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    (Original post by Chief Wiggum)
    I wouldn't really care if Oxbridge scrapped the MA thing, but I don't really see how that's lying. It would look a bit ridiculous to have to put (Cantab.) if you just wanted to list your qualifications post-nominally.
    For my subject, chemistry, they scrapped it the year before I graduated.
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    (Original post by warmday)
    I'll start lobbying for London Met to award PhDs for passing first year exams!
    Well if that's how you'd like to use your time.

    The thing is (I just looked it up) that the Oxbridge MA derives from usage that long predates the confusing new usage, originating in the Universities of Durham and London in the mid 19th century, of the MA as a separate, higher degree. If London Met followed your suggestion that would obviously be a very different situation.
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    (Original post by TimmonaPortella)
    Not really. You're perfectly entitled to use the post-nominals MA with an Oxbridge MA. Most people would want to use Oxon/Cantab anyway.

    If other people misunderstand that's their problem. Other people's misunderstanding doesn't oblige the universities to change their system.
    Adding Oxon / Cantab or omitting it, they should not be putting down both BA and MA after their name if they've only completed one degree.
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    (Original post by smileatyourself)
    Adding Oxon / Cantab or omitting it, they should not be putting down both BA and MA after their name if they've only completed one degree.
    Correct. The MA replaces the BA, afaik anyway.
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    (Original post by smileatyourself)
    Adding Oxon / Cantab or omitting it, they should not be putting down both BA and MA after their name if they've only completed one degree.
    Yeah as I understand it, the BA becomes an MA, so you wouldn't list both after your name.
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    (Original post by smileatyourself)
    Adding Oxon / Cantab or omitting it, they should not be putting down both BA and MA after their name if they've only completed one degree.
    True. I've only met three people who've had an MA from Cambridge, and they made a point of putting MA (Cantab.) after their name in order to recognise that it's technically one academic degree.

    edit: lol @ everyone agreeing with him/her
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    (Original post by JohnGreek)
    1) I'm thinking that this may be because the very top students may get offers from both universities, and thus bring down their takeup ratio. For example, Oxford, I believe, has a 92% takeup ratio, meaning that 92% of students with offers in January actually end up firming the university and meeting the entry requirements. Oxbridge are observing that, in most cases, students who get offers are actually very likely to choose them as their first choice. If the possibility of someone firming them fell (because they also got offers from the other one), then that would obviously have a corresponding negative effect on that takeup ratio.

    This is particularly worrisome for them, as, due to the tutorial/supervision system, they can't take in a large surplus of students in excess of the number that they were expecting to get. This is not only because of limited accommodation facilities, but also because they have to organise it so that their tutors get 1-on-1 time with every undergrad in their college. Having 10 or 20 more unexpected people stuffed into a lecture theatre at LSE or Imperial may not be an issue (other than increasing the amount of material to mark), but just two or three more people doing the same course at a college, who all need to be taught individually, may bring up timetabling issues and take up more of the lecturers' valuable time.

    2) Oxbridge certainly know how to make themselves stand out and look as special as possible (doing interviews at their colleges, announcing results on the same day to create a sense of anticipation, informing people via physical letters rather than through UCAS updates), so this policy has the added benefit of being a marketing ploy to distinguish them from the LSE's, Imperial's and Durham's of the world.
    I agree with you that Oxbridge wants to remain different.

    If the tutorial system really is that good (and I'm not doubting it), then as someone else remarked earlier, why has it not been copied? Yes, money is one difficulty but surely it would be an asset to the UK if there were more unis of Oxbridge's standards and so funding COULD be provided by the govt, via taxes or some other way.

    (A point often remarked is that if two students attained the same grades, one from a comp, another from a public school, it is deemed the comp student has achievement is better. Given Oxbridge's vastly superior tutorial system, why has this point not been taken into account, when discussing their students' academic achievements)?

    The bottom line is Oxbridge is deliberately kept different.
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    (Original post by smileatyourself)
    I agree with you that Oxbridge wants to remain different.

    If the tutorial system really is that good (and I'm not doubting it), then as someone else remarked earlier, why has it not been copied? Yes, money is one difficulty but surely it would be an asset to the UK if there were more unis of Oxbridge's standards and so funding COULD be provided by the govt, via taxes or some other way.

    (A point often remarked is that if two students attained the same grades, one from a comp, another from a public school, it is deemed the comp student has achievement is better. Given Oxbridge's vastly superior tutorial system, why has this point not been taken into account, when discussing their students' academic achievements)?

    The bottom line is Oxbridg is deliberately kept different.
    It would be prohibitively expensive for government funding to cover supervision teaching. Oxford and Cambridge can afford it because they have great wealth in themselves, from centuries-old landholdings to donations today.

    To give you an idea, the University and Colleges in Cambridge are endowed to the tune of £6bn. Oxford can boast around £4bn of endowment. The third best endowed university in the UK is Edinburgh, with about £300m.
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    Oxford and Cambridge both say that they get many more suitable applicants than they have places. It is a lottery.

    So, is it conceivable that the existence of 'Oxbridge' is creating a shortage of supply (of places) at the top of the chain? Oxford (and Cambridge?) has/have very little scope to expand the number of undergraduate places. So they will keep banging on on their websites about how fierce the competition is but not really offer effective remedies.

    But is their special status preventing other universities from filling the gap? We all seem to view Oxford and Cambridge as wonderful egalitarian institutions whose sole interest is intellectual enlightenment. What if they are actually preventing that?

    Another thing - they take the very best of the very best. So why do 70% of the best of the very best fail to get a first? Does Oxbridge fail to meet the needs of 70% of its successful applicants?
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    (Original post by smileatyourself)

    If the tutorial system really is that good (and I'm not doubting it), then as someone else remarked earlier, why has it not been copied? Yes, money is one difficulty but surely it would be an asset to the UK if there were more unis of Oxbridge's standards and so funding COULD be provided by the govt, via taxes or some other way.

    (A point often remarked is that if two students attained the same grades, one from a comp, another from a public school, it is deemed the comp student has achievement is better. Given Oxbridge's vastly superior tutorial system, why has this point not been taken into account, when discussing their students' academic achievements)?
    I imagine that other universities may have teaching staff that's more resistant to actually sitting down and teaching or going over stuff with people, and may instead want to focus on delivering lectures and then getting on with whatever research they have to do. Not to mention that universities with large intakes for certain subjects (such as KCL, which takes 320 people a year for Law, or Manchester, with an intake of 270), would probably have to go on a drastic hiring spree to get more people to actually be able to host these 1-on-1 or 1-on-2 teaching sessions. I have no idea how these positions would be funded.

    I genuinely don't know if the faculty staff a) care enough to do tutorials/supervisions with their students, or b) can be arsed to go through the long process of petitioning the government for extra funding that isn't directed towards research. Besides, I imagine that alumni donors who have been used to the lecture system would rather invest their money in very visible, "flagship" investments (like a new building) than trying to radically push for a change in the underlying teaching system.

    It's just one of those cases where you see how people's conservative inertia makes them ok with leaving things as they are, even if the status quo isn't perfect. If they think that the current lecture system is decent enough as it is, then they presumably can't be arsed to waste their time, money, or effort, into setting up a (I'd agreed superior) alternative from scratch.
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    (Original post by Pars12)
    Oxford and Cambridge both say that they get many more suitable applicants than they have places. It is a lottery.

    So, is it conceivable that the existence of 'Oxbridge' is creating a shortage of supply (of places) at the top of the chain? Oxford (and Cambridge?) has/have very little scope to expand the number of undergraduate places. So they will keep banging on on their websites about how fierce the competition is but not really offer effective remedies.
    Except the effective remedy of the very thorough and meritocratic admissions process, which you'd like to see destroyed by meddling in the system they've established to preserve it.
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    (Original post by TimmonaPortella)
    Except the effective remedy of the very thorough and meritocratic admissions process, which you'd like to see destroyed by meddling in the system they've established to preserve it.
    Every person invited to interview has merit and the vast majority of them are rejected. If the process is so thorough why do 70% of them fail to get a first. The principal examiners for finals seem to come from non-Oxbridge universities.

    Why does such a thorough and meritocratic system make mistakes?
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    (Original post by Pars12)
    Every person invited to interview has merit and the vast majority of them are rejected. If the process is so thorough why do 70% of them fail to get a first. The principal examiners for finals seem to come from non-Oxbridge universities.

    Why does such a thorough and meritocratic system make mistakes?
    They obviously aren't going to award everyone a first. The grading is done to separate out the cohort.
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    (Original post by Chief Wiggum)
    They obviously aren't going to award everyone a first. The grading is done to separate out the cohort.
    Yes, but this did not start out as an average, run-of-the-mill cohort. What reduced it to that state?
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    (Original post by Pars12)
    Every person invited to interview has merit and the vast majority of them are rejected. If the process is so thorough why do 70% of them fail to get a first. The principal examiners for finals seem to come from non-Oxbridge universities.

    Why does such a thorough and meritocratic system make mistakes?
    There are two reasons why not everyone gets a first. The first is that there is always going to be a range of abilities within any group, even if it is a perfect selection of the very best students available. The second is that the process assesses potential; when it comes to it, people will divide their attentions between their academics and other things in different ways. Your benchmark makes no sense for these reasons.

    In terms of assessing potential, the system is far better than any other. Obviously no process based on human assessment of limited materials can be perfect, but it's far more effective than the personal statement + grades and nothing else system used elsewhere.
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    (Original post by speakerfone)
    I have not misunderstood. I'm merely pointing out some MIGHT.

    There definately would be no misunderstanding if this "upgrade / change of title / call it what you want" was not available.

    I have seen many candidates merely put MA after their name, which when I questioned them about their undegraduat subject, stated actually it was the Oxbridge MA, so in reality they were lying on their CV, as it should have been MA (oxon / cantab).
    But what about the Scottish MA, I have one of these from my undergraduate course, i don't put (Edin) after it as that would be cringe inducing, but it is the degree I was awarded at my graduation, no upgrade required, and it is an undergraduate degree.

    My father had an Oxford MA , insofar as it used to be the case one needed x number of years at a recognised university plus either eat so many meals in hall or pay a fee. He followed his BA with an LLB from Edinburgh and clocked up the requisite years. I do not think the qualifying years now applies, I believe the reason (originally) was to recognise scholars who on finishing their degree continued in residence at university, a form of ranking against more recent undergraduates, but I could be mistaken with this interpretation.

    Edit: and yes, his business cards had MA (Oxon), LLB, W.S., NP, the BA was dropped as others have advised.
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    (Original post by TimmonaPortella)
    There are two reasons why not everyone gets a first. The first is that there is always going to be a range of abilities within any group, even if it is a perfect selection of the very best students available. The second is that the process assesses potential; when it comes to it, people will divide their attentions between their academics and other things in different ways. Your benchmark makes no sense for these reasons.
    So they have potential but they choose to waste their time in other ways? That seems a very naive assessment to me. Who knows, you could be right. What a waste of 70% of the available spaces!

    In terms of assessing potential, the system is far better than any other. Obviously no process based on human assessment of limited materials can be perfect, but it's far more effective than the personal statement + grades and nothing else system used elsewhere.
    How do you know that?
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    (Original post by Pars12)
    So they have potential but they choose to waste their time in other ways? That seems a very naive assessment to me. Who knows, you could be right. What a waste of 70% of the available spaces!


    How do you know that?
    At this point you're either trolling or just not thinking, so I won't be continuing with this.
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    (Original post by TimmonaPortella)
    At this point you're either trolling or just not thinking, so I won't be continuing with this.
    You don't know.
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    (Original post by JohnGreek)
    I imagine that other universities may have teaching staff that's more resistant to actually sitting down and teaching or going over stuff with people, and may instead want to focus on delivering lectures and then getting on with whatever research they have to do.

    I genuinely don't know if the faculty staff a) care enough to do tutorials/supervisions with their students, or b) can be arsed to go through the long process of petitioning the government for extra funding that isn't directed towards research. .
    Methinks slightly unfair, Edinburgh now has circa 33,000 students, in 1982 circa 10,000, of which about 7,500-8,000 were undergraduates. Back then my first year English tutorial (2 hrs) was about 8 students, second year 4 students (also 2hrs) and usually only 2 or 3 turned up (once I was the only attendee)

    Whilst other departments were a bit higher, history second year about 5-6 (3-4 in attendance), the fact is universities could manage the numbers, the vast expansion has really only made this possible at those with deep pockets.

    All in I had circa 9 hours of lectures and 4 hours of tutorials a week over first and second year (pre honours), thereafter numbers in seminars were based to a degree on popularity of course options. I heard that if you took one particular economics option at honours you were near guaranteed one to one because nobody every took the poor chap's option.
 
 
 

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