Shall I bother to apply for a PhD if I'm not going to get funding? Watch

omgwhat
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Hey ho,

I just graduated with a 2.1 (69 overall with a 2.1 in second year and 1.1 in final year) in History from the University of Exeter and have a place at MPhil American History at Cambridge. Considering people with firsts are unable to score funding for a PhD, should I even bother to spend all that time applying for them?

I feel like even if I get a distinction from Cambridge, it wouldn't matter since people are very fussy over BA grades.

Thanks for your time!
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beautifulbigmacs
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This is my dilemma on the phd front also. Getting on one isn't impossible with a good application but the funding thing is what makes or breaks the possibility so it feels very chicken and egg.
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omgwhat
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(Original post by beautifulbigmacs)
This is my dilemma on the phd front also. Getting on one isn't impossible with a good application but the funding thing is what makes or breaks the possibility so it feels very chicken and egg.
It's really difficult, isn't it? It just takes so long to make those applications, and costs a lot too, so I don't want to waste my time. On the other hand, if we don't apply we definitely won't get it. I'm not sure though, was hoping to hear some success stories or something.
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beautifulbigmacs
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(Original post by omgwhat)
It's really difficult, isn't it? It just takes so long to make those applications, and costs a lot too, so I don't want to waste my time. On the other hand, if we don't apply we definitely won't get it. I'm not sure though, was hoping to hear some success stories or something.
you could apply to a funded phd..google for funded phds in your subject.
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S27
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(Original post by omgwhat)
if we don't apply we definitely won't get it
This is all you need.
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by omgwhat)
Hey ho,

I just graduated with a 2.1 (69 overall with a 2.1 in second year and 1.1 in final year) in History from the University of Exeter and have a place at MPhil American History at Cambridge. Considering people with firsts are unable to score funding for a PhD, should I even bother to spend all that time applying for them?

I feel like even if I get a distinction from Cambridge, it wouldn't matter since people are very fussy over BA grades.

Thanks for your time!
People without firsts who also have very different subjects, research proposals, publications, Masters degrees, references, undergrad institutions etc etc.

There's way more than just having a first to getting PhD funding and getting a first is not a universal or mandatory requirement.

Once you are on your Masters program you will be in an environment where people are much better informed about specific, subject relevant opportunities, and with the people that will give you the references and research proposal advice. The will be clear about your individual prospects.
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tj23
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I got an upper second in my undergrad, and then did an MPhil at Cambridge. I applied during my MPhil but pretty late (not on time for the early international deadlines), and also not quite convinced about what I actually wanted to do. While my research group would've been able to fund my PhD, I didn't stand a chance in the department funding competitions (ok, also I didn't put together a very strong application, so probably you could do better). As I realised I actually wanted to work in a different field, I declined the offer and reapplied for this year. The advantage was that I had my MPhil results (distinction), I knew my prospective supervisor, my former supervisor wrote one of my references, my MPhil course director is also always very keen on student getting funding for Cambridge PhDs, and I was able to produce a much better application as I knew my research topic much better.

For me it worked out much better waiting for a year but you can always try it for 2017 already. Being in Cambridge is already a big advantage. For example, my graduate tutor helped me with college choice to maximise funding opportunities (my former college is one of the poorest), and also had advice on other funding routes.
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JamesN88
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Regarding funding there's also PhD loans becoming available in 2018.

https://www.findaphd.com/funding/gui...ns-scheme.aspx
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Josb
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(Original post by omgwhat)
Hey ho,

I just graduated with a 2.1 (69 overall with a 2.1 in second year and 1.1 in final year) in History from the University of Exeter and have a place at MPhil American History at Cambridge. Considering people with firsts are unable to score funding for a PhD, should I even bother to spend all that time applying for them?

I feel like even if I get a distinction from Cambridge, it wouldn't matter since people are very fussy over BA grades.

Thanks for your time!
If you get a distinction at Cambridge, you'll be in a good position to also get a funded PhD, providing that you also write a great proposal. Don't bother otherwise.
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Euphiletos
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A First will likely help a Ph.D funding application (it did in my case), but it's certainly not mandatory.
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Perfectly_Imperfect
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(Original post by JamesN88)
Regarding funding there's also PhD loans becoming available in 2018.

https://www.findaphd.com/funding/gui...ns-scheme.aspx
I'm in two minds about this... I have £22k on student loans, a £10k PCDL and £6k borrowed from a local educational charity. Really not sure if borrowing another £25k is a good idea!
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john2054
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(Original post by omgwhat)
Hey ho,

I just graduated with a 2.1 (69 overall with a 2.1 in second year and 1.1 in final year) in History from the University of Exeter and have a place at MPhil American History at Cambridge. Considering people with firsts are unable to score funding for a PhD, should I even bother to spend all that time applying for them?

I feel like even if I get a distinction from Cambridge, it wouldn't matter since people are very fussy over BA grades.

Thanks for your time!
Sorry to call you omg but you do realise that there is no such thing as 1 1.1? This doesn't even exist and the fact that you said this, would leave me to believe that you don't have a degree at all. Nice try though!?
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JamesN88
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(Original post by Perfectly_Imperfect)
I'm in two minds about this... I have £22k on student loans, a £10k PCDL and £6k borrowed from a local educational charity. Really not sure if borrowing another £25k is a good idea!
Yeah I know what you mean.

It's probably not the best mentality to have but you have to weigh up if you'll actually end up paying back what you already owe within the 30 year time limit. If the answers no or only just then the extra debt probably won't make a difference anyway.
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Perfectly_Imperfect
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(Original post by JamesN88)
Yeah I know what you mean.

It's probably not the best mentality to have but you have to weigh up if you'll actually end up paying back what you already owe within the 30 year time limit. If the answers no or only just then the extra debt probably won't make a difference anyway.

hahaha, I see what you mean too! I think if I had one of the new master's loans, rather than a PCDL which *has* to be paid, and it was just adding money onto a 'hypothetical' amount that might never be repaid, I perhaps wouldn't be so bothered
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d1993
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The 1st is really not mandatory. I had a 3rd equivalent (in my country) from my undergraduate program and a (perspectve) distinction from MA (home again) and was able to win research council funding (ESRC) as well as complementary funding from Edinburgh University. What I guess you need the most is a really persuasive research proposal and references.
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stereoashhh
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(Original post by omgwhat)
Considering people with firsts are unable to score funding for a PhD,

!
....why?
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gutenberg
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(Original post by omgwhat)
Hey ho,

I just graduated with a 2.1 (69 overall with a 2.1 in second year and 1.1 in final year) in History from the University of Exeter and have a place at MPhil American History at Cambridge. Considering people with firsts are unable to score funding for a PhD, should I even bother to spend all that time applying for them?

I feel like even if I get a distinction from Cambridge, it wouldn't matter since people are very fussy over BA grades.

Thanks for your time!
Focus on getting the distinction, then things become possible. It's almost impossible to say that a 2.1 undergrad will mean that you'll never get funding because, as others have pointed out, PhD applications are assessed on so many criteria, including the proposed research so if you have a killer project, they very well may take you

Since you're in History, one piece of advice I would give is to watch out for PhD positions advertised as part of larger research projects: with these, typically a prof will have won funding for a project (there's one at Cam at the moment for example on 'Domesticating the Reformation'), and within that they may have allocated funding for X number of PhD studentships. These kinds of fixed projects often have fewer applicants than the general scholarship schemes at the big universities, since they are already specialised. The problem is finding one that aligns somewhat with your interests and that you'd be happy pursuing for 3-4 years. Additionally, you wouldn't have any choice about the prof or university that you'd be at, plus the degree of control you would have over what exactly you'd be researching could vary. Some will advertise for a very specific project and expect that to be done, while others will give a more general field and you can create a topic within that. If you're really determined to pursue a PhD, in addition to applying to the general schemes, keep an eye out for these - jobs.ac.uk and findaphd.com will usually carry the adverts for them.
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#ChaosKass
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(Original post by john2054)
Sorry to call you omg but you do realise that there is no such thing as 1 1.1? This doesn't even exist and the fact that you said this, would leave me to believe that you don't have a degree at all. Nice try though!?
Deary me, they obviously mean a 1st.

It's quite common for a 1st to be written as "1.1" on an official transcript - not that you'd know, of course.
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john2054
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(Original post by #ChaosKass)
Deary me, they obviously mean a 1st.

It's quite common for a 1st to be written as "1.1" on an official transcript - not that you'd know, of course.
I still don't buy it sorry.
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john2054
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(Original post by omgwhat)
Hey ho,

I just graduated with a 2.1 (69 overall with a 2.1 in second year and 1.1 in final year) in History from the University of Exeter and have a place at MPhil American History at Cambridge. Considering people with firsts are unable to score funding for a PhD, should I even bother to spend all that time applying for them?

I feel like even if I get a distinction from Cambridge, it wouldn't matter since people are very fussy over BA grades.

Thanks for your time!
You do realise that this would be a first overall, given that universities allow for one or two percent of give, especially if the overall average is above the desired mark?
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