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    I'm a U.S. citizen with a bachelor of arts in history and political science from an American university, and am currently living in South America as an educational support missionary. I will be applying in 2008 to Cambridge, University of London, Oxford, and University of Leicester (with preferences in that order, and possibly others if I learn of additional programs of interest).

    I've done extensive research into the applications process, monitored this forum and that of Cambridge's postgraduates, and so on. The reality, however, is that no amount of research seems to cover all the bases. Soon I will begin contacting the schools individually for specific information.

    So. Do any of you have experience as a US citizen applying to a postgraduate UK course? Alternatively, do any of you without that experience have knowledge thereof?

    General questions:

    - What do you wish you would have known walking into the process?

    - Was the UK NARIC service of value to you in translating your data/stats?

    - Do programs tend to place more value on cumulative GPA or the major GPA? For example, with my general education courses my cumulative GPA is 3.76 / High 2:1 possible Low First. My major GPAs in history and political science are both solid Firsts.

    - Expense? Annual tuition seems to range between $16,000-25,000. Living expenses seem extreme, so I am budgeting $55,000-65,000 per year for total cost of tuition and living expenses. Realistic? Safe? No?

    - Funding? I'll be pursuing scholarships from the US, but will have to rely on student loans for the majority of my living expenses. The applications require proof of financial ability... do loans fulfill this, or is it only cash on hand?

    Thanks!
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    im a brit phd student so most of what you are asking is Greek to me BUT your expenses sound amazingly high. $65,000 a year?!!? A typical PhD scholarship for Education Studies (which is standardised and thus the same across the UK apart from London) is fees (£3,150ish) + bursary/"living expenses" (£12,100) + consumable expenses (£750). This is all annual. Basically, PhD students in Education Studies get around £48,000 for 3 years. This is enough to buy a house in various parts of the UK. Many good friends of mine earn significantly less than this each year as they work part time and study a full time PhD. They get by OK. I suppose it's all circumstantial however. Your fees will be more than the Brits, and your living expenses may be higher if you have kids etc.
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    I'm in a hurry and can't give a long answer, but a 3.76 is a first. I didn't use NARIC. And expect to spend $40K in London, less outside as living costs are lower in other cities.

    (I'm American and finishing a masters at LSE right now).
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    Thanks for the response!

    I'm trying to estimate high because the one comment I've received from every US contact I've met who has gone to the UK is that they had estimated far, far too low.

    Meanwhile, I'm a single childless girl who lives frugally... so extremes should not be necessary, but I wish to be prepared when I am pursuing funding.

    Tuition for overseas students ranges between £8,500 - £15,000, which is $17,000 - $30,000.

    Living expenses: £12,100 is $24,200.

    Total thus far is £20,600 - £27,100 or $41,200 - $54,200.

    Add plane tickets, visas, etc. Add just a little in order to enjoy the experience of living in Britain as well as a poor and frugal postgraduate can ... ie., theatre tickets occasionally, one train trip plus one night in a hotel per month, etc. Add also a thousand for a new wardrobe (my closet is not prepared to go from a southern US and South American climate to that of England), and so on.

    Thus my estimate of $55,000 to $65,000, with 65k being an extreme max to account for emergencies.
 
 
 

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