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    I don't mean the levels of difficulty of the courses, but the way students interact with each other and with professors, social life, etc.
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    Very. There's isn't much undergrad/postgrad interaction outside of student societies, and you're expected to pursue your own work/research a lot more in postgrad. There's no supervision system to hand-hold you through courses, although you do get to know the faculty a lot better.

    College MCR's will usually organise their own social events, which tend to be (slightly) more dignified than drunken raves. You'll also likely to live either outside college or in special grad housing.
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    (Original post by shirley0y)
    I don't mean the levels of difficulty of the courses, but the way students interact with each other and with professors, social life, etc.
    Its dramatically different. I actually found my MPhil a lot easier than my undergraduate degree because there were only four essays and a thesis, whereas at undergrad I typically had two or three essays to write each week on top of larger pieces of coursework. It was nice to have a bit of space to actually go into depth without losing out on sleep and a life.

    The relationship to staff changed a lot too. I suddenly felt like a colleague or junior member of staff in my department rather than an underling. There was more respect and more of a friendly egalitarian shared work-place feel.

    An important difference is that my MPhil involved many more hours of teaching due to the research methods training we received on top of substantive courses. Classes often lasted for three hours with open discussion in the middle, rather than the one to two hours usual for undergraduate. The increase of contact time was definitely a factor in feeling more immersed in the life of the department.

    Socially it was also entirely different. College life became a lot less relevant. I had many grad friends who chose to invest a lot of time in college graduate life, but I found that I had more in common with people on my course, and that the department was more of a natural home.

    I think the most striking difference of all, though, is the increase in numbers of international students at the postgraduate level (something over 60% at both Oxford and Cambridge I believe). I found that this made the social scene a lot more mixed in a very positive way. It was more invigorating and exciting.

    One slightly frustrating thing, though, is that most of the postgraduates I met had not done postgraduate studies at Cambridge. This meant that a lot of the traditions and norms about the University went straight over head. The relatively easier course on top of that meant that most graduates didn't have a clue about what ordinary life was like for Cambridge undergraduates, nor how hard it was. That was quite frustrating. It also meant they didn't 'get' certain etiquette things either regarding college traditions, or norms at formals and things. This wasn't a problem, obviously. But as someone who was there at undergraduate it felt like I had to act as translator a lot of the time.

    I should stress that the experience you have will vary a lot according to which department you're in.
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    (Original post by SunderX)
    Very. There's isn't much undergrad/postgrad interaction outside of student societies, and you're expected to pursue your own work/research a lot more in postgrad.
    This is far less true at grad/mature student colleges--at Hughes there's a lot of cross-pollination between undergrads and grads.
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    (Original post by SunderX)
    Very. There's isn't much undergrad/postgrad interaction outside of student societies, and you're expected to pursue your own work/research a lot more in postgrad. There's no supervision system to hand-hold you through courses, although you do get to know the faculty a lot better.

    College MCR's will usually organise their own social events, which tend to be (slightly) more dignified than drunken raves. You'll also likely to live either outside college or in special grad housing.
    Thanks for answering

    Does that mean postgrads live separately? Are their housing buildings nicer or uglier?
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    (Original post by shirley0y)
    Thanks for answering

    Does that mean postgrads live separately? Are their housing buildings nicer or uglier?
    Depends on the college . Some (Newnham, and the graduate colleges for example) will house grads on-site. Others (e.g. Jesus, Churchill) will house them nearby in college-owned houses. Still others will make you entirely fend for yourself in finding accommodation .
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    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    Its dramatically different. I actually found my MPhil a lot easier than my undergraduate degree because there were only four essays and a thesis, whereas at undergrad I typically had two or three essays to write each week on top of larger pieces of coursework. It was nice to have a bit of space to actually go into depth without losing out on sleep and a life.

    The relationship to staff changed a lot too. I suddenly felt like a colleague or junior member of staff in my department rather than an underling. There was more respect and more of a friendly egalitarian shared work-place feel.

    An important difference is that my MPhil involved many more hours of teaching due to the research methods training we received on top of substantive courses. Classes often lasted for three hours with open discussion in the middle, rather than the one to two hours usual for undergraduate. The increase of contact time was definitely a factor in feeling more immersed in the life of the department.

    Socially it was also entirely different. College life became a lot less relevant. I had many grad friends who chose to invest a lot of time in college graduate life, but I found that I had more in common with people on my course, and that the department was more of a natural home.

    I think the most striking difference of all, though, is the increase in numbers of international students at the postgraduate level (something over 60% at both Oxford and Cambridge I believe). I found that this made the social scene a lot more mixed in a very positive way. It was more invigorating and exciting.

    One slightly frustrating thing, though, is that most of the postgraduates I met had not done postgraduate studies at Cambridge. This meant that a lot of the traditions and norms about the University went straight over head. The relatively easier course on top of that meant that most graduates didn't have a clue about what ordinary life was like for Cambridge undergraduates, nor how hard it was. That was quite frustrating. It also meant they didn't 'get' certain etiquette things either regarding college traditions, or norms at formals and things. This wasn't a problem, obviously. But as someone who was there at undergraduate it felt like I had to act as translator a lot of the time.

    I should stress that the experience you have will vary a lot according to which department you're in.
    Wow thanks for the detailed answer!

    So there are no (or very few) college/inter-college events (eg. formal halls, choir, punting, etc.) in which postgrads are involved? Would you say postgrads treat Cambridge/their college more as a learning centre, while for undergrads it is more like their home?
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    (Original post by shirley0y)
    Wow thanks for the detailed answer!

    So there are no (or very few) college/inter-college events (eg. formal halls, choir, punting, etc.) in which postgrads are involved? Would you say postgrads treat Cambridge/their college more as a learning centre, while for undergrads it is more like their home?
    No, sorry I didn't mean to imply that at all. All colleges have an 'MCR' which organises social activities for postgraduates and there's usually loads in the way of parties, formal halls, college swaps and so on. There are not usually graduate specific choir or sporting opportunities. Grads generally just get involved in the main college sports team or choir if it interests them. If anything graduates have a better social life than undergraduates (particularly MPhils on Arts courses) because there's less work, basically.

    I just meant that graduates are older and treated more independently by colleges and their department, so they are less in touch with some of the quirks of undergraduate college life.
    Significantly, also, most graduates live considerably further away from the city centre than undergraduates do. Even if you apply to an old college, the chances are that their graduate specific housing will be outside the city centre, not in the actual college. This means that graduate life is different. It is less Hogwarty, simply because the college life doesn't shape their experience to the same degree in most cases.
 
 
 
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