Oxford Brookes or UCA Postgraduate MArch(D)?Watch
The title is pretty self explanatory but let me add some details (TL;DR at the end). I have been applying all across Europe (Scandinavia/UK) and after a number of rejections / being put on reserve I have finally managed to get two offers, provided I can supply a translation of my degree. It is just my luck that these universities are the most expensive ones I have applied to - I would almost think they do this for some easy money, just kidding, hopefully - but having graduated from my Bachelors last year and working my uneducated student job I should be able to make ends meet.
So much for my personal details as I am looking for your personal experiences here. I have been in close contact with both universities and they have done a great job providing me with plenty information regarding the course, number of students, structure, student work, etc.. The problem is both universities cater to my preferences.
On one hand there is UCA. The university and its program are smaller and as such it appears a more friendly environment. The work shows a great variety in scale and they even got in touch suggesting literature and software. The only downside I have come across is that I have read (so I even question if it is true) that you should not expect the accommodation to be anything but basic and in all fairness it also appeared as such in the pictures on UCA’s site. It may be more of a prestige thing but UCA is a College of Arts and where I am from these colleges have always been considered as not quite reaching the standard of universities even though the degree is exactly the same.
Oxford Brookes on the other hand seems the exact opposite. It is much bigger in size but through the specializations ‘’classes’’ end up being about as big and I come to expect the same level of attention from staff(?). Student work looks comparable though generally on a bigger scale. The only worry I have regarding these specializations is that you may not learn to be as versatile in as many subjects and scales. Even if a study is only what you make of it just mentioning Oxford will surely raise some eyebrows so in that regard it has a slight edge and joining a university has always been part of my personal agenda. Accommodation looks slightly better but I don’t expect anything grand and would rather end up in the catered hall if that is any good.
The only downside I can think of is its people and I do not mean to offend anyone but being Oxford of all places you can imagine the first thing people will tell you about the place, as I have not been there myself, is that ALL of its students MUST surely be from very wealthy/posh classes, and then I was admitted… Still my view regarding this social aspect has become a bit coloured. Then again, I should only expect farmers boys at UCA.
Both being assessed based on portfolio’s (hooray little maths) seem to share many similarities and I hope anyone is able to tell me if there are any negatives to either university either from personal experience or word of mouth? If there are any positives I should know about you are welcome to share them as well. I am a social person but I care little for long nights out or heavy drinking and appreciate some quiet time to myself aside from group work and a very study-centric mindset.
TL;DR: Both universities look like great fits and appear similar through different approaches. I am leaning to Oxford Brookes in name and facilities but UCA keeps me from finalizing it due to its appearing calm and friendliness. Do you have anything to mention regarding either program that might influence my final decision?
Thank you everyone for going through all this. Cheers!
Firstly please don't worry about money! Oxford is an expensive city, but it's full of students so there's plenty of deals to keep us going Also Brookes have an amazing careers service to help you find a part time job. As Oxford is a city there are so many jobs, and Brookes is the only university in Oxford that allows their students to get part time jobs so there's always something going.
At Brookes I think everyone is so friendly, we have around 19,000 students here which is a pretty average sized uni, although some universities have up to 40,000, so we are on the smaller side compared to those. Even though you still might think Brookes is a fairly big uni this comes with its perks. The support that our Wellbeing service provide is amazing I honestly can't praise them enough. If you have any problems you are usually provided with a personal Wellbeing officer who you can get to know really well and can put measures in place for all your lectures, coursework etc should you need it.
There is also lots of support in place on your course, you never have to worry about not getting support from staff, you will be given an Academic Adviser, who is a lecturer on your course, who you can chat to, keep track of progress with, discuss work with, they will give you advice on the best modules for your career or interests etc. They are such a great idea and always so lovely. Your course will also have a dedicated librarian who can help you find resources for any work that you may be doing and you will also have Subject Support Coordinators who help you with all academic aspects of your course, no matter what the question, they'll always help you.
If you're worried about the 'names' of universities affecting your future I have to say that I personally believe that a good classification degree with plenty of work experience and showing passion for your career or subject is more important than a degree from any university in particular. For me and I also believe a lot of employers, it’s far more important that you are a well rounded person than someone with a degree from a ‘prestigious’ uni.
To help students who may want to work abroad after university we not only use traditional degree classifications (1st, 2:1, 2:2 etc.) but we also use GPA which is internationally recognised. Here's some more information: https://www.brookes.ac.uk/students/y...point-average/
On to accomodation
There are lots of options for accommodation at Brookes, all are great for different people depending on what type of thing you like, which campus you'd like to be close to, what your budget is, what course you do (some courses require longer contracts) or if you need family accommodation.
Here's a link to our accommodation page which gives you all the details of each hall: https://www.brookes.ac.uk/studying-a...tudents/halls/ (Then click on Postgradaute)
Personally I live at Westmintser Halls on Harcourt Hill, I love it there because it's so close to all of my lectures, it slightly more out of the city and there's so much wildlife around campus, which is something I love. However, if you want to be closer to Headington, Wheatly or the City Centre you might to try a different hall. (All are connected by Brookes Busses though, which are currently free to students on a full time course.)
Choosing a hall is a really personal choice so it's hard to give advice on which hall is 'best' because it's different for everyone
I would say the best advice is to have a look at all the different accommodation options online, (including the virtual tours!) take a look at where they all are on a map compared to where you will study and then make a list of which look best for you, taking into consideration size, location, age, postgrad specific, course specific and your budget
So, I know you said you're worried about people from Oxford being 'posh', honestly, please don't worry! I'm from a little town in North Wales, as far away as you can get from typical Oxford Posh, and I love it at Brookes! I have never found anyone that judges you from where you come from here, there is such a massive chunk of Brookes that is made up of international students it's so diverse, which makes it so welcoming to everyone! At Brookes, even though it is so different from where I grew up, I feel so at home.
If you are an international or EU student, you can find specific advice here: https://www.brookes.ac.uk/international/your-country/
You can also contact our ISAT office on: [email protected]
It's so great to hear that you've already been in contact with the uni about course details etc. It shows that you are so interested, on top of things, and will really impress you prospective lecturers. It also means you'll probably know a lot more about your course's facilities than me, since I am a Philosophy student I can say though that at the moment Brookes is investing a lot of money into new buildings and equipment to keep the uni ahead of the game in modernisation and provide student with the best technology we can have. General facilities in the uni are also brilliant, whether it's somewhere to eat, chat or study there's so many options!
Personally, I don't go on nights out either, I've been to a night club twice since I've been at uni, that's it. There are plenty of clubs should you ever want to go but there are also plenty of other places. Obviously we have lots of societies at Brookes where you can socialise, we also have a small union bar which is great to spend some chill time in. In town there are also lots of quirky cafes and cocktails bars open until late which I love to go to just with a couple of friends to chat
There's so much to do no matter what you like really
Honestly, I only have good things to say about Brookes, it's my second home and I love it there. If at all possible I'd really recommend that you pop along to an open day, or book a personal tour
https://www.brookes.ac.uk/open-day/ & https://www.brookes.ac.uk/studying-a...a-campus-tour/
If there's anything else you want to know please just ask, we're more than happy to help
I really hope this has helped and all the best of luck with your applications.
Thank you very much for your detailed reply, especially the elaboration on the social aspects. It's great to hear there is the possibility of part time jobs and plenty of unions to chose from if desired. The size of the university and the city it's based in are quite similar to what I'm used to and enjoy; always something that's going on but never anything you feel pressed to be part of. I love how you mention typical ''Oxford posh'', I guess it is a thing, but I'm glad to know it isn't the norm. I completely agree in the end your degree isn't about the name but your personal passion. It's a pity you study philosophy - just kidding, I enjoy it as a layman - and can't tell me more about the specific course, but from what I've seen I'm not that worried about the overall content.
I will take a closer look at all the links you've provided as they seem of great use. Writing my initial post and your reply regarding the social environment have reassured me a great deal and may have given me that final bit of encouragement.
P.S.: The GPA link you provided doesn't work for me but I found the relevant information. My EU-country isn't listed either but that may be something I should take a hand in myself in the future!