Official Cambridge Postgraduate Applicants 2022 Thread

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Sandtrooper
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#1
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#1
Welcome to everyone, and best of luck with your applications!

Prospective course:
Achieved (or expected) grade:
Nationality:
Current (or last) university:
Current (or last) course:

College preferences:
Other universities you’re applying to:


Disclaimer: Please note, unless stated otherwise, posters on this thread do not work for University of Cambridge's admissions department, therefore do not take our opinion as being 100% accurate. If you need certainty, contact University of Cambridge directly.

FAQs

Answered by threeportdrift, histmphil96, and Sandtrooper.

General
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What are the chances of getting into X course?

There’s no real way of telling. Some courses are more self-selective in terms of applicants than others. For example, courses that require a very specific combination of prior qualifications might have fewer applicants per place on the course, some courses which can admit from a very diverse range or backgrounds might have a very high number of applicants to place, but it doesn’t mean those applicants are all equally competitive. Broadly speaking, getting an offer is a bit easier at PG level than at UG, but funding is much harder to get and many offers cannot be converted to places because of lack of funds.

What's the application timeline?
The times given on the University website are generally nonsense. Each individual application follows its own timeline, the timing depends on several issues including

a) the strength of your application,
b) the availability of an academic to make a judgement on your application (they are lecturing, marking, supervising, researching, going to conferences etc alongside reading applications),
c) the number of applicants who have also made very similar research proposal to yours (creating a sort of ‘sub-competition’ for supervision), and
d) the relative strength of the rest of the applicant pool.

Rejections are made as soon as it becomes clear that an application is not going to be competitive, there is no bulk rejection process. However, applicants do not apply in any sort of ‘order of ability’, good and bad applications arrive randomly between September and April. The only general patterns are that only strong early applications are given offers before Christmas, because generally the overall quality of the applicant pool isn’t visible until the New Year. Having said that a higher than usual number of offers were given out before Christmas in 2020 for 2021 start. The bulk of offers are not made until late Feb/March and offers continue to be made until late April, when they tail off.

What does 'rolling admissions' mean?
It means that admissions are distributed to academics and read on a rolling basis, ie as they come in. However, it does NOT mean that decisions are made on the same timeline, an early application does not necessarily lead to an early decision. If you aren’t competitive, you will get rejected straight away. If you are immediately so strong that nothing in the future applicant pool is going to stop you getting an offer, then you will get an offer, otherwise, you will stay in the pool of generally competitive applicants until you float to the top and get an offer or sink and get rejected.

When a course sets a deadline for applications, then generally while they might read applications before the deadline, they will not make decisions until afterwards. So there is no point in refreshing until several weeks after the deadline date.

Will I hear by email or online (through Camsis)?
Official changes come through Camsis, the online application portal and are not emailed. Generally you will only get an email for some specific allied question about your application. Departments agree every year that they do NOT contact applicants and tell them they are going to be made an offer, until the GAO changes the online status to a conditional offer. Every year a few departments ignore this rule and email candidates with an offer before the GAO officially approves them. The Department’s rarely make an error, but the GAO is the official step in the process.

Is it bad I'm still on submitted?
The online system is updated by extremely busy graduate administrators with myriad other tasks that are more important than updating Camsis. However, if you spend more than 3-4 weeks at submitted, it might be worth checking they aren’t missing something from your application like an errant reference.

Why is my application still 'under review'?
Because they are still reviewing it! Applications can spend many months ‘under review’ at the department level, while the overall strength of the applicant pool and the variation in subject specialisms is understood. Meanwhile you are bobbing around in the pool hoping that you float to the top and get an offer and don’t sink to the bottom.

One exception to this seems to be for English. Possibly because there is only one MPhil degree, with different strands, English applications seem to be recorded on Camsis as going straight to the degree committee. It doesn’t seem to be accelerating the process though.

What is degree committee and does that mean I'm in?
The degree committee, for admissions purposes, moderates the quality and number of applicants between degree programmes. For example, a degree committee might oversee 5 programmes with roughly equal numbers of places between them, and they all have to fit in the same lab/classroom/lecture hall spaces. Then one year Course A finds it is getting a particularly high standard of applicants and really wants to give offers to fill an additional 10 places. They would take their case to the degree committee who, if persuaded, would allow them to fill the additional places. The degree committee would then ask two other courses to reduce their offers and fill a reduced number of places. So, the degree committee is unlikely to stop an offer being made, but it’s not inconceivable that a course might have to readjust its offer rate.

What are the degree committee dates?
Someone will dig them out of the depths at some point in the application season, but really there is no point. Moderating decisions between degree programmes is only one of very many tasks of the degree committee, they are primarily concerned with overall academic standards, new programmes etc. So while the degree committee does unblock the progress of applications, there are also many other subsequent administrative steps and the timing of your arrival at the GAO is hard to tie in to a degree committee date.

What's the GAO?
The GAO, Graduate Admissions Office (may be changing to PAO, Postgraduate Admissions Office is the final step in the admissions process. They make no academic decision, but they do a final double-check that a) the department has made an offer in accord with the previously agreed standards (on things like minim grades or mandatory qualifications) and that the application is legitimate (no fraud and the university is recognised). The chances of being rejected at the GAO stage are very slim, especially if you haven’t applied fraudulently – get the drinks on ice!

Will I hear back on the weekend?
The standard office hours at Cambridge are about 0830 – 1700. Staff do not routinely work outside those times. However, if individual staff involved in updating is working unusual office hours/from home then it's not impossible.

Should I email the department/my supervisor/GAO to ask whether I am in/why it's taking so long?
Probably not, you will just be cluttering up already busy inboxes. Generally you should prompt if you’ve not moved from ‘submitted’ after 3-4 weeks, and if you’ve been at the GAO with no movement for 3 weeks. Otherwise, just hang on in there, while you haven’t been rejected you are still competitive.

Why did someone who applied later than me hear back earlier?
For no reason that means anything to your application. Maybe the academic who read their application had nothing else to do on the day it landed on their desk, maybe yours was away at a conference for a week. Maybe their research proposal was only suited to one supervisor, maybe two or three have been fighting over you! Maybe their application arrived an hour before the pack up for the monthly degree committee meeting was completed and maybe yours arrived an hour afterwards.


Colleges

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What are my chances of getting into X college?

Like everything at Cambridge, it depends. College decisions are not made based on merit like admissions decisions (see below). Your chances will mostly hinge on which college you apply to. Some colleges are much more popular than others. This official list can show you roughly which are the most popular: https://www.postgraduate.study.cam.a...ts-and-figures

King’s, Trinity, and St. John’s are by far the most popular colleges. These fill up very quickly and are nearly impossible to get into, as a large percentage of students put at least one of them as a preference. Your chances of getting into one of these are low, especially the later into the cycle you get.

If you want a higher chance of getting into a top choice, consider one like Hughes Hall, Darwin College, Lucy Cavendish College, or Wolfson College.

How do colleges decide who is admitted?

Colleges recruit in order to create a diverse postgraduate community, but there are no quotas, there is not a planned set of numbers they are looking to fill. The University does not acknowledge any material difference between colleges and the system is based on the premise that they are perhaps different, but equal.

When will I hear back about my college allocation?

It depends. It could be a few hours to a few months. There is no typical timeline.

What happens if I don’t get into one of my choice colleges?

If you don’t get into your two top choices, your application will be pooled. This means that the GAO will send it to up to five colleges with low enrolment. One of these colleges will accept you. You will not know what colleges it is sent to after your first two choices and your status will not update until you are accepted by a college.

Can I change college?

Only if you get a funding offer at another college (either by a Department/Faculty allocated scholarship or through an application that doesn’t need you to already be accepted by the college) or if you have a disability the college cannot accommodate.

Should I accept my offer? Do I need to for funding?

You don’t need to accept your offer for funding or college decisions to be made. You are welcome to accept your offer right away or wait; it really doesn’t matter. The true ‘acceptance’ is fulfilling all the conditions by the deadline


Funding

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What are my chances of getting funding?

It’s impossible for us to say without knowing specific information about you and your funding situation. You can see the proportions of current students funded here: https://www.postgraduate.study.cam.a...n_timeline.pdf. However, take into account that this only considers current students. So the proportion of offer holders that get funding is less than this.

In order to be considered for most funding, you have to be nominated by your Faculty or Department. They will look at all the applications they receive, rank them, and then send the best to be considered by the funding body. The funding body will re-rank the applications they receive and give the best funding.

Anecdotally, I (Sandtrooper) know the figures for my department. There were 191 applicants, 116 offers, 70 acceptances, and 7 of those students are funded. This is specifically for Cambridge Trust funding, so it's possible that there might be the odd student with external funding, but again, that's probably going to be slim. So, competition is steep.

How does nomination work?

Your supervisor first will rank your application on three things:

Strength of academic history,
Research proposal (if applicable)
References

The score is out of 30, and it is usually around a 27 that would be needed for funding. The Department/Faculty will then look at all the rankings by supervisors and put them together, and then decide who to put forward for funding.

When do funding decisions come out?

From early March until late July, but sometimes even until term starts in October. There are some scholarships that you can only apply for once you start your course, too (I - Sandtrooper - had one of these).

Who should I contact about funding?

After you apply, there’s not a lot you can do about funding, so sadly, you just have to wait and see.

Can I apply for funding at a college I wasn't allocated to?

Some colleges have open applications for anyone, some colleges need you to rank them as a first or second choice to get funding, and some only let admitted members apply for funding. If the funding is at a college with open applications for funding, then you can of course apply regardless if you are accepted there or not. If it’s a first or second choice ranking-necessary funding, then if you list them as a choice you will be considered. However, if, for example, you put them down as a first choice and are rejected, you will no longer be considered for funding. Obviously, with the last category, you need to be accepted to the college to apply.

Please note that open or first or second choice funding options usually have a deadline around the general funding deadline.

Will I hear if I am nominated for funding? What about my ranking?

Some departments/faculties tell you if you are nominated, others do not. So it depends. It is exceptionally rare to be told your ranking and pretty pointless, as you are re-ranked when your application goes to the funding bodies. Do not ask about your ranking; it just puts everyone in an awkward position.

How much funding will I get?

This varies massively by award. Here's a useful quote from Modpol:

'It varies, but I checked and AHRC/Peterhouse had an allowance of around 15.5k/year, Gates had 17.5k/year, Harding 18k/year. I think the 15.5k/year is quite standard across humanities scholarships. It's also common to only get funding for your fees, or living costs, and not both, particularly at MPhil level. So, please bear this in mind.'


Last edited by Sandtrooper; 9 months ago
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St Edmund's Admission
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#2
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#2
(Original post by Sandtrooper)
I thought I'd make this in advance. Welcome to everyone, and best of luck with your applications!

Prospective course:
Achieved (or expected) grade:
Nationality:
Current (or last) university:
Current (or last) course:

College preferences:
Other universities you’re applying to:

After you have received a decision, some applicants may be curious to know the following, but please don't worry if someone has heard back sooner than you; it does not necessarily mean you will be rejected.


Course:
Date applied (including references):
Interview date (if applicable):
Decision date and whether seen on the portal or received via e-mail:
Decision:
If unsuccessful, did you see your portal update to Degree Committee or GAO/PAO before receiving the outcome?
If successful, date the portal updated to Degree Committee (although please note, some applications skip this step or the portal is not updated to show this step):
If successful, date the portal updated to GAO/PAO:


Disclaimer: Please note, unless stated otherwise, posters on this thread do not work for University of Cambridge's admissions department, therefore do not take our opinion as being 100% accurate. If you need certainty, contact University of Cambridge directly.
Thanks for starting us off! I just wanted to follow the disclaimer by saying that I do work for Cambridge as the Director of Admissions at St Edmund's College so tag or PM me if you have any questions.
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_gcx
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#3
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#3
Prospective course: MASt Pure Mathematics
Achieved (or expected) grade: First (first year 90, second year 87)
Nationality: British
Current (or last) university: University of Warwick
Current (or last) course: BSc Mathematics
College preferences: Wolfson, Christs'
Other universities you’re applying to: None

Applied 12th Nov, PAO 9th Feb, Offer 24th Feb, (graduate with first) Acceptance at Wolfson 14th Mar
Last edited by _gcx; 1 month ago
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Wired_1800
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#4
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#4
(Original post by _gcx)
Prospective course: MASt Pure Mathematics
Achieved (or expected) grade: First (first year 90.5, second year TBD)
Nationality: British
Current (or last) university: University of Warwick
Current (or last) course: MMath Mathematics, will switch to BSc if I get an offer
College preferences: TBC, Wolfson looks good. Idk about the second choice.
Other universities you’re applying to: Possibly Oxford depending on if I can get a third referee
All the best.
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Jonathanツ
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#5
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#5
I'm just here because I'm stupid and for a single second want to feel smart...

Congratulations on being smart btw guys, keep it up!

Ok, I'll go now
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rm2222
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#6
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#6
Prospective course: MASt in pure mathematics
Achieved (or expected) grade: 80% in the second year (slightly more in pure maths)
Nationality: UK Resident
Current (or last) university: Queen's University Belfast
Current (or last) course: BSc Mathematics
College preferences: Pembroke, Peterhouse
Other universities you’re applying to: Oxford, Warwick and Imperial (Both Cambridge and Oxford seem to be very good options!)
Last edited by rm2222; 3 months ago
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Sheekoo
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#7
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#7
Prospective course: PhD Geography/ Architecture/ Development Studies (depends on my research interest and the respective faculty member who agrees to supervise me)
Achieved (or expected) grade: BE (Civil Engineering)- First Class, MSc Water Resources Engineering- First Class, A avg
Nationality: Bangladeshi
Current (or last) university: Graduated MSc from Kyoto University, Japan. Got into Cambridge for MPhil MSAS 2021 cohort, but couldn't manage funding
Current (or last) course: MSc
College preferences: Was accepted into Queens'. I will probably go with Kings, Trinity or Newnham this year considering the funding opportunities
Other universities you’re applying to: Oxford, LSE, SOAS in the UK and a few more in the USA (east and west coast)

I am still not sure if I'll apply to Cambridge or UK this year. I plan to contact some professors and if they give me a strong positive vibe, I will probably go for it.
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variksenmarja
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#8
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#8
[QUOTE=_gcx;95493268]Prospective course: PhD in English
Achieved (or expected) grade: First
Nationality: Finnish
Current (or last) university: uni in home country, now onto a Scottish uni for my master's
Current (or last) course: English Philology
College preferences:
Other universities you’re applying to: Considering Oxford, UCL, Durham and some Scottish unis at the moment. Still wondering whether it might be smarter to get my MLitt results before applying./QUOTE]
Last edited by variksenmarja; 9 months ago
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hagi1
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#9
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#9
Hi guys,

I'm interested in applying for Phd in Engineering at Cambridge but I have a few quetisons which i hope someone could explain.

1. What is the application process like -Are there any interviews and entrance questions. Do you have to write a personal statement
2. I noticed that you need 2 references, do both have to be academic or can 1 be academic and the other one industrial
3. Where can you apply for scholarships or grants
4. Do people contact their supervisors before submitting an application and if so, how do you people do that under current circumstances.

Thanks,
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Sheekoo
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#10
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#10
(Original post by hagi1)
Hi guys,

I'm interested in applying for Phd in Engineering at Cambridge but I have a few quetisons which i hope someone could explain.

1. What is the application process like -Are there any interviews and entrance questions. Do you have to write a personal statement
2. I noticed that you need 2 references, do both have to be academic or can 1 be academic and the other one industrial
3. Where can you apply for scholarships or grants
4. Do people contact their supervisors before submitting an application and if so, how do you people do that under current circumstances.

Thanks,
1. Depends on the department. Some interview shortlisted candidates, some don't.
2. If you've been out of school for a long time, you can have one (or both) reference from your work place. But please go through the admission website, they have the requirements and specifications.
3. Cambridge trust gives out some fundings. You can also apply for external scholarships (gates, commonwealth etc)
4. Usually for PhD, yes. Email them maybe?
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hagi1
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#11
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#11
(Original post by Sheekoo)
1. Depends on the department. Some interview shortlisted candidates, some don't.
2. If you've been out of school for a long time, you can have one (or both) reference from your work place. But please go through the admission website, they have the requirements and specifications.
3. Cambridge trust gives out some fundings. You can also apply for external scholarships (gates, commonwealth etc)
4. Usually for PhD, yes. Email them maybe?
Ah thanks for this!!! Thats really helpful. Do you know where you can find a list of potential supervisors ans their research interests at all? I cant seem to find any from thier websites
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threeportdrift
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#12
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#12
(Original post by hagi1)
Ah thanks for this!!! Thats really helpful. Do you know where you can find a list of potential supervisors ans their research interests at all? I cant seem to find any from thier websites
All academics in the department are potential supervisors, anyone who is a lecturer, senior lecturer, Reader or Professor. They will come back and tell you if they aren’t taking people on next year.
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hagi1
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#13
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#13
(Original post by threeportdrift)
All academics in the department are potential supervisors, anyone who is a lecturer, senior lecturer, Reader or Professor. They will come back and tell you if they aren’t taking people on next year.
Ah thank you, can you send me a link to a list of the professors, i cant seem to find any
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threeportdrift
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#14
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#14
(Original post by hagi1)
Ah thank you, can you send me a link to a list of the professors, i cant seem to find any
Seriously?
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arbitrary_name
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#15
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#15
I have a 40 on my transcript, but still average 74% from Imperial (Mathematics). How will this 40 affect my application?

Will I automatically be dismissed because of it, or will it be overlooked since it is only 1 module out of 20?

Thanks
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hagi1
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#16
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#16
(Original post by threeportdrift)
Seriously?
Yeah, i think im missing something obvious but when i go to their engineering division i canr seem to find the list of lectuerers for that particular area. Its probably something obvious but i cant find it
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Wired_1800
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#17
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#17
(Original post by arbitrary_name)
I have a 40 on my transcript, but still average 74% from Imperial (Mathematics). How will this 40 affect my application?

Will I automatically be dismissed because of it, or will it be overlooked since it is only 1 module out of 20?

Thanks
If you graduate with a First from Imperial, I don't think Cambridge would really care about a poor grade unless it is specific to your postgrad course.
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arbitrary_name
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#18
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#18
(Original post by Wired_1800)
If you graduate with a First from Imperial, I don't think Cambridge would really care about a poor grade unless it is specific to your postgrad course.
Okay, thank you. Should I just ignore it in my document to support application, or should I comment on it?
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rm2222
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#19
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#19
(Original post by arbitrary_name)
Okay, thank you. Should I just ignore it in my document to support application, or should I comment on it?
I am a student at a Russell Group uni (not as famous as Imperial) studying mathematics and applying to the MASt in pure mathematics and my average is a high first (round to 80) but I also got 40ish in one module in my first year in stats (that I don't care about because I don't like stats and won't be studying stats in Cam if I got a place there) so I think if the case is similar, that you don't wanna study something related to that module in Cambridge, they won't really care. Even if it is something you wanna study, the fact that your average is still a first means that it more of a mistake than anything (i mean nothing for them to judge you )

I have chatted about this with my university lecturer who is an Oxford graduate and also interviews students for entry into our PhD program etc, and he said that you should never try to explain your mistakes, especially if it is a minor one. They do not have much time to read into one application and they would hopefully not even care about that 40 unless you specifically mention it to them.
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Min000
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#20
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#20
Prospective course: MPhil in Sociology
Achieved (or expected) grade: 3.70/4.0 GPA in both Bachelor's, Merit in Master's
Nationality: Indonesian
Current (or last) university: Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia (Bachelor of Economics), École supérieure de commerce et management, France (Bachelor of Arts), London School of Economics, UK (MSc Media and Communications)
Current (or last) course: MSc Media and Communications at LSE
College preferences: Unknown
Other universities you’re applying to: Unknown yet

Anyone know my chances at Cambridge if I graduated with only Merit for my Master's at LSE? I did gain an 80% in one of the relevant courses. Overall score of my transcript is 68. Thanks!
Last edited by Min000; 9 months ago
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