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University of Oxford, Pawel-Sytniewski
University of Oxford
Oxford

MSc Oxford vs. MPhil at Cambridge

As the title says I have been admitted to a MSc program at Oxford and a MPhil program at Cambridge. I am having trouble deciding which to attend. Is a MPhil considered more prestigious than a MSc? I am an international student and have not visited either university. Here are some more details about my situation:

1. Both with cost the same
2. Both are ten months
3. Both are in the same subject
4. I want maximum prestige
5. Looking to get an advanced (non-research degree after graduation)
6. Already put down a deposit at one university
(edited 11 years ago)
Reply 1
Original post by lawman89
As the title says I have been admitted to a MSc program at Oxford and a MPhil program at Cambridge. I am having trouble deciding which to attend. Is a MPhil considered more prestigious than a MSc? I am an international student and have not visited either university. Here are some more details about my situation:

1. Both with cost the same
2. Both are ten months
3. Both are in the same subject
4. I want maximum prestige
5. Looking to get an advanced (non-research degree after graduation)
6. Already put down a deposit at one university


I don't think the title makes a difference, but if you mentioned the subject some people here might know whether one university has a better reputation in the subject than the other.
University of Oxford, Pawel-Sytniewski
University of Oxford
Oxford
Reply 2
why would the MPhil be more prestigious? It's the same degree with another name really. If you have already put down a deposit then why not go to that one, providing you like both courses equally.
Reply 3
Honestly, the title makes no difference.
Reply 4
Yes, the title makes no difference at all. What subject are we talking about?
Is it Science related (physics, chemistry, biology, etc.) or economics?

Maybe you could tell us the course title!

Cheers
Reply 5
Maybe MPhil has more research type training? That's what I was told.
Original post by bmqib
Maybe MPhil has more research type training? That's what I was told.


No, all Cambridge one year masters are called Mphils (or M.A.St if they're also undergraduate masters), Cambridge just likes to be difficult :smile:
Reply 7
Ok but how would you define a MPhil degree then? Is it comparable to a MSc or MRes?
Reply 8
Degree programs are in environmental policy
Reply 9
Original post by Latis
Ok but how would you define a MPhil degree then? Is it comparable to a MSc or MRes?


They are taught masters so comparable to MSc/MA elsewhere.

Confusingly, some other unis use the term M Phil for the probationary period of a PhD.
Reply 10
Original post by sj27

Confusingly, some other unis use the term M Phil for the probationary period of a PhD.


Actually, to make things even more confusing, Oxford also has what it calls MPhil and it is 2 year program, unlike MSc which is one year.

MPhil at Oxford is more thorough and has 30 000 words dissertation which can be extended into DPhil dissertation. So, at Oxford MPhil is more prestigious. But it is not the same as MPhil at Cambridge.

To through more confusion some Unis have MRes and MLitt.

MLitt at Trinity College Dublin, for example, is a first year of PhD program and can be considered as incomplete PhD. It seems to be similar to Oxford MPhil.

I think they just enjoy screwing with us :wink:
Reply 11
Original post by janjanmmm
Actually, to make things even more confusing, Oxford also has what it calls MPhil and it is 2 year program, unlike MSc which is one year.

MPhil at Oxford is more thorough and has 30 000 words dissertation which can be extended into DPhil dissertation. So, at Oxford MPhil is more prestigious. But it is not the same as MPhil at Cambridge.

To through more confusion some Unis have MRes and MLitt.

MLitt at Trinity College Dublin, for example, is a first year of PhD program and can be considered as incomplete PhD. It seems to be similar to Oxford MPhil.

I think they just enjoy screwing with us :wink:


And all this even before you get to what an MA from Oxbridge is :wink:

To the OP, sorry I have no idea which would be better in environmental policy, but hopefully someone with knowledge in that area will post.
(edited 11 years ago)
Reply 12
Mphil might be interpreted as a Phd that went wrong.
At least by someone who wasn't an anorack about oxbridge conventions.
Reply 13
I'd go with the institution where you've already put down a deposit. The two courses will be very similar, no doubt, although the MPhil is likely to have more research training. The universities are essentially the same as far as prestige is concerned: both will look exceptional on your C.V. and both can open some seriously tasty-looking doors as far as PhD study and a future career are concerned. (Not that you eat doors...)
Reply 14
Original post by Joinedup
Mphil might be interpreted as a Phd that went wrong.
At least by someone who wasn't an anorack about oxbridge conventions.


By who? Recruiters and academics both should know. Either that or they must assume that Oxbridge has an awful lot of failed PhDs :rolleyes:
Original post by lawman89


1. Both with cost the same
2. Both are ten months
3. Both are in the same subject
4. I want maximum prestige
5. Looking to get an advanced (non-research degree after graduation)
6. Already put down a deposit at one university


I would have a close look at the staff in the two departments and see which one has the most academics teaching on the topic that interests you most. I would also seriously consider which city you would prefer living in (Oxford more of a city, Cambridge more of a pictureque town).
Finally, which college would you be at Cambridge or Oxford? If you have been admitted to a wealthier college at one and a newer college at another, I would tend to go for the wealthier college as their facilities tend to be better and they have more perks like funding for research costs and such like. They often have more postgrad accommodation available.

If you're worried about the prestige, then google RAE 2008 and find the table for your subject area. That will tell you whether Oxford or Cambridge has a better reputation in that subject (with respect to research excellence). The Guardian also does a postgraduate league table which you can google.
(edited 11 years ago)
Reply 16
Original post by sj27
By who? Recruiters and academics both should know. Either that or they must assume that Oxbridge has an awful lot of failed PhDs :rolleyes:


Actually there are a lot of academics and recruiters who are not familiar with this concept from Oxbridge, both within the UK and more profoundly outside the UK. I had this question of "So why did your PhD fail in Cambridge and you got an MPhil" asked so many times, which can make an interview process very awkward as you are trying to defend and explain to them that your degree is not worthless.
It will be useful to know which specific programmes you are choosing between, but it's completely understandable if you'd rather not share. Overall, the MPhil is a better degree title for if you want to go into further research, and the MSc is more well-understood (and you won't face the issue of people assuming you dropped out of a PhD)

Additionally, which colleges were you allocated to for each university? This can play a significant factor. For instance, in terms of overall finances, if you have an offer for a very wealthy college in Cambridge as opposed to a less wealthy one in Oxford, you'll find that you'll have more opportunities overall to get grants/bursaries at Cam rather than at Ox (and vice versa of course)
Original post by Anonymous
It will be useful to know which specific programmes you are choosing between, but it's completely understandable if you'd rather not share. Overall, the MPhil is a better degree title for if you want to go into further research, and the MSc is more well-understood (and you won't face the issue of people assuming you dropped out of a PhD)

Additionally, which colleges were you allocated to for each university? This can play a significant factor. For instance, in terms of overall finances, if you have an offer for a very wealthy college in Cambridge as opposed to a less wealthy one in Oxford, you'll find that you'll have more opportunities overall to get grants/bursaries at Cam rather than at Ox (and vice versa of course)

This thread is almost 11 years old, OP no longer needs help with this.

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