Oxford or Royal Holloway

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storeyi10
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#1
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#1
I know this may sound absolutely ridiculous to some of you but hear me out.

I've been accepted to Royal Holloway's Late Antique and Byzantine Studies MA. I'm still waiting to hear back from Oxford for a similar program, but I'm hopeful after my POI at Harvard (failed History PhD application) recently emailed me out of the blue to say that my application was really good and that it would be even more so with an added masters degree from the UK.

As an American, I'm probably going to have to suffer paying for either program which luckily I can afford to do for a year. Everyone seems to rag on RHUL as an average to below-average UK university where a bunch of trust fundies go for an easy undergrad degree in partying before working for their dads in London. For my interests though, the collection of great Byzantine scholars there, plus the resources/faculty I would have access to through connections with KCL and UCL, pretty much parallels Oxford.

As a bum American who knows very little about UK schools, the only real difference between the two (for my interests at least) is the 10,000 extra pounds of tuition I would have to pay for the prestige of going to Oxford. Is it worth it to suck it up and pay the extra cash for the arguably greatest university of all-time, or could RHUL be a fine substitute in my case?
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dizzyvalentine
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#2
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#2
(Original post by storeyi10)
I know this may sound absolutely ridiculous to some of you but hear me out.

I've been accepted to Royal Holloway's Late Antique and Byzantine Studies MA. I'm still waiting to hear back from Oxford for a similar program, but I'm hopeful after my POI at Harvard (failed History PhD application) recently emailed me out of the blue to say that my application was really good and that it would be even more so with an added masters degree from the UK.

As an American, I'm probably going to have to suffer paying for either program which luckily I can afford to do for a year. Everyone seems to rag on RHUL as an average to below-average UK university where a bunch of trust fundies go for an easy undergrad degree in partying before working for their dads in London. For my interests though, the collection of great Byzantine scholars there, plus the resources/faculty I would have access to through connections with KCL and UCL, pretty much parallels Oxford.

As a bum American who knows very little about UK schools, the only real difference between the two (for my interests at least) is the 10,000 extra pounds of tuition I would have to pay for the prestige of going to Oxford. Is it worth it to suck it up and pay the extra cash for the arguably greatest university of all-time, or could RHUL be a fine substitute in my case?
Hmmm, that's quite a predicament! I don't know much about your particular course, but I'd suppose it's more down to your personal reasons for doing the degree. If your priority is the quality of your course, and you think Royal Holloway's program seems great, then you should go for it. However, if your priority is the school's 'brand name' and international prestige then Oxford would better suit your interests. Have you looked into potential funding?
By the sounds of it, you'll be getting a great education at either place, so you're in a good position!
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Lucy Honeychurch
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#3
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#3
I just completed an MSt in History at Oxford, and my daughter is about to start her BA in History at Royal Holloway, so I’m pretty familiar with both schools. Plus, I’m Canadian so I understand the differences between the two pedagogical systems (UK and North American). There are so many factors, but if just getting into the best phd program next year is your goal, then Oxford probably has the edge. I found the taught components disappointing, but Oxford is much more than that. Royal Holloway’s history department is well thought of here, even if the rest of the school is middling. The real disadvantage there is it’s location in the middle of nowhere- you will have to commute into London a couple times a week which can get expensive and time consuming (unless all languages and other modules stay online like I assume they were this year). And there isn’t as much to do, as opposed to Oxford which isn’t much farther from London, and has a lot going on within the city itself. If it comes down to costs (and I don’t think it’s a difference if £10,000? Maybe £4,000?) that might be worth it, especially if you feel the teaching staff would make up for the lack of prestige. But ultimately I don’t think you can go wrong here, either one will give you a great education and access to excellent resources and academics. Especially for a one year experience.
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Monkeys Uncle
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#4
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#4
(Original post by storeyi10)
I know this may sound absolutely ridiculous to some of you but hear me out.

I've been accepted to Royal Holloway's Late Antique and Byzantine Studies MA. I'm still waiting to hear back from Oxford for a similar program, but I'm hopeful after my POI at Harvard (failed History PhD application) recently emailed me out of the blue to say that my application was really good and that it would be even more so with an added masters degree from the UK.

As an American, I'm probably going to have to suffer paying for either program which luckily I can afford to do for a year. Everyone seems to rag on RHUL as an average to below-average UK university where a bunch of trust fundies go for an easy undergrad degree in partying before working for their dads in London. For my interests though, the collection of great Byzantine scholars there, plus the resources/faculty I would have access to through connections with KCL and UCL, pretty much parallels Oxford.

As a bum American who knows very little about UK schools, the only real difference between the two (for my interests at least) is the 10,000 extra pounds of tuition I would have to pay for the prestige of going to Oxford. Is it worth it to suck it up and pay the extra cash for the arguably greatest university of all-time, or could RHUL be a fine substitute in my case?
Just look at league tables and where they are ranked, and it will tell you everything you need to know about the difference between the two Universities you mentioned.
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Monkeys Uncle
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#5
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#5
Oxford hands out a ton of scholarships by the way. You could probably go there free of charge + they will give you £15,000 for living expenses in a year.
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Muttley79
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#6
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#6
(Original post by storeyi10)
I know this may sound absolutely ridiculous to some of you but hear me out.

I've been accepted to Royal Holloway's Late Antique and Byzantine Studies MA. I'm still waiting to hear back from Oxford for a similar program, but I'm hopeful after my POI at Harvard (failed History PhD application) recently emailed me out of the blue to say that my application was really good and that it would be even more so with an added masters degree from the UK.

As an American, I'm probably going to have to suffer paying for either program which luckily I can afford to do for a year. Everyone seems to rag on RHUL as an average to below-average UK university where a bunch of trust fundies go for an easy undergrad degree in partying before working for their dads in London. For my interests though, the collection of great Byzantine scholars there, plus the resources/faculty I would have access to through connections with KCL and UCL, pretty much parallels Oxford.

As a bum American who knows very little about UK schools, the only real difference between the two (for my interests at least) is the 10,000 extra pounds of tuition I would have to pay for the prestige of going to Oxford. Is it worth it to suck it up and pay the extra cash for the arguably greatest university of all-time, or could RHUL be a fine substitute in my case?
London has far more museums and National resources than Oxford. If the course and London contacts are better [and its cheaper] go to RH.

Of course you may not get an offer from Oxford so that will make it simple!
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Lucy Honeychurch
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#7
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#7
(Original post by Monkeys Uncle)
Oxford hands out a ton of scholarships by the way. You could probably go there free of charge + they will give you £15,000 for living expenses in a year.
that is absolutely not true. Less than 10% of masters students get any funding, let alone full scholarships.

(Original post by Monkeys Uncle)
Just look at league tables and where they are ranked, and it will tell you everything you need to know about the difference between the two Universities you mentioned.
Except the league tables don’t tell you everything you need to know about postgrad work in small departments like Byzantine History. I’m pretty sure the OP covered this in the question, they know it’s not a top tier school, but it has experts in their rather niche field.
Last edited by Lucy Honeychurch; 1 year ago
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Monkeys Uncle
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#8
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#8
(Original post by Lucy Honeychurch)
that is absolutely not true. Less than 10% of masters students get any funding, let alone full scholarships.


Except the league tables don’t tell you everything you need to know about postgrad work in small departments like Byzantine History. I’m pretty sure the OP covered this in the question, they know it’s not a top tier school, but it has experts in their rather niche field.
HAHAHAHA, You don't know what you are talking about. Oxford hands out loads of scholarships. Look at this "A record 90 students from the MPP class of 2020 received full funding, with 112 students (77% of the overall class) receiving full or partial funding. The highest proportion of this year’s funding came from University-wide scholarships, which exceeded £2m for the first time." Here is the link ----> https://www.bsg.ox.ac.uk/news/highes...rships-awarded

So around 80% get scholarships. But you may be right- a subject like Byzantian History is pretty useless to use in the real world. That's why there are few scholarships for that particular subject....
Last edited by Monkeys Uncle; 1 year ago
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Lucy Honeychurch
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#9
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#9
(Original post by Monkeys Uncle)
HAHAHAHA, You don't know what you are talking about. Oxford hands out loads of scholarships. Look at this "A record 90 students from the MPP class of 2020 received full funding, with 112 students (77% of the overall class) receiving full or partial funding. The highest proportion of this year’s funding came from University-wide scholarships, which exceeded £2m for the first time." Here is the link ----> https://www.bsg.ox.ac.uk/news/highes...rships-awarded

So around 80% get scholarships.
Actually I think of the two of us, I am more in a position to know what I’m talking about, as an Oxford student who has served on the Humanities council and has seen the figures. You pointed to the MPP program, which is hugely underwritten by corporate and governmental scholarship funds. History, which the OP was asking about, does not. In my master’s cohort there were only a handful of scholarships for a total class of over 100 students. Oxford attracts a lot of money, but it doesn’t get split equitably, and the colleges huge endowments are not used for scholarships, sadly.
Last edited by Lucy Honeychurch; 1 year ago
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Monkeys Uncle
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#10
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#10
(Original post by Lucy Honeychurch)
Actually I think of the two of us, I am more in a position to know what I’m talking about, as an Oxford student who has served on the Humanities council and seen the figures. You pointed to the business school. Like many business schools they have huge fees which are hugely underwritten by corporate scholarship funds. History, which the OP was asking about, does not. In my master’s cohort there were only a handful of scholarships for a total class of over 100 students. Oxford attracts a lot of money, but it doesn’t get split equitably, and the colleges huge endowments are not used for scholarships, sadly.
I re-edited my speech at the end. First of all, Public Policy is not business. Not even remotely related. Public Policy is Politics.

What can you do with a history master's? What use is that? Learning a twisted one-sided viewpoint about what may or may not have happened 1000 years ago?
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Lucy Honeychurch
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#11
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#11
(Original post by Monkeys Uncle)
I re-edited my speech at the end. First of all, Public Policy is not business. Not even remotely related. Public Policy is Politics.

What can you do with a history master's? What use is that? Learning a twisted one-sided viewpoint about what may or may not have happened 1000 years ago?
And I re-edited mine because of the business error. Why do you feel the need to insult me and the person asking the question? The point of education doesn’t always have to be to get a high-paying job, not all of us are so mercenary. I could go on at length about the intrinsic value of an education in the humanities, but I think I’ve done enough troll-feeding for tonight.
Last edited by Lucy Honeychurch; 1 year ago
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Monkeys Uncle
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#12
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#12
(Original post by Lucy Honeychurch)
And I re-edited mine because of the business error. Why do you feel the need to insult me and the person asking the question? The point of education doesn’t always have to be to get a high paying job, not all of us are so mercenary. I could go on at length about the intrinsic value of an education in the humanities, but I think I’ve done enough troll-feeding fir tonight.
Forget about money for a second. What intrinsic value can you possibly obtain from learning a twisted one-sided viewpoint of history that you need to fork out £1000's of pounds to obtain when you can simply learn it for free and better from using the internet/library? For example, this country teaches how great Winston Churchill was in our schools and is portrayed as a "war hero" and is even put on our £ notes. But what this country never teaches is how awful this man really was. A white supremacist who was equal to Hitler, responsible for killing millions of Indians. Responsible for the famine in Bangladesh. Had concentration camps where he killed thousands. So many more, I could go on. But you get my point....
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harrysbar
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#13
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#13
(Original post by storeyi10)
I know this may sound absolutely ridiculous to some of you but hear me out.

I've been accepted to Royal Holloway's Late Antique and Byzantine Studies MA. I'm still waiting to hear back from Oxford for a similar program, but I'm hopeful after my POI at Harvard (failed History PhD application) recently emailed me out of the blue to say that my application was really good and that it would be even more so with an added masters degree from the UK.

As an American, I'm probably going to have to suffer paying for either program which luckily I can afford to do for a year. Everyone seems to rag on RHUL as an average to below-average UK university where a bunch of trust fundies go for an easy undergrad degree in partying before working for their dads in London. For my interests though, the collection of great Byzantine scholars there, plus the resources/faculty I would have access to through connections with KCL and UCL, pretty much parallels Oxford.

As a bum American who knows very little about UK schools, the only real difference between the two (for my interests at least) is the 10,000 extra pounds of tuition I would have to pay for the prestige of going to Oxford. Is it worth it to suck it up and pay the extra cash for the arguably greatest university of all-time, or could RHUL be a fine substitute in my case?
Why don't you ask Harvard Admissions which course they would see as better preparation for their PhD, if that is your ultimate goal?
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storeyi10
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#14
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#14
(Original post by Monkeys Uncle)
Forget about money for a second. What intrinsic value can you possibly obtain from learning a twisted one-sided viewpoint of history that you need to fork out £1000's of pounds to obtain when you can simply learn it for free and better from using the internet/library? For example, this country teaches how great Winston Churchill was in our schools and is portrayed as a "war hero" and is even put on our £ notes. But what this country never teaches is how awful this man really was. A white supremacist who was equal to Hitler, responsible for killing millions of Indians. Responsible for the famine in Bangladesh. Had concentration camps where he killed thousands. So many more, I could go on. But you get my point....
Bro I grew up in America, I can guarantee you that it's just as bad here.

I don't appreciate you giving me, or anyone for that matter, *crap* for wanting or having a History degree. I'm planning on going on to get my PhD and either be a professor and/or go into research. I can do whatever I want with my history degrees. Byzantium is an extremely understudied area of History, which is maybe something you should appreciate. Historical study and the humanities in general underwrite everything; if you didn't study any history in your Public Policy degree then that degree is worthless. Generals still read Lao Tzu and Thucydides. Politicians read Marcus Aurelius and Plato (and they have to know possibly centuries of law history). Film directors read Shakespeare and Sophocles. Mathematicians read Euclid. The list goes on. History is ingrained in the way people think about everything, whether it's the history of yesterday or the history of 5000 years ago.

Just because you don't appreciate how history is traditionally studied in Western schools (which is a problem and I'm not denying that) doesn't mean you can be a jerk to people who enjoy studying history. I'm going into Byzantine history because it was an extremely convoluted social, political, economical, religious, etc state that has been severely understudied in the history of Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. I believe their are lots of relevancies in its history that we can learn from today. Again, maybe you could appreciate that. If you don't, then just don't reply to people's post negatively about their aspirations.

As far as I can tell, this is a forum dedicated to making people feel good about their successes in postgrad life, or sympathizing and relating with them about their failures. Don't be a 8=D

EDIT: LMAO he got banned
Last edited by storeyi10; 1 year ago
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Vesuvius1
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#15
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#15
(Original post by storeyi10)
I know this may sound absolutely ridiculous to some of you but hear me out.

I've been accepted to Royal Holloway's Late Antique and Byzantine Studies MA. I'm still waiting to hear back from Oxford for a similar program, but I'm hopeful after my POI at Harvard (failed History PhD application) recently emailed me out of the blue to say that my application was really good and that it would be even more so with an added masters degree from the UK.

As an American, I'm probably going to have to suffer paying for either program which luckily I can afford to do for a year. Everyone seems to rag on RHUL as an average to below-average UK university where a bunch of trust fundies go for an easy undergrad degree in partying before working for their dads in London. For my interests though, the collection of great Byzantine scholars there, plus the resources/faculty I would have access to through connections with KCL and UCL, pretty much parallels Oxford.

As a bum American who knows very little about UK schools, the only real difference between the two (for my interests at least) is the 10,000 extra pounds of tuition I would have to pay for the prestige of going to Oxford. Is it worth it to suck it up and pay the extra cash for the arguably greatest university of all-time, or could RHUL be a fine substitute in my case?
Royal Holloway is brilliant for Byzantine history, having done it there as an undergrad. It's very supportive and beyond undergrad, you really don't need to worry as much about league tables and such like. Choose what suits your interests and the kind of supervision available. The student experience might be a bit lacking at RH but that's only one factor to consider.
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storeyi10
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#16
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#16
(Original post by Vesuvius1)
Royal Holloway is brilliant for Byzantine history, having done it there as an undergrad. It's very supportive and beyond undergrad, you really don't need to worry as much about league tables and such like. Choose what suits your interests and the kind of supervision available. The student experience might be a bit lacking at RH but that's only one factor to consider.
Yeah it seemed as though the history departments at RH and Oxford had comparable Byzantinists for my middle-late empire interests. I've had to read Jonathan Harris before, and I also saw that he is well liked by students since he just won some sort of student awarded-award. I was also reading an article the other day on the textual transmission of Sophocles and it cited work done by Charalambos Dendrinos. I'm still going to wait for Oxford's decision of course, but I'd be more than happy to make a move to Egham.
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Helloworld_95
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#17
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#17
Have you emailed your POI at Harvard back to ask them this question? They would be the most suitable person to ask
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Vesuvius1
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#18
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#18
(Original post by storeyi10)
Yeah it seemed as though the history departments at RH and Oxford had comparable Byzantinists for my middle-late empire interests. I've had to read Jonathan Harris before, and I also saw that he is well liked by students since he just won some sort of student awarded-award. I was also reading an article the other day on the textual transmission of Sophocles and it cited work done by Charalambos Dendrinos. I'm still going to wait for Oxford's decision of course, but I'd be more than happy to make a move to Egham.
Been taught by both those two. You couldn't do better. Yeah see what your options are.
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ZYXABC
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#19
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#19
Don't know anything about the subject matter, but will say that RHUL is very good at a few specialist things (space science is another one in a completely different field). However, if you ever want to work outside the field, there is a massive gulf between the two universities. Many people will choose LSE/Imperial over Oxbridge, and some will even choose UCL or Warwick or Edinburgh, but this is a huge gap. While I don't like the fetishing of Oxford on TSR, the name is worth the investment here IMO.
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