Questions on post-grad study at Oxbridge Watch

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Saxman
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I am thinking about applying for a Masters in Economics at either Oxford or Cambridge, having missed out at undergrad level, and was wondering what life was like at Oxbridge as a post-grad student.

How much do they mix with the undergrads?

Is it better to stay at a grad college or an undergrad college?

How much of the Oxbridge experience do post-grads get-i.e. do they get to participate in the bops, the societies, the sports teams etc?

Do post-grads tend to be mainly international students?

What are the chances of getting in compared to at undergrad level (granted I will need a first-class degree)? I am intelligent and hardworking and my GCSEs and A-levels are excellent but probably not a brilliant intellectual or a genius. Would the fact that rather than wanting to go into academia I wanted to work for the Bank of England as an economist (worked there the last two summers) go against me, and are they mainly looking for future professors/PHd students?
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BossLady
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Yes. I'd also like to know about this, in case i ever did i postgrad. Altho im doing a different subject.
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viviki
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What uni are you guys both at?
I heard Oxbridge are quite selective depending on your previous uni. Even if you got a first if it was at an ex poly you prob wouldnt be accepted. Dont know how true that is though.
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RxB
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(Original post by Saxman)
I am thinking about applying for a Masters in Economics at either Oxford or Cambridge, having missed out at undergrad level, and was wondering what life was like at Oxbridge as a post-grad student.

How much do they mix with the undergrads?

Is it better to stay at a grad college or an undergrad college?

How much of the Oxbridge experience do post-grads get-i.e. do they get to participate in the bops, the societies, the sports teams etc?

Do post-grads tend to be mainly international students?
I'm not actually at Oxford or Cambridge, but I think I can vaguely stab at the answers to this.

For 3 and 4 I think I know - they get to take part in everything if they want to. I don't think it's a majority of international students but it might be something like 50%.

For 1 I think it depends on the college - apparently at some the graduates and undergraduates get on really well, and at others it's really distant.

For 2 I don't know, it's all highly subjective. But I imagine most of the people doing postgrads at undergraduate colleges would have done their first degrees there... I don't know if that makes a difference for you, though.
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BossLady
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(Original post by viviki)
What uni are you guys both at?
I heard Oxbridge are quite selective depending on your previous uni. Even if you got a first if it was at an ex poly you prob wouldnt be accepted. Dont know how true that is though.
not at uni yet, going next year. hopefully will be at imperial (provided i meet their offer). The whole postgrad thing is v distant for me, but i like to know my options
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viviki
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(Original post by BossLady)
not at uni yet, going next year. hopefully will be at imperial (provided i meet their offer). The whole postgrad thing is v distant for me, but i like to know my options
I would imagine they would definitely consider someone from imperial because its a top uni. Even though it is really early you could send their postgrad department an email and enquire.
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BossLady
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(Original post by viviki)
I would imagine they would definitely consider someone from imperial because its a top uni. Even though it is really early you could send their postgrad department an email and enquire.
thanks for the advice , ill probably make more enquiries in first year there. Just wondering, a post grad would be subject to tution fees wouldnt they?
You see i could do a straight masters at imperial (which is what i planned to do, and that's the course ill be on ), the great thing being it'll be just one more year in a place i already know and hopefully love and the tution fees will be the same. But if i did the bachelors in london and then want to do a masters elsewhere, apart from the extra 2 years i would have to pay the top up charges right/?


(obv provided they come in, legislation-wise)
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Radagasty
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(Original post by viviki)
What uni are you guys both at?
I heard Oxbridge are quite selective depending on your previous uni. Even if you got a first if it was at an ex poly you prob wouldnt be accepted. Dont know how true that is though.
I don't know how important one's undergrad university is, although it must play a part. I'm from the University of New South Wales, which, although is one of the top universities in Australia, does not make it into the top 150 world universities, according to one ranking.

I think the references are far more important, and, to some extent, the academic stature of one's referees as well. I was fortunate enough to have excellent references, both in terms of what was written about me, and in terms the the reputations of my referees.
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J.S.
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(Original post by viviki)
I would imagine they would definitely consider someone from imperial because its a top uni. Even though it is really early you could send their postgrad department an email and enquire.

As someone who has just been through the process, allow me to comment. You are correct in assuming that there's a huge amount of (very fair) discrimination with regards to where your undergrad. degree comes from, and also for anything even remotely popular it is a first class honours degree that's required. You'll be competing with people from Yale, Harvard, Stanford and the like!

The postgrad. courses at Oxbridge tend to be very academic, they give the distinct impression they're used to produce the academics/professors of tommorow, rather than any particular vocational emphasis (few exceptions here i.e. the MBA). Suppose the courses are of the greatest benefit to those who are extremely passionate about their discipline and many of which are seeking a career in academia. As with the undergrad. courses, Oxbridge are trying to prevent a massive influx of people who are seeking to go there primarily because of the status and prestige involved, and they're more on the look out for those that are well suited to whatever it is that they're applying for.

For more vocational courses, many of which are used by people to increase their chances of entry into blue chip companies, or re entry into them, LSE's a good bet.
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hildabeast
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(Original post by Radagasty)
I don't know how important one's undergrad university is, although it must play a part. I'm from the University of New South Wales, which, although is one of the top universities in Australia, does not make it into the top 150 world universities, according to one ranking.

I think the references are far more important, and, to some extent, the academic stature of one's referees as well. I was fortunate enough to have excellent references, both in terms of what was written about me, and in terms the the reputations of my referees.
Yes, references are more important, as well as the quality of the academic papers you've had published. I kmnow someone from a poorer Australian university than yours who is currently doing a DPhil. As far as colleges go, it depends whether you want to mix with undergraduates or not. Whoever said that graduates in undergraduate colleges tend to have stayed on after their first degree was wrong - this hardly ever happens. Oh, and there are two graduate students on my rowing crew, so they are pretty involved.

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Saxman
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At Warwick which has a good reputation for Economics.

LSE was my fallback if I was unable to get into Oxbridge.

Re international students: do you think they get preferential treatment as they will be paying three times the fees that I will be? Or is there a system whereby they have a certain number of places for English students and can take whatever number of foreign students they like, as at undergrad level?
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hildabeast
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(Original post by Saxman)
At Warwick which has a good reputation for Economics.

LSE was my fallback if I was unable to get into Oxbridge.

Re international students: do you think they get preferential treatment as they will be paying three times the fees that I will be? Or is there a system whereby they have a certain number of places for English students and can take whatever number of foreign students they like, as at undergrad level?
There is a completely different system of funding for postgraduates. They don't just hand it out - you need to apply for it and prove why you're worthy of it.

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Radagasty
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(Original post by hildabeast)
There is a completely different system of funding for postgraduates. They don't just hand it out - you need to apply for it and prove why you're worthy of it.
Yes indeed... funding was the snag I hit when I applied last year. Getting the offer of a place itself was fairly easy... it was getting funding that proved a nightmare, because there is no way I can afford anywhere near £20,000 p.a.
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Saxman
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Funding is easy enough, as I will most likely be getting sponsorship from my employer and even if not my parents are quite happy to pay for most of it. Plus as a home student I only would pay around 4000 a year.
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J.S.
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(Original post by Saxman)
Funding is easy enough, as I will most likely be getting sponsorship from my employer and even if not my parents are quite happy to pay for most of it. Plus as a home student I only would pay around 4000 a year.

What will you be studying?
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Saxman
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Economics at MPhil level.
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Asphyxiating
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(Original post by BossLady)
not at uni yet, going next year. hopefully will be at imperial (provided i meet their offer). The whole postgrad thing is v distant for me, but i like to know my options
Me too, Imperial, hopefully What did you apply for? I'm also considering this, either that or re-applying this year to Oxford but seems unlikely with top of fees and chance of a second rejection!
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BossLady
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Computing. I didn't apply to oxbridge so imperial was my first choice. A couple of friends might reapply (different courses) to oxbridge after being rejected but they are in the same dilemna as you with the TU-fees thing (5 votes! just 5 votes!) and being rejected a 2nd time. That would really dent their confidence i imagine. I've told them to cut their losses and have a great time someplace else, but only if they don't have a chip on their shoulder about oxbridge e.g whenever they see an oxbridge grad they think 'oh i hate them they went to oxbridge'. Because oxbridge is partially pot luck for the best candidates i think people gotta realise its not the be all and end all. Nevermind, time will tell as to what they do.
If you really want to reapply, ie if oxford is ur dream u shud probably reapply, but then again, a 2nd rejection would be harsh. I must admit this was one (of many reasons) why i didn't apply to oxbridge. So much 'oooing' and 'ahhhing' if you don't get in.
Anyways what course r u doing,? i might be seeing you next year
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Radagasty
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(Original post by Saxman)
Funding is easy enough, as I will most likely be getting sponsorship from my employer and even if not my parents are quite happy to pay for most of it. Plus as a home student I only would pay around 4000 a year.
LOL... I wish I were in your position. :-) The total funding guarantee I have to meet is £20,343 p.a., though I suspect the true cost will be higher than this. Still... it's cheaper than MIT/Harvard, where one of my best friends has gone to do his PhD.
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Asphyxiating
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(Original post by BossLady)
Computing. I didn't apply to oxbridge so imperial was my first choice. A couple of friends might reapply (different courses) to oxbridge after being rejected but they are in the same dilemna as you with the TU-fees thing (5 votes! just 5 votes!) and being rejected a 2nd time. That would really dent their confidence i imagine. I've told them to cut their losses and have a great time someplace else, but only if they don't have a chip on their shoulder about oxbridge e.g whenever they see an oxbridge grad they think 'oh i hate them they went to oxbridge'. Because oxbridge is partially pot luck for the best candidates i think people gotta realise its not the be all and end all. Nevermind, time will tell as to what they do.
If you really want to reapply, ie if oxford is ur dream u shud probably reapply, but then again, a 2nd rejection would be harsh. I must admit this was one (of many reasons) why i didn't apply to oxbridge. So much 'oooing' and 'ahhhing' if you don't get in.
Anyways what course r u doing,? i might be seeing you next year
I'm doing Biochemistry at Imperial.. I'm not too keen on re-applying because of those reasons but I think if I didn't, I might regret it and wonder if. It is like a second chance I suppose but I doubt I could handle being rejected twice. I know it's not the be all and end all but it would do masses for self-confidence and it's also the place I wanted to study, not just for prestige etc, but it felt like a place I could study and live in. However, hopefully I will get into Imperial and I'm going to an open day in March so I hope I will like it. I didn't like UCL but I guess you can't be too picky and wherever I end up I'm sure I'll grow to love it nevertheless
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