Chances of being accepted at Oxford / Cambridge and your experiences? History PhD

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FT1874
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Hi everyone,

I'd very much appreciate your opinions on my chances of getting into Oxford or Cambridge for the history PhD, and I would also appreciate hearing about your personal experiences with these two programmes.

My background: I'm from Scotland, have a first class honours undergraduate in history and German from the University of Glasgow.

Won a scholarship to attend university in Germany to complete an MA in history. I'm currently writing my dissertation and I'm sitting at grade 1,9 (equivalent to our 2:1). I've done the entire degree in the German language, only my dissertation is being written in English. A disadvantage, this degree was supposed to take 2-3 years and I'm finishing it 7 years after I started due to taking a long break (multiple reasons including family death). But I feel this will be looked upon negatively.
I was awarded a competitive place to take part in a summer school research week with the German historical institute.

I come from a working class background, first in the family to go to university so I would need funding as I can't afford it off of my own back. I also am married with a baby. My husband has a good job in a sector with lots of demand for his skills, and is fully supportive of a PhD. We are quite settled abroad so I'd really like to hear from others if I would even stand a good chance at gaining entry into the programme and to hear about the PhD in history at these two universities if anyone would care to share their experiences, before I apply, as potentially uprooting my family and moving countries is of course a big decision.

Thanks everyone

Edited to add: I'm 32 and would be applying to start in 2022 or 2023 when I'll be 33/34
Last edited by FT1874; 1 month ago
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by FT1874)
Hi everyone,

I'd very much appreciate your opinions on my chances of getting into Oxford or Cambridge for the history PhD, and I would also appreciate hearing about your personal experiences with these two programmes.

My background: I'm from Scotland, have a first class honours undergraduate in history and German from the University of Glasgow.

Won a scholarship to attend university in Germany to complete an MA in history. I'm currently writing my dissertation and I'm sitting at grade 1,9 (equivalent to our 2:1). I've done the entire degree in the German language, only my dissertation is being written in English. A disadvantage, this degree was supposed to take 2-3 years and I'm finishing it 7 years after I started due to taking a long break (multiple reasons including family death). But I feel this will be looked upon negatively.
I was awarded a competitive place to take part in a summer school research week with the German historical institute.

I come from a working class background, first in the family to go to university so I would need funding as I can't afford it off of my own back. I also am married with a baby. My husband has a good job in a sector with lots of demand for his skills, and is fully supportive of a PhD. We are quite settled abroad so I'd really like to hear from others if I would even stand a good chance at gaining entry into the programme and to hear about the PhD in history at these two universities if anyone would care to share their experiences, before I apply, as potentially uprooting my family and moving countries is of course a big decision.

Thanks everyone

Edited to add: I'm 32 and would be applying to start in 2022 or 2023 when I'll be 33/34
It will depend on the quality of your research proposal whether you get an offer or not, supported by academic references. Your grades and 7 years won't strengthen your application, but they don't sink getting an offer. Realistically though, the probably sink your chances of funding. However, you would have to apply to find out.

A working class background and first in the family are irrelevant at PG level. Any funding will be based only on you and won't consider family circumstances etc. Funding is very hard to come by, but histmphil96 might be able to give some Cam specific advice.
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histmphil96
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(Original post by FT1874)
Hi everyone,

I'd very much appreciate your opinions on my chances of getting into Oxford or Cambridge for the history PhD, and I would also appreciate hearing about your personal experiences with these two programmes.

My background: I'm from Scotland, have a first class honours undergraduate in history and German from the University of Glasgow.

Won a scholarship to attend university in Germany to complete an MA in history. I'm currently writing my dissertation and I'm sitting at grade 1,9 (equivalent to our 2:1). I've done the entire degree in the German language, only my dissertation is being written in English. A disadvantage, this degree was supposed to take 2-3 years and I'm finishing it 7 years after I started due to taking a long break (multiple reasons including family death). But I feel this will be looked upon negatively.
I was awarded a competitive place to take part in a summer school research week with the German historical institute.

I come from a working class background, first in the family to go to university so I would need funding as I can't afford it off of my own back. I also am married with a baby. My husband has a good job in a sector with lots of demand for his skills, and is fully supportive of a PhD. We are quite settled abroad so I'd really like to hear from others if I would even stand a good chance at gaining entry into the programme and to hear about the PhD in history at these two universities if anyone would care to share their experiences, before I apply, as potentially uprooting my family and moving countries is of course a big decision.

Thanks everyone

Edited to add: I'm 32 and would be applying to start in 2022 or 2023 when I'll be 33/34
If your research proposal is strong and you have an interested potential supervisor, you’re likely to get in.

To be brutally honest, the chances of getting funding without a first class degree or a previous Cambridge degree is pretty low. It’s just so competitive; a very small percentage of PhD students are funded. But really the only way to find out is to apply.
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FT1874
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
It will depend on the quality of your research proposal whether you get an offer or not, supported by academic references. Your grades and 7 years won't strengthen your application, but they don't sink getting an offer. Realistically though, the probably sink your chances of funding. However, you would have to apply to find out.

A working class background and first in the family are irrelevant at PG level. Any funding will be based only on you and won't consider family circumstances etc. Funding is very hard to come by, but histmphil96 might be able to give some Cam specific advice.
Thanks very much for your response. I feel my research area is interesting enough but it is definitely the funding aspect that seems to be the biggest hurdle for me
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FT1874
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(Original post by histmphil96)
If your research proposal is strong and you have an interested potential supervisor, you’re likely to get in.

To be brutally honest, the chances of getting funding without a first class degree or a previous Cambridge degree is pretty low. It’s just so competitive; a very small percentage of PhD students are funded. But really the only way to find out is to apply.
Thanks very much for your response. I do feel my research area is an interesting one and there's a professor at Oxford who specialises in this so I will make contact when I have a more solid foundation.

Can I please ask, do you mean I also need a 1st class at master level? As I have a 1st class honours at undergraduate level.
My 2:1 at the moment is referring to my master.
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histmphil96
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(Original post by FT1874)
Thanks very much for your response. I do feel my research area is an interesting one and there's a professor at Oxford who specialises in this so I will make contact when I have a more solid foundation.

Can I please ask, do you mean I also need a 1st class at master level? As I have a 1st class honours at undergraduate level.
My 2:1 at the moment is referring to my master.
First class in both.

Make contact early (end of September into October). There’s only so much they can do for funding, but it’s best to get them very interested.
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