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    Heya,

    I'm danish and my girlfriend and I are planning on heading to the UK to study for our Masters. We have well...about a B average each but are rather clueless about the entry requirements in the UK. We hope to study something related to International Relations or Politics...International Security etc. We've been looking at universities but again, we're rather clueless about the UK in general. I studied in Nottingham a few years back, and didn't really care for it. Now we're hoping to study somewhere in the south of England. We looked at Warwick but being the 3rd (or something to that extent) best university in England, it's a bit unrealistic to assume we'll get accepted.

    So my question is...does anyone have any recommendations as per universities and good student cities/areas? We'd like to live close to London, but London itself is rather pricy.

    Thanks for any advice in advance!

    Edit: Forgot to say our budget is around 900 pounds a month each. We'd like our own place etc.
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    If you don't mind living on the south coast, you could try the University of Sussex on the outskirts of Brighton

    Brighton is a lively city by the sea, ideal for students and not that far from London
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    Ask your international office/admissions office to convert your grades, each university should be able to do this. but check with the places where you apply to if you HAVE TO convert your grades on transcripts. There is a grade inflation in the UK and many more students have the highest scores than in most other countries.

    For example, in the UK they still consider 80% an A and sometimes even 70%. In my country 80% is a B and 70% a C. So i wouldnt really want to convert my grades on translated transcripts, since they would be devalued. In my country less than 2 % get the highest score, in the UK it is 10%. They even had to introduce a new grade (A*) this fall bc they didnt know how to distinguish anymore between the mass of students with all A's.

    http://www.suny.edu/provost/internat...0Converter.htm
    This gives you an idea how your grade will be considered compared to uk grades but you should definitely check this with your uni.

    For IR outside of london i would suggest Royal Holloway, which is in Egham, Surrey (32 km from the center of london), University of Sussex in Brighton (about 1 hour train ride from London). Uni of Sussex has a very good reputation for politics/ir., university of essex in colchester and southend-on-sea, uni kent (in canterbury).
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    this might be useful for u as well: http://www.britishcouncil.org/sweden...n-overview.htm
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    (Original post by Leonie01)
    Ask your international office/admissions office to convert your grades, each university should be able to do this. but check with the places where you apply to if you HAVE TO convert your grades on transcripts. There is a grade inflation in the UK and many more students have the highest scores than in most other countries.

    For example, in the UK they still consider 80% an A and sometimes even 70%. In my country 80% is a B and 70% a C. So i wouldnt really want to convert my grades on translated transcripts, since they would be devalued. In my country less than 2 % get the highest score, in the UK it is 10%. They even had to introduce a new grade (A*) this fall bc they didnt know how to distinguish anymore between the mass of students with all A's.

    http://www.suny.edu/provost/internat...0Converter.htm
    This gives you an idea how your grade will be considered compared to uk grades but you should definitely check this with your uni.

    For IR outside of london i would suggest Royal Holloway, which is in Egham, Surrey (32 km from the center of london), University of Sussex in Brighton (about 1 hour train ride from London). Uni of Sussex has a very good reputation for politics/ir., university of essex in colchester and southend-on-sea, uni kent (in canterbury).
    Your comment on grades and their inflation in the UK is largely irrelevant because the OP is a potential postgraduate student (and universities will have no problem converting their grades); the introduction of a new grade was at post-secondary stage and has nothing to do with higher education.
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    (Original post by Leonie01)
    Actually my comment is hugely relevant. I am aware he wants to apply for postgraduate studies. The grade inflation affects undergraduate degrees as well (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10557068). Many more UK students achieve first and upper second degrees compared to EU/international students. You even get a first for 70% and an upper second for 60-69%.

    Naric plans on attaching this information on translated transcripts because many universities are shockingly clueless. Whereas all universities have a conversion table, they dont know much about how hard it is to achieve a certain grade in a country or how many students actually get a first degree in other countries.
    You are aware that the percentages don't mean anything due to the different grading systems? The Open University is pretty much the only one in the UK to use the full-scale grading, and you need 85% for a first there. If there is grade inflation at degree level it is relatively minor. There are still only around 10% getting a first. I'm also not sure what relevance that has to this question. The universities will simply evaluate foreign applicants according to their list of accepted qualifications and make their decision accordingly.

    To the original poster: look on the University websites for international entry requirements. They will usually list their minimum requirements for most EU countries. Failing that you will have to e-mail them and ask their advice on how to proceed.

    What is it you didn't like about Nottingham? I think that could be important in making your decision. Most towns in the UK are pretty similar really.
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    (Original post by Leonie01)
    I give you an example, in France 20 points are the highest score. Hardly anyone gets this grade. 14/15 would be a good achievement. But if you apply with that to the UK, it doesnt count as a first degree although you have actually one of the best degrees given out in your country. If 70% of the grade equals a first in the UK, they should look at how much 70% equals in France and then that grade should still be considered a first.

    This conversion problem is encountered by many, otherwise Naric wouldnt want universities to take these things into consideration. http://www.entrypark.com/career_advi...ualifications/

    Just look at this table, a 2 in Germany is compared to 50-59% in the UK, what a joke. Absolutely ridiculous. Now look at this table: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academi...ing_in_Germany

    If you get 50-59% in Germany it isnt a 2, it is a 4. The discrepancies are huge.

    10% for a first is A LOT, you just proved my point. The entry requirements asked of Germans for Oxford are 1,0-1,5 which about 3% achieve.
    .
    Regarding France, obviously. When you divide things into 20 or a similarly high number, then fewer people are in each bracket than when you divide things into 4. It is no surprise that less people get 20 out of 20 (or even 16+/20) in France than they get first class honours in the UK. Similarly, countries operating a lettering grades system between A-F (with no A*,A- etc) will naturally have fewer people in the a category than in the UK.

    And also once again you cannot compare the percentage points between countries because the entire system of grading differs. The USA has very high percentage scores, but it is because of the way they calculate the grades, not because American students are just incredibly smart. The percentage scores given in the UK are comparatively very low, which means that comparatively low scores get you high grades. I've never really heard of anyone ever achieving 80% average throughout their degree in institutions with a 70% threshold for first-class honours.

    Perhaps the system is unfairly slanted against Germans, I have no idea. Conversions are never perfect, so it won't always be 100% fair unless they standardise marking all across Europe somehow.

    Once again, I'm not sure what relevance this has.
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    (Original post by Leonie01)
    It has been discussed in the German thread how unfair this is and if even Naric, who is the main institution for grade conversion in the EU, agrees with this, there must be sth to it.

    You are right that with the French point system chances are fewer to achieve a full score but that isnt the issue. The issue is that a 14/15 isnt considered a first degree. Those courses that demand a first degree from international/EU students dont take this into consideration. Many international students dont meet the entry requirements bc these entry requirements are almost impossible to achieve for them, whereas UK students have a much higher chance to meet them.

    If the UK would consider a 14/15 as a first degree then it wouldnt be a problem. But they dont. Same with Germans were Oxford demands a 1,0 -1, 5 which is a joke because hardly anyone gets this, professors are stingy with grades in many countries and dont pass them out like candy.

    Uk universities should take these things into considerations otherwise the admissions process for many internationals will stay unfair. I have seen students mentioning this time and time again on here from all over the word, for example from Danish and Japanese students who say hardly anyone gets a first degree equivalent in their countries.
    On a good note, I don't know many universities that actually require first-class honours. Most Masters courses are looking for a 2:1, and quite a few get into Oxford with that even. I daresay that there are as many EU and international postgraduates at UCL as there are home ones. I really don't think it is something the original poster should be worrying about so much, as long as their grades are pretty good.
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    (Original post by Leonie01)
    Actually my comment is hugely relevant. I am aware he wants to apply for postgraduate studies. The grade inflation affects undergraduate degrees as well (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10557068). Many more UK students achieve first and upper second degrees compared to EU/international students. You even get a first for 70% and an upper second for 60-69%.

    Naric plans on attaching this information on translated transcripts because many universities are shockingly clueless. Whereas all universities have a conversion table, they dont know much about how hard it is to achieve a certain grade in a country or how many students actually get a first degree in other countries.
    You negged me because I disagreed with you? Grow up seriously.

    You talk about grade inflation. I prove that your example is wrong, because it has nothing to do with higher education. You give a new example of grade inflation in higher education. This is - as blacklight has pointed out - irrelevant in terms of postgraduate admission; that is, the point of the thread. Nevertheless, the BBC link suggests that the number of undergraduates graduating with a 2.1 has increased by 4% in the space of ten years. There could be any number of reasons for this: widespread adoption of personal computing and internet and improved computing facilities in universities; increased tuition fees; and increased social pressure.

    Again - as blacklight has pointed - the actual percentages mean nothing in themselves. It is the relative value of the percentage that is important. In addition, all universities ask for transcripts so they know what level you are working at (even if employers do not care there is a huge difference between a high or low 2.1), and some even specify particular grades (i.e. a minimum of 67) rather than a blanket 2.1 when giving out conditional offers.

    Given your suggestions I assume you have no personal experience of higher education in the UK, and I may actually venture a guess as to say that you have had bad experiences when making applications too. To suggest that UK universities are 'shockingly clueless' about grades in other countries is breathtakingly arrogant. Do you not realise how many international students come to the UK? Do you not realise that UK universities might set higher relative requirements for certain countries (i.e. Germany in your example), because German education does not suitably prepare a student for British education?

    Of course, I am sure you know best...
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    (Original post by Leonie01)
    please dont twist my words. I have not said that uk unis are shockingly clueless about international grades, i said they are often clueless about HOW MANY STUDENTS actually achieve these grades in their home countries and how hard they are to achieve. This is what i said:

    Whereas all universities have a conversion table, they dont know much about how hard it is to achieve a certain grade in a country or how many students actually get a first degree in other countries.

    My claim is supported by anyone who actually knows what they are talking about. Sure Naric knows more about this than you! Maybe do some research about this or ask some foreign students, as i said this topic has come up numerous times in tsr.

    http://www.wes.org/gradeconversiongu...iclewindow.htm

    If there werent grade inflation, not so many people would achieve firsts and upper second. I didnt specify any reasons for that bc they are irrelevant when the issue is fairness here.

    The UK does set higher relative requirements for some EU countries ( which is my point) but to set higher requirements for grades is in violation of the Bologna process. You have approximately 10% international students, even less from the EU. Many international students even get in with lower scores than home students simply bc they pay more which is another unfair issue.

    My focus was mainly the EU students given that this is where the OP is from. You fail to deliver sources whereas i can back everything up i say. Your argument that German education might not suitable prepare a student for Brit education is delusional. Maybe you should check out some PISA stats and see where Britain stands compared to other countries. […]
    I did not twist your words.

    You wrote that universities do not know 'how hard it is to achieve a certain grade in a country or how many students actually get a first degree in other countries', and suggested that 'Naric plans on attaching this information on translated transcripts because many universities are shockingly clueless'. The information that Naric would attach on translated transcripts would be how hard it is to achieve a certain grade in a country or how many students actually get a first degree in other countries, thus universities are clueless because they lack this information at the moment. Again, you repeated yourself in the above post but fail to see the connection I am making.

    The problem with the above suggestion is that it implies a broad educational equality between European countries (why would students bother coming to the UK if this existed?), and also suggests that despite the internalisation of British higher education the universities themselves are clueless about the standards of students they recruit. Of course, this is all nonsense for a number of obvious reasons. First of all, in some universities the number of international students is higher than home students, which suggests the system in place works fine as it is and that universities know who they are recruiting. Secondly, the suggestion that UK universities are in violation of the Bologna process is laughable, because the UK has never been part of the Bologna process; this works both for and against the UK in a number of complex ways. And most importantly, you seem to be under some idealistic impression that just because a student from country A achieved the top mark that should make him equivalent to another student from Britain who receives a first; you talk about the former's grades being devalued. This has never and will never be the case. You can cry all day about grade inflation (funny how you decide that is no longer relevant to the discussion after your arguments and examples have been completely rubbished) and institutional unfairness, but British universities give out offers on the basis of their past experience. If this means they give out relatively higher offers to German students than to others then this is because they have found that only German students who have this level of attainment do well on. This does not suggest that German education is bad, but has a different emphasis; it seems you misunderstood my German example from the previous example. In fact, I would suggest this is the case for most countries; the pedagogical techniques employed mean some students are better suited to study in some countries than others.

    It appears you have no experience of higher education in the UK and base your argument on statistics of questionable relevance; nothing more than pure abstraction. I base my argument on experience, and I feel, seeing as about a third of the students in my masters class are from Europe (I will ignore the students are undergraduate level), that I have developed an idea about what their strengths and weaknesses are. For instance, a Polish student in my class really struggles because the dynamic of the class and assessment methods are completely different. The British environment is less supportive in an 'obvious way' (i.e. the lecturer is not so much interested in teaching the class but directing its discussion instead) than what she is used to; I get the impression from talking to her and another Polish student that most if not all assessments are exam based in Poland. A British or Dutch student, on the other hand, would probably find a lot of other countries quite stifling (i.e. having to sit and listen to a lecturer with no discussion [Italy, off the top of my head, would be a good example]), because the emphasis on their education has been to develop themselves as independent learners or to solve practical problems (at least in higher education!). In this sense, it is only right that British universities set higher requirements for students from certain countries; it is about discrimination as much as it is about the desire to see the student do well. The same principle applies to university itself – you would not let anyone in, not because of elitism, but because it would be of little use to a lot of people who would drown under the 'academic expectations'.

    That is all I have to say on this topic.
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    OP: different universities have wildy differing locations, courses, and entry requirements, knowing very little of your personal situation or personal interests it is impossible for anyone to recommend a university on any basis other than personal bias.

    For a start, you need to think about what particular topics in IR interest you - different universities have different focuses.

    Secondly, you need to think about where you would like to live - some universities are in very small towns, some are in massive cities, some are on campuses, some are just a collection of buildings spread throughout a town, etc.

    As regards reputation and entry grades, the question is controversial enough for undergraduate degrees, but even harder for postgraduate because all the league tables and such like are produced on the basis of statisitcs about undergraduate students. Still, maybe it's better than nothing, Wikipedia has a page collecting the top 30 from several different tables here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/League_...h_universities

    You can search google for the full tables.

    Note that all of these league tables are massively controversial, that universities jump all over the place each year and between different papers in the same year (e.g. note that Durham is currently 4th in the Times ranking and 17th in the Guardian ranking), that these generalist tables miss the fact that some universities are particularly good for certain subjects (e.g. Warwick is pretty much agreed to be 2nd or 3rd best for maths, LSE is almost certainly amongst the best for economics, Imperial is undoubtedly as good as anywhere for computing), that "good" is incredibly subjective (what even is a "good" university? what is more important between happy students, a challenging course, a good research reputation, good teaching, etc?), that a lot of the statistics that make up league tables are pretty much arbitrary (and different newspapers use totally different statistics), etc, etc.
 
 
 
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