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PhD in Education - UCL or Oxbridge

I have received a Master's degree with a distinction in education from UCL, and am planning on applying for a PhD in education. Considering I would be accepted to both Oxford/Cambridge and UCL, which university should I go to? I had an absolutely amazing experience at UCL and am still in touch with some of my lecturers, and it is #1 in education according to the QS ranking. At the same time, Oxbridge is Oxbridge... My question is, would going to Oxbridge would make such a difference in terms of future employment in academia? Or would UCL be just as good?
(edited 5 years ago)
Original post by sophielider
I have received a Master's degree with a distinction in education from UCL, and am planning on applying for a PhD in education. Considering I would be accepted to both Oxford/Cambridge and UCL, which university should I go to? I had an absolutely amazing experience at UCL and am still in touch with some of my lecturers, and it is #1 in education according to the QS ranking. At the same time, Oxbridge is Oxbridge... My question is, would going to Oxbridge would make such a difference in terms of future employment in academia? Or would UCL be just as good?

Do you hold offers to Oxford and/or Cambridge and UCL, or are you yet to apply?
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Reply 2
Hi. No, this is all still pretty theoretical, although I am in contact with one professor in UCL and one in Oxford, and both are very willing to supervise me for a PhD. I am just debating if I should even apply for Oxbridge when, in reality, I really love UCL and know for a fact that I will enjoy my time there. Are Oxford/Camrbridge that much better in terms of future employment?
Original post by PhoenixFortune
Do you hold offers to Oxford and/or Cambridge and UCL, or are you yet to apply?
Original post by sophielider
Hi. No, this is all still pretty theoretical, although I am in contact with one professor in UCL and one in Oxford, and both are very willing to supervise me for a PhD. I am just debating if I should even apply for Oxbridge when, in reality, I really love UCL and know for a fact that I will enjoy my time there. Are Oxford/Camrbridge that much better in terms of future employment?


In terms of PhDs in education, I don't think it really makes so much difference at that level. You will be extremely specialised by that point in terms of research, or just go into teaching professionally, neither of which care much for "brand name" (except maybe private schools in the profession?). As far as research/academia goes, the relevance/renown of your supervisor/research group will make more of a name than the university itself, and I don't think any state schools are going to quibble over a qualified teacher being from Oxbridge vs UCL if you went into teaching proper.

Having a good supervisor, that you have a good relationship with, is probably the most important thing. If UCL offers you that, and the supervisor has a name for themselves in your field of research, then that should be perfect for you.

Also you still need to apply and meet any requirements, so it may be the decision gets made for you - possibly because one can fund you when another can't, one takes you and another doesn't, one has the perfect PhD project while another is just ok and generally relevant to your interests, etc.
(edited 5 years ago)
Reply 4
Hi, thank you very much for your help. I am not planning on working as a teacher in the future, but rather to hopefully get a job in a university and continue doing research. So from what I understand from you, it wouldn't matter that much as long as UCL offers me a good supervisor? That's very good to hear. Thanks.
Original post by artful_lounger
In terms of PhDs in education, I don't think it really makes so much difference at that level. You will be extremely specialised by that point in terms of research, or just go into teaching professionally, neither of which care much for "brand name" (except maybe private schools in the profession?). As far as research/academia goes, the relevance/renown of your supervisor/research group will make more of a name than the university itself, and I don't think any state schools are going to quibble over a qualified teacher being from Oxbridge vs UCL if you went into teaching proper.

Having a good supervisor, that you have a good relationship with, is probably the most important thing. If UCL offers you that, and the supervisor has a name for themselves in your field of research, then that should be perfect for you.

Also you still need to apply and meet any requirements, so it may be the decision gets made for you - possibly because one can fund you when another can't, one takes you and another doesn't, one has the perfect PhD project while another is just ok and generally relevant to your interests, etc.
I think I'm right in saying that UCL's Institute of Education is either the best (or the second best, it's in a continual battle with the Harvard Graduate School of Education for the top spot) place to study education in the world. Ofc that said, I agree with the above, it all depends on your research area.
Reply 6
Thank you! It is indeed #1 in the world for education, but Oxbridge have such a great reputation, makeing the decision very hard...
Original post by Snufkin
I think I'm right in saying that UCL's Institute of Education is either the best (or the second best, it's in a continual battle with the Harvard Graduate School of Education for the top spot) place to study education in the world. Ofc that said, I agree with the above, it all depends on your research area.
Hi! I hope you have completed your PhD, I'm starting my masters in UCL and in the same thought for PhD! I love UCL and love the coursework, but Oxbridge's reputation is pulling me. I'd love to know what did you decide on your journey!

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