be required. The English proficiency test may be waived in some universities and countries as some recognise Nigeria as an English speaking country.
Minimum scores may be required for the exams, GMAT or GRE, where the exams are required. With extensive research, one would know that these are exams are or aren’t needed (this would be explored more often in future articles).
6. Letters of Reference
These are letters recommending one for the Masters’ admission. They could usually be required from professors or lecturers one has worked with or from previous work employers. Ideally, they should be aware of your work experience and career path in line with the course you wish to pursue to give adequate reference.
This is one of the most critical requirements. This factor has scared many prospective students, from paying for the standardised tests to application fees, tuition, accommodation, medical insurance, sustenance, and other fees. Luckily, ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way. With adequate planning and research into scholarship and funding opportunities, one can find a way to achieve their dream. (Scholarship opportunities will be explored in future articles).
I hope this article helps.