Avocado Fries
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Hi! I received offers from both Cambridge and UCL to PhD programs. I'm very leftist and worry that Cambridge may be too conservative for me to thrive academically. Both places offer a strong research fit. Does anyone have advice or insights about the pros and cons of attending either Cambridge or UCL in terms of academic culture, specifically how conservative/liberal both schools are and in what regards? Thank you!
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Noodlzzz
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What makes you think Cambridge isn't lefty? and why would UCL be any different? Just curious as to how you came such conclusions!
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Avocado Fries
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Rumors, but I'm totally open to other opinions. If you believe this isn't the case do share your experience!
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Theloniouss
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(Original post by Avocado Fries)
Rumors, but I'm totally open to other opinions. If you believe this isn't the case do share your experience!
I know some people at Cambridge who think it's too left-wing. I suppose it depends how much of a lefty you are
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Wired_1800
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(Original post by Avocado Fries)
Hi! I received offers from both Cambridge and UCL to PhD programs. I'm very leftist and worry that Cambridge is too conservative for me to thrive academically. Both places offer a strong research fit, but the lab at Cambridge may be more conservative than the one at UCL. Does anyone have advice or insights about the pros and cons of attending either Cambridge or UCL in terms of academic culture and postgrad job prospects?
Go to Cambridge.
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Reality Check
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(Original post by Avocado Fries)
Hi! I received offers from both Cambridge and UCL to PhD programs. I'm very leftist and worry that Cambridge is too conservative for me to thrive academically. Both places offer a strong research fit, but the lab at Cambridge may be more conservative than the one at UCL. Does anyone have advice or insights about the pros and cons of attending either Cambridge or UCL in terms of academic culture and postgrad job prospects?
You seem to have a lot of preconceptions based on no hard evidence. This is surprising for a postgrad student, and even more surprising for a scientist.

I think you're also getting the university and college muddled. As a graduate student, much of your time will be spent in your department. There's a good mix of people, and you must have already met some of them in addition to your supervisor/PI at your interview. What vibe did you get from them? As for your college, some are going to be more traditional than others: I wouldn't recommend Trinity or Magdalene for you, for instance. However, the mainly 'graduate' colleges such as Wolfson, St. Eds, Darwin etc again have a huge range of nationalities and politics and are much less traditional (sc. 'stuffy') than some of the others.

It's rather unwise, and as I say very surprising, to be basing decisions on something as massive as where to do a PhD on speculation about people's politics. Very odd indeed!
Last edited by Reality Check; 7 months ago
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A Rolling Stone
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(Original post by Avocado Fries)
Hi! I received offers from both Cambridge and UCL to PhD programs. I'm very leftist and worry that Cambridge is too conservative for me to thrive academically. Both places offer a strong research fit, but the lab at Cambridge may be more conservative than the one at UCL. Does anyone have advice or insights about the pros and cons of attending either Cambridge or UCL in terms of academic culture and postgrad job prospects?
both unis are packed with left-wing students with little experience of the real world.
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Reality Check
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(Original post by A Rolling Stone)
both unis are packed with left-wing students with little experience of the real world.
What a silly sweeping statement, based on no evidence or first-hand experience from you of either university.
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Avocado Fries
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(Original post by Knortfoxx)
I know some people at Cambridge who think it's too left-wing. I suppose it depends how much of a lefty you are
I actually have heard that too. I guess that makes sense and I shouldn't have generalized. I still wanted to know what everyone thinks though.
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Avocado Fries
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(Original post by Reality Check)
You seem to have a lot of preconceptions based on no hard evidence. This is surprising for a postgrad student, and even more surprising for a scientist.

I think you're also getting the university and college muddled. As a graduate student, much of your time will be spent in your department. There's a good mix of people, and you must have already met some of them in addition to your supervisor/PI at your interview. What vibe did you get from them? As for your college, some are going to be more traditional than others: I wouldn't recommend Trinity or Magdalene for you, for instance. However, the mainly 'graduate' colleges such as Wolfson, St. Eds, Darwin etc again have a huge range of nationalities and politics and are much less traditional (sc. 'stuffy') than some of the others.

It's rather unwise, and as I say very surprising, to be basing decisions on something as massive as where to do a PhD on speculation about people's politics. Very odd indeed!
Politics is impersonal to those who aren't impacted by it but highly personal and relevant to those who are. Of course it's an important factor to consider regarding where you're gonna spend the next few years of your life at. Also, you're not really addressing my "preconception" of whether Cambridge really is more conservative than UCL.
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artful_lounger
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Cambridge, as both a university (on the academic side anyway) and as a city, is very left wing and liberal. Generalisations of Cambridge being somewhere only rich private school boys go to school are extremely antiquated - this hasn't been the case for at least 20 or 30 years...even with their higher proportion of privately educated undergrads, it's still very left wing, and undergrad students have no bearing on the politics of postgrad students, who tend to come from a very wide range of countries across the world and bear little resemblance to such ideas of what Cambridge is like.

Generally my experiences working at the uni and living in the city are that it's generally quite left wing here.
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From the experience of my friends, Cambridge is quite conservative in their undergraduate programs, but not really amongst graduate and PHD students. Also I wouldn't worry too much about the politics of the place, if you're studying science it's not like politics will be central to everyday discussion and if it is maybe it would be a nice chance to share your views and change some minds?
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Avocado Fries
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Cambridge, as both a university (on the academic side anyway) and as a city, is very left wing and liberal. Generalisations of Cambridge being somewhere only rich private school boys go to school are extremely antiquated - this hasn't been the case for at least 20 or 30 years...even with their higher proportion of privately educated undergrads, it's still very left wing, and undergrad students have no bearing on the politics of postgrad students, who tend to come from a very wide range of countries across the world and bear little resemblance to such ideas of what Cambridge is like.

Generally my experiences working at the uni and living in the city are that it's generally quite left wing here.
Thanks, this was helpful!
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Avocado Fries
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(Original post by Anonymous)
From the experience of my friends, Cambridge is quite conservative in their undergraduate programs, but not really amongst graduate and PHD students. Also I wouldn't worry too much about the politics of the place, if you're studying science it's not like politics will be central to everyday discussion and if it is maybe it would be a nice chance to share your views and change some minds?
That's true. Thanks for sharing!
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Wired_1800
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(Original post by Reality Check)
You seem to have a lot of preconceptions based on no hard evidence. This is surprising for a postgrad student, and even more surprising for a scientist.

I think you're also getting the university and college muddled. As a graduate student, much of your time will be spent in your department. There's a good mix of people, and you must have already met some of them in addition to your supervisor/PI at your interview. What vibe did you get from them? As for your college, some are going to be more traditional than others: I wouldn't recommend Trinity or Magdalene for you, for instance. However, the mainly 'graduate' colleges such as Wolfson, St. Eds, Darwin etc again have a huge range of nationalities and politics and are much less traditional (sc. 'stuffy') than some of the others.

It's rather unwise, and as I say very surprising, to be basing decisions on something as massive as where to do a PhD on speculation about people's politics. Very odd indeed!
Which Colleges are the most traditional in your experience? You mentioned Trinity and Magdalene, any more?
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Possibly this
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As someone who lives in Cambridge, it is an insanely left wing place on the whole, which has been guided by and followed through the University itself. All too often in recent times, the opposite claims have been made, with the University making various controversial decisions and statements in the name of modern left-wing politics. I really don't think you have anything to worry about at Cambridge.
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A Rolling Stone
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(Original post by Reality Check)
What a silly sweeping statement, based on no evidence or first-hand experience from you of either university.
sorry if i have offended you

my sister goes to UCL and my close friends go to Cambridge.
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Reality Check
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(Original post by Wired_1800)
Which Colleges are the most traditional in your experience? You mentioned Trinity and Magdalene, any more?
Caius is pretty traditional, as is Peterhouse. It's horses for courses really.
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