moss13
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Hi All,

I am an international student planning to study International Relations/Politics in the UK. I have applied to SOAS (Asian Politics), Essex (International Relations), Exeter (International Relations), Edinburgh (International Relations), Warwick (International Politics and East Asia).

So far, I got offers from Exeter and Essex. I am hoping to receive more offers from other schools. However, I got only two offers now and I would like to get some help.
I am an international student and haven't visited the UK yet. All of my info is via either from internet/forum. [QS University Ranking, The Guardian/ Top university ranking, etc]

I know Essex is really good school and has higher rank in IR/Politics program (Around 30ish rank in the world). On the other hand, Exeter has higher overall ranking but lower ranks in IR/Politics program (Around 50ish rank in the world).
There are so many difference comparing these two schools. Exeter has higher overall ranking and prestige, connection, everything seems better than Essex. And even British people seems to know not much about Essex. Its TSR ranking is low, student satisfaction is low and so on..

I haven't been to the UK yet so my knowledge isn't deep. Please give me more information on these two schools. Which school is better in studying IR/Political Science masters program? Also which is better when I apply for PhD program?
Last edited by moss13; 1 month ago
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squeakysquirrel
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(Original post by moss13)
Hi All,

I am an international student planning to study International Relations/Politics in the UK. I have applied to SOAS (Asian Politics), Essex (International Relations), Exeter (International Relations), Edinburgh (International Relations), Warwick (International Politics and East Asia).

So far, I got offers from Exeter and Essex. I am hoping to receive more offers from other schools. However, I got only two offers now and I would like to get some help.
I am an international student and haven't visited the UK yet. All of my info is via either from internet/forum. [QS University Ranking, The Guardian/ Top university ranking, etc]

I know Essex is really good school and has higher rank in IR/Politics program (Around 30ish rank in the world). On the other hand, Exeter has higher overall ranking but lower ranks in IR/Politics program (Around 50ish rank in the world).
There are so many difference comparing these two schools. Exeter has higher overall ranking and prestige, connection, everything seems better than Essex. And even British people seems to know not much about Essex. Its TSR ranking is low, student satisfaction is low and so on..

I haven't been to the UK yet so my knowledge isn't deep. Please give me more information on these two schools. Which school is better in studying IR/Political Science masters program?
Two things at play here

1. Rankings - do not look at the Guardian - not a realistic set of results - it makes London Met look good!

https://www.thecompleteuniversitygui...kings/politics

2. Actual places

Essex - would not touch with bargepole
Edinburgh - nice city - Scotland good university
Warwick - great university - bit out of the way
Soas - London - expensive - not one of the better universities these days
Exeter - way out in the country - if you like small cities and the seaside and water sports

So if you were my kid, I would be saying Edinburgh or Warwick or Exeter
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by moss13)
Hi All,

I am an international student planning to study International Relations/Politics in the UK. I have applied to SOAS (Asian Politics), Essex (International Relations), Exeter (International Relations), Edinburgh (International Relations), Warwick (International Politics and East Asia).

So far, I got offers from Exeter and Essex. I am hoping to receive more offers from other schools. However, I got only two offers now and I would like to get some help.
I am an international student and haven't visited the UK yet. All of my info is via either from internet/forum. [QS University Ranking, The Guardian/ Top university ranking, etc]

I know Essex is really good school and has higher rank in IR/Politics program (Around 30ish rank in the world). On the other hand, Exeter has higher overall ranking but lower ranks in IR/Politics program (Around 50ish rank in the world).
There are so many difference comparing these two schools. Exeter has higher overall ranking and prestige, connection, everything seems better than Essex. And even British people seems to know not much about Essex. Its TSR ranking is low, student satisfaction is low and so on..

I haven't been to the UK yet so my knowledge isn't deep. Please give me more information on these two schools. Which school is better in studying IR/Political Science masters program?
Wait until you've got all your offers. All your options are decent, but SOAS and Warwick probably the strongest for an international student.

Understand that League Tables are designed to sell a product, either advertising around the League Table itself, or the newspaper, so they are inherently flawed in that they MUST tell a story and they MUST tell a different story to their competitor tables.

Then Universities themselves vary in their approach to League Tables. For example, a few years ago Warwick and Exeter (and Strathclyde) were leading the country in investing in 'manipulating' the League Tables to their own advantage. Most modern universities do it far better than the RGunis, but Exeter and Warwick were outliers. Whereas at the same time, Bristol refused to engage with League Tables. Now the guy that set up Exeter's data handling office works at Bristol!

League Tables are an easy, but also easily manipulatable was to measure Uni performance. Much better for PG is to look at the books and articles you are reading for undergrad and seeing where the authors are from. If Warwick is producing more academics that you enjoy reading, that Exeter, then that should be a better reason to go to Warwick than any League Table.
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moss13
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(Original post by squeakysquirrel)
Two things at play here

1. Rankings - do not look at the Guardian - not a realistic set of results - it makes London Met look good!

https://www.thecompleteuniversitygui...kings/politics

2. Actual places

Essex - would not touch with bargepole
Edinburgh - nice city - Scotland good university
Warwick - great university - bit out of the way
Soas - London - expensive - not one of the better universities these days
Exeter - way out in the country - if you like small cities and the seaside and water sports

So if you were my kid, I would be saying Edinburgh or Warwick or Exeter
Omg! Thank you so much with fast and kind reply. This helped me a lot! However, I got some questions over the schools. May I ask you few more questions?

From the link you mentioned above, I could see the overall score of Exeter is way higher than the Essex's.
The overall was Warwick>Exeter>Edinburgh>Essex>S OAS. However, the research quality, research intensity, and student satisfaction on the quality of the teaching of Essex seems stronger and higher than any other schools I have applied to, except Warwick.

Research Quality: Essex> Warwick> Edinburgh> Exeter> SOAS
Student Satisfaction: Warwick> Essex> SOAS> Exeter> Edinburgh
Research Intensity: Warwick> Essex> Edinburgh> SOAS> Exeter

Entry Standard: Edinburgh> Warwick> Exeter> SOAS> Essex
Grad prospects: Exeter> Warwick> Essex> Edinburgh> SOAS



From the measures shown, the overall score of Exeter seems to be listed on the top only because of high entry standard and graduate prospect score. Now I'm worried and confused.. Should I see the overall score or other measures as well..

And I'm quite shocked that SOAS was ranked low in all the measures.. In my country SOAS is seen as one of the best (or at least 1.5 tier) school, especially in politics.
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by moss13)
Omg! Thank you so much with fast and kind reply. This helped me a lot! However, I got some questions over the schools. May I ask you few more questions?

From the link you mentioned above, I could see the overall score of Exeter is way higher than the Essex's.
The overall was Warwick>Exeter>Edinburgh>Essex>S OAS. However, the research quality, research intensity, and student satisfaction on the quality of the teaching of Essex seems stronger and higher than any other schools I have applied to, except Warwick.

Research Quality: Essex> Warwick> Edinburgh> Exeter> SOAS
Student Satisfaction: Warwick> Essex> SOAS> Exeter> Edinburgh
Research Intensity: Warwick> Essex> Edinburgh> SOAS> Exeter

Entry Standard: Edinburgh> Warwick> Exeter> SOAS> Essex
Grad prospects: Exeter> Warwick> Essex> Edinburgh> SOAS


From the measures shown, the overall score of Exeter seems to be listed on the top only because of high entry standard and graduate prospect score. Now I'm worried and confused.. Should I see the overall score or other measures as well..

And I'm quite shocked that SOAS was ranked low in all the measures.. In my country SOAS is seen as one of the best (or at least 1.5 tier) school, especially in politics.
You need to focus on International Relations, especially your focus, which seems to be Asia, in which case SOAS is excellent and has a global reputation - it's not so good for lots of other things.

Essex does a particular sort of IR, it's good for that, but not much else in IR or anything else.

As I said, you have to focus on who's got the academics you are interested in, they are all basically considered decent universities for IR in the UK (you are missing Aberystwyth and St Andrews)
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squeakysquirrel
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(Original post by moss13)
Omg! Thank you so much with fast and kind reply. This helped me a lot! However, I got some questions over the schools. May I ask you few more questions?

From the link you mentioned above, I could see the overall score of Exeter is way higher than the Essex's.
The overall was Warwick>Exeter>Edinburgh>Essex>S OAS. However, the research quality, research intensity, and student satisfaction on the quality of the teaching of Essex seems stronger and higher than any other schools I have applied to, except Warwick.

Research Quality: Essex> Warwick> Edinburgh> Exeter> SOAS
Student Satisfaction: Warwick> Essex> SOAS> Exeter> Edinburgh
Research Intensity: Warwick> Essex> Edinburgh> SOAS> Exeter

Entry Standard: Edinburgh> Warwick> Exeter> SOAS> Essex
Grad prospects: Exeter> Warwick> Essex> Edinburgh> SOAS



From the measures shown, the overall score of Exeter seems to be listed on the top only because of high entry standard and graduate prospect score. Now I'm worried and confused.. Should I see the overall score or other measures as well..

And I'm quite shocked that SOAS was ranked low in all the measures.. In my country SOAS is seen as one of the best (or at least 1.5 tier) school, especially in politics.
threeportdrift has said - league tables should be taken with a pinch of salt.

If you can visit then you should, but my advice still stands - I have put three kids through university and masters and my daughter is doing a Phd.

SOAS used to be a good university - I think it has slipped a lot.

You want to get a career out of this. Drop Essex and SOAS and go for one of the other three.

Again Edinburgh - great university - lots of opportunity.
Warwick - one of the greats too - campus university so does not suit all
Exeter - sweet city if you like the outdoors and sports - but personally I think it is a bit far from civilisation.
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moss13
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
Wait until you've got all your offers. All your options are decent, but SOAS and Warwick probably the strongest for an international student.

Understand that League Tables are designed to sell a product, either advertising around the League Table itself, or the newspaper, so they are inherently flawed in that they MUST tell a story and they MUST tell a different story to their competitor tables.

Then Universities themselves vary in their approach to League Tables. For example, a few years ago Warwick and Exeter (and Strathclyde) were leading the country in investing in 'manipulating' the League Tables to their own advantage. Most modern universities do it far better than the RGunis, but Exeter and Warwick were outliers. Whereas at the same time, Bristol refused to engage with League Tables. Now the guy that set up Exeter's data handling office works at Bristol!

League Tables are an easy, but also easily manipulatable was to measure Uni performance. Much better for PG is to look at the books and articles you are reading for undergrad and seeing where the authors are from. If Warwick is producing more academics that you enjoy reading, that Exeter, then that should be a better reason to go to Warwick than any League Table.
Maybe I should wait a little longer for other schools. I have applied to these schools around 2-3 weeks ago. So Exeter and Essex got to me quite early. I guess I shouldn't believe much on the League Tables.. So... does that mean Warwick, Exeter, and Strathclyde weren't meant to be on the rank that they are at right now?

It's good to know that SOAS and Warwick is the strongest for the international students.. I can understand with SOAS but I didn't know it was the same with Warwick.
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moss13
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
You need to focus on International Relations, especially your focus, which seems to be Asia, in which case SOAS is excellent and has a global reputation - it's not so good for lots of other things.

Essex does a particular sort of IR, it's good for that, but not much else in IR or anything else.

As I said, you have to focus on who's got the academics you are interested in, they are all basically considered decent universities for IR in the UK (you are missing Aberystwyth and St Andrews)
I am particularly interested in (East) Asian Politics, so that's why I have applied to SOAS. But I'm also interested in IR generally.. one of the reasons why I applied to the others. I understand what you mean. Professors and their researches (academics) are important in graduates.
Btw, I didn't know Aberystwyth is good university for IR! I have heard of St.Andrews.. Maybe I should check for Aberystwyth. Thank you for the info.
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moss13
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(Original post by squeakysquirrel)
threeportdrift has said - league tables should be taken with a pinch of salt.

If you can visit then you should, but my advice still stands - I have put three kids through university and masters and my daughter is doing a Phd.

SOAS used to be a good university - I think it has slipped a lot.

You want to get a career out of this. Drop Essex and SOAS and go for one of the other three.

Again Edinburgh - great university - lots of opportunity.
Warwick - one of the greats too - campus university so does not suit all
Exeter - sweet city if you like the outdoors and sports - but personally I think it is a bit far from civilisation.
Thank you for your advice! I didn't know I'd get quality information out of here but it was really helpful. Especially hearing from someone who lives in the UK. I have three more schools left so I'll wait until those come.. I'll keep in mind with what you've mentioned above!
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squeakysquirrel
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(Original post by moss13)
I am particularly interested in (East) Asian Politics, so that's why I have applied to SOAS. But I'm also interested in IR generally.. one of the reasons why I applied to the others. I understand what you mean. Professors and their researches (academics) are important in graduates.
Btw, I didn't know Aberystwyth is good university for IR! I have heard of St.Andrews.. Maybe I should check for Aberystwyth. Thank you for the info.
Aberystwyth is so far away from anywhere - my ex husbasnd went there - took him 8 hours on a train. Not a good university now
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stress-eating
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(Original post by moss13)
I am particularly interested in (East) Asian Politics, so that's why I have applied to SOAS. But I'm also interested in IR generally.. one of the reasons why I applied to the others. I understand what you mean. Professors and their researches (academics) are important in graduates.
Btw, I didn't know Aberystwyth is good university for IR! I have heard of St.Andrews.. Maybe I should check for Aberystwyth. Thank you for the info.
I wouldn't choose aberystwyth as your first choice (maybe as your 5th) it's pretty dead in terms of things to do and so far away from everywhere.
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by squeakysquirrel)
Aberystwyth is so far away from anywhere - my ex husbasnd went there - took him 8 hours on a train. Not a good university now
It's one of the best places in the country to do IR. It was the first place to have a Department of International Relations and a Chair of International Relations. More of the big names in IR will have Aber in their CV than will have Cambridge, for example (speaking as someone with a PhD in IR from Cambridge). It doesn't matter what is going on in the rest of the university, Aberystwyth is a big player in global IR.
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