St. Andrews v. UCL v. KCL for Politics/IR? Watch

alessandra0811
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I love European culture and would love to study in the UK, but coming from the US, I'm less familiar with UK universities than I am with American universities.
I've been accepted to University of St. Andrews (International Relations), University College London (Politics & Eastern European Studies), and King's College London (Politics). My post-graduation plan would be to return to the US for employment and business school.


My concern is which school has the best reputation among employers in the political and/or financial services sector? I believe St. Andrews has one of best IR programs, but from its career services site, I don't sense that much alumni connections and networking help (please correct me if I'm wrong!). Any advice?

Thank you all!
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LutherVan
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(Original post by alessandra0811)
I love European culture and would love to study in the UK, but coming from the US, I'm less familiar with UK universities than I am with American universities.
I've been accepted to University of St. Andrews (International Relations), University College London (Politics & Eastern European Studies), and King's College London (Politics). My post-graduation plan would be to return to the US for employment and business school.


My concern is which school has the best reputation among employers in the political and/or financial services sector? I believe St. Andrews has one of best IR programs, but from its career services site, I don't sense that much alumni connections and networking help (please correct me if I'm wrong!). Any advice?

Thank you all!
Hi,

UCL has the best reputation in the financial services sector.

KCL has the best reputation in the political sector.

St Andrews has a strong advantage as it is regionally dominant but only if you plan to stay in Scotland. If not, this does not count for much.

In regards to best IR programme, that will have to be dependent on what specific programme, but in regards to the general Politics and International Relations field, KCL has the strongest reputation by virtue of size and quality. In the recent REF assessment by the UK government, KCL was second to Oxford and one place above LSE. It also has the strongest alumni in the field.

Based on what you have stated about your future aims, I would suggest it has to be between UCL and KCL.
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alessandra0811
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(Original post by LutherVan)
Hi,

UCL has the best reputation in the financial services sector.

KCL has the best reputation in the political sector.

St Andrews has a strong advantage as it is regionally dominantm but only if you plan to stay in Scotland. If not, this does not count for much.

In regards to best IR programme, that will have to be dependent on what specific programme, but in regards to the general Politics and International Relations field, KCL has the strongest reputation by virtue of size and quality. In the recent REF assessment by the UK government, KCL was second to Oxford and one place above LSE. It also hase the strongest alumni in the field.

Based on what you have stated about your future aims, I would suggest it has to be between UCL and KCL.
Thanks for the feedback! When you mention that UCL has the best reputation in the financial services sector, will it hurt my employment chances if my chosen course of study - Politics & East European Studies - is not finance/economics-related?
Thank you again!
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LutherVan
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(Original post by alessandra0811)
Thanks for the feedback! When you mention that UCL has the best reputation in the financial services sector, will it hurt my employment chances if my chosen course of study - Politics & East European Studies - is not finance/economics-related?
Thank you again!
Obviously it has more limitations to employability in financial services than if you studied a finance/economics-related subject.

But it is also dependent on the options/modules/electives you choose on the course and what part of financial services business you plan to apply to.

For example, UCL's Politics & East European Studies provides you with an opportunity to do some political economy, macro and micro-economics courses. Selecting these, having good grades and highlighting these in applications can be helpful.
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Okorange
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(Original post by LutherVan)
Hi,

UCL has the best reputation in the financial services sector.

KCL has the best reputation in the political sector.

St Andrews has a strong advantage as it is regionally dominant but only if you plan to stay in Scotland. If not, this does not count for much.

In regards to best IR programme, that will have to be dependent on what specific programme, but in regards to the general Politics and International Relations field, KCL has the strongest reputation by virtue of size and quality. In the recent REF assessment by the UK government, KCL was second to Oxford and one place above LSE. It also has the strongest alumni in the field.

Based on what you have stated about your future aims, I would suggest it has to be between UCL and KCL.
I hope you know that in the US, St Andrews is the most well known out of those 3 unis... Its certainly not just a regionally dominant school either, its nationally known and well known in North America.

I recommend St Andrews, although i'm biased since I have gone there, this is mainly because IR is St Andrews most well known program, its flagship if you will. Although you can't go wrong with any of them, a best way to make your decision is London vs St Andrews and they couldn't be more different. Also remember that St Andrews is 4 years long vs 3 for UCL and KCL.

St Andrews has the most American alumni out of the three ironically despite its size, 15% of St Andrews is American while only 481 at UCL I believe for both UG and PG. I think for alumni connections all 3 are going to be worse than US schools but St Andrews is going to be the best. Along with LSE, St Andrews is the only UK school allowed into the Princeton Club of New York.
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Snufkin
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Are you actually interested in Eastern Europe? UCL is great and its School of Slavonic and East European Studies is certainly one of, if not the best place to study the languages, economics, politics, histories and cultures of Eastern Europe and Russia - but I would strongly advise you to look in detail at the modules involved before committing yourself to it. It is very niche, there's no point doing it just to get a UCL degree.
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LutherVan
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(Original post by Okorange)
I hope you know that in the US, St Andrews is the most well known out of those 3 unis... Its certainly not just a regionally dominant school either, its nationally known and well known in North America.

I recommend St Andrews, although i'm biased since I have gone there, this is mainly because IR is St Andrews most well known program, its flagship if you will. Although you can't go wrong with any of them, a best way to make your decision is London vs St Andrews and they couldn't be more different. Also remember that St Andrews is 4 years long vs 3 for UCL and KCL.

St Andrews has the most American alumni out of the three ironically despite its size, 15% of St Andrews is American while only 481 at UCL I believe for both UG and PG. I think for alumni connections all 3 are going to be worse than US schools but St Andrews is going to be the best. Along with LSE, St Andrews is the only UK school allowed into the Princeton Club of New York.
Yeah, I know St Andrews is the best known of the 3 in the USA. That is due to the Will & Kate effect.

I think that effect will, and is, gradually losing its impact. The emerging dominant effect now is the numerous international league tables. UCL's reputation is shooting up the roof because of its constant high rankings. St Andrews does not do that great in these.

I somehow had an irkling that IR was the premier degree of St Andrews but was not sure. That was why I played safe and referred to the overarching field, but stating "it will be dependent on what specific programme".

That said, St Andrews REF 2014 assessment in the overarching field was very much behind the other two.
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Okorange
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(Original post by LutherVan)
Yeah, I know St Andrews is the best known of the 3 in the USA. That is due to the Will & Kate effect.

I think that effect will, and is, gradually losing its impact. The emerging dominant effect now is the numerous international league tables. UCL's reputation is shooting up the roof because of its constant high rankings.

I somehow had an irkling that IR was the premier degree of St Andrews but was not sure. That was why I played safe and referred to the overarching field, but stating "it will be dependent on what specific programme".

That said, St Andrews REF 2014 assessment in the overarching field was very much behind the other two.
I see, however the effect is staying on in the form of its American students. The percentage of American students has not dropped and while Will and Kate gave a temporary boost to St Andrew's reputation it has still been able to maintain that reputation. St Andrews has actually been a popular place for Americans well before Will even went there.

I don't think Will and Kate is going to be a big deal in 5-10 years after the babies are had and everyone grows old, besides its not as if St Andrews has not been a good university, it is affiliated with 6 nobels, probably one of the highest student body to nobel ratios, and it is still 600 years old. In almost every country the oldest unis are some of the best or most highly regarded. I highly doubt its reputation will drop in the near future, in my opinion Will and Kate only brought a university that was already good into the spotlight.
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LutherVan
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(Original post by Okorange)
I see, however the effect is staying on in the form of its American students. The percentage of American students has not dropped and while Will and Kate gave a temporary boost to St Andrew's reputation it has still been able to maintain that reputation. St Andrews has actually been a popular place for Americans well before Will even went there.

I don't think Will and Kate is going to be a big deal in 5-10 years after the babies are had and everyone grows old, besides its not as if St Andrews has not been a good university, it is affiliated with 6 nobels, probably one of the highest student body to nobel ratios, and it is still 600 years old. In almost every country the oldest unis are some of the best or most highly regarded. I highly doubt its reputation will drop in the near future, in my opinion Will and Kate only brought a university that was already good into the spotlight.
No doubt Will and Kate brought an already good university into the spotlight and it has history considering its age.

That said, its very small size is a disadvantage, just like Yale and Princeton's small size are disadvantages. Top universities with small sizes tend to struggle in prestige with their peers because they cannot as easily proliferate their graduates in top positions. Things Harvard, Oxbridge and even Edinburgh have done very well.

Yale is as good as Harvard, Caltech is as good as MIT, but because of the latter's size, they have been able to achieve more prestige.

On the other hand, being a very large university is also a disadvantage as it means the university would start having to dilute its entry standard.

I think a university that is mid-sized or slightly large has a size advantage when it comes to long-term prestige.

I think world rankings would have a higher impact on perceptions than Nobel ratios or density. It is an easier tool for the more lazy mind, which most people have.

All that said, I was looking at it from the point of the field of Politics and IR as well as employment, and the other 2 appear to have an upper hand.

That is not to say St Andrews is not a top university and would not remain so.
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Okorange
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(Original post by LutherVan)
No doubt Will and Kate brought an already good university into the spotlight and it has history considering its age.

That said, its very small size is a disadvantage, just like Yale and Princeton's small size are disadvantages. Top universities with small sizes tend to struggle in prestige with their peers because they cannot as easily proliferate their graduates in top positions. Things Harvard, Oxbridge and even Edinburgh have done very well.

Yale is as good as Harvard, Caltech is as good as MIT, but because of the latter's size, they have been able to achieve more prestige.

On the other hand, being a very large university is also a disadvantage as it means the university would start having to dilute its entry standard.

I think a university that is mid-sized or slightly large has a size advantage when it comes to long-term prestige.

I think world rankings would have a higher impact on perceptions than Nobel ratios or density. It is an easier tool for the more lazy mind, which most people have.

All that said, I was looking at it from the point of the field of Politics and IR as well as employment, and the other 2 appear to have an upper hand.

That is not to say St Andrews is not a top university and would not remain so.
I agree with this, still have to recommend St Andrews particularly for IR for an American looking to return to American for business or employment. The principal of St Andrews is a former Harvard Radcliffe and Kennedy School of Government prof.

With that being said, if you want to live in London or don't like a small town "college atmosphere" or you want to focus on Eastern European studies then you should pick UCL or King's but probably UCL.

In addition i've heard from students in IR that St Andrews teaches IR in a specific "british style" way. Now I already forgot what they said but it had something to do with it being different from how Americans teach it and how St Andrews lecturers all subscribe to that sort of viewpoint? You might want to look into that and see if you agree with that style before you go.
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AnonymousPrince319413
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UCL all the way
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Asklepios
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(Original post by alessandra0811)
I love European culture and would love to study in the UK, but coming from the US, I'm less familiar with UK universities than I am with American universities.
I've been accepted to University of St. Andrews (International Relations), University College London (Politics & Eastern European Studies), and King's College London (Politics). My post-graduation plan would be to return to the US for employment and business school.


My concern is which school has the best reputation among employers in the political and/or financial services sector? I believe St. Andrews has one of best IR programs, but from its career services site, I don't sense that much alumni connections and networking help (please correct me if I'm wrong!). Any advice?

Thank you all!
First and foremost, you should consider whether you want to study IR or politics. Yes they are similar, but also different a number areas. Look at the course structure for each of the three courses and see if there is one you clearly prefer.

Then, if you still can't decide, I would consider whether you want to live in a small student-dominated town or in central London. The student experience will be very different! It's 3/4 years of your life so you need to make sure you'll be happy wherever you go.

Don't worry about prestige and reputation of the institution as the difference between these three is very small.


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Mr. Roxas
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(Original post by alessandra0811)
I love European culture and would love to study in the UK, but coming from the US, I'm less familiar with UK universities than I am with American universities.
I've been accepted to University of St. Andrews (International Relations), University College London (Politics & Eastern European Studies), and King's College London (Politics). My post-graduation plan would be to return to the US for employment and business school.


My concern is which school has the best reputation among employers in the political and/or financial services sector? I believe St. Andrews has one of best IR programs, but from its career services site, I don't sense that much alumni connections and networking help (please correct me if I'm wrong!). Any advice?

Thank you all!

I have not attended neither uni, so take what I'll say with a grain of salt.

The best IR programme in terms of reputation is the one offered at St Andrews. It's prestige in IR goes as far as across the Atlantic Ocean. St A is particular famous for it. I'd personally go for St A over the other two. I think that in terms of student body make up, it is better. It also is full of elite students coming from all over the world, so you'd make friends with them which in tern would become your contacts for life. That would then expand your network, and a powerful one at that. It's downside though is if you're not accustomed to living in a small environment and you love to be in a mega city such as London, then you might find living in St A in a bubble. In such case, I'd recommend you to go for UCL, which is in the league as St A. KCL, sad to say, isn't considered highly prestigious in the UK. It's a good uni, but nothing extraordinary in it. It's a "dumping ground" for UCL and LSE rejects.
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wilson_smith
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IMO, St. Andrews or KCL for IR, UCL for political theory or public theory. Depends on your interests, really.

(Original post by LutherVan)
Hi,

UCL has the best reputation in the financial services sector.

KCL has the best reputation in the political sector.

St Andrews has a strong advantage as it is regionally dominant but only if you plan to stay in Scotland. If not, this does not count for much.

In regards to best IR programme, that will have to be dependent on what specific programme, but in regards to the general Politics and International Relations field, KCL has the strongest reputation by virtue of size and quality. In the recent REF assessment by the UK government, KCL was second to Oxford and one place above LSE. It also has the strongest alumni in the field.

Based on what you have stated about your future aims, I would suggest it has to be between UCL and KCL.
What? I interpret the Pol & IR REF results as follows:

1. Essex
2. Oxford
3. LSE
4. Warwick
5. UCL
6. Edinburgh
7. Sheffield
8. Aberystwyth
9. York
10. Cambridge

From what I remember, KCL submitted less than 2/3 of their faculty (a major warning sign).
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LutherVan
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(Original post by wilson_smith)
IMO, St. Andrews or KCL for IR, UCL for political theory or public theory. Depends on your interests, really.



What? I interpret the Pol & IR REF results as follows:

1. Essex
2. Oxford
3. LSE
4. Warwick
5. UCL
6. Edinburgh
7. Sheffield
8. Aberystwyth
9. York
10. Cambridge

From what I remember, KCL submitted less than 2/3 of their faculty (a major warning sign).
How come you interpreted it like that?

KCL submitted the highest number of staff out of all the universities in the UK.

Bar Oxford and LSE, it submitted (at least) twice the number of staff of virtually every other university who submitted for Politics & IR.
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