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    Hey,
    I´m planning to do a one-year Masters in conflict, development and post-conflict studies and have been rejected from Oxford, but hold offers from:
    • St. Andrews: MLitt. Peace and Conflict Studies
    • King´s College London, War Studies Dept.: M.A. Conflict, Security and Development
    • UCL: MSc. Security Studies
    • Sciences Po Paris: M.A. (2-year) International Security
    • still waiting for:
      • LSE: MSc. Conflict Studies
      • Sciences Po Paris / Saint Gall Double Degree in International Security and Governance


    I would be really interested in your opinion and any experience,especially:
    • academic reputation (USA, UK, France, Germany and Europe in total) - happy about any advice)
    • course and staff quality
    • student/faculty ratio
    • library and research facilities and situation
    • student atmosphere
    • research seminars, events with high-level guests, guest lectures
    • Career prospects for International Organizations, Governments, Consulting (strategy firms) and Academia (job as well as possible PhD)


    I have read quite a lot about these unis, but most threads here have been about undergraduate, so if someone has special insights, experience or opinions on postgraduate at one of these universities or even better programs, I would be very happy!

    Thanks in advance for any recommendations and advice, as I have to make my decision pretty soon now!
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    I think KCL is generally recognised as the leading War and Conflict Studies department in the country, although St Andrews and UCL are also great universities and I'm sure the courses would be broad and challenging.

    I'm not particularly aware of many courses outside the UK, although there is a very interesting programme at Hamburg University if your German is up to scratch.
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    I'm currently enrolled in a master's degree at Sciences po, so can give you a bit more info about it. It's one of the top schools in France, and has a very good reputation in the country. I'm not sure to what extent it is known in other european countries though, but i reckon it's generally well received if you want to apply to a position with the UN or the EU for example.

    Otherwise, i'm quite happy with my classes in general (although quality varies from one teacher to another, as is the case everywhere i guess), but it depends on what you are looking for. I am studying international development, and i have chosen to take as much practical classes as possible (meaning project management or social entrepreneurship classes) beside the core corriculum of development economics/international relations. I was also really happy to be able to do an internship within the framework of the master's, certainly strengthens your CV when applying for jobs after graduation.

    But in general you have a large choice of classes (provided you manage to enroll for these classes - registration times can be quite frustrating sometimes, it's working on a first come first served basis...), with high level teachers or professionals (i have a class of development economics with Paul Collier , who is really renowned in the development field - a friend of mine enrolled in the international security master's had a class with Lakhdar Brahimi, before he became UN peace envoy in Syria... these are only examples). Guest lectures/events are organized regularly.

    On the facilities, well it's an urban campus so a bit different from universities such as St Andrews for example, but there are several buildings in the same area, so in the end it's pretty big. It can be a bit difficult to find space in the library sometimes, but you manage most of the time.
    Student atmosphere is ok, especially at PSIA, a lot of international students and different backgrounds, it's nice.

    Last point - a friend of mine is doing the Sciences po/St Gall double degree and seemed pretty happy with it, but i don't know much St Gall myself though (beside the fact that it's a top european university).

    Hope this helps
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    Well, I cannot help you in terms of having any personal experience with these institutions and courses. On the other hand however, I have accepted my offer to attend UCL's MSc in Security Studies, and will be there this September.

    I got other offers for Durham's MSc in Defence, Development and Diplomacy, as well as Kings College London's MA in Intelligence and International Security (which is part of there famed War Studies department).

    Basically, I accepted UCL's offer as firstly, the course approaches the empirical study of security in a broader sense, focusing on the human aspects of security as well as the hard military forms. Additionally, the quantitative and qualitative core modules seem to offer highly employable skills that other courses such as at Kings simply don't. Kings in contrast, is very much more concerned with the military aspects of security studies, something which I felt made it too niche in terms of potential career prospects. Secondly, the School of Public Policy (SPP), which the course falls under, is the only political science department in the country to focus on postgraduate studies. This means that you are the main part of the department's functions, and not some sort of on the side job/ cash cow. Or at least, this is how I percieve it. The SPP does have two undergraduate courses, but they are not huge in comparison, whereas there are 400 postgraduates on the masters programmes. This roughly equates to around 50 students on each of the 8 masters courses, although the open day made it seem like the public policy courses are the most populated, so there are probably between 40-50 students on the Security Studies course. The SPP buildings are marvellous, and are based on Tavistock Square and Gordon Square. The department seems highly geared towards research and further study in the form of phd students. Moreover, the SPP at UCL includes its highly influential Constitution Unit.

    UCL was ranked 4th in the world in the QS 2009 and 2012 world ranking, 17th in the 2012-2013 Times Higher Education world ranking, and is consistently amongst the top ten in the national league tables. Equally, from 1999-2009 UCL was the 13th most cited university in the world. I felt that having a university brand name like UCL on my CV would be more advantageous (as it feels as if it has a greater international standing, whereas a university like St Andrews is less so unless your American of course), and basically had the edge over KCL and Durham (which are both very highly respected universities nevertheless). UCL's undergraduate politics courses seem highly respected with league tables stating it had around 80% for graduate prospects, so I would of thought this success would filter off into its postgraduate courses. UCL also has the Yale UCL Collaborative, which enables Yale and UCL phd students to do exchanges at each others respective institution, which is surely testament to UCL's academic prowess. The Sunday Times called UCL ''an intellectual powerhouse with a world-class reputation'.

    This may not help, you probably know all of this if you have done good research on the department already anyway.

    Good luck with your decision!!
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    I have a similar problem. But my question rather relates to peace and conflict studies.

    I have been accepted to:

    M. Litt Peace and Conflict Studies at St Andrews
    MA. International Conflict Studies at King's College

    Although I am aware of the black and white difference between the exciting London life and the cozy student life in St Andrews, I cannot stop asking myself: Is paying trice as more for your education worth it?

    St Andrews is 2 000 pounds whereas King's is 9 000.

    Now, for anyone who wishes to work in humanitarian studies I do not think it matters that much which universities you attend. Both of them are great and well reputed institutions.

    So where does the comparable advantage of paying trice as much arise?

    It would be interesting to know more about the difference in the qualitative threshold of the courses & teaching, the quantity of modules and networking opportunities.

    Finally, although the life is London is going to be much more fun than in St Andrews, it's going to be quite expensive. Am I willing to take all these loans for just a year?

    I have a hard time deciding. Please try to help me out somehow. I would really appreciate any advice and be very grateful for your feedback. Thanks a lot.
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    Preventing something bad in order to help something good happen.
    Having ambulances at the bottom of the cliff whilst building fences at the top.
    (Original post by Mikael43)
    I have a similar problem. But my question rather relates to peace and conflict studies.

    I have been accepted to:

    M. Litt Peace and Conflict Studies at St Andrews
    MA. International Conflict Studies at King's College

    Although I am aware of the black and white difference between the exciting London life and the cozy student life in St Andrews, I cannot stop asking myself: Is paying trice as more for your education worth it?

    St Andrews is 2 000 pounds whereas King's is 9 000.

    Now, for anyone who wishes to work in humanitarian studies I do not think it matters that much which universities you attend. Both of them are great and well reputed institutions.

    So where does the comparable advantage of paying trice as much arise?

    It would be interesting to know more about the difference in the qualitative threshold of the courses & teaching, the quantity of modules and networking opportunities.

    Finally, although the life is London is going to be much more fun than in St Andrews, it's going to be quite expensive. Am I willing to take all these loans for just a year?

    I have a hard time deciding. Please try to help me out somehow. I would really appreciate any advice and be very grateful for your feedback. Thanks a lot.
    In your situation, I would choose St Andrews. There isn’t a massive gulf in reputation between these two institutions, and if cost is an issue then £7000 is a huge amount of money. In addition, I think you can expect London to be significantly more expensive to live. I currently get by on about £1000 a month, and that’s quite a struggle - I wouldn’t like to try it on less.
    If the courses are just one year, I think it’s worth sacrificing the fun in London for that short time, and move there when you earn a bit more money!
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    (Original post by Mikael43)
    I have a similar problem. But my question rather relates to peace and conflict studies.

    I have been accepted to:

    M. Litt Peace and Conflict Studies at St Andrews
    MA. International Conflict Studies at King's College

    Although I am aware of the black and white difference between the exciting London life and the cozy student life in St Andrews, I cannot stop asking myself: Is paying trice as more for your education worth it?

    St Andrews is 2 000 pounds whereas King's is 9 000.

    Now, for anyone who wishes to work in humanitarian studies I do not think it matters that much which universities you attend. Both of them are great and well reputed institutions.

    So where does the comparable advantage of paying trice as much arise?

    It would be interesting to know more about the difference in the qualitative threshold of the courses & teaching, the quantity of modules and networking opportunities.

    Finally, although the life is London is going to be much more fun than in St Andrews, it's going to be quite expensive. Am I willing to take all these loans for just a year?

    I have a hard time deciding. Please try to help me out somehow. I would really appreciate any advice and be very grateful for your feedback. Thanks a lot.
    I'm just curious where you have got the £2,000 price tag for PCS at St Andrews from? Is it from a scholarship because the tuition fees are £5,900 for 2013-14.
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    As someone who's accepted UCL's offer over LSE's MSc Conflict Studies and KCL's MA War Studies, I'd love to hear your perspective about your experience at UCL.

    Please...anything would be great. How's your time there? How're the profs? With Braithwaite leaving, do you think it'll make a big difference? Etc.


    Thank you so much.
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    What master did you apply for at Oxford? Diddn't know they had anything related to security affairs. I'm also considering security studies at UCL, but I'm probably going to go for global security at Sheffield or International security at Bristol. UCL had 30 credits of method sas compulsory, and I've already had my fair share of methods...
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    Would love an opinion of UCL's School of Public Policy from an alumnus. Anyone done an MSc at UCL, or better yet, in Security Studies?
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    (Original post by Der Phönix)
    What master did you apply for at Oxford? Diddn't know they had anything related to security affairs. I'm also considering security studies at UCL, but I'm probably going to go for global security at Sheffield or International security at Bristol. UCL had 30 credits of method sas compulsory, and I've already had my fair share of methods...
    Are you deciding against UCL entirely because you don't feel like doing methods? In that case, you'd be better off taking my place at KCL for an MA in War Studies and MA in Terrorism, Security and Society (I declined the offer immediately and gave it little thought, so the name may be a tad off). I say this because Sheffield and Bristol seem to be leagues below UCL, let alone KCL or St Andrews. Also, those methods at UCL will be useful, and a degree from there will spruce up your resume the most.

    So, why not UCL?
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    (Original post by Gannicus)
    Are you deciding against UCL entirely because you don't feel like doing methods? In that case, you'd be better off taking my place at KCL for an MA in War Studies and MA in Terrorism, Security and Society (I declined the offer immediately and gave it little thought, so the name may be a tad off). I say this because Sheffield and Bristol seem to be leagues below UCL, let alone KCL or St Andrews. Also, those methods at UCL will be useful, and a degree from there will spruce up your resume the most.

    So, why not UCL?
    I've so had it with methods. Got three method courses on my CV already, and it's god damn boring. The programme structure at Bristol and Sheffield seem much more interesting.

    Actually, Sheffield's politics department is ranked above that of UCL on times good university guide and it is ranked as the best in UK in the National Research Assessment Exercise.

    http://www.university-list.net/uk/rank/univ-9053.html

    As for resume, yes I'm a bit worried about that. But I'm hoping the employers will value department ranking as much as overall prestige (I have no idea though). St Andrews kind of sucks in all international rankings, and I'm from Norway btw. The international fee is going to bleed my dry.
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    (Original post by Der Phönix)
    Actually, Sheffield's politics department is ranked above that of UCL on times good university guide and it is ranked as the best in UK in the National Research Assessment Exercise.

    As for resume, yes I'm a bit worried about that. But I'm hoping the employers will value department ranking as much as overall prestige (I have no idea though).
    Sadly, I am not a subscriber to the Times education supplement, and therefore am unable to view there subject tables. Nevertheless, in light of what you have said, I do hope you realise that Sheffield does not rank above UCL in any of the other national league tables, not to mention the fact that it doesn't even touch UCL on international tables.

    In both the latest Guardian and Complete University guide rankings, UCL ranks higher than Sheffield for politics.

    In the 2014 Complete University subject guide UCL comes 3rd, whereas Sheffield comes 4th, the average UCAS entry into UCL for politics is 555 UCAS points, whereas at Sheffield its 484. Essentially, what this means is that the average student in UCL's politics department has attained far higher A-level grades than at Sheffield, which means it is likely to be a more academically rigorous environment, as the student body is generally at a higher academic standard.

    In terms of employability, the statistics speak for themselves. Students that graduate from UCL's politics department enjoy the heights of an 82% employability record, whereas at Sheffield this is 70% (which is still good, but doesn't compete with UCL, which beats Oxbridge in terms of employability for politics in both the Guardian subject table and complete university guide).

    In the Guardian's 2014 politics subject table Sheffield ranks as 21st just before the likes of Kent, whereas UCL is ranked as 5th etc etc.


    However, saying all of this, it is true to say that you should definitely pick the course for its content, and if you have already done methods modules (and like most didn't enjoy them- but acknowledge there useful) then perhaps another course is more for you.
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    (Original post by MarcoFr)
    Sadly, I am not a subscriber to the Times education supplement, and therefore am unable to view there subject tables. Nevertheless, in light of what you have said, I do hope you realise that Sheffield does not rank above UCL in any of the other national league tables, not to mention the fact that it doesn't even touch UCL on international tables.

    In both the latest Guardian and Complete University guide rankings, UCL ranks higher than Sheffield for politics.

    In the 2014 Complete University subject guide UCL comes 3rd, whereas Sheffield comes 4th, the average UCAS entry into UCL for politics is 555 UCAS points, whereas at Sheffield its 484. Essentially, what this means is that the average student in UCL's politics department has attained far higher A-level grades than at Sheffield, which means it is likely to be a more academically rigorous environment, as the student body is generally at a higher academic standard.

    In terms of employability, the statistics speak for themselves. Students that graduate from UCL's politics department enjoy the heights of an 82% employability record, whereas at Sheffield this is 70% (which is still good, but doesn't compete with UCL, which beats Oxbridge in terms of employability for politics in both the Guardian subject table and complete university guide).

    In the Guardian's 2014 politics subject table Sheffield ranks as 21st just before the likes of Kent, whereas UCL is ranked as 5th etc etc.


    However, saying all of this, it is true to say that you should definitely pick the course for its content, and if you have already done methods modules (and like most didn't enjoy them- but acknowledge there useful) then perhaps another course is more for you.
    Wow.

    UCL is no Oxford though.
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    (Original post by playingcards)
    Wow.

    UCL is no Oxford though.
    Quite right.
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    (Original post by MarcoFr)
    Sadly, I am not a subscriber to the Times education supplement, and therefore am unable to view there subject tables. Nevertheless, in light of what you have said, I do hope you realise that Sheffield does not rank above UCL in any of the other national league tables, not to mention the fact that it doesn't even touch UCL on international tables.

    In both the latest Guardian and Complete University guide rankings, UCL ranks higher than Sheffield for politics.

    In the 2014 Complete University subject guide UCL comes 3rd, whereas Sheffield comes 4th, the average UCAS entry into UCL for politics is 555 UCAS points, whereas at Sheffield its 484. Essentially, what this means is that the average student in UCL's politics department has attained far higher A-level grades than at Sheffield, which means it is likely to be a more academically rigorous environment, as the student body is generally at a higher academic standard.

    In terms of employability, the statistics speak for themselves. Students that graduate from UCL's politics department enjoy the heights of an 82% employability record, whereas at Sheffield this is 70% (which is still good, but doesn't compete with UCL, which beats Oxbridge in terms of employability for politics in both the Guardian subject table and complete university guide).

    In the Guardian's 2014 politics subject table Sheffield ranks as 21st just before the likes of Kent, whereas UCL is ranked as 5th etc etc.


    However, saying all of this, it is true to say that you should definitely pick the course for its content, and if you have already done methods modules (and like most didn't enjoy them- but acknowledge there useful) then perhaps another course is more for you.
    UCL is marginally better in the Complete university guide subject ranking. Sheffield is far superior to everyone in research though, and UCL is really terrible when it comes to student satisfaction. It's kind of ironic, that UCL gives better employability when Sheffield is superior in research.

    I might be an idiot, but Sheffield just seems more tempting. The only thing that's definitively a drawback for Sheffield contra UCL is the graduate prospect. Then again, I haven't decided yet. It's going to be one of the toughest decisions I'll ever make.
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    (Original post by Der Phönix)
    UCL is marginally better in the Complete university guide subject ranking. Sheffield is far superior to everyone in research though, and UCL is really terrible when it comes to student satisfaction. It's kind of ironic, that UCL gives better employability when Sheffield is superior in research.

    I might be an idiot, but Sheffield just seems more tempting. The only thing that's definitively a drawback for Sheffield contra UCL is the graduate prospect. Then again, I haven't decided yet. It's going to be one of the toughest decisions I'll ever make.
    Very true, the questionable student satisfaction rate at UCL is one of my major gripes. A part of me hopes that it is more a case of high student expectations, than substandard feedback. It sounds like to me from what you said earlier about the methods course that perhaps Sheffield is the better option in your case, as you have already done them.
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    Was accepted into below programs at KCL. Anyone have any info on these programs and which to choose? I'm looking for opportunities to get involved with organizations on campus/networking. Which has the best dept for that? 1. International Relations MA2. International Conflict Studies MA 3. The Political Economy of Emerging Markets MSc 4. Emerging Economies and International Development MSc)
 
 
 
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