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University of Oxford, Pawel-Sytniewski
University of Oxford
Oxford

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Oxford graduate applicants 2009/2010

The inspiration for this thread has come from reading Grad_84s informative thread that relates to postgraduate applicants for the term that has just commenced at Oxford. Thank you for over 20 great pages of guidance everyone!

The application process appears to have changed this year in that gathered fields have been replaced by application deadlines. I wonder how this will affect the chances of being successful e.g. will an earlier application be favourable this time around?

The course I have applied for - MSc Modern Chinese Studies.

What about everyone else?

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Reply 1
Hi there,

I have submitted my application in September and hope for an answer before the deadline. I need confirmation from the department of my place in the DPhil Programme by the end of October.

Does anyone know how the department assesses the applications? Is there a board/ committee which decides or is it just the administrator asking potential supervisors whether there are interested?

Keen to hear from others’ experience.
University of Oxford, Pawel-Sytniewski
University of Oxford
Oxford
Reply 2
As your query is in relation to the DPhil/PHD application procedure I can't say for sure that it is similar to the MSc procedure in all ways except for the 'supervisor' part. I guess that the administrator of your programme along with the course convenor would decide the outcome of your application, sometimes they have a committee consisting of a few dept members who will look at this. Does anyone know if there is also a central admissions body within Oxford? Gauging by their website I'd say that they don't.
Reply 3
Hi,

They have the Graduate Studies Committee as I found out which consists of academics from the department you're applying to.

I was wondering how much weight the references, the CV and the piece of written work have?!
Reply 4
JanPelle
I was wondering how much weight the references, the CV and the piece of written work have?!

How would we know?:confused:
I'd assume that for the majority of courses, the CV won't be too important because it's unlikely to contain very much relevant stuff at this point. But other than that, who knows? If you get in, you could try asking your supervisor, I suppose, but other than that I don't really see how you could get a proper answer to that question...
I'm applying for MSc Nature, Society and Environmental Policy but I won't be submitting for another few weeks, I have a lot of work to do on the application.
Reply 6
Hi,

I submitted 14th September for DPhil in Geography. Hope to hear pretty soon from the department.

If I am successful funding will be the next issue to solve... Not much there as far as I can see.
Reply 7
Obviously if the CV you have submitted has an interesting list of Academic work e.g. Coursework, Essays and/or Publications then it is going to help your application. Add to this any relevant work experience that you have been involved in and you will find that the CV could bolster your application.
Reply 8
Andante
Obviously if the CV you have submitted has an interesting list of Academic work e.g. Coursework, Essays and/or Publications then it is going to help your application. Add to this any relevant work experience that you have been involved in and you will find that the CV could bolster your application.

Yes - if it has that. But for some (if not most) courses it will nevertheless be very unusual for applicants to have that sort of stuff on their CVs at this point. If someone wants to do, say, an MSt in medieval French literature, there isn't much work experience which could help his application, because it isn't exactly a very vocational type of thing. So unless he somehow managed to publish an article during his first or second year, he won't really be able to offer anything interesting on that CV. So my guess would be that except in cases where relevant work experience reasonably can be expected, interesting features on your CV would be treated as a nice bonus but not necessarily a major criterion on which decisions will be based.

Edit: Hang on, did you say "coursework and essays" - people actually put those on their CVs?:confused:
Reply 9
My work experience is closely related to the DPhil in Geography I apply for. I will do research on energy policy and have worked in research institutes dealing with energy and climate change policies while I studied my undergrad. My current job is with the climate change and renewable energy group of a specialist consultancy. Most projects I put on my CV involved research directly related to my DPhil project.

I also have three (non-peer reviewed) publications on my CV + three scholarships from the German Government and the LSE.

So I hope this helps, might be wrong and only strictly academic points count.

Another question: a friend who did his PhD at Imperial told me that once you have convinced a supervisor and he/she wants you this is basically a 95% guarantee for admission to the programme. So if you meet the supervisor and develop a proposal together you stand a very good chance. Do you think that's a valid point or do most people who apply have done this anyway?
Reply 10
I'm applying for a DPhil in Oriental Studies. Whether or not I get in is another question :wink:
Reply 11
Socrates
I'm applying for a DPhil in Oriental Studies. Whether or not I get in is another question :wink:

Shall I rename the thread to "Oxford graduate applicants", then?:wink: That title would probably make more sense anyway...
Reply 12
That might be an idea.
Reply 13
Done.:smile:
Reply 14
Good idea renaming the thread. Thanks.

Socrates, did you already talk to a potential supervisor about your proposal?
Reply 15
I haven't yet. I've been speaking to my current (MA) supervisor, and he recommended Prof Tariq Ramadan. I've not got round to talking to him yet.
Reply 16
Meet him in person if possible. That helped me a lot deciding where I want to do the degree. I mean the supervisor will be the person you have to work together for 3 years.

Good luck with your application!
Reply 17
hobnob
Yes - if it has that. But for some (if not most) courses it will nevertheless be very unusual for applicants to have that sort of stuff on their CVs at this point.


If someone wants to do, say, an MSt in medieval French literature, there isn't much work experience which could help his application, because it isn't exactly a very vocational type of thing. So unless he somehow managed to publish an article during his first or second year, he won't really be able to offer anything interesting on that CV. So my guess would be that except in cases where relevant work experience reasonably can be expected, interesting features on your CV would be treated as a nice bonus but not necessarily a major criterion on which decisions will be based.

Edit: Hang on, did you say "coursework and essays" - people actually put those on their CVs?:confused:


I had to ask my ma to come hither to the kitchen to help me screw apart the sink.

This 'stuff' that you talk about, in the vast majority of cases, is really important to an applicants chances of success. Further, when I had a look at the list of courses on offer at Oxford (Postgrad) I'd say that 75% would look upon relevant work experience as an asset and could tip the balance when up against other strong candidates.
Reply 18
Andante
I had to ask my ma to come hither to the kitchen to help me screw apart the sink.

Come again?:confused:
This 'stuff' that you talk about, in the vast majority of cases, is really important to an applicants chances of success. Further, when I had a look at the list of courses on offer at Oxford (Postgrad) I'd say that 75% would look upon relevant work experience as an asset and could tip the balance when up against other strong candidates.

No need to get quite so aggressive, is there?:rolleyes: I wasn't trying to argue that relevant work experience wasn't looked on favourably, but simply pointing out that in a lot of cases applicants won't actually have very much relevant work experience yet, because they've come straight out of university, so it would be treated as a bonus (or as you put it, an "asset" ) rather than as a basic requirement. With the exception of some courses like MBAs, obviously, but those aren't the norm.
Reply 19
:smile: Never mistake passion for aggression!

Anyway this is all rather academic, perhaps even hypothetical, as being accepted by the likes of Oxford is extremely difficult.

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