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    I know it is notoriously difficult to get funding at Master's level, particularly in the Arts & Humanities (I'm an Arts student). I got an email yesterday telling me I hadn't secured any funding and I'm just feeling a bit down about it. I wasn't expecting to get funding and I wasn't relying on it, but all the same rejection isn't nice!

    I just don't know what I did wrong. I have a first in my undergrad degree, and I thought my application letter/proposal was pretty solid. I'd been led to believe (from my tutors at old uni) that if you had a first you stood a really good chance.

    Anyone else in this position?
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    (Original post by LouLou92)
    I know it is notoriously difficult to get funding at Master's level, particularly in the Arts & Humanities (I'm an Arts student). I got an email yesterday telling me I hadn't secured any funding and I'm just feeling a bit down about it. I wasn't expecting to get funding and I wasn't relying on it, but all the same rejection isn't nice!

    I just don't know what I did wrong. I have a first in my undergrad degree, and I thought my application letter/proposal was pretty solid. I'd been led to believe (from my tutors at old uni) that if you had a first you stood a really good chance.

    Anyone else in this position?
    The chances are highly context-dependent, but this simply isn't true on average; there are far more first-holders applying than there is funding available, especially for - as you say - A&H's. Making a masters an effective precondition to PhD, and balancing funding towards the latter, is just a generally bad system. It's a significant financial barrier to many people. If it's any consolation, most people are in your position at this stage. Out of interest, what course/university did you apply to?
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    There is an acknowledged gap in funding at Masters level, so it's rare indeed to get funding for a Masters - especially in the Humanities. The AHRC has a policy of now concentrating on PhD and post-doc funding. My Masters uni had an AHRC Block Grant, could allocate it as they chose and encouraged applications from Masters students. Nobody in my year got funding and when we asked around, nobody could remember funding ever being given to a Masters student.

    Many academics have the impression that their recommendations hold more weight than they actually do, so the inflated view of your chances that you were given isn't unusual. A couple of times in the last year I've been told with a nod and a wink that I'm a shoe-in for a job because someone had "had a word" on my behalf. They were wrong.

    Whilst it's frustrating, a lack of funding for a Masters is by far the norm these days. In fact it's so rare that having a First is just the basic requirement for even making an application. I wish I could tell you what you could've done better, but as I've never known someone in the Humanities who got funding for a Masters, I can't advise.
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    (Original post by LouLou92)

    I just don't know what I did wrong. I have a first in my undergrad degree, and I thought my application letter/proposal was pretty solid. I'd been led to believe (from my tutors at old uni) that if you had a first you stood a really good chance.

    Anyone else in this position?
    You probably didn't do anything wrong - just a reflection of the state in which Arts funding is these days. As Kilx points out, someone's recommendation isn't always seen as important as they think. I'm another one who doesn't know anyone who had MA funding in the Arts and I did my MA back when the funding was there, albeit in small amounts, rather than none at all (which starts for the 14/15 academic year).

    If you were applying to a different institution than your undergrad uni that was offering MA funding, my bet would be on it going to one of their own students who's staying on for the course. Sadly nepotism is alive and well and when MA funding is so rare, even achieving a First whilst climbing Everest backwards on one leg playing a banjo probably won't have helped.

    Chin up, there are ways and means to do a Master's. Which subject are you as sure some of us may know some things?
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    (Original post by Misovlogos)
    The chances are highly context-dependent, but this simply isn't true on average; there are far more first-holders applying than there is funding available, especially for - as you say - A&H's. Making a masters an effective precondition to PhD, and balancing funding towards the latter, is just a generally bad system. It's a significant financial barrier to many people. If it's any consolation, most people are in your position at this stage. Out of interest, what course/university did you apply to?

    (Original post by Klix88)
    There is an acknowledged gap in funding at Masters level, so it's rare indeed to get funding for a Masters - especially in the Humanities. The AHRC has a policy of now concentrating on PhD and post-doc funding. My Masters uni had an AHRC Block Grant, could allocate it as they chose and encouraged applications from Masters students. Nobody in my year got funding and when we asked around, nobody could remember funding ever being given to a Masters student.

    Many academics have the impression that their recommendations hold more weight than they actually do, so the inflated view of your chances that you were given isn't unusual. A couple of times in the last year I've been told with a nod and a wink that I'm a shoe-in for a job because someone had "had a word" on my behalf. They were wrong.

    Whilst it's frustrating, a lack of funding for a Masters is by far the norm these days. In fact it's so rare that having a First is just the basic requirement for even making an application. I wish I could tell you what you could've done better, but as I've never known someone in the Humanities who got funding for a Masters, I can't advise.

    (Original post by apotoftea)
    You probably didn't do anything wrong - just a reflection of the state in which Arts funding is these days. As Kilx points out, someone's recommendation isn't always seen as important as they think. I'm another one who doesn't know anyone who had MA funding in the Arts and I did my MA back when the funding was there, albeit in small amounts, rather than none at all (which starts for the 14/15 academic year).

    If you were applying to a different institution than your undergrad uni that was offering MA funding, my bet would be on it going to one of their own students who's staying on for the course. Sadly nepotism is alive and well and when MA funding is so rare, even achieving a First whilst climbing Everest backwards on one leg playing a banjo probably won't have helped.

    Chin up, there are ways and means to do a Master's. Which subject are you as sure some of us may know some things?

    Thank you for your replies, it's good to know I didn't necessarily do anything wrong with the application. I actually know 2 people who have secured MA funding which is why I think I feel a bit dejected about it. However these people were continuing on at the same uni but I'm not which might make a difference? I have heard that departments prefer to give funding to continuing students/alumni.

    I'd love to continue to higher education, maybe even PhD level, it's a shame the funding makes it so hard! Like Misovlogos said, it seems so awkward that Arts subjects are more likely to get funding at PhD level but not Master's - how are we meant to get on the PhD in the first place? I'm sure that in my application I specifically mentioned that I wanted to continue to PhD level, I thought they'd like that but apparently not!

    Ah well, another year of being a skint student I suppose! Hopefully I'll be able to find part-time work, but juggling that alongside a full-time MA is a whole different kettle of fish..
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    (Original post by LouLou92)
    Ah well, another year of being a skint student I suppose! Hopefully I'll be able to find part-time work, but juggling that alongside a full-time MA is a whole different kettle of fish..
    I did it but my MA contact time was only six hours a week. I found it focused my time more having to be somewhere at certain times though so it has its benefits. There's also the option of working part time, say in a field relevant to your study and studying part time too.

    Mentioning you wanting to do a PhD wouldn't have made a jot of difference as most applicants will write that whether they mean it or not. The funding for MAs situation is ridiculous (PhD application success rates are about 1 in 8 for AHRC) so don't take it personally though it does feel like it.
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    (Original post by LouLou92)
    Thank you for your replies, it's good to know I didn't necessarily do anything wrong with the application. I actually know 2 people who have secured MA funding which is why I think I feel a bit dejected about it. However these people were continuing on at the same uni but I'm not which might make a difference? I have heard that departments prefer to give funding to continuing students/alumni.

    I'd love to continue to higher education, maybe even PhD level, it's a shame the funding makes it so hard! Like Misovlogos said, it seems so awkward that Arts subjects are more likely to get funding at PhD level but not Master's - how are we meant to get on the PhD in the first place? I'm sure that in my application I specifically mentioned that I wanted to continue to PhD level, I thought they'd like that but apparently not!

    Ah well, another year of being a skint student I suppose! Hopefully I'll be able to find part-time work, but juggling that alongside a full-time MA is a whole different kettle of fish..
    I don't know if it's the same down in England but a lot of my friends, myself included were being told to apply for a PhD in law, myself included, without doing a masters first. The lecturer I was talking to said it wasn't a prerequisite and if you had a solid dissertation grade and a topic that would be relevant to the university you might have a chance. So maybe something worth looking into if a PhD is your final goal.
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    As has been said before, there are more wild unicorns in the Uk than there are funded masters students in Arts and Humanities. I've come across 3, all told, although all have been in Oxford, which is most definitely not your average university as it has bags more money, special funds and endowments than anywhere else (except Cam). Even here, those who got the funding had a First and stellar recommendations as a given, along with a selection international exchanges, publications, conference presentations, tons of undergrad prizes, scholarships, research placements, fieldwork and being Oxbridge/Ivy league alumni. With some of these qualities, you might just stand a chance in somewhere as awash with masters funding (1 in 10 get funded) as Oxford. So yeah, sorry to break it to you but you sound like you would have been cut off (as 99% of us are) at the first hurdle.


    (Original post by lyrical_lie)
    I don't know if it's the same down in England but a lot of my friends, myself included were being told to apply for a PhD in law, myself included, without doing a masters first. The lecturer I was talking to said it wasn't a prerequisite and if you had a solid dissertation grade and a topic that would be relevant to the university you might have a chance. So maybe something worth looking into if a PhD is your final goal.
    I have heard of this happening in History too, because many departments still have on their regulations that the only formal requirement is a good BA, but I have found (I was advised to do this) that it tends to be offered to students who have done an undergrad at an institution who are therefore a 'known quantity' and the department can feel comfortable offering them a PhD place without going through a masters course. It's never officially recommended and I got the impression that if you havn't been advised to do it by someone high up in the department, then they won't really consider you.
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    (Original post by lyrical_lie)
    I don't know if it's the same down in England but a lot of my friends, myself included were being told to apply for a PhD in law, myself included, without doing a masters first. The lecturer I was talking to said it wasn't a prerequisite and if you had a solid dissertation grade and a topic that would be relevant to the university you might have a chance. So maybe something worth looking into if a PhD is your final goal.
    Completely different discipline, but I've been told the same thing re:Cam application and similar, yet I know that >95% of our own doctoral training funding (at HWU/Ed/St Andrews) goes to people who do have a Master's, and a First/Distinction in it at that.

    I don't mind, my funding requirements for Master's were easier to meet than the entry requirements, but I know most others aren't that lucky (and I'm a couple grand short on funding anyway).

    Edit: Just to add that Master's funding is indeed very rare. I'm only getting it because I can continue my undergraduate external scholarship. This isn't an arts and humanities issue, either, my funding is completely subject independent and I tried looking for full funding (this is in maths/physics!) and there are very few options there unless you're good enough for Rhodes, Gates or similar.
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    As above - its not personal although of course it must feel like that. Just keep plugging away, remember there is funding aside from AHRC (Dept/Uni studentships etc, or partial funding and get a Loan for the rest) so keep an eye on jobs.ac.uk and here on TSR (http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=2551148) and spread your net a bit wider - different Unis, slightly different course and be prepared to compromise. It may take you a year or so to get something but if you are determined enough you may get lucky.
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    (Original post by LouLou92)
    I know it is notoriously difficult to get funding at Master's level, particularly in the Arts & Humanities (I'm an Arts student). I got an email yesterday telling me I hadn't secured any funding and I'm just feeling a bit down about it. I wasn't expecting to get funding and I wasn't relying on it, but all the same rejection isn't nice!

    I just don't know what I did wrong. I have a first in my undergrad degree, and I thought my application letter/proposal was pretty solid. I'd been led to believe (from my tutors at old uni) that if you had a first you stood a really good chance.

    Anyone else in this position?
    It's extremely rare to get funding for a taught postgrad - the amount of people applying for it with a first vastly outweighs the number of available places. A first becomes, in other words, a minimum expectation.

    I got partial funding (full tuition departmental scholarship) but it wasn't for my first choice course. I couldn't justify the debt that it would mean to take the first choice course, so I took the scholarship. However, even that was hard to get because my course has several hundred students, and I was amazed when I was informed.

    For my first choice course I applied to at least a dozen college/departmental scholarships and studentships - I didn't get any of them. Only a few were specifically for taught masters, whilst the rest were for any postgrad and thus ended up focused on PhD candidates.

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    first of all thank you everyone for replying. Like I said I wasn't really expecting or feeling entitled to funding, I think the thing that got me a bit down was the fact that out of the 2 other people I know applying for the same MA course, they both got funding whilst I didn't. But I understand there are ways to work around not securing funding, and of course that there are people far more deserving of funding than me. I'm sure the limited funding went to the best people, even so it's still a bit of a blow even when you know deep down you're not going to get it.



    (Original post by Maura Kat)
    instantaneous contradiction? :cool:
    first of all, there are thousands of people around the world who're smarter than you but have had no funding since they started school till they finished their degree.
    they've had to work 2-3 jobs and then juggle school work.

    you on the other hand have not had to pay for anything except rely on the welfare state since day 1.
    so get your bum off that plastic chair of yours, get some work done and earn some decent wages.

    whats the point of doing a masters when you have no sense of originality let alone endeavour?
    Well I'm not sure how you worked out that I have no originality or endeavour? The only reason I said that am not relying completely on funding is because I have worked during my A-levels/degree and saved up a bit of money. I am self-funding the MA with my own money.

    I also realise that many people have it a lot harder than I do, and that I'm in a privileged position to be able to work around not getting funding. I know people go through postgrad study whilst being in full-time employment, raising families, and having numerous other commitments. I admire these people a great deal because I know for a fact I wouldn't be able to cope juggling so much. I'm not sure I could have managed a part-time job in the final year of my degree, not physically because I had few contact hours, but psychologically any time I wasn't doing degree work I needed a mental break to just zone out and read/watch tv/ go out with friends. Seen as I got a first, I'd say it worked.
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    (Original post by ellie.rew)
    As has been said before, there are more wild unicorns in the Uk than there are funded masters students in Arts and Humanities. I've come across 3, all told, although all have been in Oxford, which is most definitely not your average university as it has bags more money, special funds and endowments than anywhere else (except Cam). Even here, those who got the funding had a First and stellar recommendations as a given, along with a selection international exchanges, publications, conference presentations, tons of undergrad prizes, scholarships, research placements, fieldwork and being Oxbridge/Ivy league alumni. With some of these qualities, you might just stand a chance in somewhere as awash with masters funding (1 in 10 get funded) as Oxford. So yeah, sorry to break it to you but you sound like you would have been cut off (as 99% of us are) at the first hurdle.




    I have heard of this happening in History too, because many departments still have on their regulations that the only formal requirement is a good BA, but I have found (I was advised to do this) that it tends to be offered to students who have done an undergrad at an institution who are therefore a 'known quantity' and the department can feel comfortable offering them a PhD place without going through a masters course. It's never officially recommended and I got the impression that if you havn't been advised to do it by someone high up in the department, then they won't really consider you.
    haha that's a great way of putting it!

    I didn't even know it was possible to do an arts/humanities phd without a master's! Even if I had the chance, I don't think I'd feel fully prepared to embark on a full-time PhD without having the experience and teaching at MA level, the MA seems like a good bridge from undergrad to phd.
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    (Original post by LouLou92)
    I didn't even know it was possible to do an arts/humanities phd without a master's! Even if I had the chance, I don't think I'd feel fully prepared to embark on a full-time PhD without having the experience and teaching at MA level, the MA seems like a good bridge from undergrad to phd.
    It is a rare thing and it tends to be on the whim of a department head or influential professor. I know about it only because I was offered the option at my undergrad uni to enroll as a PhD, audit all the MA classes and then proceed straight to the PhD dissertation.

    In the end though, I chose, as you hypothetically would, to take the MA option, which I do think is better in many respects (albeit incredibly expensive). I got to move to a different department with completely different research foci and methodologies, got exposed to many new approaches, ideas and people and (most importantly and the biggest factor in the decision) got to meet and work with the authority in my proposed PhD area. Even if I don't get to stay on and do my PhD here, that contact and reference, alongside all the experience, are more than worth taking the extra year before the doctorate. They should also help to boost my chances of getting PhD funding, which, while hardly growing on trees, is at least slightly more common than the British Unicorn!
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    (Original post by apotoftea)
    Sadly nepotism is alive and well and when MA funding is so rare, even achieving a First whilst climbing Everest backwards on one leg playing a banjo probably won't have helped.
    What are the chances for those of us who haven't even done that??
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    (Original post by ellie.rew)
    It is a rare thing and it tends to be on the whim of a department head or influential professor. I know about it only because I was offered the option at my undergrad uni to enroll as a PhD, audit all the MA classes and then proceed straight to the PhD dissertation.

    In the end though, I chose, as you hypothetically would, to take the MA option, which I do think is better in many respects (albeit incredibly expensive). I got to move to a different department with completely different research foci and methodologies, got exposed to many new approaches, ideas and people and (most importantly and the biggest factor in the decision) got to meet and work with the authority in my proposed PhD area. Even if I don't get to stay on and do my PhD here, that contact and reference, alongside all the experience, are more than worth taking the extra year before the doctorate. They should also help to boost my chances of getting PhD funding, which, while hardly growing on trees, is at least slightly more common than the British Unicorn!

    wow that's amazing, congratulations on it all turning out well for you! It's great you chose to put in the work and money to do the MA, I'm glad it paid off
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    (Original post by LouLou92)
    I know it is notoriously difficult to get funding at Master's level, particularly in the Arts & Humanities (I'm an Arts student). I got an email yesterday telling me I hadn't secured any funding and I'm just feeling a bit down about it. I wasn't expecting to get funding and I wasn't relying on it, but all the same rejection isn't nice!

    I just don't know what I did wrong. I have a first in my undergrad degree, and I thought my application letter/proposal was pretty solid. I'd been led to believe (from my tutors at old uni) that if you had a first you stood a really good chance.

    Anyone else in this position?
    Quite funny. In the past my nickname has been Lou Lou (similar sound to my last name) and I'm born in 92.
    When you say you applied for funding, who did you apply to?
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    (Original post by hellodave5)
    Quite funny. In the past my nickname has been Lou Lou (similar sound to my last name) and I'm born in 92.
    When you say you applied for funding, who did you apply to?

    what a coincidence!

    I applied for a few different things, including arts council funding, uni scholarships, departmental awards etc
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    (Original post by LouLou92)
    what a coincidence!

    I applied for a few different things, including arts council funding, uni scholarships, departmental awards etc
    Ah yeah, they are massively over subscribed - It really is just a roll dice amongst those with high 2.1's and firsts, it seems.

    You can always do it part time and work alongside (which I'm doing). Another option is to borrow as part of a postgraduate loan from Barclays or The Co-operative Bank - very reasonable interest rates of which are paid by the government whilst you're studying!
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    (Original post by LouLou92)
    wow that's amazing, congratulations on it all turning out well for you! It's great you chose to put in the work and money to do the MA, I'm glad it paid off
    I can't say it's paid off just yet (I'll spend the next year working trying to pay it off while applying for PhDs) but I don't regret it!
 
 
 
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