History and International Relations... LSE or St. Andrews?

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zedaa
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I have to select my aspirational university choice but I'm stuck between LSE or St. Andrews... The entry requirements are both AAA.

I know St. A is super competitive in this area (apparently).. and I already live in London, so I'm not on staying here.

This course is quite limited in choice so I was wondering what would be the better option..?

Open to any other suggestions also!

Thanks
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ross95
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They have similar status I guess, but LSE takes it for me in terms of where I'd want to study.
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Origami Bullets
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If you don't want to stay in London, and you think you'd be happy with moving to what amounts to a relatively isolated village, then the obvious choice is St Andrews.

However, the most crucial thing is what modules are on offer, and do you like the look of them? There's no point applying for a course that would make you miserable.
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Mike_123
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LSE is waaaaaay better
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username638250
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LSE has the name.
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Origami Bullets
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(Original post by yl95)
LSE has the name.
You try telling that to the Americans - they're all obsessed with St Andrews. It's all a matter of opinion really.
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username638250
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(Original post by Origami Bullets)
You try telling that to the Americans - they're all obsessed with St Andrews. It's all a matter of opinion really.
True, true...but don't employers in the US know that LSE > St Andrew's?
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Namige
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(Original post by yl95)
True, true...but don't employers in the US know that LSE > St Andrew's?
BDS > ADM > IDL > LSE > St Andrews.
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Origami Bullets
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(Original post by yl95)
True, true...but don't employers in the US know that LSE > St Andrew's?
From an American's point of view, Prince William and the Queen of England went there, so it must be the best (after Oxbridge), mustn't it?

Could you honestly tell me, off the top of your head, if Brown or Cornell is better? Thought not - like LSE and SA, they're on a par, and as we're on the other side of the Atlantic, subtle differences will tend to pass us by.

(You may now be starting to see why I say that reputation is subjective)
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username638250
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(Original post by Origami Bullets)
From an American's point of view, Prince William and the Queen of England went there, so it must be the best (after Oxbridge), mustn't it?

(You may now be starting to see why I say that reputation is subjective)
The Queen went to St. Andrew's? Do you mean Kate?...

Yeah, I knew where you were coming from, haha.
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Origami Bullets
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(Original post by yl95)
The Queen went to St. Andrew's? Do you mean Kate?...

Yeah, I knew where you were coming from, haha.
That's the one But the point is that Americans can be a bit clueless about these things - and it just goes to show that an employer's view of university prestige may not hold much relation to reality, especially when we're talking about minute differences.

When working abroad, I wouldn't put it past employers to get Oxford and Oxford Brookes confused, or to think that London Metropolitan must be better than Leicester, because it's in London and they've heard of London but not Leicester (NB, I'm not recommending London Met!)
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JustinHavelock
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(Original post by zedaa)
I have to select my aspirational university choice but I'm stuck between LSE or St. Andrews... The entry requirements are both AAA.

I know St. A is super competitive in this area (apparently).. and I already live in London, so I'm not on staying here.

This course is quite limited in choice so I was wondering what would be the better option..?

Open to any other suggestions also!

Thanks
I am a current student at St Andrews studying IR and Modern History. St Andrews WAS NOT my top choice whilst I must admit LSE was but I got rejected. and that's how I come to St Andrews. I declare this for the record of being biased.

Prestige and Reputation are hard to measure and they always depend on one's perspective. For example, Manchester enjoys great reputation in China, and one of the major reasons is that there are loads of Chinese students studying there and many of them loved Manchester United. but as we know they have more lenient and generous entry requirement than both LSE and St Andrews. In this reply, which you may find very tenacious, I strive to be most objective and I apologize for any rooted prejudices.

First of all, in terms of an overall international reputation, LSE is probably much more famous than St Andrews. LSE ranked higher internationally because of two reasons. Excellent research in IR and bigger size and output played important role in boosting up its rankings. LSE has more funding than St Andrews since LSE located itself as a research-intensive institution, whilst St Andrews is exceptionally strong in IR research but it is much smaller and it is more of a liberal art institution which focused more on undergraduate teaching. Therefore, when you compare different rankings, you will probably be confused why the QS international ranking does not make slightest sense with the UK one. St Andrews was ranked 83 in 2013 according to QS whilst LSE, and even Manchester ranked much higher, internationally. But if you go back the Times and the Guardian 2014 UK university ranking, St Andrews is ranked 4th in the UK, whilst the complete university guide placed St Andrews in 6th. This is because the international ranking criteria are different from the UK one. The international one tends to put much more stress upon research, which is more of a matter of post-graduate level. The Guardian and the Times tends to stress on student satisfaction and teaching quality, which is more central at undergraduate level. Therefore, personally, merely based on ranking - I would choose St Andrews over LSE at undergraduate level. One of the reasons why it is so highly ranked is because it enjoys high student satisfaction. Personally I think the teaching is AMAZING. Having said that - NO DOUBT, I will definitely leave St Andrews for LSE for post-graduate simply because LSE has better funding and support for research and A LOT MORE resources. One more thing - if you have any question on St Andrews prestige - according to UCAS St Andrews is ranked 5th in terms of its entry requirement, after Oxbridge, LSE and Imperial, which you may also take it as an indiction of how strong St Andrews and LSE academically are and how capable are they of attracting capable students. the facts I shown above are mostly academic and rankings-based. But in the end, no one is going to deny that LSE is more famous than St Andrews internationally to most of the people. And it is understandable that fame is one of the factor every one is bound to consider. (I definitely was one of them!) whether it matters the most or not it is one's personal decision.

Of course, ranking is NOT the only thing you should take into account. I cannot stress enough on the importance of the course. Fist and foremost at St Andrews you are going to spend four years to accomplish your undergraduate degree. Secondly, you will not be allowed to specialize in one particular subject at St Andrews in the first two year as you do in the english system. In the first two years you must take three different modules. in the third year you started specializing in IR if you want, or do a joint degree. For example, I did IR, Modern History and Arabic in first year. And I found out that, I actually really hated Arabic. Thanks to the flexibility the system provided, I was allowed to switch Arabic to Classics. The system has two advantages - firstly, it is a semi-liberal art system which encourages students to study cross-discipline subjects, which broadens the width of their knowledge. In the first year I l studied IR theories. My Modern History modules became very useful by deepening my understanding over IR discipline too. The third major, let's say you do philosophy, you will figure out many philosophers' idea actually also linked to the discipline of history and IR too. I genuinely enjoy this system and love the course. HOWEVER, to provide a more balanced view - I do know people who do not enjoy the course at all since they realize that their interest only lies in one particular field. Therefore they would consider this system as a sheer waste of time. A friend of mine who majors in Russian simply does not like the course because the only thing she wants to study is Russian - but she was forced to take two other modules outside of Russian for two years. She wished she could spent more time on Russian. At LSE, you go straight to the IR course. Advantage is - if you really know you cant live without IR - that's amazing. you will only do IR for three years. Disadvantage - if you hate it, you are .... well.

Now I am going to move on the IR at St Andrews. St Andrews IR is arguably the best in the UK, along with LSE. Is it true? First of all, I have to make absolute clear that IR is a very broad discipline. St Andrews School of IR is definitely world leading and top-notch. Students from Elliot School of IR and Ivy League in America send their students here to study terrorism. I know a IR student from Columbia, and a guy from Georgetown, and a chap from Princeton. Our principal Louise Richardson is a IR expert in terrorism. The founder and the previous head of IR School of St Andrews, Paul Wilkinson, who passed away in 2011, was basically a founder of terrorism studies. Paul Wilkinson wrote the oxford very short introduction to IR. Generally, St Andrews IR specializes in Terrorism, International Security and conflict studies, Africa, Eastern European Studies, Middle East Studies, and Central Asia Studies (you can go and check the staff on the official page). These are the areas which St Andrews is superb in not just the UK but in the world. They have quite a few experts (Richard English!) and star-professors here. HOWEVER, St Andrews DOES NOT specialize in Western Europe, Latin America, International Law and Classical Political Theory. LSE, on the contrary, is really strong in European Studies, War Studies (Mary Kaldor!) and Nationalism. Therefore it depends on where your interests lay on. LSE and St Andrews are both world-known and academically excellent in IR. It depends on your interest and which field you want to study because the universities provides different modules according to their strengths. At St Andrews, most IR students took Terrorism modules not just because they probably are interested in this field but it also because it is simply you are going to be taught by the world experts in this field.

Lastly, it is vital to think about the location. St Andrews and LSE are two extreme. I am not going to offer any opinion on such matter cause I really do not want to be biased. VISIT the place.


If you have any question, feel to ask, I hope it helps.
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username941859
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(Original post by JustinHavelock)
I am a current student at St Andrews studying IR and Modern History. St Andrews WAS NOT my top choice whilst I must admit LSE was but I got rejected. and that's how I come to St Andrews. I declare this for the record of being biased.

Prestige and Reputation are hard to measure and they always depend on one's perspective. For example, Manchester enjoys great reputation in China, and one of the major reasons is that there are loads of Chinese students studying there and many of them loved Manchester United. but as we know they have more lenient and generous entry requirement than both LSE and St Andrews. In this reply, which you may find very tenacious, I strive to be most objective and I apologize for any rooted prejudices.

First of all, in terms of an overall international reputation, LSE is probably much more famous than St Andrews. LSE ranked higher internationally because of two reasons. Excellent research in IR and bigger size and output played important role in boosting up its rankings. LSE has more funding than St Andrews since LSE located itself as a research-intensive institution, whilst St Andrews is exceptionally strong in IR research but it is much smaller and it is more of a liberal art institution which focused more on undergraduate teaching. Therefore, when you compare different rankings, you will probably be confused why the QS international ranking does not make slightest sense with the UK one. St Andrews was ranked 83 in 2013 according to QS whilst LSE, and even Manchester ranked much higher, internationally. But if you go back the Times and the Guardian 2014 UK university ranking, St Andrews is ranked 4th in the UK, whilst the complete university guide placed St Andrews in 6th. This is because the international ranking criteria are different from the UK one. The international one tends to put much more stress upon research, which is more of a matter of post-graduate level. The Guardian and the Times tends to stress on student satisfaction and teaching quality, which is more central at undergraduate level. Therefore, personally, merely based on ranking - I would choose St Andrews over LSE at undergraduate level. One of the reasons why it is so highly ranked is because it enjoys high student satisfaction. Personally I think the teaching is AMAZING. Having said that - NO DOUBT, I will definitely leave St Andrews for LSE for post-graduate simply because LSE has better funding and support for research and A LOT MORE resources. One more thing - if you have any question on St Andrews prestige - according to UCAS St Andrews is ranked 5th in terms of its entry requirement, after Oxbridge, LSE and Imperial, which you may also take it as an indiction of how strong St Andrews and LSE academically are and how capable are they of attracting capable students. the facts I shown above are mostly academic and rankings-based. But in the end, no one is going to deny that LSE is more famous than St Andrews internationally to most of the people. And it is understandable that fame is one of the factor every one is bound to consider. (I definitely was one of them!) whether it matters the most or not it is one's personal decision.

Of course, ranking is NOT the only thing you should take into account. I cannot stress enough on the importance of the course. Fist and foremost at St Andrews you are going to spend four years to accomplish your undergraduate degree. Secondly, you will not be allowed to specialize in one particular subject at St Andrews in the first two year as you do in the english system. In the first two years you must take three different modules. in the third year you started specializing in IR if you want, or do a joint degree. For example, I did IR, Modern History and Arabic in first year. And I found out that, I actually really hated Arabic. Thanks to the flexibility the system provided, I was allowed to switch Arabic to Classics. The system has two advantages - firstly, it is a semi-liberal art system which encourages students to study cross-discipline subjects, which broadens the width of their knowledge. In the first year I l studied IR theories. My Modern History modules became very useful by deepening my understanding over IR discipline too. The third major, let's say you do philosophy, you will figure out many philosophers' idea actually also linked to the discipline of history and IR too. I genuinely enjoy this system and love the course. HOWEVER, to provide a more balanced view - I do know people who do not enjoy the course at all since they realize that their interest only lies in one particular field. Therefore they would consider this system as a sheer waste of time. A friend of mine who majors in Russian simply does not like the course because the only thing she wants to study is Russian - but she was forced to take two other modules outside of Russian for two years. She wished she could spent more time on Russian. At LSE, you go straight to the IR course. Advantage is - if you really know you cant live without IR - that's amazing. you will only do IR for three years. Disadvantage - if you hate it, you are .... well.

Now I am going to move on the IR at St Andrews. St Andrews IR is arguably the best in the UK, along with LSE. Is it true? First of all, I have to make absolute clear that IR is a very broad discipline. St Andrews School of IR is definitely world leading and top-notch. Students from Elliot School of IR and Ivy League in America send their students here to study terrorism. I know a IR student from Columbia, and a guy from Georgetown, and a chap from Princeton. Our principal Louise Richardson is a IR expert in terrorism. The founder and the previous head of IR School of St Andrews, Paul Wilkinson, who passed away in 2011, was basically a founder of terrorism studies. Paul Wilkinson wrote the oxford very short introduction to IR. Generally, St Andrews IR specializes in Terrorism, International Security and conflict studies, Africa, Eastern European Studies, Middle East Studies, and Central Asia Studies (you can go and check the staff on the official page). These are the areas which St Andrews is superb in not just the UK but in the world. They have quite a few experts (Richard English!) and star-professors here. HOWEVER, St Andrews DOES NOT specialize in Western Europe, Latin America, International Law and Classical Political Theory. LSE, on the contrary, is really strong in European Studies, War Studies (Mary Kaldor!) and Nationalism. Therefore it depends on where your interests lay on. LSE and St Andrews are both world-known and academically excellent in IR. It depends on your interest and which field you want to study because the universities provides different modules according to their strengths. At St Andrews, most IR students took Terrorism modules not just because they probably are interested in this field but it also because it is simply you are going to be taught by the world experts in this field.

Lastly, it is vital to think about the location. St Andrews and LSE are two extreme. I am not going to offer any opinion on such matter cause I really do not want to be biased. VISIT the place.


If you have any question, feel to ask, I hope it helps.
Off topic but I'm a first year and did exact same modules as you in first year

IR in St Andrews is second to none OP, we have a specialised department that is one of the best in the world.
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LaurieStar95
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Hi there, I'm in a similar dilemma right now so would love some help! I have an offer to study history and international relations at LSE and also and offer to study modern history and international relations at St Andrews. My LSE offer is slightly higher than the St Andrews one, both 38 points but LSE 766 at Higher Level, and Dt Andrews just requires a 6 in higher level history. I'm very torn about which to choose as my firm- LSE has always been a fantasy and I almost didn't apply as I thought I had no hope in getting in, where as I went to St Andrews and absolutely loved it, however it was always a more realistic prospect in terms of aspirations! I currently attend a very small school where everyone knows everyone else's business etc, and although I do love the close knit environment part of me wants a change, and I know that London is obviously the best solution! So one of my questions is really what is life like at St Andrews, does it get very claustrophobic after a couple of years? Or is it not something that you notice too much? From reading JustinHaveLock's comment and looking at the course contents on the univerities' websites, the St Andrews course does seem slightly more exciting, however I wonder about the benefit of only having very small numbers of people studying my course at LSE (only 22 people in 2012) and whether that should outweigh the small differences in courses? At LSE there is the benefit of getting to study the LSE 100 course, however if anyone has studied that could they let me know if it is as interesting as it sounds, as that could always be a possible deal breaker. Also at St Andrews, how likely are you to get your first choice of 3rd course in 1st and 2nd year? The final thing I wanted to check about if anyone has any ideas is if there is any benefit of a BSc vs a BA, as at LSE the course gets you a BSc so I was just wondering if this figes you any advantage later on at all? Thank you to anyone who responds, just in need of a bit of guidance!
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username941859
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(Original post by LaurieStar95)
Hi there, I'm in a similar dilemma right now so would love some help! I have an offer to study history and international relations at LSE and also and offer to study modern history and international relations at St Andrews. My LSE offer is slightly higher than the St Andrews one, both 38 points but LSE 766 at Higher Level, and Dt Andrews just requires a 6 in higher level history. I'm very torn about which to choose as my firm- LSE has always been a fantasy and I almost didn't apply as I thought I had no hope in getting in, where as I went to St Andrews and absolutely loved it, however it was always a more realistic prospect in terms of aspirations! I currently attend a very small school where everyone knows everyone else's business etc, and although I do love the close knit environment part of me wants a change, and I know that London is obviously the best solution! So one of my questions is really what is life like at St Andrews, does it get very claustrophobic after a couple of years? Or is it not something that you notice too much? From reading JustinHaveLock's comment and looking at the course contents on the univerities' websites, the St Andrews course does seem slightly more exciting, however I wonder about the benefit of only having very small numbers of people studying my course at LSE (only 22 people in 2012) and whether that should outweigh the small differences in courses? At LSE there is the benefit of getting to study the LSE 100 course, however if anyone has studied that could they let me know if it is as interesting as it sounds, as that could always be a possible deal breaker. Also at St Andrews, how likely are you to get your first choice of 3rd course in 1st and 2nd year? The final thing I wanted to check about if anyone has any ideas is if there is any benefit of a BSc vs a BA, as at LSE the course gets you a BSc so I was just wondering if this figes you any advantage later on at all? Thank you to anyone who responds, just in need of a bit of guidance!
Go with what feels right. Having done the iB achieving a 7 is never a guarantee and 666 is much more achievable. I love St Andrews and couldn't deal with London life. BA vs BSc is a none issue. It matters very little with regards to the humanities. and actually it's MA in St. Andrews, the Scottish master. You're 100% likely to get your choice of course unless you didn't apply for IR (which you did so it's fine) or there's a scheduling issue! Or you want to do medicine, obviousy. If you have any questions let me know
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