Oxford, Cambridge, LSE: Just the facts, please... Watch

mrory
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I am interested in credible comparisons of the economics masters programs at Oxford, Cambridge and LSE. The consensus appears to be that these three universities are the best in Britain for economics (minority dissenting opinions only confirm the general consensus).

These schools have often been compared on The Student Room, but to me the trouble has always been either a.) that the programs were compared along incongruous lines, or b.) that the arguments brought lacked credibility. Hence this new thread.

To address a.) above, I propose the following distinction:

Best master's degree in Economics
  1. according to the program's overall reputation (i.e. amongst students, alums, employers, or, say, your mother)
  2. according to the program's reputation amongst academics (i.e. top 10 us PhD placement)


To address b.) above, I request that contributors only post credible, verifiable information and include sources. For example, some may find interesting that your favorite professor told you that all of the above programs were crap and that a tier three state school in Kentucky was your best bet. Why don't we care in this thread? For one, you're lying. You never asked your professor. And secondly, your professor doesn't know what he is talking about, because he went to some tier three state school in Kentucky.

So let's stick to the facts. Here's what I have found so far:

Overall (or at least not solely academic) reputation
The Times: Oxford > Cambridge > LSE (Source)
US News: Cambridge > Oxford > LSE (Source)
The Guardian: Cambridge > Oxford > LSE (Source)

Overall reputation of the economics faculty
The Times: Oxford > Cambridge > LSE (Source)
US News: LSE > Oxford > Cambridge (Source)
The Guardian: Oxford > Cambridge > LSE (Source)

Reputation in strictly academic terms (i.e. citations and publications)
IDEAS: Oxford > Cambridge > LSE (Source)

Here are some further statistics which might be interesting:

Most recent acceptance rates (intake/applicants, %)
LSE M.Sc. in Economics: (135/1594, 8.5%) (Source)
Cambridge MPhil Economics: (37/254, 14.6%) (Source)
Oxford MPhil Economics: (21/163, 12.9%) (Source)
*Note: these statistics are based on intake, not offers (the difference being that not all offers are eventually accepted by the students who received them).

2006 academic paper ranking schools by post-PhD placement record:
Oxford > LSE > Cambridge (Source)

Obviously the academic ranking statistics above are a little thin, so if anyone is aware of further statistics I would be very interested! Specifically on the following topics:
  1. Placement statistics for PhD programs (e.g. "x% of the graduating class at M.Sc. in Economics at LSE went on to a top 10 US PhD", or something similar)
  2. Research/Publications/Citations statistics for economics sub disciplines for each university's economics faculty (e.g. "Cambridge is third in the world for time series econometrics")


If anyone has seen credible statistics along these lines, please post with link to source.

I should also note (full disclosure) that I applied to all three schools this year, with the following results:
Oxford MPhil Economics => Rejection
Cambridge MPhil Econmics => Offer, accepted
LSE M.Sc. Finance and Economics => Offer, turned down
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mrory
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Here another ranking for the category "Reputation in strictly academic terms":
Tilburg Economics Research Ranking: LSE > Oxford > Cambridge (Source)
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drugs
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excellent post.
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Lalafell
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Oh my god... I just realized LSE dropped again on IDEAS. Since the mid of last year, LSE's ranking experinced a sharp drop from the world's top 5 to the world's top 10 then to 10ish and now 27th O_o
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Lalafell
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It seems like all the offers for MPhil Economics have been sent out... I am wondering how many people could actually get out of the waiting list.
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Econla
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(Original post by mrory)
Here another ranking for the category "Reputation in strictly academic terms":
Tilburg Economics Research Ranking: LSE > Oxford > Cambridge (Source)
pfff in Tilburg ranking (number of papers published) the thing is like this:

LSE > OXFORD > UCL >> WARWICK > NOTTINGHAM >> CAMBRIDGE
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Econla
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RAE 2008 UK (Economics and Econometrics)

LSE > UCL > WARWICK > OXFORD > BRISTOL > NOTTINGHAM > QUEEN MARY > CAMBRIDGE
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Econla
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(Original post by mrory)
I am interested in credible comparisons of the economics masters programs at Oxford, Cambridge and LSE. The consensus appears to be that these three universities are the best in Britain for economics (minority dissenting opinions only confirm the general consensus).

These schools have often been compared on The Student Room, but to me the trouble has always been either a.) that the programs were compared along incongruous lines, or b.) that the arguments brought lacked credibility. Hence this new thread.

To address a.) above, I propose the following distinction:

Best master's degree in Economics
  1. according to the program's overall reputation (i.e. amongst students, alums, employers, or, say, your mother)
  2. according to the program's reputation amongst academics (i.e. top 10 us PhD placement)


To address b.) above, I request that contributors only post credible, verifiable information and include sources. For example, some may find interesting that your favorite professor told you that all of the above programs were crap and that a tier three state school in Kentucky was your best bet. Why don't we care in this thread? For one, you're lying. You never asked your professor. And secondly, your professor doesn't know what he is talking about, because he went to some tier three state school in Kentucky.

So let's stick to the facts. Here's what I have found so far:

Overall (or at least not solely academic) reputation
The Times: Oxford > Cambridge > LSE (Source)
US News: Cambridge > Oxford > LSE (Source)
The Guardian: Cambridge > Oxford > LSE (Source)

Overall reputation of the economics faculty
The Times: Oxford > Cambridge > LSE (Source)
US News: LSE > Oxford > Cambridge (Source)
The Guardian: Oxford > Cambridge > LSE (Source)

Reputation in strictly academic terms (i.e. citations and publications)
IDEAS: Oxford > Cambridge > LSE (Source)

Here are some further statistics which might be interesting:

Most recent acceptance rates (intake/applicants, %)
LSE M.Sc. in Economics: (135/1594, 8.5%) (Source)
Cambridge MPhil Economics: (37/254, 14.6%) (Source)
Oxford MPhil Economics: (21/163, 12.9%) (Source)
*Note: these statistics are based on intake, not offers (the difference being that not all offers are eventually accepted by the students who received them).

2006 academic paper ranking schools by post-PhD placement record:
Oxford > LSE > Cambridge (Source)

Obviously the academic ranking statistics above are a little thin, so if anyone is aware of further statistics I would be very interested! Specifically on the following topics:
  1. Placement statistics for PhD programs (e.g. "x% of the graduating class at M.Sc. in Economics at LSE went on to a top 10 US PhD", or something similar)
  2. Research/Publications/Citations statistics for economics sub disciplines for each university's economics faculty (e.g. "Cambridge is third in the world for time series econometrics")


If anyone has seen credible statistics along these lines, please post with link to source.

I should also note (full disclosure) that I applied to all three schools this year, with the following results:
Oxford MPhil Economics => Rejection
Cambridge MPhil Econmics => Offer, accepted
LSE M.Sc. Finance and Economics => Offer, turned down
Man you can't say which is the best. You are not considering UCL and Warwick that for many are much more above Oxbridge and even LSE.

First of all, Oxford is a 2 years programme, so it is not easy to compare with a similar of just 1 year. Just for this feature you could say that Oxford is the most comprehensive of all msc in economics.

All the top 5 Oxf, Cam, lse, ucl and warwick have their strengths and weakness. E.g: the best in microeconometrics, micro and IO in general is UCL. LSE is strong in Macro, Cambridge and also Warwick are strong in Finance, etc etc.

I think that trying to compare the best 5 programmes in Uk is like trying to compare among a Ferrari, a Bugatti, a Lambo, a Porsche, Aston Martin. You get the picture. Maybe Oxbridge is like Ferrari-Lamborghini and LSE is like a Bugatti and UCL is a Porsche.......If you compare them from specific models or features you can order them in many different ways. For speed maybe Bugatti (LSE) is over Ferrari (Oxford), but maybe in elegance Ferrari is much more higher than Bugatti.

It depends on your own preferences, hence your utility function.
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sj27
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(Original post by Econla)
pfff in Tilburg ranking (number of papers published) the thing is like this:

LSE > OXFORD > UCL >> WARWICK > NOTTINGHAM >> CAMBRIDGE

(Original post by Econla)
RAE 2008 UK (Economics and Econometrics)

LSE > UCL > WARWICK > OXFORD > BRISTOL > NOTTINGHAM > QUEEN MARY > CAMBRIDGE
Careful, you're going to upset some people here

But seriously - QMUL ahead of Cambridge? Really?
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Econla
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(Original post by sj27)
Careful, you're going to upset some people here

But seriously - QMUL ahead of Cambridge? Really?
Those are the facts for RAE:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/...d-econometrics
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Ghost6
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(Original post by Econla)
RAE 2008 UK (Economics and Econometrics)

LSE > UCL > WARWICK > OXFORD > BRISTOL > NOTTINGHAM > QUEEN MARY > CAMBRIDGE
This RAE bull**** is completely retarded. Everyone knows that Oxbridge and LSE have by far the best recruitment/further study prospects in the UK. If you say otherwise, you are just full of it. Nobody knows of Bristol or Queen Mary outside of the UK.
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mrory
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RAE 2008 UK (Economics and Econometrics)

LSE > UCL > WARWICK > OXFORD > BRISTOL > NOTTINGHAM > QUEEN MARY > CAMBRIDGE
Valid point. Other universities come between Oxford, Cambridge and LSE, not only in the 2008 RAE ranking, but also in the rankings I posted earlier. I wanted to limit the scope of this thread to three universities, but now it looks like I was suppressing information

Out of curiosity, what is the difference between The Guardian's RAE ranking and its University Guide? Is the RAE ranking just the precurser to the University Guide?
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sj27
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There seems to be some misunderstanding about what the RAE is. See www.rae.ac.uk
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sj27
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(Original post by Ghost6)
This RAE bull**** is completely retarded. Everyone knows that Oxbridge and LSE have by far the best recruitment/further study prospects in the UK. If you say otherwise, you are just full of it. Nobody knows of Bristol or Queen Mary outside of the UK.
Funny that, it assesses research output of the universities, not employment prospects
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Ghost6
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(Original post by sj27)
Funny that, it assesses research output of the universities, not employment prospects
That's irrelevant for M.S. degrees. You want to bank on the reputation of the school first and foremost. These degrees are meant to get you closer to an investment banking job or funded PhD and nothing else. Little of what you learn in such a broad degree can be used on the job or during a PhD anyways.
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mrory
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(Original post by sj27)
There seems to be some misunderstanding about what the RAE is. See www.rae.ac.uk
Right you are. Thanks for the info!
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sj27
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(Original post by Ghost6)
That's irrelevant for M.S. degrees. You want to bank on the reputation of the school first and foremost. These degrees are meant to get you closer to an investment banking job or funded PhD and nothing else. Little of what you learn in such a broad degree can be used on the job or during a PhD anyways.
Perhaps if you read the link you'd understand that the outcome of the exercise determines where research funding goes, so I would say it is very relevant indeed when you are talking about funded PhDs.
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Lalafell
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I agree that the research power of Cambridge was on decline in the 2000s. Yet, over the past few years, Cambridge is very active in investing in recruiting the top professors around the world. Currently, Cambridge has the best and some of the best macroeconometrician in the UK (Pasaran, Harvey, R.J. Smith and others). It has head hunted professors from other top universities across the world.

The sharp decline in LSE's ranking on IDEAS was exactly due to the fact that some of the top 5% economists of the school left the school over the past few years, as the ranking depends solely on the publications and other research indicators of an institution's professors. For example, Cam headhunted Professor Oliver from LSE, one of the best political economists and microeconometrician in the world.

Further, it is a fact that it is much harder to get into Oxbridge than getting into LSE and UCL (not mentioning Warwick here cos it is trivial as it admits loads of 2:1 ex-poly). In terms of job prospects, I don't think UCL and Warwick can compare with Oxbridge and LSE Econ graduates. And I am saying from the position of a UCL econ graduate. The social presitige of having an econ master degree from Oxbridge and LSE is greater than having a UCL degree (once again, not mentioning Warwick cos it is trivial).

Nevertheless, it is true that all top econ departments have their own strengths and weaknesses. And Econla is somewhat wrong. Finance is not the key strength of Cam. But rather time series, macroeconomics and macroeconomic policies are. And UCL is indeed the best in microeconometrics and industrial organization in the UK.
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mrory
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(Original post by Lalafell)
...Nevertheless, it is true that all top econ departments have their own strengths and weaknesses. And Econla is somewhat wrong. Finance is not the key strength of Cam. But rather time series, macroeconomics and macroeconomic policies are. And UCL is indeed the best in microeconometrics and industrial organization in the UK...

(Original post by Econla)
...All the top 5 Oxf, Cam, lse, ucl and warwick have their strengths and weakness. E.g: the best in microeconometrics, micro and IO in general is UCL. LSE is strong in Macro, Cambridge and also Warwick are strong in Finance, etc etc...
Lalafell and Econla, you both mention the importance of considering a department's strength in specific subfields of economics. It would be very interesting to see rankings by subfield — would either of you be able to post statistics or sources?
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Econla
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(Original post by mrory)
Lalafell and Econla, you both mention the importance of considering a department's strength in specific subfields of economics. It would be very interesting to see rankings by subfield — would either of you be able to post statistics or sources?
You're looking for the best programme. The best programme in what?. The most rigorous one?...the most comprehensive one?....the one that carries more "prestige"?,....the one that have made more research??.

In fact, Lalafell posted once that for example UCL Msc in Economics is tougher than its simile in LSE and Cambridge, but not as tough as the Msc in Econ and Math Econ in LSE or the MPhil research in Cam.?.

There is a lot of posts in URCH Phd Economics Forum (probably the most serious for economists wannabe) where current Phd students of top schools in US clearly state that LSE ~ UCL >> Cam and the only advantage on Oxford is that is a 2 year programme so you can get LORs.

Check for yourself the reasons that they give:

http://www.urch.com/forums/phd-econo...l-dilemma.html (This one favour UCL over Oxford)

http://www.urch.com/forums/phd-econo...sc-choose.html (This one states that UCL is well above Cam and on par with LSE)

http://www.urch.com/forums/phd-econo...irical-io.html

Normally the guys that give their opinions are current Phd students that I imagine they know how is seen UK departments in US. According to this forum which as I said before is the biggest in the subject, in UK and mostly for PhD prospects (academic prestige), they tend to rate this way: LSE (EME not Msc Econ) > UCL ~ Oxford > Cambridge.
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