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    Hey, I'm a long-time user of the forum, but only just signed up to crowd-source some thoughts on my current goals.

    I recently graduated with a Masters degree from LSE in an economics-related subject (very little quant aspect in it) and graduated with distinction. I now work for a 'big four' accountancy firm, auditing financial service companies (pensions, investment managers etc.). As glamorous as this might sound, I've decided that accountancy really isn't for me, and I'm looking to get back to uni to pursue a pure economics masters and PhD from either Oxford, Cambridge, UCL or LSE from 2012. The only way I'd be able to do this is to be fully funded, preferably with a ESRC 1+3 studentship.

    Basically, the issue I have is that the total amount of formal economics and mathematics I have under my belt is negligible. I have a first-class degree from a 2nd-3rd tier uni in economics + politics, but this didn't contain much formal econ teaching and no quantitative training whatsoever, while I havent studied mathematics properly since GCSEs! My current accountancy training includes finance modules and such, which does include some mathematics, but no calculus or stats of any kind.

    So here is my basic question:
    Q. What do you think the chances are for me getting into one of the above unis - with ESRC funding - with my profile? Will the lack of 'proper' econ or maths background be a real issue here?
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    Hello,

    I have successfully applied for an ESRC 1+3 scholarship last year. What you need to show in your application is that you are really eager to do a PhD because you are interested in research. If you are unable to demonstrate this, e.g. because you just want to do the PhD because its "cool", you will have no chance.

    If you meet this criterion, then you will have a chance for ESRC funding. However, I do not think you will have a chance to get into the Masters at any institution that you listed, least of all with funding. For example, Cambridge has a detailed list of what maths are required for admission, and you have to show that you have studied it. Can you do that? Funding is insanely competitive, and they will pick only those who have a good base in quants.

    Why have you ruled out other UK Universities? Bristol, Southampton, Nottingham, Essex...they all have ESRC funding available and are more "liberal" concerning the maths required. And they are (academically) very very good. So if you are really interested in research, those are very good options.

    I think for the coming academic year you are too late anyway. But good luck. Ask if you have any more questions.
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    Another thing I should have mentioned: A master in Economics *is* difficult at any ESRC-recognised university. They will all be more or less technical. Without some level of maths, you will struggle. Given your background, do you think a Master/PhD in pure economics is what you really want to do?
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    I'm currently in the middle of the ESRC 1+3 application process and have found it really confusing.

    I'm in my final year undegraduate BSocSc Sociology at Manchester and I've successfully gotten onto the ESRC 1+3 programme to do an MSc Sociological Research and then PhD Sociology but i'm still waiting to hear if I have gotten the ESRC 1+3 funding.

    I don't really know where I am in this process and whether being on the programme means I have good chance of funding as I have a feeling that it is generally easy to get onto a Postgraduate programme, paying for it is another obstacle. Does anyone think this might be the case for ESRC 1+3? Or do you think they are really rigourous with their selection of students onto the programme?
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    George_85: Thanks for your response. I definitely don't want to a PhD because it's 'cool' - jumping into the 'real world' of the private sector has made me realise that I'm not generally happy unless I'm doing difficult and analytical research. As I'm thinking about the 2012-13 academic year, I guess I have time to demonstrate this, as well as to build my skills in mathematics.

    It's looking like I'll have to take the GRE at some point - so do you think high scores on the quant part would be enough to make up for a lack of this part of my CV?

    reb1989: I definitely agree its much easier to get onto a postgrad course than get funding. buy if you've got onto the ESRC 1+3 programme then it sounds like you've already got funding? Once the uni accepts you for this part, isnt it more of a formality for ESRC to confirm it?
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    I am not sure if GRE is "enough", but if you Score 780+ in the math-part (it is possible) then it will definitely help you. But I cannot stress enough how competitive entry and funding at the top unis is. For the current academic year, the graduate office in Cambridge told me that they had around 3000 applications (!) for the MPhil, for around 80 places. So you can imagine how difficult it is to get funding against guys who come from all over the world. I urge you to look into other Universities as well and search for departments/research centers/professors whose research interests you. Working on research that interests you with a supervisor/team that is interested in you is more important than getting into a University because of its brand name.

    I think the other poster (reb1989) is a bit confused. The University has made you an offer for their 4-year PhD programme (1 year Master + year PhD). That decision will be independent of a possible funding award.
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    (Original post by George_85)
    I am not sure if GRE is "enough", but if you Score 780+ in the math-part (it is possible) then it will definitely help you. But I cannot stress enough how competitive entry and funding at the top unis is. For the current academic year, the graduate office in Cambridge told me that they had around 3000 applications (!) for the MPhil, for around 80 places. So you can imagine how difficult it is to get funding against guys who come from all over the world. I urge you to look into other Universities as well and search for departments/research centers/professors whose research interests you. Working on research that interests you with a supervisor/team that is interested in you is more important than getting into a University because of its brand name.
    I agree that competition is high. However, I'm not sure how much I'll be competing with people from around the world regarding ESRC funding, as its primarily focused towards British students. EU students can obtain funding too, but this is only for fees. The above uni selection was more down to places I'd like to live rather than solely prestige, but that is important to me too. I don't really want to become an academic, but I'm definitely interested in becoming a research economist/economic journalist. It seems that both those fields are as competitive - if not moreso - than university places w/ funding. So as much as I disagree with it, prestige seems to be paramount for the non-academic side of econ.

    In terms of proving my interest in research, I guess I'm going to have to try and get published somehow, while also aceing the GRE - a tall order indeed!
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    The eligibility criteria have changed quite dramatically recently. Instead of the previous ESRC regulations, there will be now 21 Doctoral Training Centres nationwide. For the coming academic year and beyond all nationalities are eligible for full grants (maintenance and tuition). So you will be competing against people from all over the world.
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    (Original post by George_85)
    I think the other poster (reb1989) is a bit confused. The University has made you an offer for their 4-year PhD programme (1 year Master + year PhD). That decision will be independent of a possible funding award.
    Thanks that has cleared it up a bit but does that mean there are a lot of people on the ESRC 1+3 programme but without any funding?
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    (Original post by pax_britannica)
    The above uni selection was more down to places I'd like to live rather than solely prestige, but that is important to me too.
    I'm from Cambridge it is a lovely place to live!
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    (Original post by George_85)
    The eligibility criteria have changed quite dramatically recently. Instead of the previous ESRC regulations, there will be now 21 Doctoral Training Centres nationwide. For the coming academic year and beyond all nationalities are eligible for full grants (maintenance and tuition). So you will be competing against people from all over the world.
    I don't think that's correct. The websites for Oxford, UCL and Bristol say that UK students and foreign students who have completed an undergraduate in the uk are the only students who can get full ESRC, while EU students can claim tuition fees only. Cambridge only considers students from EU countries for ESRC. This isn't nearly as broad as you imply, and frankly I think that's a good thing. As a Brit I wouldn't want us funding foreign students through 4-years at university while our own tuition fees treble and higher education budgets are being slashed.

    Also, the 3000 applications you quoted doesn't seem to tie to Cambridge's own admissions statistics (http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/univ/camd...tml#admissions) which show just 250 applications last year?

    Either way I agree competition will be intense, but I remain cautiously optimistic.
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    (Original post by reb1989)
    Thanks that has cleared it up a bit but does that mean there are a lot of people on the ESRC 1+3 programme but without any funding?

    There is no "ESRC 1+3 programme", only a "ESRC 1+3 studentship". If you have not obtained an ESRC studentship, you are simply enrolled as a Master student (in your first year) and later as a PhD student for the final 3 years.
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    (Original post by George_85)
    There is no "ESRC 1+3 programme", only a "ESRC 1+3 studentship". If you have not obtained an ESRC studentship, you are simply enrolled as a Master student (in your first year) and later as a PhD student for the final 3 years.
    Thanks, that's cleared things up. The fact I can't get my head around the whole ESRC funding stuff probs suggests i'm not really clever enough for PhD anyway. Just have to wait and see.
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    Don't say that...PhD and funding applications are a complete pain. I spent weeks and weeks last year on them. So just to clear the issue:

    There is a "ESRC 1+3 studentship". That gives you money for a 1-year MSc and 3-year PhD straight after you passed the MSc.

    If you obtain the studentship successfully, you are part of the normal MSc programme (e.g. MSc Economics) with all the other students. There is no specific course that is just for ESRC studentship holders. If you move to the PhD stage, you are a normal PhD student with funding from the ESRC.
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    (Original post by George_85)
    Don't say that...PhD and funding applications are a complete pain. I spent weeks and weeks last year on them. So just to clear the issue:

    There is a "ESRC 1+3 studentship". That gives you money for a 1-year MSc and 3-year PhD straight after you passed the MSc.

    If you obtain the studentship successfully, you are part of the normal MSc programme (e.g. MSc Economics) with all the other students. There is no specific course that is just for ESRC studentship holders. If you move to the PhD stage, you are a normal PhD student with funding from the ESRC.
    Ah ha! that makes much more sense now. You've been really helpful, thank you!
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    (Original post by George_85)
    The eligibility criteria have changed quite dramatically recently. Instead of the previous ESRC regulations, there will be now 21 Doctoral Training Centres nationwide. For the coming academic year and beyond all nationalities are eligible for full grants (maintenance and tuition). So you will be competing against people from all over the world.
    I don't think that's correct. The websites for Oxford, UCL and Bristol say that UK students and foreign students who have completed an undergraduate in the uk are the only students who can get full ESRC, while EU students can claim tuition fees only. Cambridge only considers students from EU countries for ESRC. This isn't nearly as broad as you imply, and frankly I think that's a good thing. As a Brit I wouldn't want us funding foreign students through 4-years at university while our own tuition fees treble and higher education budgets are being slashed.

    Also, the 3000 applications you quoted doesn't seem to tie to Cambridge's own admissions statistics (http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/univ/camd...tml#admissions) which show just 250 applications last year. Either way, I agree competition will be intense.
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    (Original post by pax_britannica)
    I don't think that's correct. The websites for Oxford, UCL and Bristol say that UK students and foreign students who have completed an undergraduate in the uk are the only students who can get full ESRC, while EU students can claim tuition fees only.
    The ESRC have indeed removed the UK home student criteria however the individual DTCs themselves are permitted to (and obviously do) impose their own criteria that takes precedence (hence your observation from the various institution websites). As an aside, LSE is an example of an institution that began offering 1+3 ESRC to foreign students immediately after the rule changes.
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    Mmh, about the MPhil applications that's what a person in the graduate office told me. Obviously that's incorrect.

    But what's correct is hoodwink199's information. All information can be found in the DTC regulations on the ESRC website, which states that for the subject of Economics Universities can admit international students to their own discretion.
 
 
 
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