Mabuzahatata
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Hi all,

I've always wanted to go into research and academia, but I just received my result for my final year and I achieved 69%. There is no way for me to appeal as I had no extenuating circumstances - just a lack of motivation this year. Frustratingly, I got 69.8% in second year, so the coronavirus safety net does me no good either.

I know that the vast majority of PhD students get firsts so this has really knocked my confidence for whether I am cut out for research. My degree was from Oxford so I know that will count for something, but I get the feeling that most good PhD's will pass me up in favour of students who got firsts.

I have my place secured for a decent masters course. I didn't particularly enjoy my 3rd year content, but my masters course is more specialised and in an area I really love. In short I feel motivated to do well on this course. Would getting a decent distinction grade in the masters offset the lack of a first for PhD applications? Does anyone with experience of postgrad admissions have an opinion on the matter?
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Kornershopbandit
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2:1 at Oxford isn’t an easy feat so pat yourself on the back and work hard on your masters
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AlphaZeta
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(Original post by Mabuzahatata)
Hi all,

I've always wanted to go into research and academia, but I just received my result for my final year and I achieved 69%. There is no way for me to appeal as I had no extenuating circumstances - just a lack of motivation this year. Frustratingly, I got 69.8% in second year, so the coronavirus safety net does me no good either.

I know that the vast majority of PhD students get firsts so this has really knocked my confidence for whether I am cut out for research. My degree was from Oxford so I know that will count for something, but I get the feeling that most good PhD's will pass me up in favour of students who got firsts.

I have my place secured for a decent masters course. I didn't particularly enjoy my 3rd year content, but my masters course is more specialised and in an area I really love. In short I feel motivated to do well on this course. Would getting a decent distinction grade in the masters offset the lack of a first for PhD applications? Does anyone with experience of postgrad admissions have an opinion on the matter?
What did you get for your final year project ? This is where it counts regarding postgrad research.
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Mabuzahatata
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(Original post by AlphaZeta)
What did you get for your final year project ? This is where it counts regarding postgrad research.
It was actually my project that dragged me down (63%).
I did it in an area that I'm not really interested in and accordingly found it hard to motivate myself to work on it.

I did do a piece of coursework that was worth 10% of my final mark in the area I'm doing my masters on (and hope to do a PhD on). It involved writing a sort of mini dissertation, which I really enjoyed and got 84% on.
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AlphaZeta
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(Original post by Mabuzahatata)
It was actually my project that dragged me down (63%).
I did it in an area that I'm not really interested in and accordingly found it hard to motivate myself to work on it.

I did do a piece of coursework that was worth 10% of my final mark in the area I'm doing my masters on (and hope to do a PhD on). It involved writing a sort of mini dissertation, which I really enjoyed and got 84% on.
Shame, but not end of the world. I've worked in industry (R&D) and there were people with Ph.Ds and suprisingly couldn't apply their knowledge.
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Quick-use
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(Original post by Mabuzahatata)
Hi all,

I've always wanted to go into research and academia, but I just received my result for my final year and I achieved 69%. There is no way for me to appeal as I had no extenuating circumstances - just a lack of motivation this year. Frustratingly, I got 69.8% in second year, so the coronavirus safety net does me no good either.

I know that the vast majority of PhD students get firsts so this has really knocked my confidence for whether I am cut out for research. My degree was from Oxford so I know that will count for something, but I get the feeling that most good PhD's will pass me up in favour of students who got firsts.

I have my place secured for a decent masters course. I didn't particularly enjoy my 3rd year content, but my masters course is more specialised and in an area I really love. In short I feel motivated to do well on this course. Would getting a decent distinction grade in the masters offset the lack of a first for PhD applications? Does anyone with experience of postgrad admissions have an opinion on the matter?
My friend did a degree in Biological Sciences(?) at Oxford and got a 2:1. She then got accepted to do a PhD at Edinburgh in researching cancer. You should be OK; a 2:1 is perfectly fine and isn't so different from a First, especially if you were borderline. :fluffy:
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Keele University
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(Original post by Mabuzahatata)
Hi all,

I've always wanted to go into research and academia, but I just received my result for my final year and I achieved 69%. There is no way for me to appeal as I had no extenuating circumstances - just a lack of motivation this year. Frustratingly, I got 69.8% in second year, so the coronavirus safety net does me no good either.

I know that the vast majority of PhD students get firsts so this has really knocked my confidence for whether I am cut out for research. My degree was from Oxford so I know that will count for something, but I get the feeling that most good PhD's will pass me up in favour of students who got firsts.

I have my place secured for a decent masters course. I didn't particularly enjoy my 3rd year content, but my masters course is more specialised and in an area I really love. In short I feel motivated to do well on this course. Would getting a decent distinction grade in the masters offset the lack of a first for PhD applications? Does anyone with experience of postgrad admissions have an opinion on the matter?
A 2.1, especially at Oxford, is no mean feat so you should be proud of your result!

As Kornershopbandit has said, the MA grade will count will for more when it comes to applying for PhD funding and scholarships, especially if your MA project leads into your doctoral research.

When I applied for my PhD funding, they asked for my undergraduate grade but only requested the full transcript for my MA course. Whilst it is important to have a strong academic record, that is only part of the PhD application. It's also vital to have a clearly outlined PhD proposal that identifies a gap in existing knowledge and proposes to address that, and to evidence your involvement with the wider academic and research community.

Use your MA year wisely - work hard, develop a good dissertation/final project, look for opportunities to get involved in things that might add new skills or bolster your academic CV (conference organisation/attendance, giving conference papers, helping with research seminars etc) - and you will give yourself the best chance of securing that PhD place.

And don't forget to cut yourself some slack and have fun too - it's easy to get tunnel vision when you're applying for a PhD but try and have some fun during your MA year and remember what it is about your research that you enjoy. Your supervisors and your peers are there to support you so use them if you're struggling.

Amy
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KrisPhD
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I was in a similar situation and I'm currently collecting data for my PhD survey so there's definitely hope for you!
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