dishonouronurcow
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Hi studentroom,

Just looking for a bit of advice on where I stand for applying for PhDs, in terms of how competitive my application will be. My field is in cancer research.

So I have a 2:1 in an undergraduate degree (mid to low) from Oxford. I'm just about to start a fully-funded (MRC scholarship woo) MSc at Oxford. I have been 4th author on a paper published in a journal with a respectable impact factor (~5/6) and recently gave a talk at an international conference in my field. I'm just a bit worried by the lack of a first - I did apply myself during my degree but evidently Oxford's harsh marking criteria did not bode me well. In addition I have quite a lot of extracurricular stuff (was President of a few societies). I'm wanting to apply for PhDs at top universities in the South (UCL/Imperial/Oxford/Cambridge), but I'm not sure if I would be competitive enough. I would have to secure a fully funded PhD as I am not financially able to finance it.

Hope someone can help.
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Akamega
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(Original post by dishonouronurcow)
Hi studentroom,

Just looking for a bit of advice on where I stand for applying for PhDs, in terms of how competitive my application will be. My field is in cancer research.

So I have a 2:1 in an undergraduate degree (mid to low) from Oxford. I'm just about to start a fully-funded (MRC scholarship woo) MSc at Oxford. I have been 4th author on a paper published in a journal with a respectable impact factor (~5/6) and recently gave a talk at an international conference in my field. I'm just a bit worried by the lack of a first - I did apply myself during my degree but evidently Oxford's harsh marking criteria did not bode me well. In addition I have quite a lot of extracurricular stuff (was President of a few societies). I'm wanting to apply for PhDs at top universities in the South (UCL/Imperial/Oxford/Cambridge), but I'm not sure if I would be competitive enough. I would have to secure a fully funded PhD as I am not financially able to finance it.

Hope someone can help.
Hey,

So I'm in pretty much the exact position you're in with very similar stats (mid 2.1 at a RG, starting fully-funded MRes at same uni, first-author publication in decent journal (impact factor 4, but very field-specific) and no conference). I've received some advice essentially saying I'm not the best applicant but probably not going to be the worse either. I think what I'm going to do is message the supervisor at Cambridge I want to work with, and hopefully build up a rapport. If he (the prospective supervisor) doesn't think it'll work then I'll know early on and I don't have to waste money applying. I would say if you're not sure, it's always best to email the supervisor you want to work with. If you're applying for the MRC DTP, I don't know much about that, but I know that the BBSRC DTP admissions team at Cambridge consider grades, research and references equally (a third each). Hopefully that's helpful.
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puddings3
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(Original post by dishonouronurcow)
I'm just a bit worried by the lack of a first - I did apply myself during my degree but evidently Oxford's harsh marking criteria did not bode me well.
Whatever you do, please stop saying this. There's someone in my PhD cohort who also got a low 2:1 from Oxford and didn't get PhD funding and they whinge constantly about how the only reason they missed out on funding is because Oxford is so much more challenging blahblahblah so they couldn't get a 1st. It's a deeply off-putting attitude since we're not Oxbridge so every time they start talking about this they're insulting all the rest of us and our "easy" degrees from inferior universities.

If you've already managed to get funding for an MRes you have a pretty decent chance you'll get PhD funding as well. Grades are important, but proving you have the research skills matters more. So I would say just focus on working on your MRes project and writing a really good proposal for the PhD.
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Sammylou40
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(Original post by puddings3)
Whatever you do, please stop saying this. There's someone in my PhD cohort who also got a low 2:1 from Oxford and didn't get PhD funding and they whinge constantly about how the only reason they missed out on funding is because Oxford is so much more challenging blahblahblah so they couldn't get a 1st. It's a deeply off-putting attitude since we're not Oxbridge so every time they start talking about this they're insulting all the rest of us and our "easy" degrees from inferior universities.

If you've already managed to get funding for an MRes you have a pretty decent chance you'll get PhD funding as well. Grades are important, but proving you have the research skills matters more. So I would say just focus on working on your MRes project and writing a really good proposal for the PhD.
Well said
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Cranfield University
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(Original post by dishonouronurcow)
Hi studentroom,

Just looking for a bit of advice on where I stand for applying for PhDs, in terms of how competitive my application will be. My field is in cancer research.

So I have a 2:1 in an undergraduate degree (mid to low) from Oxford. I'm just about to start a fully-funded (MRC scholarship woo) MSc at Oxford. I have been 4th author on a paper published in a journal with a respectable impact factor (~5/6) and recently gave a talk at an international conference in my field. I'm just a bit worried by the lack of a first - I did apply myself during my degree but evidently Oxford's harsh marking criteria did not bode me well. In addition I have quite a lot of extracurricular stuff (was President of a few societies). I'm wanting to apply for PhDs at top universities in the South (UCL/Imperial/Oxford/Cambridge), but I'm not sure if I would be competitive enough. I would have to secure a fully funded PhD as I am not financially able to finance it.

Hope someone can help.
Hi,

Not exactly sure you've read up what requirements are needed for a PhD as, it seems to me, that you have them BUT you are not aware that you have them.
Here's this:

"I'm just about to start a fully-funded (MRC scholarship woo) MSc at Oxford. I have been 4th author on a paper published in a journal with a respectable impact factor (~5/6) and recently gave a talk at an international conference in my field."

I'd advise that you put in your best in your MRC scholarship and make the applications you plan to make. At least one must definitely be successful.

Best,
Cranfield TSR Rep.
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