Admission to University of Edinburgh Postgraduate

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joeferry21
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Hello, I have a question regarding admission to the MSc in International Relations at the University of Edinburgh. I'm an American undergraduate currently, studying political science. I'm anticipating that I will graduate with a 3.7 GPA...from my understanding Edinburgh requires an international equivalent of at least a 2:1 honours degree, which equates to something like a 3.2 GPA here in the States. I guess I'm wondering if I should really be worried or not if I'm applying with a 3.7, and if there is high competition among American students. Thank you!
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nellybelly29
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I'm an American who did their undergraduate degree in IR at Edinburgh, so while I don't know a lot about the MSc program, I know a little and about how Edinburgh works.

The conversion between the British classification system and the American GPA system is a little complicated because they're just so different. But I would say that a 3.2 is the equivalent of a low 2:1 degree. Not sure if you know about the British grading system: a 2:1 degree at Edinburgh is given to anyone who scores between 60-69% overall in their courses. Bearing in mind that 60-69% is a B at Edinburgh (70%+ is an A). 60s for a B might seem very very low for an American student, but it's much much more difficult to get 70%+ at Edinburgh in a social science subject than in the US.

So I would say a 2:1 GPA equivalent is anywhere between 3.2-3.8. So with a 3.7 you'll be right on par for competing with other students. I won't lie and say there won't be competition, Edinburgh's MSc in IR is one of the more popular postgraduate programs in the School of Social and Political Science. There's also a lot of Americans at Edinburgh. But a 3.7 is an excellent GPA and with a good reference and good personal statement, I'd guess you'll be right on par with the other students applying, both international and home.
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joeferry21
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(Original post by nellybelly29)
I'm an American who did their undergraduate degree in IR at Edinburgh, so while I don't know a lot about the MSc program, I know a little and about how Edinburgh works.

The conversion between the British classification system and the American GPA system is a little complicated because they're just so different. But I would say that a 3.2 is the equivalent of a low 2:1 degree. Not sure if you know about the British grading system: a 2:1 degree at Edinburgh is given to anyone who scores between 60-69% overall in their courses. Bearing in mind that 60-69% is a B at Edinburgh (70%+ is an A). 60s for a B might seem very very low for an American student, but it's much much more difficult to get 70%+ at Edinburgh in a social science subject than in the US.

So I would say a 2:1 GPA equivalent is anywhere between 3.2-3.8. So with a 3.7 you'll be right on par for competing with other students. I won't lie and say there won't be competition, Edinburgh's MSc in IR is one of the more popular postgraduate programs in the School of Social and Political Science. There's also a lot of Americans at Edinburgh. But a 3.7 is an excellent GPA and with a good reference and good personal statement, I'd guess you'll be right on par with the other students applying, both international and home.
Thank you so much for your help. I’m beginning to understand admission processes at UK schools more. Do you happen to know much about UCL or KCL? I’m also looking at Manchester as well. Looking in to similar IR/International Public Policy MSc programs. Please let me know if you have any info! Thanks
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Quick-use
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(Original post by joeferry21)
Thank you so much for your help. I’m beginning to understand admission processes at UK schools more. Do you happen to know much about UCL or KCL? I’m also looking at Manchester as well. Looking in to similar IR/International Public Policy MSc programs. Please let me know if you have any info! Thanks
Have you considered St Andrews? It's extremely famous for IR in the UK.
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nellybelly29
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(Original post by joeferry21)
Thank you so much for your help. I’m beginning to understand admission processes at UK schools more. Do you happen to know much about UCL or KCL? I’m also looking at Manchester as well. Looking in to similar IR/International Public Policy MSc programs. Please let me know if you have any info! Thanks
I applied to KCL for my undergrad but I don't know too much about them now, but I did look into them when I was applying for my Masters this year, although I decided against applying there, same with UCL. But I applied to Manchester this year and have an offer, and I'm probably going to accept.

I just briefly glanced at the entry requirements for each uni. Manchester and UCL ask for a 2:1 degree, so you're definitely on par for them as well. King's is a bit different because they have a stipulation for a 'high 2:1' or 67% average. I'd say your 3.7 is roughly equivalent to that, but competition might be higher for King's because of that requirement. King's is well known for having a 'War Studies' department not a 'Peace Studies' department, so their IR programs are relatively popular.

Re: Quick-use's comment about St. Andrews, they're right. St. Andrews is well known for having a solid IR program. There's also a ton of Americans there too (don't know if that's a plus or a negative for you haha) so it might be something to look into. One thing I will say is that it'll be important to consider the marketability factor of your degree depending if you're planning on returning to the US after you're done or try and stay in the UK.
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joeferry21
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(Original post by nellybelly29)
I applied to KCL for my undergrad but I don't know too much about them now, but I did look into them when I was applying for my Masters this year, although I decided against applying there, same with UCL. But I applied to Manchester this year and have an offer, and I'm probably going to accept.

I just briefly glanced at the entry requirements for each uni. Manchester and UCL ask for a 2:1 degree, so you're definitely on par for them as well. King's is a bit different because they have a stipulation for a 'high 2:1' or 67% average. I'd say your 3.7 is roughly equivalent to that, but competition might be higher for King's because of that requirement. King's is well known for having a 'War Studies' department not a 'Peace Studies' department, so their IR programs are relatively popular.

Re: Quick-use's comment about St. Andrews, they're right. St. Andrews is well known for having a solid IR program. There's also a ton of Americans there too (don't know if that's a plus or a negative for you haha) so it might be something to look into. One thing I will say is that it'll be important to consider the marketability factor of your degree depending if you're planning on returning to the US after you're done or try and stay in the UK.
Interesting. Edinburgh, Manchester, and UCL seem to be my top right now. In terms of the marketability, this is honestly why I hadn’t considered St Andrews as much. I wouldn’t mind staying in the UK by any means, but I don’t want to be tied down to it. St Andrews also seemed to be a bit small, and the sheer number of Americans there is also turning me off a little.

What program did you apply for at Manchester?
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nellybelly29
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(Original post by joeferry21)
Interesting. Edinburgh, Manchester, and UCL seem to be my top right now. In terms of the marketability, this is honestly why I hadn’t considered St Andrews as much. I wouldn’t mind staying in the UK by any means, but I don’t want to be tied down to it. St Andrews also seemed to be a bit small, and the sheer number of Americans there is also turning me off a little.

What program did you apply for at Manchester?
The size is one of the reasons why I decided not to go to St. Andrews for my undergrad. I wanted a bigger city experience and although there's lots of Americans at Edinburgh, the size of the uni allows you to avoid being surrounded by them haha. That being said, St. Andrews is a lovely town and a great uni too. I do think in terms of US marketability, Edinburgh, Manchester, and UCL are probably a tick higher than St. Andrews.

I did my undergrad in IR with Quantitative Methods, so for my masters, I've applied for social data courses, not IR. MSc Applied Social Data Science at Exeter, MSc Social Research Methods and Statistics and MSc Data Science (Social Analytics) at Manchester. I also applied to MSc Social Research at Edinburgh, but I don't think I'm going to go back to Edinburgh, as much as I miss the city.
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joeferry21
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(Original post by nellybelly29)
The size is one of the reasons why I decided not to go to St. Andrews for my undergrad. I wanted a bigger city experience and although there's lots of Americans at Edinburgh, the size of the uni allows you to avoid being surrounded by them haha. That being said, St. Andrews is a lovely town and a great uni too. I do think in terms of US marketability, Edinburgh, Manchester, and UCL are probably a tick higher than St. Andrews.

I did my undergrad in IR with Quantitative Methods, so for my masters, I've applied for social data courses, not IR. MSc Applied Social Data Science at Exeter, MSc Social Research Methods and Statistics and MSc Data Science (Social Analytics) at Manchester. I also applied to MSc Social Research at Edinburgh, but I don't think I'm going to go back to Edinburgh, as much as I miss the city.
Wow, great! Good luck making your decision! And thanks for your help
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