dayone
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I have received offers for the MPhilStud at UCL and KCL, and am having a hard time deciding which to choose.

I am an EU student and have secured a full grant from my country's research council, so funding is not an issue. After completing the MPhil I am planning, depending on funding opportunities, to either return to my home country for a Phd or embark on a graduate program in the US.

I am leaning slightly towards UCL, because it seems to have a more tight-knit graduate community, *slightly* more apt supervision and the course has a clearer structure (weekly seminars as opposed to do-whatever-you-want-just-submit-research-on-time at KCL). My worry is that the structure of the course at UCL may be too rigid once my research interests and dissertation topic crystalise. Also, there is a considerably bigger amount of writing to do (ten essays + dissertation at UCL vs six essays + dissertation at KCL), which I am not sure leads to better writing skills or, contrary, compromised quality. KCL seems like the overall safer option, as from what I have gathered they are happy to let their research students work individually, only meeting supervisors twice a term and submitting research annually. I am used to working this way, but am afraid that it will make me feel a bit lonely (research-wise), and may not be as challenging as UCL. Does anyone have experiences with either department and can tell me something more about what they are like?

Finally, I am a parent, which means that I may sometimes miss seminars unexpectedly, especially in the winter flu season. This, given their seminar-based course structure, gives me another worry about UCL. Can you tell me what the culture is in UK universities regarding excused absences? Of course I imagine it may vary wildly depending on who is teaching, but am interested in what are the usual expectations? Would it be realistic, for example, to participate in seminars via Facetime? (I have done that in the US, but can hardly see it work in Germany or Austria.) Or, say I am out for several weeks, would it be a big problem in passing the course, or is assessment based solely on handing in research papers on time?

I will be grateful if anyone can share their knowledge of either UCL/KCL Philosophy Departments, or the experience of doing a UK research degree as a parent.

Thanks!
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Velvet_Scholar
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Hello,

Not really sure about the Philosophy department, but the Geography department (speaking KCL) is quite chill. I do not think KCL will be as intense as UCL.

Maybe not very relevant, but KCL has better connections with other, especially foreign unis, means if you want to study abroad - KCL will cater for that much better.

All the best!
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dayone
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(Original post by Velvet_Scholar)
Hello,

Not really sure about the Philosophy department, but the Geography department (speaking KCL) is quite chill. I do not think KCL will be as intense as UCL.

Maybe not very relevant, but KCL has better connections with other, especially foreign unis, means if you want to study abroad - KCL will cater for that much better.

All the best!
Hi! Thanks for that.

So there is something to my impression that KCL is rather relaxed about research students, while UCL is more of a drill? Do you know whether it would be a problem for me to attend one or two grad seminars at UCL while enrolled at King's? I know they allow it in principle, but does the department require an official approval, or can you simply show up?
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Velvet_Scholar
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I think it varies from department to department. From my experience, King's is super relaxed and I think if you establish good relationships with professors, they may allow you to audit their classes.I went to King's, but my close friend went to UCL and she says it was very intense. I cannot say the same about my KCL experience.
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domome
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Hi! I find myself in the same boat. Do you mind me asking which institution you chose and your experience so far?
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