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Nottingham or Essex for Politics

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    I have an offer from both unis to study politics, Nottingham AAB and Essex Abb, I have now been to open days at both but I am really stuck about where I want to go. Just wondering if anyone had any advice?
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    (Original post by aimlessinwonder)
    Nottingham has a far better reputation, both with politics and as a university overall.
    I don't suppose you know if York is better than Nottingham for Politics? I prefer York's syllabus, but I'm worried that York is worse than Nottingham and that the difference in reputation is too great. Do you think that both universities, with respect to overall and specific (that is, by their politics departments) reputation, the difference is so small you might as well decide based on minor differences? Or, do you think that going on the syllabus for a potentially slightly worse university (York, perhaps?) is OK if I feel I'd do better at York?

    Just wondering.
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    (Original post by TheSelfAcknowleged)
    I don't suppose you know if York is better than Nottingham for Politics? I prefer York's syllabus, but I'm worried that York is worse than Nottingham and that the difference in reputation is too great. Do you think that both universities, with respect to overall and specific (that is, by their politics departments) reputation, the difference is so small you might as well decide based on minor differences? Or, do you think that going on the syllabus for a potentially slightly worse university (York, perhaps?) is OK if I feel I'd do better at York?

    Just wondering.
    I'm no expert, but i'm fairly sure the difference is negligible. Both are great universities, go with whichever you prefer
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    (Original post by aimlessinwonder)
    Nottingham has a far better reputation, both with politics and as a university overall.
    Really cause when I have looked at Essex the politics department is always highly regarded and at the top for research
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    (Original post by stevie_94)
    Really cause when I have looked at Essex the politics department is always highly regarded and at the top for research
    I believe Politics is indeed one of their strongest departments, but it is still not at the same standard as Nottingham's. Add that with the fact that Notts is a far more respected university overall (League Tables, Russell Group etc), and it should be an easy answer. However, if you prefer Essex, don't feel you have to go to Nottingham just because I say so :P
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    (Original post by aimlessinwonder)
    Nottingham has a far better reputation, both with politics and as a university overall.
    Not trying to start an argument, but that is actually completely incorrect.

    Essex's department was ranked first in the UK for Politics in research (http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/...tional-studies) above Oxford, Cambridge, LSE and Nottingham by quite a bit. Notts is obviously the superior university in terms of general reputation and for the majority of subjects, but not in Politics. Since you referred to League Tables, looking at The Times University Guide (which seems by far to be the most respected one, even though they're all deeply flawed in my opinion) Essex is ranked higher. At worst it is on the same level for Politics, let alone Nottingham being "far better".

    OP - Personally I would firm Nottingham and insure Essex, but you should go for whichever course structure you prefer. Nottingham will look a bit better on your CV most likely but don't bother going if you think you'd be unhappy there, obviously.
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    Reputation wise - Nottingham

    For a Politics degree - Essex
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    I'm at Essex university, obviously not studying Politics but I'd say it completely depends on you.

    Both universities are very different, Essex is a very, very campus based university. Notts is more of city place, you'll get two very different feels.

    As for Notts being Russell Group, Essex is pro-1994, which is on an equal ground. So put them both on an equal level as far as "rankings" go, though of course I can't say that Notts will be higher regarded, but definitely not to an extent to which an employer is going to go "no." If you are worried about ratings (which many post-graduates will tell you and employers themselves, unless it's Oxbridge, they will not care)

    However, Colchester is not a very "political" place. Nottingham is a big city, depending on what you want to do in life I'd say go there for a better chance of making connections and if you like the city and could see yourself living there, I fully recommend going there. But again, I don't really fancy living in Colchester by any means or working there so that wasn't a factor at all for me. Hell, I want to get as far away from England as I can as soon as I graduate.

    Look at the course modules, go to the unis and see which one you feel much more at home at. I had a choice between Leicester and Essex for history, Leicester being seen as much better as a uni but I felt so much more at home at Essex. I loved the campus and I still do, if I had the choice between both I wouldn't have to think twice about choosing Essex again.

    Everyone at Essex and Notts will probably try to promote their university as much as they can. But in employment, the name of the university you attend will only get you so far and Essex and Notts will not be enough to put you ahead of anyone else regardless of what people may say. You presentation, what you learn in your degree, work experience etc. all depend on what you do at the university and if you enjoy the university more, you will put more effort into doing more work experience related things.

    tl;dr - Name of university mean nothing in the real world unless it's Oxbridge, Notts if RG and Essex is pro-1994 which both mean nothing for UG, decide upon the course modules you think you enjoy more and whether you'd rather be in a big city or a small campus. End of the day, you need to go to both to decide.
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    (Original post by aimlessinwonder)
    I believe Politics is indeed one of their strongest departments, but it is still not at the same standard as Nottingham's. Add that with the fact that Notts is a far more respected university overall (League Tables, Russell Group etc), and it should be an easy answer. However, if you prefer Essex, don't feel you have to go to Nottingham just because I say so :P
    Literally every statement you made in that quote was false or exaggerated. If you're looking for knit-picking then Essex has slightly more points within its politics department in nearly all league tables that rate it higher, Essex is a pro-1994 Group who are on the same level as RG albeit in different fields (RG generally have funding for larger fields, Pro-1994 get funding for more narrowly specialized fields) and it in no way an easy answer. As far as reputation goes, if you went to an employer and someone with an Essex degree was against you, the employer would not care at all for the name unless you can back up why it's important to which the Essex candidate can do the same. Infact, if you have to try to exaggerate your CV to the point where you NEED to mention the university name, it can't be that good.

    Sorry for being blunt, but I really can't stand people who try to make claims like that.
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    The OP has received some really good advice here.

    From somebody who has been out in the workplace after graduating a few years ago from a Russell Group/top 10 etc etc. I would say that if you were studying for a Masters/PhD, then yes go for the reputation of the department every time. In your case, its an undergraduate degree, and it seems both courses are fine. I would choose the university with the more `prestige` every time - ie Nottingham. Practically speaking - and to be honest, if you go down the graduate scheme path upon graduating the name of the University wont matter (unless its Oxbridge which somebody has already said), but the prestige of your university may make the difference between you and another guy going for the same job 10 or 15 years down the line and if you decide to do post grad it will matter. To be honest folks, once you graduate and get that certificate you forget and frankly don't really care how attentive your lecturer was on a course you took whilst studying your undergrad, all that matters once you leave is the qualification you get out of it - practically speaking. How well your department is respected in your field, at undergraduate level is neither here nor there in the wider world.

    Just my two cents.
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    Thanks everyone for replying
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    For any other course I would say Nottingham, but for politics it has to be said that Essex has a world class department.

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Updated: April 3, 2012
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