Getting into Oxbridge for Postgraduate Study Watch

Noodlzzz
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Hi,

I achieved a low 2.1 in my first year (which I had to repeat due to eventuating situation where I was in hospital for the whole exam period). Expected a high 2.1/1st for 2nd year. I have 3 articles in psychology and social science published in student peer reviewed journals and 2 months work as a research assistant in a psychology research department. Based on this, do I stand a chance of getting into Oxford or Cambridge for psychology grad school?
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*Corinna*
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(Original post by Noodlzzz)
Hi,

I achieved a low 2.1 in my first year (which I had to repeat due to eventuating situation where I was in hospital for the whole exam period). Expected a high 2.1/1st for 2nd year. I have 3 articles in psychology and social science published in student peer reviewed journals and 2 months work as a research assistant in a psychology research department. Based on this, do I stand a chance of getting into Oxford or Cambridge for psychology grad school?
If you manage to get your grades up then I don't see why not. You normally need a 67+ so as long as you have that you can apply and hope. I don't think the articles will 'save' you if your marks are bad though, especially because being published in a student journal is not really considered a sign of academic ability. Grades reflect your potential more, but as you were sick I don't expect your low 1st year score will be used against you as long as the rest of your degree is good.
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llacerta
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(Original post by Noodlzzz)
Hi,

I achieved a low 2.1 in my first year (which I had to repeat due to eventuating situation where I was in hospital for the whole exam period). Expected a high 2.1/1st for 2nd year. I have 3 articles in psychology and social science published in student peer reviewed journals and 2 months work as a research assistant in a psychology research department. Based on this, do I stand a chance of getting into Oxford or Cambridge for psychology grad school?
I agree with what Corinna said generally. Though when you say 'grad school', do you mean master's or PhD? It'll be a struggle to get into the latter straight from an undergrad without pretty high marks, and even more impossible to get any funding. But if you want to do a master's then you have a fair chance (though Cambridge doesn't do a taught master's in psych- worth bearing in mind). I'm not sure of the value of student peer reviewed journals, but your experience as an RA is a good thing. However, it does depend on what exactly you're doing as to how much your experience will be of benefit- are you just running a study and inputting data? Or have you been able to get hands-on with analysis and lit reviews and things like that? I found doing that sort of stuff seemed to 'impress' more when it came to the interview for the MSc I'm on now.

Finally, what exactly do you want from the master's course? The only psych master's at Oxford is the one I'm on, which is very broad in its content and isn't right for everyone. As much as having the Oxford name is great on a CV, if you want to go into research and know that you're way more into social psych or neuroscience or whatever, it's still worth checking out more targeted courses at other very good unis for psychology (UCL- as you know, York, Cardiff, etc., depending on your interests) because you might find that a course elsewhere suits your needs more. However, if you do want something broad, then there'd certainly be no harm in applying for the one here!
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Noodlzzz
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(Original post by llacerta)
I agree with what Corinna said generally. Though when you say 'grad school', do you mean master's or PhD? It'll be a struggle to get into the latter straight from an undergrad without pretty high marks, and even more impossible to get any funding. But if you want to do a master's then you have a fair chance (though Cambridge doesn't do a taught master's in psych- worth bearing in mind). I'm not sure of the value of student peer reviewed journals, but your experience as an RA is a good thing. However, it does depend on what exactly you're doing as to how much your experience will be of benefit- are you just running a study and inputting data? Or have you been able to get hands-on with analysis and lit reviews and things like that? I found doing that sort of stuff seemed to 'impress' more when it came to the interview for the MSc I'm on now.

Finally, what exactly do you want from the master's course? The only psych master's at Oxford is the one I'm on, which is very broad in its content and isn't right for everyone. As much as having the Oxford name is great on a CV, if you want to go into research and know that you're way more into social psych or neuroscience or whatever, it's still worth checking out more targeted courses at other very good unis for psychology (UCL- as you know, York, Cardiff, etc., depending on your interests) because you might find that a course elsewhere suits your needs more. However, if you do want something broad, then there'd certainly be no harm in applying for the one here!
iI was looking at the 1+3 funded programme. Thank you for your response, very helpful!
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flapnuble
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I will give you all the low down of my situation.
I have applied for a PhD in PDEs at Oxford University, and I have had my interview, and I am now awaiting response, which will apparently arrive in march. I'm not sure if my interview went well as it was not grilling at all, they just asked me about my interests and why I was applying to Oxford in particular. It all flowed well, and it was exactly 25 minutes (which is how long they said it would be). I've read around and heard that it's a good sign if the interview over runs. One of my friends has just been interviewed, and they really grilled him, his interview was an hour and twenty minutes.
But then again his application was very informal and he has lower grades, so I don't know if they were just testing him extra.
Also I am applying straight from BSc (in mathematics at the University of Sussex), but it is a 4 year PhD so it effectively has a masters combined into it (although you don't get the title).
My grades are good, in my second year I got 88% overall, and I have just received my 3rd year January results, and I averaged 91.25% over 4 modules: 83% measure theory, 87% PDEs, 96% Ring theory, 99% advanced numerical analysis. (Bsc grade for me is weighted at 40% for 2nd year and 60% for 3rd year).
Also I have done some of my own research over the summer through the junior research associate scheme at sussex
I just really wanted to know what my chances of acceptance are as I am so anxious about it.
So if you have taken the time to read this (which I really appreciate) any advice would be great!!!
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tom_ton
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(Original post by Jantaculum)
Being as vague as you (but I hope it helps in a vague sort of way…)

I read your post, read the advice you received, realised I'm in a similar situation and emailed Cambridge to ask. They got back to me really quickly, and for the department I contacted a Masters distinction overrides a less-than-stellar first degree. I'm now going to visit the department next week

Definitely worth contacting them, I'm so pleased that I did - and definitely worth working for that top-grade Masters result.
Thank you for your advice, it gives a lot of hope for someone in a similar situation . I'm definitely working hard and currently doing really well with a borderline 2.1/first.

Can I ask you what department you emailed? Have you ended up receiving an offer?

Best regards,

tom_ton
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Jantaculum
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(Original post by tom_ton)
Thank you for your advice, it gives a lot of hope for someone in a similar situation . I'm definitely working hard and currently doing really well with a borderline 2.1/first.

Can I ask you what department you emailed? Have you ended up receiving an offer?

Best regards,

tom_ton
Hello there, keep aiming high!

It's the Education department - I've had a couple of visits and exchanged emails at various stages of the application process, and they have been excellent, really responsive and helpful.

Now anxiously awaiting the result from my interview last week :eek:
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Tedward
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(Original post by flapnuble)
I will give you all the low down of my situation.
I have applied for a PhD in PDEs at Oxford University, and I have had my interview, and I am now awaiting response, which will apparently arrive in march. I'm not sure if my interview went well as it was not grilling at all, they just asked me about my interests and why I was applying to Oxford in particular. It all flowed well, and it was exactly 25 minutes (which is how long they said it would be). I've read around and heard that it's a good sign if the interview over runs. One of my friends has just been interviewed, and they really grilled him, his interview was an hour and twenty minutes.
But then again his application was very informal and he has lower grades, so I don't know if they were just testing him extra.
Also I am applying straight from BSc (in mathematics at the University of Sussex), but it is a 4 year PhD so it effectively has a masters combined into it (although you don't get the title).
My grades are good, in my second year I got 88% overall, and I have just received my 3rd year January results, and I averaged 91.25% over 4 modules: 83% measure theory, 87% PDEs, 96% Ring theory, 99% advanced numerical analysis. (Bsc grade for me is weighted at 40% for 2nd year and 60% for 3rd year).
Also I have done some of my own research over the summer through the junior research associate scheme at sussex
I just really wanted to know what my chances of acceptance are as I am so anxious about it.
So if you have taken the time to read this (which I really appreciate) any advice would be great!!!
Hey sorry i really dont know what your chances are, although from those grades I'd think must have a good chance! I'm actually thinking of applying for a similar course at oxford. I was hoping you might be able to tell me whether you get an offer or not? im trying to get a picture of what grades are required etc and it would be really useful. thanks and hope its good news!
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flapnuble
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(Original post by Tedward)
Hey sorry i really dont know what your chances are, although from those grades I'd think must have a good chance! I'm actually thinking of applying for a similar course at oxford. I was hoping you might be able to tell me whether you get an offer or not? im trying to get a picture of what grades are required etc and it would be really useful. thanks and hope its good news!
Hey, turns out they liked me and I got an offer, but I would say if you want to apply (for September/ October entry), then do it soon!!! If you have good grades and/ or an msc you should have good chances
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Tedward
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(Original post by flapnuble)
Hey, turns out they liked me and I got an offer, but I would say if you want to apply (for September/ October entry), then do it soon!!! If you have good grades and/ or an msc you should have good chances
ah well done! i wont be applying this year, just some early research but thanks. do you think the college you apply to affects your chances much? since some have more places for certain courses than others...which did you go for out of curiosity?
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flapnuble
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(Original post by Tedward)
ah well done! i wont be applying this year, just some early research but thanks. do you think the college you apply to affects your chances much? since some have more places for certain courses than others...which did you go for out of curiosity?
Basically postgraduate study, the college doesn't make difference, except for you may live there, generally you apply for funding from a department, then you are matched to a college.
For what I applied for, pde cdt, we didn't get a choice, I was told to pick from keble, St hilda's, and queens, I picked keble as first choice, now waiting forward response lol
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tom_ton
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(Original post by Jantaculum)
Hello there, keep aiming high!

It's the Education department - I've had a couple of visits and exchanged emails at various stages of the application process, and they have been excellent, really responsive and helpful.

Now anxiously awaiting the result from my interview last week :eek:
Hi Jantaculum,

I sincerely hope that you get in - late bloomers like us definitely deserve a chance!

Can I ask you if you had to include transcripts from your BA, or just your Master's?
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Jantaculum
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(Original post by tom_ton)
Hi Jantaculum,

I sincerely hope that you get in - late bloomers like us definitely deserve a chance!

Can I ask you if you had to include transcripts from your BA, or just your Master's?
Thank you, you too, and yes I have got an offer

They weren't even remotely interested in my BSc, not even the final degree classification, because it was in a completely different subject, and many years ago. I don't even have a transcript for it, so that was just as well!
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tom_ton
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(Original post by Jantaculum)
Thank you, you too, and yes I have got an offer

They weren't even remotely interested in my BSc, not even the final degree classification, because it was in a completely different subject, and many years ago. I don't even have a transcript for it, so that was just as well!
That is fantastic, congratulations!

It's stories like this that really give me hope and keep me working hard. I don't have the advantage of my old degree being from an unrelated field, but I'm still going to try my best.

Hope you enjoy your studies, I'm sure you'll do well.

- tom_ton
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just_passing_bye
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Is getting good grades the main thing that matters when applying for Master's? Does good grades mean anything in the first area (~70%) and very good grades are situated in the 80s area?

I'm currently doing a BEng in CS at a Russell Group university, yet I want to pursue my CS Master's either at Oxbridge or Imperial. Any tips on what else should I be focussing on besides getting top grades? I'm also doing a placement year as a software engineer, and had a web developer internship - I wonder if this matters to anyone?

Cheers
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SusiePea
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(Original post by just_passing_bye)
Is getting good grades the main thing that matters when applying for Master's? Does good grades mean anything in the first area (~70%) and very good grades are situated in the 80s area?

I'm currently doing a BEng in CS at a Russell Group university, yet I want to pursue my CS Master's either at Oxbridge or Imperial. Any tips on what else should I be focussing on besides getting top grades? I'm also doing a placement year as a software engineer, and had a web developer internship - I wonder if this matters to anyone?

Cheers
grades aren't the whole picture. I got low 2:1 (63%) in first and second year, but my practical work got me on a great summer placement, my name on a paper and some awesome references. The phd I applied for was something which suited my interests perfectly and my passion shone through. I've been offered a fully funded place at Cambridge and I only need to get a 2.1. Remember, they're also looking for someone that they can work alongside for a few years.
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just_passing_bye
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(Original post by SusiePea)
grades aren't the whole picture. I got low 2:1 (63%) in first and second year, but my practical work got me on a great summer placement, my name on a paper and some awesome references. The phd I applied for was something which suited my interests perfectly and my passion shone through. I've been offered a fully funded place at Cambridge and I only need to get a 2.1. Remember, they're also looking for someone that they can work alongside for a few years.
That's indeed very interesting to know, and quite impressive.

I see how this makes sense for a PhD, but I'm not too sure how well this translates to Master's given everything that sets them apart.
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llacerta
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(Original post by just_passing_bye)
That's indeed very interesting to know, and quite impressive.

I see how this makes sense for a PhD, but I'm not too sure how well this translates to Master's given everything that sets them apart.
I had a similar experience to SusiePea. I had 2.1s for my first and second years (high 2.1s, but nevertheless) but I had some great research experience and a few very good references that secured me an interview for my Master's. I then managed to put across my passion for my subject at interview and, well, that was that. I only needed a 2.1 for my Master's course- and I only need to pass my Master's to get onto my PhD. So, as SusiePea said, grades aren't everything.
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just_passing_bye
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Right, so marks aren't everything that matters.

How about someone with an overall mark in the 80s - what's a realistic scenario in which this distinct individual would get rejected from a Master's programme at Oxbridge? Where does he need to screw up?
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sj27
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(Original post by just_passing_bye)
Right, so marks aren't everything that matters.

How about someone with an overall mark in the 80s - what's a realistic scenario in which this distinct individual would get rejected from a Master's programme at Oxbridge? Where does he need to screw up?
A realistic scenario would be a highly competitive course - one of the ones where for example practically everyone accepted has been top of their class; or one where the referees might indicate that for whatever reason although the undergrad grades are very good the student has not shown they are capable for a postgrad research focus. Or (similar) one that requires a research proposal and the department don't like it (or don't have an appropriate supervisor). Or for certain people applying for Part III at Cam where some offers have been for 85-90%... In general though for most courses grades in the mid 80s would be a pretty good indication of an offer I would think.
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