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    TL;DR: Should I head for Queen Mary, King's, Oxford, UCL or elsewhere for a MA in Public Policy, Comparative Social Policy or equivalent degrees?

    So entering the final year of my undergraduate degree, meaning a wonderful year of agonising over future prospects and applying for postgraduate courses lies ahead of me.

    I'm currently studying Politics at Glasgow, with a quite heavy lean towards International Relations; it seems to be where we have the best faculty, and I do quite well in it. On course for, knock on wood, a high 2:1 or, if I don't mess up, a first.

    I've decided lately that I'm more interested in on-the-ground politics than theoretical and hypothetical stuff though. IR and political theory, interesting as it is on a purely academic level, feels like it does little difference to the people on the street and their everyday struggles. That's what I'm interested in working -- and, IF I get funding, do a PhD in -- with, and have so come to the conclusion that Public Policy probably fits the bill the best.

    I've scoured league tables and rankings ad nauseam, and I'm tiring of it. I will be visiting all my potential destinations, but would like to know if anyone has experience of, or know stuff about, either of them; the universities I'm currently considering are King's College London, Queen Mary University, UCL (all for Master in Public Policy) and, God help me, Oxford (for MSc in Comparative Social Policy).

    Keep in mind that I'm leaning more towards a professional post-masters career, rather than an academic one. As such, one of the chief factors, other than the quality of the education, is employer reputation and possibility of internship/links with employers.

    Another, albeit lesser factor, is cost. Mainly that all alternatives range from £8,000 to £10,000 for a year, whereas Queen Mary only charges £5,000. This is a relevant factor, and also adds into another question; what would I miss out on at Queen Mary which I would gain at the other unis, and will it be worth the £3,000-5,000 saving?

    Any and all advice appreciated.
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    I guess it might be appropriate for me to add my own thoughts on the places as well, they've all got their pros and cons:

    King's:
    Pro
    • It's in London
    • Internationally recognized uni, quite strong in political sciences
    • Boast about a well-developed internship scheme, although I've trouble finding info on this elsewhere
    • Strand campus seems lovely
    • Good graduate employment rate and starting salaries

    Con
    • ~£8,000 tuition fee
    • Central London location makes campus-near accomodation unlikely
    • Uni appears more well-known than the course in question, although such name recognition may work in its favour anyway


    Oxford
    Pro
    • It's in Oxford
    • Incomparably high name recognition of university
    • According to statistics, only two applicants per spot in MSc of Comparative Social Policy (may be construed as a con as well, but I find no indication that the course would be sub-par)
    • The whole Oxbridge experience, which I'll admit I've a very soft spot for
    • At least one academic which I know shares my research interest
    • Girlfriend lives there, so familiar with the city

    Con
    • ~£10,000 tuition fee, plus college fee; then again, since I'm an idiot, I'm almost thinking that the extra cost will be worth it for the Oxford experience
    • Earliest application deadline
    • Arguably most difficult to get into, although that might be my nerves playing into it as well
    • Once again, uni name recognition likely a lot higher than the course
    • I'm definitely a bit too enchanted by the Oxford heritage and brand to think about the course, and the university for that part, in an unbiased manner

    QMUL
    Pro
    • At ~£5,500 tuition fee, by far the most affordable
    • Interesting origin as an educational institution in a traditionally poor and destitute part of London, being the East End; although it's not a major thing, it ties in with my interest in access to education
    • Cheapish area (for being London) to live in, meaning near-campus living might be a possibility
    • One of the cases where the Politics department actually seems to rank above the university itself
    • While not as traditionally excellent, gives a definite air of forward motion, certainly helped by its recent introduction into the Russell Group
    • Among the UK's highest graduate employment rate (although King's says the same thing, so I'm suspecting foul play with statistics from both of them)

    Con
    • Definitely the least recognized name on the list
    • East End arguably less appealing than Central London or Oxford; while I haven't seen the campus yet, it appears far less spectacular
    • A lot of specialised, rather than general MAs; this can definitely be construed as a pro though, in that it allows specialisation to a far greater degree
    • Little info about internship possibilities and links with employers, and less likelihood of being able to rely on the name


    UCL
    Pro
    • Very high international name recognition
    • Gorgeous main building and located in a nice area of London
    • Decently -- although not magnificently -- well-known Public Policy programme
    • Boasts links with employers, although as usual there is little info on in what manner they do

    Con
    • ~£10,000 in tuition fees, putting it on par with Oxford as the most expensive, while lacking the Oxford brand
    • Very expensive part of town, so near-campus living highly improbable
    • By far the course I've researched the least


    Hope that puts my priorities in some perspective. They've all got their advantages and drawbacks, and I'm unsure which I should prioritise over the others.
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    Probably no help at all in choosing, but are you aware of the Snell Exhibition? Might be relevant for funding...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snell_Exhibition
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    (Original post by Kitty Pimms)
    Probably no help at all in choosing, but are you aware of the Snell Exhibition? Might be relevant for funding...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snell_Exhibition
    I wasn't actually! Damn, that looks interesting.

    ...definitely getting my hopes up too much, haha. I presume it's highly competitive.
 
 
 
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