Aberdeen or Glasgow for Philosophy?

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SkillBill
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#1
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#1
Hey all! Title is pretty self-explanatory I suppose.. Judging strictly by education quality, which of the two departments is better? (do not care which city is best etc)
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heyitsmika
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When looking at the ranking of philosophy in Scotland, Glasgow is in third place after St Andrews and Edinburgh, Aberdeen is in fourth place.

I can’t speak about Glasgow Uni, but I studied at Aberdeen and I really loved the sense of community and how incredibly helpful the lecturers were. There is always someone you can speak to, the lecturers in general are qualified and passionate about what they teach.
I think it’ll be similar at Glasgow Uni, but in Aberdeen the course is typically split into several different types of teaching: normal lectures and tutorials - you’re in smaller groups and you’re discussing what you learnt in the lectures and deepening your knowledge. You often work on group projects such as essays or presentations.
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G Doggy Jr
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#3
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I am also in the position of having to choose between Glasgow and Aberdeen (among others).

I suppose you could look at the university's rates of 1sts and 2:1s and so on, or you could look at rates of students going on to such and such employment, or postgraduate study. However, I don't know whether these measures speak directly to the 'education quality' you have asked about. (Also, I have not looked into these figures - sorry!)

Personally, I don't compare unis in terms of which has 'higher education quality' per se. I don't think it makes sense to do so - at least regarding two universities that are both highly regarded: it is trying to look objectively at something that seems to be more of a matter of personal compatibility. It depends on what you want from your education.

Glasgow's philosophy faculty is like, five times the size of Aberdeen's, with dozens of philosophers working there publishing cutting edge research. I am an outsider to how unis work, but I think this means that during your undergraduate degree, you will be more exposed to the current waves in philosophy than you would be at Aberdeen; it could give you an advantage when it comes to getting accepted into postgraduate schemes. Perhaps it also means you could have more freedom when it comes to choosing your dissertation topic - if there are more professors specialising in different things. Many philosophers at Glasgow have recently published work in the philosophy of perceptual experience, such as the philosophy of pain, and this is an area that really interests me.

On the other hand, Aberdeen's smaller faculty could mean there is more of an intimate feel. You can be more confident that you will know all of your classmates well by the end of the degree, and you and your lecturers will also quickly be familiar with each other. I think both Aberdeen and Glasgow have student/staff ratios of about 1:20 (roughly double that of St Andrews), but since there will be many more students at Glasgow, I imagine the lecturers will struggle to get to know all of the students, especially within the first couple of years. So while there may be more choice in terms of one's dissertation at Glasgow, at Aberdeen, you will probably know your adviser much better, in terms of their areas of interest, and their personality, by the time it comes to choosing your dissertation topic. I imagine this could be quite beneficial in the last couple of years, but it also depends on whether you feel like you fit in there - and this is where considerations of what the city is like become important. An intimate learning environment is always preferable... unless you are not getting along with someone, in which case it may feel suffocating! My sociology teacher went to Aberdeen, but wishes she had gone to Glasgow - she just thinks the 'vibe' at Aberdeen doesn't suit her.

So that is some of my decision-making process. Sorry I couldn't give you a simple and neat answer to your question - perhaps I am mistaken, and someone knows which of these unis has superior 'education quality'. If that is the case, I would be interested to know about it!
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gjd800
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#4
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(Original post by G Doggy Jr)
I am also in the position of having to choose between Glasgow and Aberdeen (among others).

I suppose you could look at the university's rates of 1sts and 2:1s and so on, or you could look at rates of students going on to such and such employment, or postgraduate study. However, I don't know whether these measures speak directly to the 'education quality' you have asked about. (Also, I have not looked into these figures - sorry!)

Personally, I don't compare unis in terms of which has 'higher education quality' per se. I don't think it makes sense to do so - at least regarding two universities that are both highly regarded: it is trying to look objectively at something that seems to be more of a matter of personal compatibility. It depends on what you want from your education.

Glasgow's philosophy faculty is like, five times the size of Aberdeen's, with dozens of philosophers working there publishing cutting edge research. I am an outsider to how unis work, but I think this means that during your undergraduate degree, you will be more exposed to the current waves in philosophy than you would be at Aberdeen; it could give you an advantage when it comes to getting accepted into postgraduate schemes. Perhaps it also means you could have more freedom when it comes to choosing your dissertation topic - if there are more professors specialising in different things. Many philosophers at Glasgow have recently published work in the philosophy of perceptual experience, such as the philosophy of pain, and this is an area that really interests me.

On the other hand, Aberdeen's smaller faculty could mean there is more of an intimate feel. You can be more confident that you will know all of your classmates well by the end of the degree, and you and your lecturers will also quickly be familiar with each other. I think both Aberdeen and Glasgow have student/staff ratios of about 1:20 (roughly double that of St Andrews), but since there will be many more students at Glasgow, I imagine the lecturers will struggle to get to know all of the students, especially within the first couple of years. So while there may be more choice in terms of one's dissertation at Glasgow, at Aberdeen, you will probably know your adviser much better, in terms of their areas of interest, and their personality, by the time it comes to choosing your dissertation topic. I imagine this could be quite beneficial in the last couple of years, but it also depends on whether you feel like you fit in there - and this is where considerations of what the city is like become important. An intimate learning environment is always preferable... unless you are not getting along with someone, in which case it may feel suffocating! My sociology teacher went to Aberdeen, but wishes she had gone to Glasgow - she just thinks the 'vibe' at Aberdeen doesn't suit her.

So that is some of my decision-making process. Sorry I couldn't give you a simple and neat answer to your question - perhaps I am mistaken, and someone knows which of these unis has superior 'education quality'. If that is the case, I would be interested to know about it!
The research thing doesn't usually factor into undergraduate much unless you pester staff on a one-to-one basis. That's not to say that their research will never inform their teaching, but it is usually to a pretty small degree, and sometimes it will only manifest at all for your dissertation (this might be good enough -- it was for me when I did mine!).
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