DPhil in International Relations at Oxford

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newhere
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oxymoron
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(Original post by thishethere)
Hi there - anyone know anything about this course? Quality, reputation, job prospects, etc. Many thanks.
This is an answer from someone on the Development studies course who nearly applied to the international relations course ...

"About the IR MPhil: it's very good. Very hard to get in as well - about 500 applications for 30 places. It's one of the best in the world as far as I'm aware, far better than the Cambridge one for example. I'm afraid I don't know much about the job prospects, but I would say they are among the best in the field was well. People prob go work for UN, national governments, thinktanks, etc. The department is very likely to have some info about this.

If you want more specific info about the subjects taught in the course I can give you an emailaddress of someone in the course. I almost applied for IR but then decided to go for Development Studies instead, because IR can be very dry and theoretical - you run the risk of forgetting it's people like you and me you're trying to analyse. But that's just my personal preference of course."

Hope it helps
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newhere
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ppomorski
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I'm fishing out this old topic because I need some help as far as DPhil in IR at Oxford goes, and there doesn't seem to be anything more up to date.

I have just completed my Bachelor studies in International Economic Relations in the Warsaw School of Economics. In just a few weeks I will be starting a 1-year Master course of History of International Relations at the London School of Economics.

I am very interested in pursuing academic career afterwards, so a natural choice would be to find a place to write my doctorate. It would be great to be able to do that at Oxford (for obvious reasons), but I have some doubts after reading this information on the department's website:

Most graduate students in Politics and International Relations at Oxford begin their studies with the MPhil, which is a professional qualification in its own right but may also be regarded as preparation for the DPhil. Applicants who intend to write a doctorate but do not already have adequate graduate-level training in the academic study of Politics and International Relations, including appropriate research training, are generally advised to apply for an MPhil degree.

Students who complete the MPhil successfully may then apply to proceed to DPhil status. For students seeking a DPhil in International Relations, the MPhil will normally be the best route to approach the doctorate.
Does it mean that the majority/vast majority of people who are accepted to the DPhil programme are the ones who have just completed their Master studies at Oxford? What are the chances for the other universities?

Could the fact that I'll be studying History of IR (and not simply IR) at LSE possibly make my admission to DPhil at Oxford less likely?

I have scored 107/120 points from a TOEFL exam. It is sufficient for LSE, but a (higher) requirement at Oxford is 109. On the website it is stated, however, that in some cases they would be willing to waive that requirement had the applicant studied in the UK for some time. Do you think they would do that in my case, i.e. after I study one year in London?
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by ppomorski)
I'm fishing out this old topic because I need some help as far as DPhil in IR at Oxford goes, and there doesn't seem to be anything more up to date.

I have just completed my Bachelor studies in International Economic Relations in the Warsaw School of Economics. In just a few weeks I will be starting a 1-year Master course of History of International Relations at the London School of Economics.

I am very interested in pursuing academic career afterwards, so a natural choice would be to find a place to write my doctorate. It would be great to be able to do that at Oxford (for obvious reasons), but I have some doubts after reading this information on the department's website:



Does it mean that the majority/vast majority of people who are accepted to the DPhil programme are the ones who have just completed their Master studies at Oxford? What are the chances for the other universities?

Could the fact that I'll be studying History of IR (and not simply IR) at LSE possibly make my admission to DPhil at Oxford less likely?

I have scored 107/120 points from a TOEFL exam. It is sufficient for LSE, but a (higher) requirement at Oxford is 109. On the website it is stated, however, that in some cases they would be willing to waive that requirement had the applicant studied in the UK for some time. Do you think they would do that in my case, i.e. after I study one year in London?
I'm surprised they say 'most' students have done the MPhil, 'many' would be understandable, but most is unusual. Anyway, LSE is almost certainly the second most consistent source of students, so you shouldn't have any worry there. The fact you have done History of IR is irrelevant, you will, presumably be doing a PhD thesis based on something historical? The quality of your previous academic performance, your research proposal and your references will be the key points in your application.

They might want you to retake TOEFL, but I would have thought that was a minor point. You are probably best asking once you have applied.
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Little Jules
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You can email the IR administrator to check, but I'm sure you could apply for the DPhil programme. I think that MPhil to DPhil students are the minority.
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ppomorski
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Thanks for the answers girls, it's very helpful.
The quality of your previous academic performance, your research proposal and your references will be the key points in your application.
I know. When applying to LSE however I had a chance to write a Personal Statement instead of a research proposal. It was good for many different reasons, but one of them was a chance to clearly state that I have finished my Warsaw studies with a 5,0 (very good) mark. It was possible because I defended my Bachelor studies very well, which accounted for 20% of this mark, and my tutor gave me a 5,5 (excellent) grade for the thesis, which accounted for 30% of it. The remaining 50% was the average of my grades throughout my studies, which were good compared to other students at my school, but definitely nothing that would make anyone at Oxford fall down on their knees (my average was ~4,40.)

The problem is, for a DPhil Oxford wants just a transcript of my marks from Warsaw (and later on a transcript of LSE marks.) Do you have any idea if I could stress in some way that I have finished my Bachelor studies with a very good grade? If they only take a look at my marks from individual subjects I won't make too much of an impression I'm afraid

Little Jules, do you know anything interesting about DPhil from IR at Oxford? Have you written anything about it here? Could you post a link? Do you have any advice about the choice of research proposal?

Why is your Master a two-year programme and mine just one year? Could you describe it briefly? Does this programme actually contain a lot of modules/workshops that are more or less intended to help students prepare for the later Doctoral studies?
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Little Jules
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(Original post by ppomorski)
Thanks for the answers girls, it's very helpful.

I know. When applying to LSE however I had a chance to write a Personal Statement instead of a research proposal. It was good for many different reasons, but one of them was a chance to clearly state that I have finished my Warsaw studies with a 5,0 (very good) mark. It was possible because I defended my Bachelor studies very well, which accounted for 20% of this mark, and my tutor gave me a 5,5 (excellent) grade for the thesis, which accounted for 30% of it. The remaining 50% was the average of my grades throughout my studies, which were good compared to other students at my school, but definitely nothing that would make anyone at Oxford fall down on their knees (my average was ~4,40.)

The problem is, for a DPhil Oxford wants just a transcript of my marks from Warsaw (and later on a transcript of LSE marks.) Do you have any idea if I could stress in some way that I have finished my Bachelor studies with a very good grade? If they only take a look at my marks from individual subjects I won't make too much of an impression I'm afraid

Little Jules, do you know anything interesting about DPhil from IR at Oxford? Have you written anything about it here? Could you post a link? Do you have any advice about the choice of research proposal?

Why is your Master a two-year programme and mine just one year? Could you describe it briefly? Does this programme actually contain a lot of modules/workshops that are more or less intended to help students prepare for the later Doctoral studies?
I haven't written anything about it here, and I know a bit about it, although of course I never did it.

My best advice re the research proposal is to make sure that you've identified someone in the department who is interested in the area you are interested in (what area is that?). That's a given really for any PHD - make sure you are going somewhere for a supervisor, not just for the department. I can potentially suggest who may be a good person to work with if you want.

The two year MPhil is fairly unique to Oxford as far as I know, and does involve a lot of research training, including statistics. We took research methods classes with the 1st year DPhil students. Our thesis was 30,000 words which is longer than a standard masters thesis, and we took a lot of classes too. But I think it's the research training elements that are key. If you go from Oxford MPhil to Oxford DPhil, you don't have to take those research classes again.
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ppomorski
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(Original post by Little Jules)
My best advice re the research proposal is to make sure that you've identified someone in the department who is interested in the area you are interested in (what area is that?).
My specialization was "Functioning of the European Union" and I also did a European itinerary, which is a set of subjects connected to the EU (budgetary policy, law system, Polish companies on the common market, common policies, WTO and EU etc.), while my Bachelor thesis was "Relations between Turkey and the European Union." That would suggest something in connection with the EU. It could concern Turkey since I have gathered a lot of information during the time I was preparing my thesis, but it could also be something more "on the news" if necessary - for example the growing presence of China in Europe, the reset of and future relations between Russia and the US, French foreign policy... everything is interesting I guess though that I currently know most about the matters concerning the European Union. What do you think?
That's a given really for any PHD - make sure you are going somewhere for a supervisor, not just for the department. I can potentially suggest who may be a good person to work with if you want.
Absolutely. Thank you

I will be sending my research proposal to Oxford in general though, and not to this very person. Should I then include some phrases indicating their interest, i.e. "I have already ensured that this topic will of interest to Mr./Ms. X" or simply make sure I have someone who will tutor me once I get accepted?

The two year MPhil is fairly unique to Oxford as far as I know, and does involve a lot of research training, including statistics. We took research methods classes with the 1st year DPhil students. Our thesis was 30,000 words which is longer than a standard masters thesis, and we took a lot of classes too. But I think it's the research training elements that are key. If you go from Oxford MPhil to Oxford DPhil, you don't have to take those research classes again.
I wonder if they'd be willing to waive my Statistics class if I did a semester of it in Poland.

Also, I read somewhere on the website that the DPhil would take 3-4 years. It's as much as my whole Bachelor and Master studies. Why does it take so long? Apart from the research classes that prepare you for writing your thesis and writing itself is there anything you have to do?
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threeportdrift
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If you are thinking of an EU related subject then the Cambridge department is very strong for that, more so than Oxford I think.
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Little Jules
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(Original post by ppomorski)
My specialization was "Functioning of the European Union" and I also did a European itinerary, which is a set of subjects connected to the EU (budgetary policy, law system, Polish companies on the common market, common policies, WTO and EU etc.), while my Bachelor thesis was "Relations between Turkey and the European Union." That would suggest something in connection with the EU. It could concern Turkey since I have gathered a lot of information during the time I was preparing my thesis, but it could also be something more "on the news" if necessary - for example the growing presence of China in Europe, the reset of and future relations between Russia and the US, French foreign policy... everything is interesting I guess though that I currently know most about the matters concerning the European Union. What do you think?

Absolutely. Thank you
There are a few people in the department who work on EU issues, such as Kalypso Nicolaides, and one or two others, but it would depend what aspect you choose to write on. Obviouly your thesis proposal has to be quite specific.

(Original post by ppomorski)
I will be sending my research proposal to Oxford in general though, and not to this very person. Should I then include some phrases indicating their interest, i.e. "I have already ensured that this topic will of interest to Mr./Ms. X" or simply make sure I have someone who will tutor me once I get accepted?
No, I don't think you should mention anyone, but you should take some time to look through the staff at Oxford and make sure that there is someone who looks like they would be interested. Your DPhil is all about working with a supervisor, and you'll need someone in the department who is interested in your project and will therefore push for you to be given a place (and potentially funding, which is obviously another key issue).


(Original post by ppomorski)
I wonder if they'd be willing to waive my Statistics class if I did a semester of it in Poland.
You can talk to them about it, but there is a statistics requirement. I think if you've done their equivalent of the first level of classes, you'd just have to do the second level.

(Original post by ppomorski)
Also, I read somewhere on the website that the DPhil would take 3-4 years. It's as much as my whole Bachelor and Master studies. Why does it take so long? Apart from the research classes that prepare you for writing your thesis and writing itself is there anything you have to do?
I think the first year to 18 months, you are a probationer research student. You take research methods classes and you write something that allows you to be confirmed as a DPhil candidate. That's how all Oxford DPhils work. Then you spend the next two or so years doing your research. A DPhil takes a long time!
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username396452
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Be careful about mentioning a particular person. Or if you do, try to ask or find out somehow whether or not A) they will be on sabbatical or research leave in your first year B) will be retiring in the next two years or C) are in the middle of the ESRC project. From experience I know that A and B could immediately kill your chances of working for them, and if it's the only relevant person in the Department it'd be a high-risk application and there would be supervisory issues that could place an acceptance in jeopardy. For C, there are a few scholars that won't take new supervisees the years they are on an ESRC-project. Some universities may even have separate more specialized apps for this (not sure about Oxford in particular).
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Arushijain31
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Could you send the email id of the person pursuing International studies at Oxford? It would be very helpful. Thanks
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