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Postgrad at Bath -VS- SOAS

Hi guys, I have read so many helpful threads that come up from the search yet none seems to be comprehensive enough so bear with me on this one!

So far, I'm holding these 1 year full-time offers:

MA in International Studies and Diplomacy, CISD, SOAS
MA in International Relations at University of Bath

And I am perfectly torn between the two.

I am Asian and will apply as an international student, so there is an aspect of budget & experience to be considered as well.

So far I am conflicted and here are the pros and cons I am pondering on:

SOAS
Pros
+ (a tiny bit) more recognised in this field
+ situated in London = more cultural / social activities hotspots, easier for contacting with the embassy, networking, and travelling to other regions
+ includes a field trip to UN in Geneva (may subject to change due to COVID19)
+ more diverse students
+ interesting modules and good professor per student ratio
+ strong alumni in Diplomacy, Government, Policymaker field
Cons
- London is very expensive and busy
- Accommodation could be dilapidated from what I read here
- Lack of Campus experience
**- CISD offers this course as the evening course to accommodate to those aligning this with their work (which is good and bad thing) --> is this normal for full time MA in UK?
In my country, this is more common for part time study (2 - 3 years period)

Bath
+ variety of alumni studying different fields (in contrast to SOAS which is much more social/humanities-focused and areas focused)
+ experience to live in heritage city, beautiful scenery
+ only 1 hr from London
+ slightly cheaper than London
The only con is...
- it is not in London, so less opportunity to network

Please feel free to add, correct me or share your experience here.
What are the perks or quirks that you personally experienced and heard about these two.
Any ideas for consideration would be appreciated greatly.

thank you all
SOAS it's a very politically active university, which has advantages and disadvantages. It is also very aligned in political science towards critical studies and qualitative methods. So there is a very clear perspective that would be developed through your studies. You need to understand if this works for you and for the career objectives you have. It also depends on whether you want to develop a regional focus. If yes, SOAS certainly has a great reputation for Asian and Middle Eastern studies. If you want to develop such a regional focus, the gap between SOAS and Bath would be enormous.

Bath is an excellent university, which has gained a reputation for good grad prospects (I think particularly in economics). You'd probably borrow some of this good reputation, even if the politics department is not as strong as the Econ one. I am not sure how famous Bath is internationally. I would however say that, outside of the UK, SOAS > Bath in terms of international recognition. This is also something you may want to consider if you don't intend to stay in the UK after your degree.
Hey, as you have found SOAS and London indeed have a lot of positives going for them! As someone halfway through the first year of a part-time MA in International Relations and Diplomacy I would highly recommend SOAS. As you pointed out it is a uniquely diverse experience, both in terms of where students are from but also in terms of the ideas and experiences that they can bring to all lectures and seminars. The best of this is brought out by the course conveyors who are really approachable, as you say have fantastic connections and experience in the real world, and also offer a really refreshing perspective on the structures and systems of all things international and diplomatic. There are also so many cool modules available to take or audit as you will be able to see from the website. The field trip is looking unlikely to happen this year, but the staff are very optimistic about 2022.

It is not common for university’s in England to offer one year MA’s in the evening, this is usually the case with part-time. SOAS I found is very accommodating with this, and many professors will adapt around you if you reach out.

You are spot on again about London being the place to be. I did my undergraduate at UCL so can say first-hand that this city offers so much. Covid aside, there are so many events going on and so much on offer entertainment wise. In terms of travel everywhere is super easy to get to, I often travelled to see friends in Reading or Surrey. There are also so many other students from London university’s you will be able to meet, which along with the networking events offered by SOAS will mean you can really create some strong links to support yourself socially and professionally. I actually had a friend who after doing his BA in Bath has moved to London for an MA because he was looking to find more opportunities for work, socialising and genuinely cool events.

In terms of accommodation, I personally have my own flat. But every student I speak to is always grumbling about accommodation, and having stayed over at accommodation in Warwick, Manchester or Newcastle they are never that great.
It is true both studying and living in London is expensive though, and this is one of the trade-offs students have to debate hardest about. Non-corona time I would 1000% say the trade off is worth it, however as the situation stands now, there is not much difference between what you can do in Bath and what you can do here. The changing situation of restrictions will be the main thing to watch out for.

In terms of campus experience, you will find that London becomes your campus. With the transport systems and many Uni’s being in a pretty small area of the city it has the potential to have that campus bubble feel to it.

That being said it is big, and if you are daunted by sheer number of things going on and things being more than walking distance maybe smaller campus works better, but you miss out a lot of the action.
(edited 3 years ago)
(Covid T&C’s apply)

Bath is truly a beautiful place, but at the end of the day its not London. If it is the scenery you’re after then London transport links can make day or weekend trips super easy, London is magnetic for many of my student friends, they find themselves drawn to it in the end.

The biggest thing will be the Covid situation. If all is normal, London any day, if the UK goes through another year of lockdown and money is an issue, then Bath seems a sensible choice.
Let me know if you have any more specific questions on life in London or the course at SOAS!
Reply 4
Original post by polscistudent
SOAS it's a very politically active university, which has advantages and disadvantages. It is also very aligned in political science towards critical studies and qualitative methods. So there is a very clear perspective that would be developed through your studies. You need to understand if this works for you and for the career objectives you have. It also depends on whether you want to develop a regional focus. If yes, SOAS certainly has a great reputation for Asian and Middle Eastern studies. If you want to develop such a regional focus, the gap between SOAS and Bath would be enormous.

Bath is an excellent university, which has gained a reputation for good grad prospects (I think particularly in economics). You'd probably borrow some of this good reputation, even if the politics department is not as strong as the Econ one. I am not sure how famous Bath is internationally. I would however say that, outside of the UK, SOAS > Bath in terms of international recognition. This is also something you may want to consider if you don't intend to stay in the UK after your degree.

thank you for your insight!
Reply 5
Original post by phil.chennery
Hey, as you have found SOAS and London indeed have a lot of positives going for them! As someone halfway through the first year of a part-time MA in International Relations and Diplomacy I would highly recommend SOAS. As you pointed out it is a uniquely diverse experience, both in terms of where students are from but also in terms of the ideas and experiences that they can bring to all lectures and seminars. The best of this is brought out by the course conveyors who are really approachable, as you say have fantastic connections and experience in the real world, and also offer a really refreshing perspective on the structures and systems of all things international and diplomatic. There are also so many cool modules available to take or audit as you will be able to see from the website. The field trip is looking unlikely to happen this year, but the staff are very optimistic about 2022.

It is not common for university’s in England to offer one year MA’s in the evening, this is usually the case with part-time. SOAS I found is very accommodating with this, and many professors will adapt around you if you reach out.

You are spot on again about London being the place to be. I did my undergraduate at UCL so can say first-hand that this city offers so much. Covid aside, there are so many events going on and so much on offer entertainment wise. In terms of travel everywhere is super easy to get to, I often travelled to see friends in Reading or Surrey. There are also so many other students from London university’s you will be able to meet, which along with the networking events offered by SOAS will mean you can really create some strong links to support yourself socially and professionally. I actually had a friend who after doing his BA in Bath has moved to London for an MA because he was looking to find more opportunities for work, socialising and genuinely cool events.

In terms of accommodation, I personally have my own flat. But every student I speak to is always grumbling about accommodation, and having stayed over at accommodation in Warwick, Manchester or Newcastle they are never that great.
It is true both studying and living in London is expensive though, and this is one of the trade-offs students have to debate hardest about. Non-corona time I would 1000% say the trade off is worth it, however as the situation stands now, there is not much difference between what you can do in Bath and what you can do here. The changing situation of restrictions will be the main thing to watch out for.

In terms of campus experience, you will find that London becomes your campus. With the transport systems and many Uni’s being in a pretty small area of the city it has the potential to have that campus bubble feel to it.

That being said it is big, and if you are daunted by sheer number of things going on and things being more than walking distance maybe smaller campus works better, but you miss out a lot of the action.

thank you for your input :smile: hope I'll get the chance to have similar good experience! Stay safe out there!
Original post by pineappo
Hi guys, I have read so many helpful threads that come up from the search yet none seems to be comprehensive enough so bear with me on this one!

So far, I'm holding these 1 year full-time offers:

MA in International Studies and Diplomacy, CISD, SOAS
MA in International Relations at University of Bath

And I am perfectly torn between the two.

I am Asian and will apply as an international student, so there is an aspect of budget & experience to be considered as well.

So far I am conflicted and here are the pros and cons I am pondering on:

SOAS
Pros
+ (a tiny bit) more recognised in this field
+ situated in London = more cultural / social activities hotspots, easier for contacting with the embassy, networking, and travelling to other regions
+ includes a field trip to UN in Geneva (may subject to change due to COVID19)
+ more diverse students
+ interesting modules and good professor per student ratio
+ strong alumni in Diplomacy, Government, Policymaker field
Cons
- London is very expensive and busy
- Accommodation could be dilapidated from what I read here
- Lack of Campus experience
**- CISD offers this course as the evening course to accommodate to those aligning this with their work (which is good and bad thing) --> is this normal for full time MA in UK?
In my country, this is more common for part time study (2 - 3 years period)

Bath
+ variety of alumni studying different fields (in contrast to SOAS which is much more social/humanities-focused and areas focused)
+ experience to live in heritage city, beautiful scenery
+ only 1 hr from London
+ slightly cheaper than London
The only con is...
- it is not in London, so less opportunity to network

Please feel free to add, correct me or share your experience here.
What are the perks or quirks that you personally experienced and heard about these two.
Any ideas for consideration would be appreciated greatly.

thank you all


I can't share my experience but I also got accepted into the MA in International Studies & Diplomacy at SOAS and have accepted my offer. I already know some people in the program and they had a good experience! I'm an international student, so I had prepare my finances in advance, to be able to live in London. London definitely offers the network in the field and lots of opportunities at SOAS to talk to visiting experts. Lastly, I chose SOAS because it's well known internationally, including in my home country Canada. Good luck in whatever you chose! If you end chosing SOAS, let me know we can get in contact :smile:
(edited 3 years ago)
Reply 7
Original post by mariamalik123
I can't share my experience but I also got accepted into the MA in International Studies & Diplomacy at SOAS and have accepted my offer. I already know some people in the program and they had a good experience! I'm an international student, so I had prepare my finances in advance, to be able to live in London. London definitely offers the network in the field and lots of opportunities at SOAS to talk to visiting experts. Lastly, I chose SOAS because it's well known internationally, including in my home country Canada. Good luck in whatever you chose! If you end chosing SOAS, let me know we can get in contact :smile:

Congrats! I'll definitely contact you if I choose to accept the offer. Thanks again!
Original post by pineappo
Hi guys, I have read so many helpful threads that come up from the search yet none seems to be comprehensive enough so bear with me on this one!

So far, I'm holding these 1 year full-time offers:

MA in International Studies and Diplomacy, CISD, SOAS
MA in International Relations at University of Bath

And I am perfectly torn between the two.

I am Asian and will apply as an international student, so there is an aspect of budget & experience to be considered as well.

So far I am conflicted and here are the pros and cons I am pondering on:

SOAS
Pros
+ (a tiny bit) more recognised in this field
+ situated in London = more cultural / social activities hotspots, easier for contacting with the embassy, networking, and travelling to other regions
+ includes a field trip to UN in Geneva (may subject to change due to COVID19)
+ more diverse students
+ interesting modules and good professor per student ratio
+ strong alumni in Diplomacy, Government, Policymaker field
Cons
- London is very expensive and busy
- Accommodation could be dilapidated from what I read here
- Lack of Campus experience
**- CISD offers this course as the evening course to accommodate to those aligning this with their work (which is good and bad thing) --> is this normal for full time MA in UK?
In my country, this is more common for part time study (2 - 3 years period)

Bath
+ variety of alumni studying different fields (in contrast to SOAS which is much more social/humanities-focused and areas focused)
+ experience to live in heritage city, beautiful scenery
+ only 1 hr from London
+ slightly cheaper than London
The only con is...
- it is not in London, so less opportunity to network

Please feel free to add, correct me or share your experience here.
What are the perks or quirks that you personally experienced and heard about these two.
Any ideas for consideration would be appreciated greatly.

thank you all

Hi @pineappo

Glad to hear you're considering Bath for your postgraduate studies. It sounds like you've done some good research so far around some of the pros of studying at Bath. I'm not studying International Relations myself, but I am a current Masters student who studied my undergraduate degree at Bath as well, so I've been a student at Bath for 5 years. So, I'm happy to answer any questions you have about being a student here; whether it be price of living, opportunities to meet new people, the campus itself, the careers service, or wellbeing support (or anything else!).

Let me know if I can help at all!

Meg
Msc Applied Clinical Psychology
Hi there!

I understand this discussion was a year ago now, I am wondering if it would be possible to know about your experience if you've decided to go with either soas or bath? I am currently applying to MA programs and in the UK my top two choices are also soas and bath!


Thank you
Hi AslihanA,

I have pursued my MSc. at University of Bath last year and absolutely loved it. Though I cannot say about MA programs but if the level of teaching and quality of faculty is any indication, I'm sure the MA courses will be quite rich in quality as well. Do you have any specific questions or concerns that we can hope to address?
Hi! Thanks for your reply!

I am also interested in an Msc program called International Development, Social Justice and Sustainability MSc at Bath. Would it be possible to know the number of classes offered in a week, involvement of the supervisors etc?

Also, how early would one need to start looking for off campus accommodation ?
I think it's great how sporty and active the uni is. I've been to Bath twice already and I absolutely loved it !

Thank you very much for your help,
Aslihan

Original post by University of Bath Postgraduate
Hi AslihanA,

I have pursued my MSc. at University of Bath last year and absolutely loved it. Though I cannot say about MA programs but if the level of teaching and quality of faculty is any indication, I'm sure the MA courses will be quite rich in quality as well. Do you have any specific questions or concerns that we can hope to address?
Original post by AslihanA
Hi! Thanks for your reply!

I am also interested in an Msc program called International Development, Social Justice and Sustainability MSc at Bath. Would it be possible to know the number of classes offered in a week, involvement of the supervisors etc?

Also, how early would one need to start looking for off campus accommodation ?
I think it's great how sporty and active the uni is. I've been to Bath twice already and I absolutely loved it !

Thank you very much for your help,
Aslihan



Hi,

The rate of interaction between the professors/supervisors and the students has been good in my experience but might vary from course to course. You should be having a good mix of in-person and virtual classes per week, at least that's what we had. Most lectures, if not all, are recorded as well. I would suggest to start looking and applying for accommodation as early as possible.

I agree, Bath is amazing! Good luck with everything! :smile:

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