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Postgrad degrees?

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    (Original post by loggins)
    So I'm doing Combined Honours in Arts (English Literature, German and Economics) at Durham, is it possible to do a postgraduate degree in English Literature at Oxford/Cambridge if I haven't purely studied English Lit at undergrad level?
    Thanks
    I don't see why not.
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    :ditto: Oxford would most likely force you to do an MSt first, though.

    Edit: Just did a quick check: The entry requirements include the sentence "BA degree in English or related subject normally required" and the faculty website says about the MSt thing:
    "There are two routes into graduate studies in English at Oxford. Students who are now completing, or have completed the BA degree, but as yet have no postgraduate experience, must apply for the M.St. Those who have already completed a master's programme at another university and wish to begin work towards a doctoral thesis should apply to be a Probationary Research Student (PRS). We do not normally accept candidates as Probationary Researchers without a master's degree."
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    I take it a MSt is not as respected as an MPhil? (Thanks for the help hobnob, I repped you for't )
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    (Original post by loggins)
    I take it a MSt is not as respected as an MPhil? (Thanks for the help hobnob, I repped you for't )
    Thanks.
    Well, actually it's just different names, but they're both pretty much the same thing: what the AHRC defines as "research preparation masters" - one-year taught courses that are meant to prepare you for a postgraduate research degree (DPhil or PhD). If you don't want to do a DPhil/PhD afterwards, there are also MLitt courses (conveniently called the same at both universities), which are sort of halfway in between: they're two-year research degrees at the end of which you have to write a thesis that's a bit shorter than the DPhil/PhD thesis. However, as the MLitt is a research degree, I'm fairly sure the universities would nevertheless ask you to do an MSt/MPhil as well, to make sure you've acquired the relevant research techniques or something like that.
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    (Original post by hobnob)
    Thanks.
    Well, actually it's just different names, but they're both pretty much the same thing: what the AHRC defines as "research preparation masters" - one-year taught courses that are meant to prepare you for a postgraduate research degree (DPhil or PhD). If you don't want to do a DPhil/PhD afterwards, there are also MLitt courses (conveniently called the same at both universities), which are sort of halfway in between: they're two-year research degrees at the end of which you have to write a thesis that's a bit shorter than the DPhil/PhD thesis. However, as the MLitt is a research degree, I'm fairly sure the universities would nevertheless ask you to do an MSt/MPhil as well, to make sure you've acquired the relevant research techniques or something like that.
    I thought an MSt was more like an MA at most universities (excluding Oxford/Cambridge and the other UK ancients). It is quite common in the arts and social sciences for you to have to do a masters before being allowed on a PhD programme, Oxford is not unusual in this requirement.

    The Cambridge MPhil is an odd beast in that it can be 1 or 2 years long and taught or research, whereas at most universities it is 2 years by research only. Again the MLitt is an unusual degree in that in England it is a research degree, but in Scotland it is being standardised as a taught degree. This all stems from the fact that all the ancients offer an MA either directly at undergraduate level or at some time afterwards without further examination and so these universities need to have seperate master's degrees for those pursuing further study. This factor puts them out of kilter with the rest of the higher education system which is simply BA, MA, MPhil/MLitt, PhD/DPhil.
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    This thread needs merging with the one in the Oxbridge forum.
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    (Original post by ChemistBoy)
    I thought an MSt was more like an MA at most universities (excluding Oxford/Cambridge and the other UK ancients). It is quite common in the arts and social sciences for you to have to do a masters before being allowed on a PhD programme, Oxford is not unusual in this requirement.
    Yeah, you have to do an MSc or an MRes at LSE before you can get onto a PhD. Also I'm positive that an MSc at another university qualifies you to apply for a DPhil.
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    (Original post by shady lane)
    Also I'm positive that an MSc at another university qualifies you to apply for a DPhil.
    Defo.

    Edit - You might need PRS status first actually.
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    Yeah but it looks like everyone has to be a PRS, including MSt graduates.
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    (Original post by ChemistBoy)
    I thought an MSt was more like an MA at most universities (excluding Oxford/Cambridge and the other UK ancients). It is quite common in the arts and social sciences for you to have to do a masters before being allowed on a PhD programme, Oxford is not unusual in this requirement.

    The Cambridge MPhil is an odd beast in that it can be 1 or 2 years long and taught or research, whereas at most universities it is 2 years by research only. Again the MLitt is an unusual degree in that in England it is a research degree, but in Scotland it is being standardised as a taught degree. This all stems from the fact that all the ancients offer an MA either directly at undergraduate level or at some time afterwards without further examination and so these universities need to have seperate master's degrees for those pursuing further study. This factor puts them out of kilter with the rest of the higher education system which is simply BA, MA, MPhil/MLitt, PhD/DPhil.
    Absolutely. It's just that the OP was specifically asking about Oxford and Cambridge (which is confusing enough, really), so I thought it would make more sense to restrict my reply to those two...
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    In science we have undergraduate masters degrees that allow you to enter PhD programmes directly (unlike the ancient MA) so that just makes it even more confusing!
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    (Original post by ChemistBoy)
    In science we have undergraduate masters degrees that allow you to enter PhD programmes directly (unlike the ancient MA) so that just makes it even more confusing!
    Some of my friends are on such four-year courses; they sat finals last year and are now doing their MMath/whatever the equivalent is for other subjects, but nevertheless they're still technically undergraduates. Although they are joint members of both JCR and MCR. It really is a bit crazy...
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    Seeing as though there is no central admissions process, is it possible to apply to both Oxford and Cambridge for a masters degree?
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    Yes
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    (Original post by loggins)
    Seeing as though there is no central admissions process, is it possible to apply to both Oxford and Cambridge for a masters degree?
    Do you actually know that they are the best departments, or are you just choosing them for the sake of going to Oxbridge?
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    I was under the impression that the top English departments in the country were (in order) Durham, Cambridge, Oxford. I want to get away from Durham after my degree, so I figured Oxford/Cambridge is the obvious choice.

    Is it as difficult to get into Oxbridge for postgrad as it is for undergrad or is it generally less competitive?
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    (Original post by loggins)
    Is it as difficult to get into Oxbridge for postgrad as it is for undergrad or is it generally less competitive?
    Not as difficult, but still competitive.
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    You need a first most of the time, and I think most of the applicants have that.
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    (Original post by Pretty Boy Floyd)
    Not as difficult, but still competitive.
    If you trust Oxford's figures, it's actually more difficult for English, though. Nearly seven applicants per place - that's more than you have at undergraduate level.

    All Oxbridge snobbery aside, though, Oxford does have a pretty strong English department overall, and the Bodleian is a very useful resource for the subject. Although obviously, depending on the exact area the OP is interested in other universities might be just as good or better for his purposes.

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