Are you trying to secure a place on a Masters course? You may have heard of a quick and simple way to obtain last-minute degree places called UCAS Clearing. Unfortunately, the Clearing process only applies to those who are on the hunt for undergraduate places – postgraduate Clearing isn’t really a thing.

But don’t let that slow you down, because it’s incredibly easy to apply for postgraduate courses year-round. We’ll walk you through it.

Why can’t I apply for a postgraduate Clearing place?

Before delving into your postgraduate application options, it’s worth clearing things up about Clearing.

Clearing is a process that helps match applicants without any offers to UK universities that still have limited availability for particular undergraduate courses. Clearing is available from 5 July until October every year, and it’s only for students who have made (or who intend to make) an online undergraduate application through UCAS, but don’t yet hold any offers for the entry year they’ve applied for.

You can also apply for a Clearing place if you failed to submit a UCAS application by 30 June, or if your undergraduate place is not confirmed after exam results have been published.

Because you’re not required to submit a postgraduate application through the UCAS system, Clearing for postgraduate courses isn’t possible. Luckily, it’s still easy to secure a taught postgraduate place at the university of your choice within just a few weeks of your intended course start date.

Applying for a postgraduate place without Clearing

Although it is possible to apply for some postgraduate courses through UCAS, many UK universities have their own direct application systems. These direct applications give you the opportunity to provide bespoke documentation or personal statements specific to each institution or course – and you’ll often be able to receive a decision pretty fast if you’re applying directly to the university you’d like to study at.

At the University of Stirling, we don’t have a postgraduate application deadline. If you apply for one of our postgraduate courses using our direct application online, we’ll consider your application year-round.

Translation: even though UCAS postgraduate Clearing doesn’t exist, you can secure a last-minute place at the University of Stirling at any point throughout the summer (just like undergraduate Clearing).

That being said, if you’re coming to us from overseas, we do recommend you apply at least eight weeks in advance. This is because the Tier 4 (General) student visa process can take some time to complete, and we don’t want you to miss the start of your course because you’re left waiting to secure your student visa.

If you like to plan things well in advance, you can even apply for a postgraduate course at Stirling up to two years in prior to your intended start date.

Are you ready to apply?

Explore our postgraduate courses and discover how you can apply today. Likewise, if you’ve got any questions about postgraduate Clearing, the University of Stirling or our range of postgraduate courses, don’t hesitate to get in touch.


We’ve always happy to help, and we can’t wait to hear from you.