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    Hi I hope you can help me out!
    I'm a Spanish student and I initially applied to Oxford for Philosophy + French but once I got to the interviews I got sick and my performance was below the expectancies and so I got a rejection. Just a few days later I received an offer from Durham to read Liberal Arts, which is a program only they offer which makes me go beyond Philosophy and French and even take some English literature modules. Therefore I could rearrange my course and make it a triple degree in Philosophy + French + English literature. Literature has always been one of my fascinations and I heard that Durham's best subject is actually English and that they are up to Oxbridge standards in that field. Is that right?
    Anyway, I got my results some time ago and they are good enough to reapply to Oxford. I have been nearly obsessed by Oxford. Being a foreigner I barely knew that there was even a university in Durham so it's like going to an institution I don't know very well even though I went to the Open Days I do not know if Durham is as good as Oxford in English lit. On the other hand Durham's program is extremely attractive. The dilemma is: If I go to Oxford I can't take a triple degree and if I go to Durham I'm not going to Oxford! I don't want to sound weird but that's the way I see it. My question is: Should I go to Durham and take advantage of their degree or should I reapply to Oxford? And if I decide to stay in Durham would I still be in a good position to apply to universities such as New York, Harvard, Princeton or Oxbridge for a Master's degree or a Phd in the future? And finally is a 1st class from Durham's Philosophy + French + English literature degree as competitive as a 1st or a 2:1 from Oxford in just Philosophy + French?
    Thank you very much for reading all of this "dissertation"! And I would be very grateful if you could provide me with an answer!
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    (Original post by FMP)
    I heard that Durham's best subject is actually English and that they are up to Oxbridge standards in that field. Is that right?
    Durham has a great English department with some very impressive academics, and you're very likely to get good teaching in English there. The difference between Durham and Oxford isn't in the quality of the lecturers, it is in the amount of resources available and the resulting effects on teaching. Oxford has a larger English department in terms of the number of lecturers—the largest in the country—a better university library system—the largest in the country—and, along with Cambridge, the best class sizes—the smallest in the country. At Oxford you'll be worked harder and you'll get more individual attention.

    So I wouldn't say that Durham's 'up to Oxbridge standards in that field', no, but studying at Durham would very likely still be a great, exciting and challenging experience.

    It's worth noting, too, that Oxford's assessment (in Philosophy and French as well as in English) is pretty heavily skewed towards exams taken at the end of the first and third years while assessment at Durham (from a cursory read of their website) is a more balanced mixture of exams and coursework essays. You might be able to tell whether one of these two systems might suit you better than the other, I don't know.

    (Original post by FMP)
    Anyway, I got my results some time ago and they are good enough to reapply to Oxford. I have been nearly obsessed by Oxford. [...] The dilemma is: If I go to Oxford I can't take a triple degree and if I go to Durham I'm not going to Oxford! I don't want to sound weird but that's the way I see it. My question is: Should I go to Durham and take advantage of their degree or should I reapply to Oxford?
    Ultimately only you can make this decision. For what it's worth, I'd say that in my experience the 'fit' between a student and the course structure they're on is very important. In my experience as a student and (later) as an academic teaching students, if you're academically-inclined then being on a course you don't like so much because of its scope/subject mix/assessment methods can really make you unhappy.

    I'd also note that the offer from Durham is a thing you actually have while the offer from Oxford is a thing you might, at some point in the future, get.

    (Original post by FMP)
    And if I decide to stay in Durham would I still be in a good position to apply to universities such as New York, Harvard, Princeton or Oxbridge for a Master's degree or a Phd in the future?
    A good 1st from Durham together with good references, good work samples and a good statement of purpose should make you a credible candidate for master's courses (and, in the US, possibly PhD programmes, as with their longer PhD programmes they can and do recruit straight from the BA). Being a credible candidate doesn't mean you'd necessarily get in everywhere—these are places that get applications from a lot of strong candidates—but you wouldn't be wasting your time at all, no.

    Once you get to the postgraduate level, institutional prestige can matter less: admissions committees tend to respect good work and strong references wherever you did your BA: for instance, I've seen people on MSt courses at Oxford who did their undergraduate study at tiny, unknown liberal arts colleges in the US. Being good and making a well-judged application, those are the things that matter most. (And anyway, Durham does have a good reputation.)
 
 
 
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