high 2.1 and a merit in a master's degree Watch

zziippoo
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how hard is to get a place for a PhD in one of the top-tier universities?
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1024796
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Very hard.
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Ellim
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With a good proposal and the backing of a suitable supervisor, doable. I know a several people with marks like that who are undertaking PhDs.

To get funding? Next to impossible unless you have the most amazing proposal ever written.
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sj27
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(Original post by zziippoo)
how hard is to get a place for a PhD in one of the top-tier universities?
How top is top-tier? What field?

Eg some PhDs at Cambrdge require both a first at undergrad and a distinction in masters. Others seem more flexible (though sometimes in practice admission requirements are tighter than they seem on department websites).

As above, funding is likely to be very difficult to get without top marks and/or a really stand-out proposal.
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Nichrome
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(Original post by zziippoo)
how hard is to get a place for a PhD in one of the top-tier universities?
Contrary to what some have said, it heavily depends on subject, and even what area of that subject you study. If you want a funded PhD position in the humanities, then your chances are going to be rather slim. If you're going for a funded position in a well funded area of Engineering (such as photonics say) then you probably have a reasonably good chance.
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returnmigrant
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I also have a 2.1 (not RG), Masters with distinction (RG) and a PG Dip (overseas) and was offered funded places on the first two PhDs I applied for - in Humanities.

So dont believe all the 'you'll never get funding' stories. Or the 'you've only got a 2.1'.

Go for it.
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sj27
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(Original post by Nichrome)
Contrary to what some have said, it heavily depends on subject, and even what area of that subject you study. If you want a funded PhD position in the humanities, then your chances are going to be rather slim. If you're going for a funded position in a well funded area of Engineering (such as photonics say) then you probably have a reasonably good chance.

(Original post by returnmigrant)
I also have a 2.1 (not RG), Masters with distinction (RG) and a PG Dip (overseas) and was offered funded places on the first two PhDs I applied for - in Humanities.

So dont believe all the 'you'll never get funding' stories. Or the 'you've only got a 2.1'.

Go for it.
That was why I asked what uni and what field the OP is thinking of. IIRC the OP is doing something in the management arena (I may not recall correctly). Judge Business School requires a first at undergrad and a distinction at masters (even before you take into account that they openly prefer people who have done masters at Cambridge itself).
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hobnob
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(Original post by returnmigrant)
I also have a 2.1 (not RG), Masters with distinction (RG) and a PG Dip (overseas) and was offered funded places on the first two PhDs I applied for - in Humanities.

So dont believe all the 'you'll never get funding' stories. Or the 'you've only got a 2.1'.

Go for it.
The OP asked about chances with a 2.1 and a merit, though, no?
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zziippoo
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Thank you all for your thoughts. Basically, I have a friend who got a 2.1 in Maths from Liverpool University and a Merit in MSc Statistics from LSE. He wants to do a phd in mathematical statistics so i thought to ask your opinion. thanks again.

about Cambridge, I am not quite sure that Cambridge accepts students who really want to do a PhD. It accepts students with a first in their degree but I know some people who are currently phd candidates without any motivation. They tried to get a job, they couldn't and they had this option, a PhD at Cambridge (which is a really good option!!!!). Those students had this opportunity, without any research interest, without any idea but they had a first in their degree. Some other people have 2.1 but they have amazing ideas and are willing to work in academia.

In terms of Judge Business School that you have mentioned, I know a guy with high 2.1 from Manchester university, CFA, three years work experience in a bank, MSc in Finance from LSE (Merit) but judge business school rejected him only because the entry requirement is to have a first in your first degree. Well this is totally unfair but we have to accept that.
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sj27
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(Original post by zziippoo)

In terms of Judge Business School that you have mentioned, I know a guy with high 2.1 from Manchester university, CFA, three years work experience in a bank, MSc in Finance from LSE (Merit) but judge business school rejected him only because the entry requirement is to have a first in your first degree. Well this is totally unfair but we have to accept that.
I'm confused as to why you think it's "totally unfair". The entry requirements are on the website - why did he apply if he doesn't meet them? He missed both entry requirements btw as they want a distinction at masters too. (A CFA is considered a professional, not an academic, qualification btw so that's irrelevant for a PhD application.) Why is it any more unfair than a university rejecting someone for undergraduate study or a masters because they don't meet the minimum entry requirements?
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zziippoo
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(Original post by sj27)
I'm confused as to why you think it's "totally unfair". The entry requirements are on the website - why did he apply if he doesn't meet them? He missed both entry requirements btw as they want a distinction at masters too. (A CFA is considered a professional, not an academic, qualification btw so that's irrelevant for a PhD application.) Why is it any more unfair than a university rejecting someone for undergraduate study or a masters because they don't meet the minimum entry requirements?
I think the entry requirements are indicators. It doesn't mean that if you don't fully satisfy them you def get a rejection. PhD is much different than undergraduate degree.

First of all, when you apply for undergraduate degree you are 18-20 years old. The acceptance rate is much higher, more flexible, you do not need to show some specific ability but you need to show an overall, a good performance. Also, in you class you might see students with 3A*s but you might see students with 2A*s and B even if the entry requirement is 3A*s.

On the other hand, the acceptance rate for PhD is very low, compare with ug degrees. You are a person with a degree, you choose to do a PhD for different reasons, (most probably is because you want to become an academic, researcher), you have an idea, you have a specific interest, ability of doing research, you are focus on a specific thing, you choose your career, you have motivation and strength to spend 3-4 even 5 years to research a topic, a problem, an idea. It is completely different than ug.

In terms of why he applied, because he wants to become an academic, you worked in a bank, he has the knowledge, the experience, he has seen how the things actually work, he find a gap. He has 2.1(overall performance is more than good), Distinction from LSE and a CFA. By quitting his job, returned to academic world showed that he actually wants to do that. Also, his research proposal was excellent, that's why he is now in US, doing his phd in one of the top universities. I am not saying why he didn't get a place, I am saying that he didn't actually have the chance to do an interview. He got a rejection and the reason was of his 2.1!

What I mean is 'totally unfair', is that Cambridge prefers to take someone who is 22 years with a first in his degree for a phd in (something), instead of considering a student who has better knowledge, more abilities, a better (let's say CV), only because he/she has a 2.1. Just to clarify something, I said that because I know current phd students at Cambridge (specifically I know two students) with a First in their degree and they had this opportunity (WOW A PHD FROM CAMBRIDGE), they hate doing research, they don't like the environment, they don't want to work as a researcher, academics, they didn't have the dream to do that, they never worked. I personally don't find this fair. I truly accept your opinion and if you have different one but I guess, if you want to do a phd, at some point, motivation is much better than what you actually get in your degree!
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sj27
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(Original post by zziippoo)
know a guy with high 2.1 from Manchester university, CFA, three years work experience in a bank, MSc in Finance from LSE (Merit)

(Original post by zziippoo)
He has 2.1(overall performance is more than good), Distinction from LSE and a CFA. By quitting his job, returned to academic world showed that he actually wants to do that. Also, his research proposal was excellent, that's why he is now in US, doing his phd in one of the top universities.!
So which was it, a merit or a distinction?

I'd be very interested to know which US uni he is at. The top unis in the US are way more competitive than UK ones for PhDs because they fully fund all their students (ie unlike UK unis they don't make offers without funding), and as a result it's usually impossible to get a sniff in without a near-perfect academic record, especially as the research proposal plays less of a role in admissions given the structure of a US PhD. Do you happen to know what his GRE result was?
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ktr
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(Original post by sj27)
So which was it, a merit or a distinction?

I'd be very interested to know which US uni he is at. The top unis in the US are way more competitive than UK ones for PhDs because they fully fund all their students (ie unlike UK unis they don't make offers without funding), and as a result it's usually impossible to get a sniff in without a near-perfect academic record, especially as the research proposal plays less of a role in admissions given the structure of a US PhD. Do you happen to know what his GRE result was?
It may be discipline specific but from some anecdotal evidence (as someone without a perfect record) while talking to faculty members in the humanities having done a masters counts very favourably for being considered for phd applications. In some sense it might make sense since it could be seen as proof that you'll be able to cope well with the coursework since you don't get credit for it?


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Klix88
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(Original post by ktr)
Iwhile talking to faculty members in the humanities having done a masters counts very favourably for being considered for phd applications.
In the Humanities, it's unusual to be considered for a PhD without a Masters unless you have considerable high-level professional experience in your research topic. I'd say that a Masters is vital, not just advantageous. However it's more common in STEM subjects to go straight from undergrad to a PhDand skip the Masters stage.

In some sense it might make sense since it could be seen as proof that you'll be able to cope well with the coursework since you don't get credit for it?
A PhD in the Humanities in the UK generally won't involve any coursework, credit-bearing or otherwise. A PhD is an independent research project. Certainly there's nothing to stop you sitting in on undergrad or Masters taught modules to fill specific skills gaps, but you won't be expected to turn in coursework (certainly at the three unis I've known).
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ktr
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(Original post by Klix88)
In the Humanities, it's unusual to be considered for a PhD without a Masters unless you have considerable high-level professional experience in your research topic. I'd say that a Masters is vital, not just advantageous. However it's more common in STEM subjects to go straight from undergrad to a PhDand skip the Masters stage.
Sorry I should have been more specific in my post. I was speaking about programmes in the US only, in reference to what sj27 was discussing.


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sj27
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(Original post by ktr)
It may be discipline specific but from some anecdotal evidence (as someone without a perfect record) while talking to faculty members in the humanities having done a masters counts very favourably for being considered for phd applications. In some sense it might make sense since it could be seen as proof that you'll be able to cope well with the coursework since you don't get credit for it?


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Not disputing that - but zippoo claims his friend is at a "top" US uni and judging by his friend's background I would expect he is in a business school (where the finance and related PhDs tend to sit). Many applicants to these courses have masters even though they are not technically required precisely because they are so competitive - for example Columbia took 18 new PhDs students last year out of 830 applicants. Schools like MIT, Stern and Stanford typically take in 15-25 students out of hundreds of applicants for their finance PhDs. I don't know what the comparable UK stats are, but I doubt they are anywhere near as competitive.
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hobnob
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(Original post by zziippoo)
I think the entry requirements are indicators. It doesn't mean that if you don't fully satisfy them you def get a rejection. PhD is much different than undergraduate degree.
If they're listed in the prospectus as entry requirements, though, that does normally mean if you don't meet all of them and decide to apply anyway, you have to assume you'll be rejected. A department might be willing to make the odd exception in an individual case where there are special circumstances, but if they've taken the trouble to draw up a list of entry requirements (as opposed to just saying admissions are done on a case-by-case basis, though most successful applicants tend to have xyz - those are indicators) it means they'll usually expect applicants to have at least that to have their applications seriously considered.
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flying plum
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Back to the original question, funding is extremely competitive at the moment, and I am extremely luck to have mine. I have a 2:1 and a merit, and I applied for 7 funding streams, and got one, and even that was through quite a lot of luck.

Apply, and apply with a really good proposal that you've thought a lot about, and see what happens - but be prepared to consider what you will do in the event you are not awarded funding, particularly if you are applying outside of the sciences.
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zziippoo
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(Original post by sj27)
So which was it, a merit or a distinction?

I'd be very interested to know which US uni he is at. . Do you happen to know what his GRE result was?
Duke University. Yes, he has a gre(general test) and gre in maths. I am not sure about his scores. As far as I know, he has not started his phd. He is doing a training scheme, some taught modules where he needs to pass and then he will start his research. .
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