Getting into Oxbridge for Postgraduate Study Watch

iceflyier
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#1861
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#1861
(Original post by Viceroy)
I read history at St John's. Might be more of a humanities thing than a science thing!
Good to know! Though to be honest, I don't think I'd be too crazy if my application for a PhD ended up being an offer for the MPhil (also a humanities student here), even though it is Cambridge. Then again, if I were fully funded (not a chance), I'd gladly take it up.
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LittlePlato
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(Original post by Gridiron-Gangster)
I was going to echo the same sentiments as the previous user in that as you are already working on an MA in a related field, admissions tutors might question why you would want to do another master's particularly if you gain strong marks and therefore have a stronge case for PhD (subject to a decent proposal etc).

Best advice would be to write to the admissions tutor/course director and ask them whether they think you should apply for the MPhil or the PhD

(Original post by sj27)
Also bear in mind that if a Cam department thinks a student has potential for a PhD but is not ready for one yet, they may decline to give a PhD offer but at the same time make an offer for the MPhil (even though it wasn't applied for). A few such cases have been reported on the forums.

(Original post by Viceroy)
This is definitely true. My supervisor remarked at one point that he'd interviewed someone for the PhD and admitted the student for the MPhil instead because they decided the guy wasn't ready for the PhD yet.
Hey guys!

Thanks for your advice, I've emailed the dept. so hopefully I'll have a clearer idea soon
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LittlePlato
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Update: I emailed the dept. and the response was:

"Thank you for your e-mail enquiry regarding applying to study for an MPhil in American History.

Please note the minimum entry requirements detailed here: http://www.hist.cam.ac.uk/prospectiv...apply-mphilreq

In answer to your question, please note that this MPhil is a research MPhil that requires you to produce a dissertation of between 15-20,000 words. The application will therefore require you to identify and outline a proposed area of research and requires written samples of work to support your application, please see: http://www.hist.cam.ac.uk/prospectiv...cklist-writing

This certainly doesn’t exclude students whose degrees are not primarily in History. Please note, however, that you will need to demonstrate knowledge of historical methodologies for the course. All the Faculty’s MPhils are research based and the submitted research proposal, and the applicant’s ability to produce a dissertation of sufficient quality, are the crucial elements upon which an applicant’s suitability for the MPhil is judged."

SO they didn't explicitly say my degree percentage is an issue but it does say in the entry requirements that applicants "should have 67%"
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iceflyier
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(Original post by LittlePlato)
Update: I emailed the dept. and the response was:

"Thank you for your e-mail enquiry regarding applying to study for an MPhil in American History.

Please note the minimum entry requirements detailed here: http://www.hist.cam.ac.uk/prospectiv...apply-mphilreq

In answer to your question, please note that this MPhil is a research MPhil that requires you to produce a dissertation of between 15-20,000 words. The application will therefore require you to identify and outline a proposed area of research and requires written samples of work to support your application, please see: http://www.hist.cam.ac.uk/prospectiv...cklist-writing

This certainly doesn’t exclude students whose degrees are not primarily in History. Please note, however, that you will need to demonstrate knowledge of historical methodologies for the course. All the Faculty’s MPhils are research based and the submitted research proposal, and the applicant’s ability to produce a dissertation of sufficient quality, are the crucial elements upon which an applicant’s suitability for the MPhil is judged."

SO they didn't explicitly say my degree percentage is an issue but it does say in the entry requirements that applicants "should have 67%"
Ahh. Very cautiously worded there. Did you explicitly state that you had fallen 1% short of the required 67%?
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Gridiron-Gangster
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(Original post by LittlePlato)
Update: I emailed the dept. and the response was:

"Thank you for your e-mail enquiry regarding applying to study for an MPhil in American History.

Please note the minimum entry requirements detailed here: http://www.hist.cam.ac.uk/prospectiv...apply-mphilreq

In answer to your question, please note that this MPhil is a research MPhil that requires you to produce a dissertation of between 15-20,000 words. The application will therefore require you to identify and outline a proposed area of research and requires written samples of work to support your application, please see: http://www.hist.cam.ac.uk/prospectiv...cklist-writing

This certainly doesn’t exclude students whose degrees are not primarily in History. Please note, however, that you will need to demonstrate knowledge of historical methodologies for the course. All the Faculty’s MPhils are research based and the submitted research proposal, and the applicant’s ability to produce a dissertation of sufficient quality, are the crucial elements upon which an applicant’s suitability for the MPhil is judged."

SO they didn't explicitly say my degree percentage is an issue but it does say in the entry requirements that applicants "should have 67%"

Hmm they haven't explicitly said anything about the marks and refer you to the website. Maybe write back or indeed call them and clarify.

I would say there probably is no harm in applying. Obviously there's the application fee but when I applied for my MPhil I would say I wasn't the strongest candidate on paper though I did just about scrape the bare minimum 2:1 marks they asked for.....but apparently according to one tutor I encountered, they expect more from an OU candidate :s
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LittlePlato
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(Original post by iceflyier)
Ahh. Very cautiously worded there. Did you explicitly state that you had fallen 1% short of the required 67%?

(Original post by Gridiron-Gangster)
Hmm they haven't explicitly said anything about the marks and refer you to the website. Maybe write back or indeed call them and clarify.

I would say there probably is no harm in applying. Obviously there's the application fee but when I applied for my MPhil I would say I wasn't the strongest candidate on paper though I did just about scrape the bare minimum 2:1 marks they asked for.....but apparently according to one tutor I encountered, they expect more from an OU candidate :s
Yeah I did tell him I was 1% under though I was hoping my MA would compensate in a way. I am predicted their Masters requirement for PhD study so maybe that will help. I mean he didn't turn around with "Go away silly girl, you haven't a hope in hell." so I guess that's something.

I may be clutching at straws but I'm wondering if he was implying that the percentage isn't everything when he said: "All the Faculty’s MPhils are research based and the submitted research proposal, and the applicant’s ability to produce a dissertation of sufficient quality, are the crucial elements upon which an applicant’s suitability for the MPhil is judged."

I think I'll still apply, I've been in somewhat regular contact with the person I would want as my supervisor already as his work is a major contributor to the field my current dissertation is in so maybe that'll help??

I then emailed him back asking if I should use my undergrad professors and dissertation as my references and written sample rather than my postgrad ones. He said that either is suitable, it's just up to me which I feel would benefit my application more. So again he didn't say to not bother.

GAH I dunno!
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iceflyier
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(Original post by LittlePlato)
GAH I dunno!
I feel your frustration. Do you think you'll get a straighter answer from them if you actually ring them up?
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LittlePlato
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(Original post by iceflyier)
I feel your frustration. Do you think you'll get a straighter answer from them if you actually ring them up?
I dunno, I mean I would have assumed that if it was a massive issue I would have been told by now but both the History faculty admissions woman and the guy listed as the specific contact for the course sort of glossed over the percentage bit. I'd hoped I'd get a straight answer from one of them but the admissions woman said I'm welcome to apply to either the MPhil or the PhD and then the guy seemed to focus more on what I would need to show in my application with the whole: "the applicant’s ability to produce a dissertation of sufficient quality, are the crucial elements upon which an applicant’s suitability for the MPhil is judged."

So confuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuused! But then again if neither is going to explicitly discourage me from applying then I suppose I may as well throw caution to the wind and give it a shot.
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Gridiron-Gangster
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(Original post by LittlePlato)
I dunno, I mean I would have assumed that if it was a massive issue I would have been told by now but both the History faculty admissions woman and the guy listed as the specific contact for the course sort of glossed over the percentage bit. I'd hoped I'd get a straight answer from one of them but the admissions woman said I'm welcome to apply to either the MPhil or the PhD and then the guy seemed to focus more on what I would need to show in my application with the whole: "the applicant’s ability to produce a dissertation of sufficient quality, are the crucial elements upon which an applicant’s suitability for the MPhil is judged."

So confuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuused! But then again if neither is going to explicitly discourage me from applying then I suppose I may as well throw caution to the wind and give it a shot.
Minimum requirements can often be flexible if everything else is strong i.e. you're just 1% short but doing very well on your current masters i.e. merit/distinction etc. And the latter would demonstrate to a greater extent your suitability for further study than your Bachelor's.

They want evidence of research experience etc so dig out your written works and send the best ones that reflect this. Identify a potential supervisor and of course make a decent research proposal.

There are plenty who maybe fall short by a percent or two who get in because their profile otherwise demonstrates high academic potential/suitability for the course and a great proposal whilst there are those who might have great grades but came up with a flawed research proposal.
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seblebanon
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Is a PGdip from oxford in a history related subject worth my time and money in terms of CV value? Love the course content though. thanks
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sj27
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(Original post by seblebanon)
Is a PGdip from oxford in a history related subject worth my time and money in terms of CV value? Love the course content though. thanks
We have no idea. What else would you be doing with your time and money? Oniy you can decide whether its "worth it" (will this exhaust your life savings so far? Or is the cost more like pocket money to you?). Personally if I had the cash and time to spare and thought it was interesting, I would consider it "worth it". Others would disagree.

PGDips tend not be seen as much other than a bit of coursework, sometimes as a consolation prize for failing to complete a master's. Not generally useful as a standalone qualification - though there are exceptions (masters in a related field and needed a bit of extra focus in a particular area for example, say).

Also if this is from continuing ed it looks like it is oniy a PG Cert, not even a diploma?
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Gridiron-Gangster
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(Original post by seblebanon)
Is a PGdip from oxford in a history related subject worth my time and money in terms of CV value? Love the course content though. thanks
PGDips are usually useful if say you are using them towards a stepping stone to a master's or PhD programme if your undergraduate degree was in a different field.

As a standalone qualification though, difficult to say. It isn't a "degree" as such and so would not be held in that regard if that's what you were implying hoping for. I think with the PGDip course you are not a matriculated student and therefore would not necessarily have access to the benefits and resources a degree candidate would otherwise have.

If you want to do it because you enjoy the subject and are looking at further study later on then go for it. If not then it probably isn't worth the effort.
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Jantaculum
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(Original post by seblebanon)
Is a PGdip from oxford in a history related subject worth my time and money in terms of CV value? Love the course content though. thanks
I can't quite understand why you haven't applied for the full Masters at Oxford?
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Morrisseya
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If you're a postgrad student at Oxbridge, do you still get to have the whole "Oxbridge experience" if you live in college (e.g. going to Balls, joining societies, etc.)? Or is it much better being an undergrad there?
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Little Jules
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(Original post by Morrisseya)
If you're a postgrad student at Oxbridge, do you still get to have the whole "Oxbridge experience" if you live in college (e.g. going to Balls, joining societies, etc.)? Or is it much better being an undergrad there?
Yes, you do. Oxford postgrads play a full part in Uni life.
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Viceroy
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(Original post by Morrisseya)
If you're a postgrad student at Oxbridge, do you still get to have the whole "Oxbridge experience" if you live in college (e.g. going to Balls, joining societies, etc.)? Or is it much better being an undergrad there?
Yes, of course. There is an SCR for postgrads in every college that organized events, and there are plenty of college/uni societies that you're welcome to join. Postgrads also generally do attend May Balls and spend time in college (i.e. going to formal Hall, eating in the college buttery, etc.) just as undergrads do.
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llacerta
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(Original post by Viceroy)
Yes, of course. There is an SCR for postgrads in every college that organized events, and there are plenty of college/uni societies that you're welcome to join. Postgrads also generally do attend May Balls and spend time in college (i.e. going to formal Hall, eating in the college buttery, etc.) just as undergrads do.
Do you call it the 'SCR' in Cambridge? I wish postgrads had access to the SCRs here...
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Viceroy
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(Original post by llacerta)
Do you call it the 'SCR' in Cambridge? I wish postgrads had access to the SCRs here...
My college (St John's) called it 'SBR' for 'Samuel Butler Room,' and I guess the fellows were the SCR... I would assume that at other colleges they say SCR for the postgrads, but I can't be sure.
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Jantaculum
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(Original post by llacerta)
Do you call it the 'SCR' in Cambridge? I wish postgrads had access to the SCRs here...
It's generally the MCR - maybe John's is different though

edit to add - yep, posted just after Viceroy and it looks like John's is indeed different
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llacerta
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(Original post by Viceroy)
My college (St John's) called it 'SBR' for 'Samuel Butler Room,' and I guess the fellows were the SCR... I would assume that at other colleges they say SCR for the postgrads, but I can't be sure.
The St. John's here is just MCR, but I know there are some Oxford colleges with variations on this, e.g. Brasenose has the HCR (Hulme Common Room) and Christ Church has the GCR. SCR here is usually meant as Senior Common Room (for the lecturers, fellows, etc.) which is why it's always such a treat to be able to get into one somehow.
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