Is it possible to do a masters course in English with a science bachelors?

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Anonymous #1
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I spent 3 years of my life studying physics and I am extremely sick of it. I’m currently on an MSc at UCL, I put a lot of effort into getting into it, UCL is also a Uni that I never even dreamt of getting into as a kid. Objectively speaking, it’s a good degree but I despise it because it’s physics related.

Just looking for some opinions, is it worth dropping out, losing my place on a good course at a good Uni with potentially bright career prospects, to apply to UCL’s comparative literature MA next year on the off chance that I MIGHT get a place. Like I said, my bachelors was in physics and I have basically 0 English-related work experience, outside of a very short term teaching position. I’m not sure how competitive this course will be.
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I spent 3 years of my life studying physics and I am extremely sick of it. I’m currently on an MSc at UCL, I put a lot of effort into getting into it, UCL is also a Uni that I never even dreamt of getting into as a kid. Objectively speaking, it’s a good degree but I despise it because it’s physics related.

Just looking for some opinions, is it worth dropping out, losing my place on a good course at a good Uni with potentially bright career prospects, to apply to UCL’s comparative literature MA next year on the off chance that I MIGHT get a place. Like I said, my bachelors was in physics and I have basically 0 English-related work experience, outside of a very short term teaching position. I’m not sure how competitive this course will be.
No real chance at all. If you had loads of extra-curricular and were active on the English scene etc there would be some slim chance, but it’s not worth giving up your current Masters for.

UCL is a selecting Uni and has enough applicants for all courses.

If you want a career that uses English rather than physics, then work out what that career is first, and then the route to get there. Chances are it’s more vocational and extra-curricular than qualification based.
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Iona23
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I disagree with that advice. I did an English Literature degree, but if you read a lot, as much as you possibly can, and read along with, say, third year undergraduate modules (the literary theory as well as the core texts), then you should have a strong personal statement where you can outline your academic interests. You could maybe ask for 10 mins with an English Lit lecturer at UCL to chat things through?You will probably also have a unique perspective on some of the texts, particularly when it comes to representations of time/environment, etc.Why not give it a shot and apply? I applied for the MA in English Literature at UCL after the deadline, and received an offer for the Comparative Literature course instead as it wasn't full, so I would not say from my experience that it is competitive. (Note - this was 7 years ago!)
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by Iona23)
I disagree with that advice. I did an English Literature degree, but if you read a lot, as much as you possibly can, and read along with, say, third year undergraduate modules (the literary theory as well as the core texts), then you should have a strong personal statement where you can outline your academic interests. You could maybe ask for 10 mins with an English Lit lecturer at UCL to chat things through?You will probably also have a unique perspective on some of the texts, particularly when it comes to representations of time/environment, etc.Why not give it a shot and apply? I applied for the MA in English Literature at UCL after the deadline, and received an offer for the Comparative Literature course instead as it wasn't full, so I would not say from my experience that it is competitive. (Note - this was 7 years ago!)
The problem is that physics degrees (and most STEM degrees) both have limited optional module credits available in the first place, and due to accreditation requirements also usually limit the number of modules you take outside of your subject field (usually at most one or two can be taken in other subject areas if they aren't specifically related to the degree programme).Also they stated they have no English related background at all. I think without OP having done any literary analysis at degree level it would be very hard to make a case for applying to lit masters.

(Original post by Anonymous)
I spent 3 years of my life studying physics and I am extremely sick of it. I’m currently on an MSc at UCL, I put a lot of effort into getting into it, UCL is also a Uni that I never even dreamt of getting into as a kid. Objectively speaking, it’s a good degree but I despise it because it’s physics related.

Just looking for some opinions, is it worth dropping out, losing my place on a good course at a good Uni with potentially bright career prospects, to apply to UCL’s comparative literature MA next year on the off chance that I MIGHT get a place. Like I said, my bachelors was in physics and I have basically 0 English-related work experience, outside of a very short term teaching position. I’m not sure how competitive this course will be.
Honestly the problem is not work experience, it's academic experience - you haven't done any literary analysis at degree level as noted above. A masters degree in comparative literature is an academic degree, not a vocational one. So work experience may well not ameliorate a lack of background in the field.

See the indicative requirements published on their webpage: "The programme is particularly suitable for students with a first degree in a language and literature subject, or in a related subject such as English, History, Cultural Studies or Media studies. A sophisticated understanding of cultural diversity is essential. A reading knowledge of at least one language other than English is normally expected, but not obligatory."

A physics degree does not really meet any of those requirements, as it does not provide a sophisticated (academic) understanding of cultural diversity, include any literary analysis, nor develop reading knowledge of a language other than English. As above, you have pretty close to zero chance of getting in if you have no English related background at all. Which would be expected, I think - they don't just let anyone in to those degrees and contrary to popular opinion regarding literary analysis it's not just making things up and does require specific academic training to be able to do it at a high level.
Last edited by artful_lounger; 1 week ago
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Iona23
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
The problem is that physics degrees (and most STEM degrees) both have limited optional module credits available in the first place, and due to accreditation requirements also usually limit the number of modules you take outside of your subject field (usually at most one or two can be taken in other subject areas if they aren't specifically related to the degree programme).Also they stated they have no English related background at all. I think without OP having done any literary analysis at degree level it would be very hard to make a case for applying to lit masters.
I wasn't suggesting taking optional English modules, I mean to just find the reading list for undergraduate level 3 English modules and read along, just themselves working through the weekly reading. While it's hard to do literary analysis to a high level, it's not neurosurgery. I think that someone with a genuine passion and interest in the subject, who may also have a different way of thinking compared to many Lit grads, would be a really interesting addition to an MA cohort.

I'd say, prepare, read, and do self-guided study as much as you can and give it a shot.

Keats was a medical student and a poet, no need to box ourselves in too tightly.
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