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Graduate application to Oxford

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    Hello,

    This is a query to do with a graduate application to Oxford and any advice would be much appreciated.

    I would like to apply to do a masters in Arts/Humanities at Oxford in 2008. However, I only got a 2.2 in my undergraduate degree. (It was from another top-rated university though.)

    Do you think it is worth applying to Oxford? Will they even consider an applicant with a 2.2? I think that the best idea would be to apply to do an a MSt and then there might be a possibility of progressing to a DPhil later. Does this seem wise?

    What can I do to strengthen my application? At what stage do you think I should contact a potential supervisor?

    Any feedback would be great.

    Thanks!
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    Okay, just a further point to the one I made on this thread on the OxGoss forum - I'm not saying you'd have a better chance with the MPhil, only that if you were more interested in research and didn't fancy a taught course then it might be more suitable. But it really depends on what you want to study - can you narrow it down? What was your first degree in?

    I hope I wasn't too discouraging. Of course you can always just go for it. But it'd be sensible to apply to other places too, as competition is very tough, blah blah blah.

    Also, if you were getting plenty of firsts in your first degree but were dragged down by a dissertation or a screwed up exam or something, then that might improve your chances a bit.
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    (Original post by sarah17)
    Hello,

    This is a query to do with a graduate application to Oxford and any advice would be much appreciated.

    I would like to apply to do a masters in Arts/Humanities at Oxford in 2008. However, I only got a 2.2 in my undergraduate degree. (It was from another top-rated university though.)

    Do you think it is worth applying to Oxford? Will they even consider an applicant with a 2.2? I think that the best idea would be to apply to do an a MSt and then there might be a possibility of progressing to a DPhil later. Does this seem wise?

    What can I do to strengthen my application? At what stage do you think I should contact a potential supervisor?

    Any feedback would be great.

    Thanks!
    Which subject? There are quite a lot which Oxford class as Humanities! And they have different requirements. The English website says that 'We normally ask students to have a first class degree or a high upper second', and also that 'Students who are now completing, or have completed the BA degree, but as yet have no postgraduate experience, must apply for the M.St.', so you would have to progress to D.Phil after having done a master's first. Of course, other subjects may be different - I'm speaking rom what I know myself.

    I don't know about contacting your supervisor - I think that would be unusual for only an MSt, since they don't ask you to chose one, and give out offers without a specific academic attached. As said, M.Phils are slightly different, research based, so that complicates things.

    You might as well apply! Competition is always tough (for English, about 15% make it in) so you've got nothing to lose. The real strength has to lie in your written statement of research - why Oxford? Why this particular Dept.? And you have to show that you know exactly what you will study.

    As for where your 2.2 is from, I don't know if that matters - a whole other debate!
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    Not to be funny, but you'll be lucky with a 2.2...
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    (Original post by Fidelis Oditah)
    Not to be funny, but you'll be lucky with a 2.2...
    Yeh, kinda true for most of the higher unis
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    Just to be clear and put some perspective on it. The good 2.1 or above applies for people that are only bringing academic background to their application. I brought an old, irrelevant, 2.2 but with a long history of related work experience and got onto a Masters course at Cam, and subsequently a PhD. I know for certain of at least one candidate on my course that didn't even have a first degree, but had about 30 years of relevant work experience.

    I know that probably doesn't help the OP much, but there may be other readers out there taking the 2.1+ as an absolute gospel. It is not, if you have something else relevant to bring to your application.
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    there are a few full time lecturers at cambridge too without phds - years of practical experience behind them instead.

    i dont know about cambridge admissions, but there are lots of courses at top 20 unis that let you on with a 2:2 - perhaps its more down to how competitive they are rather than the choice of uni?
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    (Original post by The Boosh)
    there are a few full time lecturers at cambridge too without phds - years of practical experience behind them instead.
    Yeah but they're pre-watershed academics, they would never get their own jobs now if they had to reapply for them, and no-one without a PhD would get a job at Cambridge now, with the exception of a very few off-the-charts All Souls types. Most of those oldies with no PhDs don't have any publications to their name either - they just swan around drinking the college wine and telling rambling anecdotes in their tutes. Mostly men too, oddly.
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    lol ill take your word for that one mate. i have to say, the one im thinking of right now only publishes books (not papers) and is still pretty influential on the circuit. but generally, i understand what you mean. academics without phds sometimes lack a certain spark (but then again, there are plenty of people with phds that lack this too lol).
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    (Original post by The Boosh)
    academics without phds sometimes lack a certain spark (but then again, there are plenty of people with phds that lack this too lol).
    Very true. I've nothing against the old-boy no-PhD professors except for the fact that... yes, I've everything against them. But then, I have just as much against people with PhDs in Kristevan readings of Carol Ann Duffy. No wonder I'm a GOG!
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    is this a carol ann duffy thing or the process of "applying a the gaze of X"?
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    Unless I am missing something, all you have to loose by submitting an application is a few hours preparation. So if that is what you wanted to do then you would be silly not to try.

    From my experience, applying for these things are a bit of a lottery, so I wouldn't put all your hopes on one particular opportunity. Apply for as many as you can and see what happens.
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    (Original post by The Boosh)
    is this a carol ann duffy thing or the process of "applying a the gaze of X"?
    Hmm. We've been here before. Let's just say I like a bit of originality in a PhD thesis. Although I could be talking out of my behind really, since three years down the line I'll care less about the originality of my own thesis than about getting the bloody thing overwith, probably.

    *reality of task ahead kicks in*

    *cringes with respect for anyone who's actually done it*
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    (Original post by nikk)

    From my experience, applying for these things are a bit of a lottery, so I wouldn't put all your hopes on one particular opportunity. Apply for as many as you can and see what happens.
    Best advice.
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    (Original post by threeportdrift)
    Just to be clear and put some perspective on it. The good 2.1 or above applies for people that are only bringing academic background to their application. I brought an old, irrelevant, 2.2 but with a long history of related work experience and got onto a Masters course at Cam, and subsequently a PhD. I know for certain of at least one candidate on my course that didn't even have a first degree, but had about 30 years of relevant work experience.

    I know that probably doesn't help the OP much, but there may be other readers out there taking the 2.1+ as an absolute gospel. It is not, if you have something else relevant to bring to your application.
    Do you mind if I ask... did you need academic references with your application even though some time had passed?
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    Yes, you will need 3 references from academics
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    (Original post by Fazorme)

    As for where your 2.2 is from, I don't know if that matters - a whole other debate!

    My degree is from Trinity College Dublin... not sure if it makes any difference as it's still not as highly ranked as Oxbridge.
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    Well very few places are 'ranked' as high as Oxford, if there were a unified system! Depends on class and individual marks and references more than a percieved generalisation of an entire uni
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    (Original post by threeportdrift)
    Just to be clear and put some perspective on it. The good 2.1 or above applies for people that are only bringing academic background to their application. I brought an old, irrelevant, 2.2 but with a long history of related work experience and got onto a Masters course at Cam, and subsequently a PhD. I know for certain of at least one candidate on my course that didn't even have a first degree, but had about 30 years of relevant work experience.

    I know that probably doesn't help the OP much, but there may be other readers out there taking the 2.1+ as an absolute gospel. It is not, if you have something else relevant to bring to your application.
    What course are you doing at cam?
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    I did the MSt in IR, for which references from my employers highlighting my 'academic' work for them played a large part. However, the nature of my employment also indicated I was used to meeting deadlines, keeping to agreed timetables, working under pressure, providing accurate, well researched written work etc, so I had all the 'transferable skills' as well.

    I had to show my transcript from my undergrad degree 20 years previously (which the Uni in question was able to provide immediately!) but did not have to get any academic reference from staff there.

    I've subsequently gone on to do a PhD in IR, same location.

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