Official Cambridge 2020 Postgraduate Applicants Thread

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Kaylee Frye
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#41
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Hi all! I have a few questions that I was hoping someone might be able to help me out with I did my undergrad in English at Cambridge, and am about to start an MSc in Gender at LSE. I'll soon be applying to do a PhD in English at Cambridge among other places (focusing on feminist literature - hence the choice of master's). Do you guys think it would be acceptable to contact one of my undergrad Cambridge referees to be my referee again for my PhD, as I'm applying for English rather than Gender? I'm just worried that my professors at LSE won't know me very well yet, and might not be well placed to speak about my aptitude for English. Or is that a weird thing to ask/do?

I was also wondering about contacting potential supervisors - when would you say is the 'right time' for that? I haven't been in touch with anyone yet as I'm still finalising my ideas, but I don't want to end up polishing them until I've left it too late, so to speak. Thanks a bunch in advance!
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by Kaylee Frye)
Hi all! I have a few questions that I was hoping someone might be able to help me out with I did my undergrad in English at Cambridge, and am about to start an MSc in Gender at LSE. I'll soon be applying to do a PhD in English at Cambridge among other places (focusing on feminist literature - hence the choice of master's). Do you guys think it would be acceptable to contact one of my undergrad Cambridge referees to be my referee again for my PhD, as I'm applying for English rather than Gender? I'm just worried that my professors at LSE won't know me very well yet, and might not be well placed to speak about my aptitude for English. Or is that a weird thing to ask/do?

I was also wondering about contacting potential supervisors - when would you say is the 'right time' for that? I haven't been in touch with anyone yet as I'm still finalising my ideas, but I don't want to end up polishing them until I've left it too late, so to speak. Thanks a bunch in advance!
Yes, it would be fine to use an undergrad lecturer etc as a referee for your PhD, but you will need the LSE one as well. That's perfectly normal.

You should contact a PhD Supervisor anytime before Christmas, with a view to putting in an application in Jan/Feb (but watch funding deadlines which are sometimes earlier).

It's best to approach them with a roughly sketched out research proposal and ask for their view on your proposal, does it seem to be the right scope and scale, is the methodology appropriate etc. And would they be interested in supervising!
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Kaylee Frye
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
Yes, it would be fine to use an undergrad lecturer etc as a referee for your PhD, but you will need the LSE one as well. That's perfectly normal.

You should contact a PhD Supervisor anytime before Christmas, with a view to putting in an application in Jan/Feb (but watch funding deadlines which are sometimes earlier).

It's best to approach them with a roughly sketched out research proposal and ask for their view on your proposal, does it seem to be the right scope and scale, is the methodology appropriate etc. And would they be interested in supervising!
That's really helpful - thank you so much!
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stellaluna1
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#44
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Hi everyone, - Current University: FU Berlin - Achieved (Expected) Grade: First- Prospective Course: MPhil in Politics and International Studies - Prospective College: not sure yet- Fun fact/extracurricular activities: I am fluent in German, French and English and learned Serbian as I am focussing on South East European Politics.If anyone is applying to the same course, feel free to reach out!
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countduckula1906
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#45
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Hi everyone!

Current University: University of Sussex
- Course BSc. Mathematics
- Achieved Grade: First Class (Obtained - graduated this past July)
- Prospective Course: Advanced Chemical engineering
- Prospective College: Any
- Fun fact/extracurricular activities: Did a few financial internships are big companies.


Do you think its unlikely that my app for chem engineering would be progressed as I'm coming from a BSc mathematics?
Am I better of applying to the departments of maths or computer sci etc?
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Diplomatic
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Does anyone know how long it takes for status to change from 'Submitted' to 'Under review by dept'?
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by Patagonia)
Does anyone know how long it takes for status to change from 'Submitted' to 'Under review by dept'?
There's no time schedule. I doubt they will be seriously looking at applications yet, they are too focussed on getting the timetabling etc for this year's cohort settled, and then the start of term.

All the move from Submitted to Under review by department means is that the GAO have passed the application to the Department and the Departmental Administrator has sent it out to a relevant department and then has clicked the right box to change the message on Camsis. I suspect it would be an unusual department where the Departmental Administrator would be thanked by an academic for passing an application on before mid October.

However, ymmv, depending on the course and department - there's no real way of knowing. This is just a very low priority at a very busy time of year.
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Diplomatic
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
There's no time schedule. I doubt they will be seriously looking at applications yet, they are too focussed on getting the timetabling etc for this year's cohort settled, and then the start of term.

All the move from Submitted to Under review by department means is that the GAO have passed the application to the Department and the Departmental Administrator has sent it out to a relevant department and then has clicked the right box to change the message on Camsis. I suspect it would be an unusual department where the Departmental Administrator would be thanked by an academic for passing an application on before mid October.

However, ymmv, depending on the course and department - there's no real way of knowing. This is just a very low priority at a very busy time of year.
Interesting, thanks for the insight!
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orchids.ade
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#49
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Hey everyone (:

- Current University: BA Human Geography at Sheffield
- Achieved (Expected) Grade: (predicted) First - achieved 67% in 2nd year due to extenuating circumstances
- Prospective Course: MPhil in Sociology (The Sociology of Marginality and Exclusion)
- Prospective College: probably Newnham or Lucy Cavendish but I'm not too sure just yet!
- Fun fact/extracurricular activities: currently completing a funded research project, volunteered for various organisations (MSF and the British Red Cross) and I'm really interested in film and cooking!


I feel slightly lost in the whole application process but would really like to try and secure ESRC funding and complete a PhD after my master's. The main issue I have at the moment is approaching a supervisor at Cambrdige, I've identified a professor who I would really enjoy being supervised by, but I'm not at the stage yet where I have a definite research proposal in mind. Would it still be a good idea to approach them earlier and give a general overview of my interests/potential research focuses, or would I be best off waiting until I have a more concrete idea?

Thanks for any help and good luck with your applications! I haven't used this account in so many years now but I suspect I'll be back here a lot over the coming months/year 🌷
Last edited by orchids.ade; 1 year ago
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35hi100
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Hi all! Applied spur of the moment last cycle to the Social Anthropology MPhil, and was denied due to my own lack of preparedness and lackluster statement of purpose. Did more research and I'm going to give it another shot this time!

- University: UC Berkeley (U.S.) BA Anthropology, BA Molecular/Cell Biology

- Grade: 3.91/4.0 (Magna *** Laude), w/ various academic and travel awards

- Prospective Course: MPhil Health, Medicine, and Society

- Prospective College: St. Catharine's

- Fun fact/extracurricular activities:
1 second author publication, 1 first author publication under review, 2 conference presentations
5+ years of research experience, working with immigrant communities and conducting clinical research in hospitals
Worked non-research positions in the healthcare industry for ~2 years
Biology Undergraduate Student Instructor ~ 1 year
English tutor and peer advisor for international students
Quad-lingual (my hobby is learning different dialects in my spare time!)

If anyone has some tips on the statement of purpose, or are interested in similar courses/fields I'll be more than happy to connect with you all!
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orchids.ade
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#51
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Just to update that I’ve sent my email and outline of my research proposal to my intended supervisor. Fingers crossed they like the sound of me. Also managed to secure a reference from a HoD which will be invaluable, and on my birthday too

(Original post by orchids.ade)
...........
Last edited by orchids.ade; 1 year ago
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sealguy2
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My 2nd year grades are:
83, 82, 79, 76, 71, 68, 59
Are these grades good enough for Oxbridge?
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rllb610
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(Original post by 35hi100)
Hi all! Applied spur of the moment last cycle to the Social Anthropology MPhil, and was denied due to my own lack of preparedness and lackluster statement of purpose. Did more research and I'm going to give it another shot this time!

- University: UC Berkeley (U.S.) BA Anthropology, BA Molecular/Cell Biology

- Grade: 3.91/4.0 (Magna *** Laude), w/ various academic and travel awards

- Prospective Course: MPhil Health, Medicine, and Society

- Prospective College: St. Catharine's

- Fun fact/extracurricular activities:
1 second author publication, 1 first author publication under review, 2 conference presentations
5+ years of research experience, working with immigrant communities and conducting clinical research in hospitals
Worked non-research positions in the healthcare industry for ~2 years
Biology Undergraduate Student Instructor ~ 1 year
English tutor and peer advisor for international students
Quad-lingual (my hobby is learning different dialects in my spare time!)

If anyone has some tips on the statement of purpose, or are interested in similar courses/fields I'll be more than happy to connect with you all!
I would appreciate any tips you have on the statement of purpose for the MPhil! I am planning to submit my application by October 9. Thanks!
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TheUKAmerican
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(Original post by sealguy2)
My 2nd year grades are:
83, 82, 79, 76, 71, 68, 59
Are these grades good enough for Oxbridge?
Obviously. But grades don’t mean everything.
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by sealguy2)
My 2nd year grades are:
83, 82, 79, 76, 71, 68, 59
Are these grades good enough for Oxbridge?
Depends entirely what the marking scheme of your institution is. if you are in the top 10% of your cohort, it's worth a chance, but you may not be competitive unless you are in the top 5%.
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TheUKAmerican
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
Depends entirely what the marking scheme of your institution is. if you are in the top 10% of your cohort, it's worth a chance, but you may not be competitive unless you are in the top 5%.
It’s probably fair to say that at the postgraduate level it’s even more nuanced than that - do you show potential to be a good researcher, do your research interests line up with the prospective departments’, etc...

Just my impression as an undergrad though.
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by TheUKAmerican)
It’s probably fair to say that at the postgraduate level it’s even more nuanced than that - do you show potential to be a good researcher, do your research interests line up with the prospective departments’, etc...

Just my impression as an undergrad though.
Sure, but looking at the OP, it didn't look like nuanced was warranted!
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TheUKAmerican
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
Sure, but looking at the OP, it didn't look like nuanced was warranted!
Only saying that as someone trying to not freak over slightly low second year grades of their own. (68 at both universities) 😂
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sealguy2
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
Sure, but looking at the OP, it didn't look like nuanced was warranted!
I'm not sure what you mean by this. Is it an insult or complement? Or maybe my failure to understand is the reason why I shouldn't apply to Oxbridge!!
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sealguy2
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I'm looking through the Cambridge postgraduate course directory. There is literally very few courses that interest me - one or two at a push. I'm not sure how to put a research proposal together for a course that only slightly interests me. There is a course which I am interested in, but it's at Edinburgh university. I would prefer Cambridge for reputation reasons and closeness to home. I don't know what to do. I find it hard to write about something I have little interest in. What is the point? I wish Cambridge postgraduate courses were more interesting and diverse. Most courses require undergraduate modules and other courses a high 1st. I'm looking for a less competitive, 'generalist' course which is easy to get on. Any ideas?
Last edited by sealguy2; 1 year ago
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