Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
Turn on thread page Beta
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Jantaculum)
    Wow. Seriously? So in ten, twenty, thirty years time, you think a Masters from Cambridge would be devalued because there were some typos on the website in 2015?
    First, these aren't typos, it's a consistent pattern of misspelled words and atrocious grammar errors. Second, you are making a huge assumption when you say "on the website in 2015." You assume that a faculty member, and their copyeditor, both had a transient stroke when they were pounding out these application forms and this will never happen again and is a completely isolated incident. I am interpreting this as symptomatic of larger problems within this programme. If a major piece of externally facing communications can't be created in a readable and intelligent manner, what other shortcomings is the programme suffering? Is this a worsening issue? Based on the feedback from persons in this programme, it seems "yes".
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by carmex)
    I'm looking for a challenging programme that will be viewed favorably by potential employers and has demanding admissions standards. I'm not looking for a "cake" programme that one can "sail" through, anyone can be admitted with no prior background, and theses are pounded out and rubber-stamped with spelling (and worse) errors.
    It appears to me that threeportdrift sailed through the PhD, not the MSt; the implication being it was fine preparation for PhD level work. I am sure he/she will be able to confirm, I am yet to read of anyone who took the MSt and claim they sailed through it. In fact, I have read of people signing up for the course and studying full time - i.e. without full time employment.

    That being said, if you compare the 2013-2015 'assessment' section of the course site;

    http://www.ice.cam.ac.uk/mst-international-relations

    Assessment

    In Year 1 the taught elements of the course are assessed through a combination of an invigilated three-hour examination for the compulsory core course, and assessed essays or examination for each of the six optional modules. The core course is worth 40% of the overall mark for the year and each module is worth 10%. In the second year, students submit one dissertation of 25,000 words which will be assessed by two examiners.
    Sessions will be offered in essay writing, examination technique and research methodology, and opportunities will be given to submit practice essays and to write an essay under examination conditions.
    With the one from the latest course site;

    https://www.ice.cam.ac.uk/mst-ir

    AssessmentThesis

    • Dissertation: 25,000 words maximum (including tables, footnotes, and appendices, but excluding bibliography).

    Essays

    Students must attend all sessions of their six option modules, but will assessed on three modules by either:

    • Two essays not exceeding 2,000 words each; or
    • One essay not exceeding 4,000 words; or

    Written examination

    • Compulsory core course examination paper written under examination conditions of three hours' duration.


    You will note that in 2013-15, all six option modules were assessed; either by essay or examination. In the 2015-17 programme, it would appear only three of those option modules will be assessed. This does not mean there will be less work involved, presumably a higher level of achievement will be expected on the three than when six were assessed. It does however ask questions of the quality - will this be looked upon unfavourably by those ranking the course against similar courses at other Universities?

    Perhaps this is splitting hairs, but I myself have an offer from LSE to study for another MSc that is very appealing (part-time but awarded as MSc). At the moment trying to decide between them both is proving very difficult, this thread has helped in my questioning of the MSt a little more.
    Offline

    12
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by timmymagic)
    It appears to me that threeportdrift sailed through the PhD, not the MSt; the implication being it was fine preparation for PhD level work. I am sure he/she will be able to confirm, I am yet to read of anyone who took the MSt and claim they sailed through it. In fact, I have read of people signing up for the course and studying full time - i.e. without full time employment.

    That being said, if you compare the 2013-2015 'assessment' section of the course site;

    http://www.ice.cam.ac.uk/mst-international-relations



    With the one from the latest course site;

    https://www.ice.cam.ac.uk/mst-ir

    [/FONT][/COLOR][/LIST]

    You will note that in 2013-15, all six option modules were assessed; either by essay or examination. In the 2015-17 programme, it would appear only three of those option modules will be assessed. This does not mean there will be less work involved, presumably a higher level of achievement will be expected on the three than when six were assessed. It does however ask questions of the quality - will this be looked upon unfavourably by those ranking the course against similar courses at other Universities?

    Perhaps this is splitting hairs, but I myself have an offer from LSE to study for another MSc that is very appealing (part-time but awarded as MSc). At the moment trying to decide between them both is proving very difficult, this thread has helped in my questioning of the MSt a little more.
    Indeed, she said she sailed through the PhD, not the first time carmex has misunderstood things - but I can no longer bother responding to someone who ignores it when one shows up his errors (like the fact that he claimed he couldn't find anyone on LinkedIn when there are plenty, and that the program falls under polis not ice) and finds some other track to go on about. Honestly, it seems to me he is more worried about the cost than anything else, and I must add this bit is really not a typical MSt profile - where students generally fall into two camps, the professional who can easily fund it personally, or those whose employers (which this year at least include the US and UK governments as well as private sector companies) are paying.

    On the fees, which have admittedly jumped a lot this year, I expected fewer applications as a result but apparently they are actually up.

    As to your second question, I suspect it is sadly indeed a typo and 'three' should be 'these', but I would also point out that unless it's changed, the MPhil was examined on fewer modules and a shorter thesis than the MSt, so I don't believe that simply looking at number of modules is a good way to judge it anyway. We have two people on the course this year who already have MScs from LSE and both seem to be both enjoying the course, and suffering under the workload! Good luck with your decision, I don't think you can really go wrong with either.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by sj27)
    like the fact that he claimed he couldn't find anyone on LinkedIn when there are plenty
    Here's my reply to your original point if you need to re-read it. In addition to spelling and grammar, is reading comprehension also not an expectation in the MStIR?

    (Original post by sj27)
    which this year at least include the US ... governments
    Let me guess - a GS9 in the National Park Service?

    (Original post by sj27)
    As to your second question, I suspect it is sadly indeed a typo and 'three' should be 'these'
    so yet another failure of simple written English generating substantial confusion about this programme's (1) structure, and, (2) seriousness ...

    At this point applicants should be seriously concerned whether they are, indeed, applying to a "MSt International Relations" or actually a "MSt Intestinal Resection" that has just been spelled incorrectly. I can imagine all these horrified poli sci students showing up the first day of lecture to learn they're going to be elbow deep up a cadaver's backside.

    Also, to be fair, given the broad pattern of spelling and grammar errors, these are not correctly termed "typos". This is, in fact, the intentional composition of a person who cannot write at a Grade 5 level coupled with an intentional decision by Cambridge not to invest resources in copyediting a major externally-facing communication for their MStIR programme. To an outsider, like me, this appears to speak to the seriousness with which the university apparently takes this course.

    To be clear, I have no doubt about the quality of Cambridge. I also have no doubt - in light of the revelations in this thread - that this is a cash register programme that is not operated at that level of quality. "Cambridge Lite" if you will. Same taste, just not as filling.
    Offline

    10
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by carmex)
    You assume that a faculty member, and their copyeditor, both had a transient stroke when they were pounding out these application forms
    No. I wouldn't make assumptions about health issues, even less try to be funny about them.


    (Original post by timmymagic)

    Perhaps this is splitting hairs, but I myself have an offer from LSE to study for another MSc that is very appealing (part-time but awarded as MSc). At the moment trying to decide between them both is proving very difficult, this thread has helped in my questioning of the MSt a little more.
    I hope this thread hasn't derailed your thinking about Cambridge too much - it's taken a rather unusual turn!

    Don't question the MSt, question the validity of the facts presented by sj and threeportdrift versus the opinions presented by applicants, and then decide whose information is more likely to be correct.

    Congratulations on the LSE offer and good luck with your decision
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by carmex)
    "It's just a few typos!"

    The point isn't that Cambridge doesn't have someone who can communicate professionally in the English language. The point is - in its external facing materials - this is the way that Cambridge thinks it's okay to present itself. It speaks to a certain mindset. Having rampant spelling errors in application materials is embarrassing and exceptionally unusual but, you're right, doesn't mean much else in and of itself. However, if the university doesn't think this is a big deal, what other shortcuts does it take?

    Johns Hopkins and Harvard both have no trouble communicating in flawless English. I've been accepted to one and plan to apply to the other. They're just not "gamble" programmes like this Cambridge "MSt" is turning out.



    I think your previous statement makes a bit more sense now.

    I'm looking for a challenging programme that will be viewed favorably by potential employers and has demanding admissions standards. I'm not looking for a "cake" programme that one can "sail" through, anyone can be admitted with no prior background, and theses are pounded out and rubber-stamped with spelling (and worse) errors.

    Again, I'm not criticizing the Cambridge MSt. I think, like the Johns Hopkins "AAP" it serves an important role for a certain constituency. I'm just not part of that constituency.
    Makes much sense. Mst progammes vary a lot in content. Some are suitable for professional development or academic purpose etc and there is a long list of goals. MPhil also leads to PhD which gives better opportunities of a higher pay and flexibility in changing jobs. Do you want strictly a taught Masters? both reseach and taught Mst can be good to achieve what you need. If you have researched your subject it should be possible to apply straight for a PhD without a Mst and finish in around 3 years and might also be a good investment. It happens now but you need to approach universities and make enquiries. Also you can attempt to make flexible arrangements with a univesity regards time so as to suit your work but you need to speak to a university. You may also get into a Research masters and have a flexibility
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by timmymagic)
    It appears to me that threeportdrift sailed through the PhD, not the MSt; the implication being it was fine preparation for PhD level work. I am sure he/she will be able to confirm, I am yet to read of anyone who took the MSt and claim they sailed through it. In fact, I have read of people signing up for the course and studying full time - i.e. without full time employment.

    That being said, if you compare the 2013-2015 'assessment' section of the course site;

    http://www.ice.cam.ac.uk/mst-international-relations



    With the one from the latest course site;

    https://www.ice.cam.ac.uk/mst-ir

    [/FONT][/COLOR][/LIST]

    You will note that in 2013-15, all six option modules were assessed; either by essay or examination. In the 2015-17 programme, it would appear only three of those option modules will be assessed. This does not mean there will be less work involved, presumably a higher level of achievement will be expected on the three than when six were assessed. It does however ask questions of the quality - will this be looked upon unfavourably by those ranking the course against similar courses at other Universities?

    Perhaps this is splitting hairs, but I myself have an offer from LSE to study for another MSc that is very appealing (part-time but awarded as MSc). At the moment trying to decide between them both is proving very difficult, this thread has helped in my questioning of the MSt a little more.
    Thanks for pointing this to us. What it could pobably mean is that there was a change of policy at a point - almost clear. Congratulations to you for the offer from LSE - I am amongst the alumni of LSE. I did not know they have part-time MSc - good you told me, I will tell friends and colleagues.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Jantaculum)
    Don't question the MSt, question the validity of the facts presented by sj and threeportdrift versus the opinions presented by applicants, and then decide whose information is more likely to be correct.
    IOW: "Pai no attenshun to any trubling omens abut this degree. Just hear the peeple defending it as point of self-esteeeem."

    The correct spelling of single syllable words like "three" and "your" is not an "opinion" open to debate and different interpretations. I would be very concerned that the MSt programme is producing graduates who believe things like the way "three" is spelled is a mere "opinion" that can be dismissed.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by carmex)
    IOW: "Pai no attenshun to any trubling omens abut this degree. Just hear the peeple defending it as point of self-esteeeem."

    The correct spelling of single syllable words like "three" and "your" is not an "opinion" open to debate and different interpretations. I would be very concerned that the MSt programme is producing graduates who believe things like the way "three" is spelled is a mere "opinion" that can be dismissed.
    In US I understand a Masters is part of a PhD. Here there are 4-year degrees which have an integrated Masters in the final year provided your class is 2:2 or above and in some cases 2:1. Thus these graduates go straight to MPhil or PhD. However if a student has 2:1 or 1st they can go to a PhD wihout doing the 4th year of Masters provided they have a good research proposal. It can be cost effective to work really really hard on such a poposal. in a PhD you can follow lectures and seminars of your choice, more flexibly than in a Masters. Some PhD students work at the uni part-time as research assistant, teaching classes, supervising undergaduates or grading papers. In a Masters you cannot do that or fast-track because it is a set menu with no flexibility. I do not know what happens when you do a Reasearch based Masters.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by sj27)
    On the fees, which have admittedly jumped a lot this year, I expected fewer applications as a result but apparently they are actually up.

    As to your second question, I suspect it is sadly indeed a typo and 'three' should be 'these', but I would also point out that unless it's changed, the MPhil was examined on fewer modules and a shorter thesis than the MSt, so I don't believe that simply looking at number of modules is a good way to judge it anyway. We have two people on the course this year who already have MScs from LSE and both seem to be both enjoying the course, and suffering under the workload! Good luck with your decision, I don't think you can really go wrong with either.
    The fees this year include college fees, so I am wondering how much difference there is? I have no idea how much college fees are, so I am not sure, you might be able to shed more light.... Going on your comments above, you might already have :--)

    I have e-mailed with a question regarding typogate, although unfortunately the MSt IR ICE contact is currently out of the office until the 18th. Tempted to ask my interviewer, but do not want to keep bugging the poor guy.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by gloriainexcelsis)
    Thanks for pointing this to us. What it could pobably mean is that there was a change of policy at a point - almost clear. Congratulations to you for the offer from LSE - I am amongst the alumni of LSE. I did not know they have part-time MSc - good you told me, I will tell friends and colleagues.
    Many thanks. Yes, they do offer part-time Masters, but be aware they are taught during normal full-time hours and students will not be told of the teaching schedule until much closer to the course start date. In addition, they cannot guarantee that lectures will be recorded, although presumably this is department dependent. In 2010 all lectures were recorded for my course, which was useful - obviously as a part-time student this would be invaluable.

    I was shocked to discover they do not record for the part-time MSc Finance either, behind the times is understating it. In fact, when Yale effectively give away the recordings of their lectures from Professor Bob himself, you would think LSE might put the effort in to record lectures for those paying £30,000+. Rather than putting forward ludicrous reasons as to why they do not - although this is my experience from late 2013, perhaps they have changed their tune since.

    Actually, whilst I am ranting - LSE have also refused to give me last year's course book for the course to which I have applied, as it is 'only available internally on Moodle'. Cambridge have actually been tremendously helpful in communication over e-mail, almost the exact opposite of LSE; who have no spelling mistakes on their site but pretty dreadful communication skills. That said, might just be a department thing...
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by timmymagic)
    I have e-mailed with a question regarding typogate, although unfortunately the MSt IR ICE contact is currently out of the office until the 18th.
    This is a one-horse operation? Shocking ...

    (Original post by timmymagic)
    Actually, whilst I am ranting - LSE have also refused to give me last year's course book for the course to which I have applied, as it is 'only available internally on Moodle'. Cambridge have actually been tremendously helpful in communication over e-mail, almost the exact opposite of LSE; who have no spelling mistakes on their site but pretty dreadful communication skills. That said, might just be a department thing...
    In my application to Johns Hopkins the person with whom I corresponded was, in a word, "surly", while - in another application I submitted to Virginia - I simply could not get anyone to speak with me at all. So, I commiserate with your note regarding LSE and their sub-par communication skills. (That said, I can't really put this in the same category as widespread spelling and grammar errors. A university is not a customer service centre so silver platter service should, I suppose, not be an expectation. The ability of a university to consistently string two words together into a comprehensible sentence, however, I do believe should be an expectation.)
    Offline

    12
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by timmymagic)
    The fees this year include college fees, so I am wondering how much difference there is? I have no idea how much college fees are, so I am not sure, you might be able to shed more light.... Going on your comments above, you might already have :--)

    I have e-mailed with a question regarding typogate, although unfortunately the MSt IR ICE contact is currently out of the office until the 18th. Tempted to ask my interviewer, but do not want to keep bugging the poor guy.
    Apparently a main reason for the price increase was an increase in college fees for part timers, and yes they now incorporate it in the overall fee. For the actual tuition, if they keep the same policy as before, it will be exactly the same as the full time MPhil fee, as they do not want cost to be a factor determining which program someone applies to. One thing that would be an advantage to you in London being so close, is ability to take part in Cambridge life much more than those far away. Some of the Londoners I know are regularly in Cam whether for library, the many ad hoc lectures put on, college functions, etc. Some are even there often enough to take part in college sport teams too. They really make an effort with the MSt to be as much a part of Cambridge as possible, for example every session there is a formal dinner in one of the old colleges for the group (academic staff attend too), and your college will definitely play its part too, but clearly the closer you are the more you can benefit. (This is my only regret of the course, that I live too far from Cambridge to spend more time there. Some people during the course moved to Cambridge for this reason!)

    There should be two people available to answer for the course - were you emailing a particular person or the general ICE email?

    I must say in general I have been amazed at how helpful Cambridge personnel have been, and that was everyone I was in contact with before and after my offer. After some disappointing experiences with other unis (not all, some) it was quite refreshing. You'll find also, for example, that if you contact colleges, department etc they are very helpful and friendly. I thought the colleges especially would be dismissive of requests to view in advance of choosing in my application but each and every one was extremely helpful, and I spent a day in Cambridge before applying, again amazed at how helpful everyone was being! So long story short - your department contact is highly unlikely to mind if you ask him something again. Remember a lot of POLIS staff spend a lot of their 'vacation' time on this course, between lectures, seminars, being available for supervision meetings, etc; an extra email/call or two will hardly be an issue!
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by timmymagic)
    Many thanks. Yes, they do offer part-time Masters, but be aware they are taught during normal full-time hours and students will not be told of the teaching schedule until much closer to the course start date. In addition, they cannot guarantee that lectures will be recorded, although presumably this is department dependent. In 2010 all lectures were recorded for my course, which was useful - obviously as a part-time student this would be invaluable.

    I was shocked to discover they do not record for the part-time MSc Finance either, behind the times is understating it. In fact, when Yale effectively give away the recordings of their lectures from Professor Bob himself, you would think LSE might put the effort in to record lectures for those paying £30,000+. Rather than putting forward ludicrous reasons as to why they do not - although this is my experience from late 2013, perhaps they have changed their tune since.

    Actually, whilst I am ranting - LSE have also refused to give me last year's course book for the course to which I have applied, as it is 'only available internally on Moodle'. Cambridge have actually been tremendously helpful in communication over e-mail, almost the exact opposite of LSE; who have no spelling mistakes on their site but pretty dreadful communication skills. That said, might just be a department thing...
    You get global links at LSE. They have excellent pastoral care, I know first hand. Are you alumnus/a as well already? I remember some students in economics used to record lectures, so you may ask around and find copies.They do use moodle. When you register and if you like languages they have evening classes a couple of hours a week in a range of contemporary political topics. They get full up. I got them half price so take opportunity. LSE has also exchange with PO in Fance so you can get a link there too.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by gloriainexcelsis)
    You get global links at LSE. They have excellent pastoral care, I know first hand. Are you alumnus/a as well already? I remember some students in economics used to record lectures, so you may ask around and find copies.They do use moodle. When you register and if you like languages they have evening classes a couple of hours a week in a range of contemporary political topics. They get full up. I got them half price so take opportunity. LSE has also exchange with PO in Fance so you can get a link there too.
    Hello,

    Thanks for the reply - yes I have graduated previously from LSE. I think my words above may have been a bit harsh, it is entirely up to LSE on whether they want to record lectures or not. Also, in the case of the part-time course, they might factor in whether anyone would turn up due to work commitments if they knew they could just watch a recording later.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by sj27)
    There should be two people available to answer for the course - were you emailing a particular person or the general ICE email?
    Yes, I received the details of another on Linda's out of office reply, who I contacted last night. Replied promptly this morning, then again to my reply within ten minutes! :--)

    Right, so it turns out there is no typo. Basically, the number of assessments has been changed in order to match the MPhil programme - so that they are effectively the same from what I understand. I have not looked at the MPhil in too much detail, although I did notice the fewer number of assessments previously - and shorter dissertation. When it comes to dissertations however, I always wonder whether a shorter dissertation is in fact a benefit or indeed quite the opposite.

    Anyway, being the type of guy I am - I have compared the assessment number to a typical number (due to module choices, there is no standard) of assessments on the LSE programme which you can view here - http://www.lse.ac.uk/resources/calen...lRelations.htm

    I picked LSE as it is of the highest quality available in the UK, according to Foreign Policy. Also because I know exactly where to look

    It actually looks like the Cambridge assessments at the very least match in number, considering there is an exam of three hours duration for the core courses. There is then at least a three hour exam, 4,000 word essay or 2x2,000 word essays for each of the three assessed courses. I am only counting assessed work here, not coursework that does not contribute to the final grade; of which there are many more on the Cambridge programme.

    This is then followed by a 25,000 dissertation in the second year. If you study at LSE part-time, you do half in year 1, half in year 2 (or 60/40) - so there is no difference with regard to part-time vs full-time at LSE. In reality, you are comparing the Cambridge MPhil vs LSE MSc.

    So when you look at it like that, the MSt actually had an insane work load for those that studied over the past few years - certainly in comparison to the MPhil and frankly, looking at the above, the IR MSc at LSE too.

    All that being said, I should make it clear that just because there are less assessments - that does not mean I expect it to be easier. Having previously studied at LSE, I know it is no cakewalk, so please do not interpret it like that. I am more concerned that the MSt might have been dumbed down a tad with fewer assessments, but am now confident this is not the case at all - at least, not compared to the MPhil or MSc programmes elsewhere. Of course, this is not taking into consideration the quality of the teaching, positions of the faculty etc. either.

    The Oxford MPhil is probably different, but then that is a two year degree - I am not comparing here as it is largely irrelevant to me.

    ---

    All that being said, I have not actually been offered a place yet - so all this work could ultimately be for nothing! Hopefully it clears up a few concerns for anyone here - it has for me, at the end of the day this is still Cambridge - 800+ years in existence and one of the most highly regarded Universities on the planet.

    ** Just to add for our American friends, I have no idea how this compares to the American system. Studying in America is not really an option for me financially, so I have not including those programmes at all.
    Offline

    12
    ReputationRep:
    That is interesting. From what I have understood, the difference before was that because part time students were not in residence for 9 months, the MPhil did fewer courses but more lectures on each, so the MPhil was more in depth in a narrower area and the MSt broader but with supposedly less depth. I wonder how they will approach this aspect.

    It also seemed to me the module choices were more interesting on the MSt - with more to choose from. One can obviously attend lectures of courses one is not being assessed on too, which they encouraged for breadth, and most people did so.

    A 25000 word dissertation sounds daunting, but being halfway through it now I am happy for the length! Allows one to really get into the meat of a topic.

    Good luck with an offer!
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    sj27: Quick question about the application:

    How long was your application in the
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Say, has anyone received an acceptance or rejection yet? I had a telephone interview two weeks ago but that was the last I heard. Would I be safe assuming I was not selected?
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Took three or four weeks for my offer to officially arrive, although during the interview I got a good idea of whether I would be offered a place.
 
 
 
Poll
“Yanny” or “Laurel”

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.