It is the dream of most Nigerians to have the best quality education available. Quality education, especially at advanced levels come by a postgraduate study abroad. It is a fact that no Nigerian university is ranked among the first-600 universities in the world, (webometrics) by basic standards, used to grade world class institutions.
Update: Covenant University is now ranked 400-600 on Times Higher Education ranking
Therefore, a postgraduate study abroad is not out of place.
To achieve this, the prospective student needs to be armed with knowledge and certain requirements. This blog post gives you both. Note that, a postgraduate study abroad could either be through personal paid sponsorship, scholarship, grant or work leave. Either way, you will need these materials.
Documents for Postgraduate Study Abroad
- INTERNATIONAL PASSPORT: This is the most valid means of identification internationally. It contains your basic bio-data. Postgraduate application or admission details must tally with the information on the international passport. In fact, some universities require the data page of the international passport, before consideration for either admission or scholarship. It is amusing, how many Nigerian graduates apply for overseas scholarships like PTDF, BEA, Commonwealth e.t.c without this necessary document. Considering the Nigerian factor, of how passport applications can be delayed, it is better to have the international passport, before putting in documents for postgraduate study abroad.
- ACADEMIC TRANSCRIPT: This is a table showing academic grades and cumulative average from previous academic study. Any university board considering you for a postgraduate admission must make use of your academic transcripts. It shows academic weakness or strength. From the transcripts, remedial steps for weakness or remunerations for past excellence can be decided. In countries where the academic grading system is different from the Nigerian pattern, prospective student may need to send transcripts to a certificate evaluating body, like WES before applying for the postgraduate study. As a result of the importance of this document, it is preferred to be sent directly from the previous university, to avoid tampering and manipulations. In the Nigerian case, where the academic unit/ Exams and record intentionally slow down the process, it may be better to personally receive the sealed transcript and post. For the postgraduate study abroad, the university abroad holds an unwavering deadline, especially for international students.
- LANGUAGE CERTIFICATIONS: Although, this is not a compulsory requirement for a postgraduate study abroad, many postgraduate admission boards would confirm that you had your previous study in English Language. International certifications to confirm English Language proficiency are IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and TOEFL (Test of English as Foreign Language). Basically, this requirement is for those who studied in foreign universities, where English was not the language of instruction. An alternative is to get an English Language Proficiency letter from your Nigerian university.
- RECOMMENDATION LETTER: This letter is very important for research based postgraduate study. Recommendation letter from previous lecturers shows that the student possess not just academic brilliance, which the transcript show, but necessary network/social skills. The recommendation letter should speak glowingly about past working relationship, especially your project/thesis work. Sometimes, the foreign university would request that the recommendation letter be sent directly by the recommending lecturer, through the institution official email.
- STATEMENT OF PURPOSE/ RESEARCH PROPOSAL: Except for non thesis Masters, all postgraduate study incorporate long essay as a major credit load. This long essay can be called Project work, Dissertation or Thesis. The statement of purpose/ research proposal gives clarity and direction for this major part of the academic study, even before take-off. It shows the admission board that the prospective postgraduate student has done the ground work. It also defines the scope and objective of the research, as different Professors have specific areas of research interest.
- SCANNED COPY OF ALL CREDENTIALS: This includes O’level (WAEC, NECO), first degree certificate, NYSC discharge certificate, postgraduate or Masters degree certificate (as the case may be).
- SPECIFIC EXAMS: In addition to language certification, some countries, especially universities in the United States request GRE before admission.
- Add yours, which documents, necessary for a postgraduate study abroad was left out? Please respond in the comment box