PhD Politics Oxbridge with MSc Merit

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Andreeea97
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Hi all,

To briefly explain my situation - I'm bit anxious regarding the chances to get in at Oxbridge with fundings having achieved a Merit in my MSc (I'm quite sure that it is a common situation).

I've graduated with a fairly high first class from my undergraduate (non-RG, UK uni) and a high first in my dissertation as well (the highest grade in the department for that year).

After that, I completed an MSc at the LSE in Political Science with merit (GPA is enough to get a distinction but I've missed the distinction as in 1 half-unit course I've got a 68 - instead of the 70 which is required to achieve the overall distinction). I have also achieved a distinction in my dissertation - which should be a positive factor for PhD applications.

For the requirements, I have 2 reference letters. I'm quite sure the 1 will be strong, whereas the second one should be fine (I need to choose that professor as i) great name for the field I want to study; ii) it's my supervisor and course leader).

My CV is decent, I've completed a summer internship at an Embassy, and 6 months of internship at a boutique consulting-research firm active in the field of policy making.

Does anyone have any idea or friend that was in the same situation - considering that I manage to provide a great but not ground-breaking proposal - and has a better understanding of my odds to get admitted WITH fundings to a PhD at either Oxford or Cambridge?
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by Andreeea97)
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67% at Masters level is considered the threshold for Cambridge, so you'd be fine there. Strong links with LSE so they would recognise your references. A strong research proposal that's a good fit with a Supervisor in POLIS (although they are very good at pulling Supervisors in from Economics, History etc, even LSE!) will be good. All in all, you should be fine to make a competitive application and get an offer.

Funding you will have to search on. Last I was involved, POLIS had very little of its own funding. I think things are a little better now. It's often not the Masters grade that's the decider though, much funding depends on educational background, nationality, subject matter etc in which case the pools are much smaller.

Can't help with the other place
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Andreeea97
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
67% at Masters level is considered the threshold for Cambridge, so you'd be fine there. Strong links with LSE so they would recognise your references. A strong research proposal that's a good fit with a Supervisor in POLIS (although they are very good at pulling Supervisors in from Economics, History etc, even LSE!) will be good. All in all, you should be fine to make a competitive application and get an offer.

Funding you will have to search on. Last I was involved, POLIS had very little of its own funding. I think things are a little better now. It's often not the Masters grade that's the decider though, much funding depends on educational background, nationality, subject matter etc in which case the pools are much smaller.

Can't help with the other place
Thanks for your detailed answer! Funding is actually what worries me most - and hearing that POLIS has very little of it its not entirely comforting .
I'm assuming that you had (un)direct experience with POLIS.

Would you suggest me to email a potential supervisor beforehand (without having any "definitive" research proposal) to see whether she/he would be interested? Or should I just wait to have a submittable research proposal?

At the moment I've actually got a 65% as GPA (that could be slightly higher - I'm still waiting the numerical grade on my dissertation which I only know is a distinction). Unfortunately grading at the LSE is quite messy - even though a 65% (260/4units) as an aggregate mark is classified as distinction, achieving a distinction in a course requires the "usual" threshold of 70%, and for achieving a distinction depends mainly on the units in which you've got such classification.

Anyway, thanks for your help!
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by Andreeea97)
Thanks for your detailed answer! Funding is actually what worries me most - and hearing that POLIS has very little of it its not entirely comforting .
I'm assuming that you had (un)direct experience with POLIS.

Would you suggest me to email a potential supervisor beforehand (without having any "definitive" research proposal) to see whether she/he would be interested? Or should I just wait to have a submittable research proposal?

At the moment I've actually got a 65% as GPA (that could be slightly higher - I'm still waiting the numerical grade on my dissertation which I only know is a distinction). Unfortunately grading at the LSE is quite messy - even though a 65% (260/4units) as an aggregate mark is classified as distinction, achieving a distinction in a course requires the "usual" threshold of 70%, and for achieving a distinction depends mainly on the units in which you've got such classification.

Anyway, thanks for your help!
I did my PhD with POLIS 2005-08. I was privately funded so didn't look closely at that time. I still have links and think they do better now, but are not rich in and of themselves as a Dept.

I suggest you email a potential Supervisor at some intermediate point, where you have a first draft of a research proposal, but not necessarily a fully polished application document. That way they can see the quality of your thinking, but can give you guidance on improvements, even if not for them.

Don't sweat the detail of the grading system, POLIS is entirely aware of the inner nuances of LSE's grading - look at the staff that have worked at both institutions.
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