UCL or Durham in IR? Watch

dumoulin
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Hello i m a french student i ve got offers in two graduate programmes.


-UCL, School of public policy, european public policy

-Durham,School od governmental affairs,International affairs(Europe)

My question is easy (but maybe not?), what is the best according to you, what would you choose?

Thank you for your precious help.
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*River
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Do you want to live in London or Durham? They're HUGELY different.

UCL has a stronger international reputation if that's important to you.
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royale_sufi
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It is expensive to live in london (where UCL is situated) which you might want to take into consideration. I think UCL is also a more prestigious university though... it is consistently in the top 10 nationally.
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River85
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If we are talking about reputation/prestige it's a hard thing to measure. In the UK Durham and UCL are fairly equal. Highly respected, hghly ranked universities although, having said that, neither of their politics departments are fantastic. International wise UCL is far better known (primarily thanks to its London name).

You really shouldn't care what I would choose. I am me and you're a completely different individual. It's also hard to comment on Durham's course as it doesn't start until next year (I'm assuming that we're talking about undergrad here)? I'm currently studying politics (with philosophy) at Durham and I can tell you that IR is obviously an area Durham specilaise in. However, I can't really give any information about the course content.

London is the capital city, nothing more needs to be said. Durham is a small mediaeval cathedral city in the far north of England. A beatiful "city" but a completely different environment to London.

What appeals to you more? A small (pretty) city with a close-knit collegiate system or a large university in a busy capital city? What are your social interests? Do you like sport? Clubbing?
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River85
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(Original post by royale_sufi)
It is expensive to live in london (where UCL is situated) which you might want to take into consideration. I think UCL is also a more prestigious university though... it is consistently in the top 10 nationally.
Both are really quite equal on the domestic presitige front. Durham hasn't always been in the Times' top 10 (although never too far away). But, amongst employers and the general public, it's always been a well thought of university. In fact I don't think UCL has always been in the top 10 for that matter.

Durham is also almost as expensive as London to live in, although some will disagree with me there. It's certainly more expensive than most other northern cities.
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royale_sufi
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(Original post by River85)
Both are really quite equal on the domestic presitige front. Durham hasn't always been in the Times' top 10 (although never too far away). But, amongst employers and the general public, it's always been a well thought of university. In fact I don't think UCL has always been in the top 10 for that matter.

Durham is also almost as expensive as London to live in, although some will disagree with me there. It's certainly more expensive than most other northern cities.
Yes they dropped down to 11 on a year, which is hardly important. But yes you are right in saying they are equally as prestigious. It does really depend on where the OP wants to live then!
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River85
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(Original post by royale_sufi)
Yes they dropped down to 11 on a year, which is hardly important. But yes you are right in saying they are equally as prestigious. It does really depend on where the OP wants to live then!
Well, course content as well plus a few other things. Unfortunately I can't really find a great deal about either course.

UCL's a great university but the have a horrible website...

I'll say one thing about Durham's politics department. It's not the most organised of university departments. I haven't really seen any major problems, just a few issues regarding module registration, tutorial changes and things like that. I normally wouldn't use this as a reason for putting a student off Durham (as it's a great uni and I feel privilidged for studying here) but given that the IR degree is going to be a new degree and it's in a department that has slight organisational problems I would expect a few teething problems. Maybe I'm being a little unfair on the department here. I just can't help comparing it to the philosophy department which is fantastically well organised.

One of the good things about Durham is its collegiate structure and the staff. If you have any problems, including problems with the department, you just need to see student support at your college. They'll give the department a kick up the backside and things get sorted out easily enough.

So maybe I'm seeing problems where there may not be any but I thought I should let the OP aware of my concerns.
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xxxchrisxxx
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I regard UCL to be more prestigious than Durham. I think it also makes sense to take into account their proximity to the centre of UK's politics. Since Durham apparently is just as expensive as London as a place to live in (according to River85), I think this makes it a non-contest in UCL's favour.
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River85
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(Original post by xxxchrisxxx)
I regard UCL to be more prestigious than Durham. I think it also makes sense to take into account their proximity to the centre of UK's politics. Since Durham apparently is just as expensive as London as a place to live in (according to River85), I think this makes it a non-contest in UCL's favour.
I really don't get this "UCL is more prestigious than Durham" argument. I've had it before with people (all have, in the end, agreed that there isn't as much of a difference as first thought). Yes, internationally UCL is "better known" because it's a more research intesive uni and has the London name but that doesn't make itself more "prestigious" (certainly not amongst those in the know).

I know there's far more than league tables and that they do have their faults. However, I think that some benefit can be gained from them. Durham consistant out-ranks UCL across the board and politics is no different (neither exceptionally well ranked)

http://extras.timesonline.co.uk/tol_...b=52&x=12&y=11

This doesn't make Durham "better" of course,

I also don't think the proximity to Westminster meanins anything at all, especially in International Relations. Why should it? You won't have anything to do with Westminster! St Andrews is well known as an excellent and prestigious IR department, that's even more provincial than Durham. I certainly don't feel disadvantaged.

I don't mean to dictate to the OP but I think uni choices should be based on location, course content, student support etc. (although of course the is up to the OP to ultimately decide). We are in agreement that whilst UCL may not be more presigious than Durham it's better known internationally. This may be important to the OP if they are thinking of working outside the UK (in the UK both unis have great respect). I can't speak for UCL's teaching but, if I'm being honest, Durham's teaching can vary. It's not as consistantly great as can be found in other departments. John Williams is good but a couple of others are quite mediocore (but by no means poor).

Whether the OP wants a collegiate university or not, as well as whether they want to live in a historic small city or large and cosmopolitan capital city is also of great importance. That's why I'm interested to know what the OP thinks on this matter.
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dumoulin
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Thank you to give so many answers. It really helps me. I understand that UCL and Durham are fairly equal and I must take other parametres before choosing. UCL is more expensive than Durham(4000/7000) first. Secondly, I live in Paris since my birth , so I m not really dreaming of a big cosmopolitan city...Much more of an historical small city where you can practice sports easily.
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arkbar
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Then you should probably choose Durham, it fits all of those criteria.
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River85
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(Original post by dumoulin)
Thank you to give so many answers. It really helps me. I understand that UCL and Durham are fairly equal and I must take other parametres before choosing. UCL is more expensive than Durham(4000/7000)
About the cost of studying at Durham I was a little misleading. It's still probably not as expensive as UCL although (along with Oxbridge, UCL, LSE, KCL, Royal Agricultural College and Royal College of music - the "posh" universities - it ranks as amongst the most expensive in the country).

In the study I saw Durham was the fifth most expensive uni to study at (the only uni in the north of England to feature). When you look at the breakdown of costs it was average to below average for every single factor except accomodation when it was significantly above average. It is my opinion that the university really screw the students over in the first year. College accomodation can be ridiculously expensive. Private accomodation varies greatly although it's easy enough to get a cheap place if you're "on the ball". So it's probably not as bad as I first made out.

(Original post by dumoulin)
Secondly, I live in Paris since my birth , so I m not really dreaming of a big cosmopolitan city...Much more of an historical small city where you can practice sports easily.
Durham fits all those criteria and, for the city life, Newcastle is reasonable easy to travel to by bus (one hour) or train (12 minutes).
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ninety_nine
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Since their domestic reputations are so closely matched, I'd imagine they would both be fairly equally well known in France? Reputation's one factor, and too close to base your decision on in this case. Choose which you find is the best course, that's what I'd suggest (also look into the financial aspects of living in London compared to Durham).
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River85
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This seems a fairer table. Durham is one of the most expensive universities outside of London although it's still a fair bit cheaper than UCL (UCL 5th, Durham 25th I think).

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/...9/7061871.stm]

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7061760.stm

I think the other rankings I saw gave an unfair weighting to accomodation

"Privately educated pupils make up a third of the student body at the three most expensive universities, in addition to St Andrews, Durham and Cambridge, and the Royal Agricultural College and UCL, both in London."

:rofl: Is that saying the Royal Agricultural College is in London? Oh dear......
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TSRreader
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UCL's School of Public Policy is very reputed. Other than Oxbridge and LSE, I think UCL is most well known for public policy in UK.

Definitely, I would choose UCL over Durham if I am really interested into the subject and wanted to have career in that arena.
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NewYork85
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(Original post by dumoulin)
Hello i m a french student i ve got offers in two graduate programmes.


-UCL, School of public policy, european public policy

-Durham,School od governmental affairs,International affairs(Europe)

My question is easy (but maybe not?), what is the best according to you, what would you choose?

Thank you for your precious help.
Hi dumoulin,
I presume you're talking about the MA in IR (Europe)? If so, I'll be starting that program this fall. I was in the same boat as you in that I'm from NYC and have lived here my whole life (including college) so I wanted to study in a small city and therefore didn't apply to any London universities. I did apply to some other universities for European Studies but what I like about this program is that it's a little more broad than that. You spend your first semester studing IR and then you specilize in Europe the second one.

Anyway, I don't know if this helps but I am look forward to it and if you end up choosing it, I'm sure we'll have class together as it's a pretty small program.

Best of luck
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dumoulin
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Cool NewYork85,

You understand what I mean! I m fed up of city life. Yes I m taken in International Relations(Europe) and my arguments is the same as yours : the program is broad, I m not yet enough specialized to follow too precise courses as some of UCL. But there are also a lot of arguments for UCL, as you can see in this wall.
I m just continuing my reflections about this two universities and waiting conditions of my integration in UCL(They are going to send me a letter this week, if conditions are too hard, I will definitively choose Durham).
See you soon maybe at Durham, I will be fastly recognizable with my french accent!
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NewYork85
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Let us know which you end up choosing!

By the way, Paris is my favorite city (along with NY). I've been there 3 times
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Timothy23
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Hi,

have a look on mastersportal.eu, it was of great help to me when I wanted to find out want the most suitable master for me was.

Good Luck,
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system49
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I will be going to do the International Public Policy programme at UCL. If you choose UCL perhaps I'll see you there
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