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    Can anyone answer the following questions for me please:
    The M.St. is a part-time degree, is it as well regarded as the full time MPhil?
    Is there the same competition for places as there is for full time equivalents such as Oxbridge and the LSE? If not does that mean it is less well regarded? After all, if I were to apply then I would like to think that my efforts would be rewarded with a highly regarded degree with the potential for further opportunities, as opposed to something considered second tier.

    Many thanks in advance...
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    The MSt in IR has only been running for 2 cohorts, so it won't have generated it's own reputation yet. The first cohort graduated in 2003 and the second (of which I was a member) submitted their dissertations on 1 July, results in about a months time. Note that currently the courses only run every 2 years, the first course was 2001-2003, the course just completing was 2003-2005. I guess the 2005-7 course is already full. I don't know if they have plans to change this pattern in the future.

    The part time course is more or less identical to the full time course with just slight adjustments to the syllabus. I think - but stand to be corrected, that the full time course offers 5 sections, of which you can choose to drop one. The part time course offers 4 sections, IR Theory, Security and International Law, International History, and International Economics, all four of which are examined. The content of the lectures is identical, I sat in on some of the MPhil lectures and they were the same as those I had in the MSt residential periods - I make no comment as to whether I understood them any better second time around!

    As to comparing the MSt with the MPhil, I should start by saying that some people consider them both a cash cow and of very little academic merit - this is something that I have only heard from other students though, not outside the university. Getting over that issue, I think that there is very little difference in the academic strengths of the two courses. What it comes down to is your, or your prospective employer's, view of part time study. Some would say that part timers have it easy, getting 2 years to do what others do in a year, realistically only about 9 months. Others would say that achieving that academic level whilst holding down a full time job etc shows greater focus, determination, achievement etc. As you can never tell who will be interveiwing you for your next position I would say don't sweat over something that you can't influence. Go for the course which best suits your personal circumstances.

    You can always contact the Board of Continuing Education who administer the MSt for more info. I think, but couldn't swear to it, that the ratio of applicants to place in 2003 was about 10 to 1. I know that those on the first 2 cohorts have given it high praise and found it a very worthwhile and interesting course - but hard stats will be difficult to come by at this early stage.
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    threeportdrift - thanks very much for your reply, most helpful.

    Is there a good mix of international students, as well as backgrounds and ages?
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    Hmmm about 30 on the course. Age range from 22ish to 55ish with a pretty even spread throughout. Countries represented- UK, USA, Singapore, Russia, Austria, France, expat Argentina, expat Hong Kong, Ireland, Croatia, and many other links, ie dual nationality, living abroad etc (ie bits of Spain, Israel and Japan could be thrown in). Backgrounds - half a dozen military various, international/national banking, teachers, continuing students, diplomats, security businesses, UN, EU, journalism. Most motivations for taking the course seemed to be career based, ie broadening opportunities, developing existing skills or career change.
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    Good point
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    Thanks - very helpful for me too
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    threeportdrift - just three more questions... i promise!
    How did you find the workload? is it intellectually stimulating? And, finally, do you think you are now well equiped in the realm of international relations, both for the job market and the potential for Phd research? Once again, thanks for your insight it is really useful information.
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    mark744

    I found the workload fine, but I had a fairly good employer (sponsoring me) so I was able to take days here and there and 3 weeks off for the dissertation etc. I found it fantastically stimulating intellectually, especially the residential sessions where the lectures left my head absolutely buzzing with new ideas, new links between ideas, possibilities, what ifs etc. The reading at home I found harder, but I enjoyed the focus of essay writing.

    I'm afraid I can't speak about the job market, I've never touched it, joining the military from my undergraduate degree some 17 odd years ago. I suppose you might be able to extrapolate from the alumni of the MPhil, they have had some seriously high calibre military, political, diplomatic types through the course. These people probably wouldn't do the course unless they felt it would in some way enhance their already successful careers - if the MSt can maintain the same academic standards as the MPhil then I guess it could, as it becomes better known, become a very positive qualification for the job market.

    Potential for PhD research? I think one person from the first cohort may have gone on to do a PhD - I got my continuation letter from BoGS last week I'm leaving the military (at a natural option point) and going up to Cambridge full time for a PhD in October - so the MSt offers that much!
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    threeportdrift - please see your PM.
 
 
 

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