Master's Degree University importance for History Phd

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101stAirbourne
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How significant is the prestige of the University one studies at for their master's degree when applying for phd funding?

If prestige is unimportant, what are the main factors for being successful in securing funding for a history phd? What can I do throughout my master's degree in order to have the best chance at succeeding in securing phd funding?
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returnmigrant
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'Prestige' is a school leavers obsession - it doesn't figure within academia at all.

The important thing is that you do the right Masters for your emerging research interests. That you get the background knowledge in that area on which to base your PhD research, and the practical research skills that research councils/other Unis will want. Where you do that is pretty much irrelevant in terms of the Uni brand name - look instead for people working in 'your' area (academics, researchers, PhD Students) and where you will have the best environment to develop intellectually.

The same goes for undergrad degrees btw - 'RG' doesnt equal 'better' - '2i or First with good do-able research proposal/two supportive references' DOES equal 'better'.
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artful_lounger
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The above is all correct, but also to add, your supervisor for your masters dissertation/thesis will be more important than the name of the degree or institution. They will likely be the primary academic reference while you're applying, and will be able to indicate exactly how prepared for a PhD you are. Furthermore, if it's a well known academic then their opinion is likely to be more respected as well for this purpose, regardless of the prestige of the university.

In general, for academia prestige is considered by: supervisor>research group>department>university

There are some excellent researchers who act as supervisors for PhDs and masters projects, who will make more of a difference in your application than having an unknown researcher even from a top university. There are also excellent research groups within otherwise average departments or universities - for example Exeter's physics department gains much of it's kudos from it's graphene and exoplanet groups. It's biophysicists are mainly the ex-chemistry faculty from it's now defunct chemistry department (which while not necessarily shut down as a cause of directly, did shut down shortly after they imploded their NMR spectrometer), and it's electromagnetic materials group has one major researcher and most of the rest are relatively unknown.
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Klix88
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Furthermore, if it's a well known academic then their opinion is likely to be more respected as well for this purpose, regardless of the prestige of the university.

I agree with much of the above post, but I urge caution with the above advice and think I would substitute "respected" alone for "well known". Academic rivalry is an issue and some are "well known" for entirely the wrong reasons - being well known does not equate with being respected. I've worked with international experts whose names it would be unwise to drop in most unis. Some look and sound good but are arrogant arses and over-published gasbags - I fell into the trap myself as a naive undergrad. It pays to be able to discriminate!
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returnmigrant
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(Original post by Klix88)
being well known does not equate with being respected. I've worked with international experts whose names it would be unwise to drop in most unis. Some look and sound good but are arrogant arses and over-published gasbags - I fell into the trap myself as a naive undergrad. It pays to be able to discriminate!
I'd echo the above. Well known definitely does not = good supervisor or happy Masters/PhD experience.
Just remember that 'well known' often equals 'far too busy' or 'dismissive/jealous of anyone younger'.

More important for me was always that my supervisor 'understands what I'm trying to research' and 'is enthusiastic about my research'. That meant I always felt what I was doing was worthwhile and in moments of doubt that was worth far more than 'my supervisor has written heaps of books'.
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