Would Self-fund at a russell group university or do a fully funded at an ex-poly?

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Bear_123
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Hi,

I'm in the stage where I should either go to a prestigious university and self-fund myself or pursue a scholarship from the ex-poly university?

Is the Russell status worth being self-funded?

I've heard funding is a gift in PhD level (which bothers me).

My PhD is in Computer Science (Data Science research).

Any support, please?
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ajj2000
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How much is the difference in money?
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Bear_123
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(Original post by ajj2000)
How much is the difference in money?
The scholarship is £12,000 yearly and tuition fees and the facility is covered (for ex-poly) but for the Russell group, it's 4-5K for tuition fees and then living cost on top. I don't really want to take out a loan as well.
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ajj2000
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(Original post by Bear_123)
The scholarship is £12,000 yearly and tuition fees and the facility is covered (for ex-poly) but for the Russell group, it's 4-5K for tuition fees and then living cost on top. I don't really want to take out a loan as well.
Wow - for 4 years? That’s a difference of about £70k. Very tough to overlook that sort of money.
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Bear_123
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(Original post by ajj2000)
Wow - for 4 years? That’s a difference of about £70k. Very tough to overlook that sort of money.
I think it's 3.5 years.

Tell me about it. I did see other comments saying that it doesn't matter about the university that much.

It's a lot of money that could be worth spending elsewhere.
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ajj2000
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(Original post by Bear_123)
I think it's 3.5 years.

Tell me about it. I did see other comments saying that it doesn't matter about the university that much.

It's a lot of money that could be worth spending elsewhere.
Well - academia is hardly noted as being a well paid profession. Why would you want to spend a load of money to get a phd anyway?
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Bear_123
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(Original post by ajj2000)
Well - academia is hardly noted as being a well paid profession. Why would you want to spend a load of money to get a phd anyway?
I don't want to but is the 'Russell' status worth it though?
I sort of want people who may have experienced doing a PhD. To see if it's really a big deal?
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Psychetechne
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(Original post by Bear_123)
I don't want to but is the 'Russell' status worth it though?
I sort of want people who may have experienced doing a PhD. To see if it's really a big deal?
By and large, no... I would qualify this with the reality that, at doc/post-doc level, it’s not where, but who and what that matters; who’s your supervisor/PI, what’s their area of expertise and reputation like?

You’ve not mentioned the specific institutions you’re comparing, nor the specific area of CS you’re looking to research, but what I can confidently say is that you and the quality of your research will ultimately be far more important than the awarding institution (in most cases, if not all).

The reality is that a PhD isn’t something one should undertake lightly; it is stressful, costly, and time consuming, and there’s no guaranteed job at the end of it. It is also a deeply rewarding, personal experience, so ultimately where you go, who you do it with, and what you research comes down to where you think you’ll be given the best support to flourish.
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Bear_123
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(Original post by Psychetechne)
By and large, no... I would qualify this with the reality that, at doc/post-doc level, it’s not where, but who and what that matters; who’s your supervisor/PI, what’s their area of expertise and reputation like?

You’ve not mentioned the specific institutions you’re comparing, nor the specific area of CS you’re looking to research, but what I can confidently say is that you and the quality of your research will ultimately be far more important than the awarding institution (in most cases, if not all).

The reality is that a PhD isn’t something one should undertake lightly; it is stressful, costly, and time consuming, and there’s no guaranteed job at the end of it. It is also a deeply rewarding, personal experience, so ultimately where you go, who you do it with, and what you research comes down to where you think you’ll be given the best support to flourish.
Hi,

My research is in the field of Data Analytics & Machine Learning.

The Russell Group universities will basically be near my local area: Leeds, Sheffield, etc... The ex-poly is as well.

The supervisor from all places seems great but based on Google Scholar, the supervisor from the ex-poly is quite popular in this niche with a lot of his papers (and books) being used.
Last edited by Bear_123; 1 month ago
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Psychetechne
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(Original post by Bear_123)
Hi,

My research is in the field of Data Analytics & Machine Learning.

The Russell Group universities will basically be near my local area: Leeds, Sheffield etc... The ex-poly is as well.

The supervisor from seem great but based on Google Scholar, the supervisor from the ex-poly is quite popular in this niche with a lot of his papers (and books) being used.
In which case, based on the close geography, you’re very likely to have a degree of cross-pollination from those institutions, and you really ought not worry too much. There are especially close ties between Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam; you might like to look at a studentship with one of the Doctoral Training Partnerships in the region, in which case your research would happen across institutions anyway.
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OddOnes
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Take the funded one! It's better to make money than add to debt. Having a PhD alone is impressive. And if the supervisor is good, that also matters more than a university name. Don't miss out on the better opportunity over a marketing gimic.
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PhoenixFortune
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(Original post by Bear_123)
Hi,

I'm in the stage where I should either go to a prestigious university and self-fund myself or pursue a scholarship from the ex-poly university?

Is the Russell status worth being self-funded?

I've heard funding is a gift in PhD level (which bothers me).

My PhD is in Computer Science (Data Science research).

Any support, please?
Take the funded PhD. Reputation doesn't matter at PhD level as much as the quality of your project, your professional development, and your supervisor. Funding is a lot more bountiful in STEM too, so taking a non-funded project would be hard to justify to future academic employers.
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Bear_123
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(Original post by PhoenixFortune)
Take the funded PhD. Reputation doesn't matter at PhD level as much as the quality of your project, your professional development, and your supervisor. Funding is a lot more bountiful in STEM too, so taking a non-funded project would be hard to justify to future academic employers.
Hi,

Are you doing a PhD at the moment? Or have you completed it?
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PhoenixFortune
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(Original post by Bear_123)
Hi,

Are you doing a PhD at the moment? Or have you completed it?
I started my PhD in January.
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Bear_123
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(Original post by PhoenixFortune)
I started my PhD in January.
Hi,

Oh OK. What you're studying?

I'm guessing your funded as well as it's quite hard to do one when self-funding?

Thanks,

Azhan
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Reality Check
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(Original post by Bear_123)
Hi,

I'm in the stage where I should either go to a prestigious university and self-fund myself or pursue a scholarship from the ex-poly university?

Is the Russell status worth being self-funded?

I've heard funding is a gift in PhD level (which bothers me).

My PhD is in Computer Science (Data Science research).

Any support, please?
Definitely avoid self-funding wherever possible. It's difficult enough without having to pour money into it, plus extra money when you (inevitably) over-run.

By the way, 'ex poly' is a bit old-fashioned. They haven't been 'polys' since the earlier nineties, and I suspect a lot of people wouldn't even know what you were talking about.
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Psychetechne
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(Original post by Reality Check)
By the way, 'ex poly' is a bit old-fashioned.
This, very much this.
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PhoenixFortune
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(Original post by Bear_123)
Hi,

Oh OK. What you're studying?

I'm guessing your funded as well as it's quite hard to do one when self-funding?

Thanks,

Azhan
I'm studying a specialist area of Linguistics, so in the humanities.

I'm actually self-funded, so take it from me, don't do an unfunded PhD unless you have can avoid it (which you can if you have a funded offer in hand).
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by Bear_123)
..........
Full funding for a PhD, with a reputable, productive Supervisor will stand you in just as good, if not better stead than self-funding at a RG institution, if you want an academic career.
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cucaracha
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(Original post by Reality Check)
By the way, 'ex poly' is a bit old-fashioned. They haven't been 'polys' since the earlier nineties, and I suspect a lot of people wouldn't even know what you were talking about.

True it's old-fashioned... but the term ex-poly is still useful to differentiate the traditionally less academic unis from the russell group unis. On the whole the difference in academic standard remains, esp at undergrad level.

OP i completely agree that ex-poly scholarship > self-funded russell group! At PhD level the uni's prestige matters far less than undergrad and masters, and to get a PhD scholarship from any uni is a huge deal and very impressive.
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