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Birbeck vs SOAS History Masters

Hello everyone, I hope you all are doing well.

I got into SOAS for a MA in history and I got an interview at Birbeck for and MA in Global history.

I was wondering which one do y'all think is better?

Any tips or comments would be appreciated.

Best,
Shanin
Probably really depends on which periods and topics in history you're interested in! I imagine for any Asian/Middle Eastern/African history topics SOAS may well have more expertise. I believe Birkbeck has expertise in European medieval and early modern history, as well as ancient history, however? So I'd say look at the options available through each, and also look at the research each department is involved in and the research interests of academics there - these usually very strongly guide the "flavour" of the masters level courses.
Reply 2
Original post by artful_lounger
Probably really depends on which periods and topics in history you're interested in! I imagine for any Asian/Middle Eastern/African history topics SOAS may well have more expertise. I believe Birkbeck has expertise in European medieval and early modern history, as well as ancient history, however? So I'd say look at the options available through each, and also look at the research each department is involved in and the research interests of academics there - these usually very strongly guide the "flavour" of the masters level courses.

Thank you alot for your input, I will look into this right away!

Is SOAS ranked higher the Birbeck?

Cause on it's website it says that SOAS is ranked 11th in the UK for history and 35th in the world. Is that true?
Original post by Shanin235
Thank you alot for your input, I will look into this right away!

Is SOAS ranked higher the Birbeck?

Cause on it's website it says that SOAS is ranked 11th in the UK for history and 35th in the world. Is that true?

Maybe, but also rankings change every year and aren't really that relevant for most purposes...

If you want to go into the working world, then UK employers don't care about rankings. The only employers who might care about such things are investment banks and management consulting roles, which instead have their own lists of target unis (notably I think some do consider a SOAS masters as target/semi target, but that might only apply to the business school courses). For anything else, it doesn't matter .If you would be planning to work internationally then rankings or generic prestige/"brand name" may be more relevant - in which case SOAS is probably better known outside of the UK in general.

For academia, to go onto a PhD, it really depends which is strongest for your specific niche field. There could be the best researcher in the world in a particular area at one or the other, and if that is what you want to work on, then you should aim to go to the uni they are at and try and have them supervise your thesis/dissertation!

Something else to consider is SOAS offers a lot of unique language options, including at the postgrad level, so if your proposed research or professional field would benefit from/requires an Asian/African/Middle Eastern language it's definitely worth considering SOAS for that. However do be aware a lot of the more "niche" languages have been scaled back a lot at SOAS to only one or two levels (although if you're doing a 1 or 2 year masters course this probably won't affect you, compared to a 3 year undergraduate course).
(edited 1 year ago)
Hello, what is your decision finally? I am now in the same situation as you! I have got the MA History offer from SOAS and an invitation to interview at Birkbeck for MA Early Modern History.
Original post by artful_lounger
Maybe, but also rankings change every year and aren't really that relevant for most purposes...

If you want to go into the working world, then UK employers don't care about rankings. The only employers who might care about such things are investment banks and management consulting roles, which instead have their own lists of target unis (notably I think some do consider a SOAS masters as target/semi target, but that might only apply to the business school courses). For anything else, it doesn't matter .If you would be planning to work internationally then rankings or generic prestige/"brand name" may be more relevant - in which case SOAS is probably better known outside of the UK in general.

For academia, to go onto a PhD, it really depends which is strongest for your specific niche field. There could be the best researcher in the world in a particular area at one or the other, and if that is what you want to work on, then you should aim to go to the uni they are at and try and have them supervise your thesis/dissertation!

Something else to consider is SOAS offers a lot of unique language options, including at the postgrad level, so if your proposed research or professional field would benefit from/requires an Asian/African/Middle Eastern language it's definitely worth considering SOAS for that. However do be aware a lot of the more "niche" languages have been scaled back a lot at SOAS to only one or two levels (although if you're doing a 1 or 2 year masters course this probably won't affect you, compared to a 3 year undergraduate course).

The MA History programme of SOAS focuses on histories outside Europe, while the History programmes of Birkbeck focus more on Europe. If I will stay in the UK and work here, will an MA with focus on European history be more useful?
Original post by usagikuma
The MA History programme of SOAS focuses on histories outside Europe, while the History programmes of Birkbeck focus more on Europe. If I will stay in the UK and work here, will an MA with focus on European history be more useful?

Why would a European history masters be more useful than a global history masters? Neither is sufficient to get an academic job (you need a PhD) and either field would be fine for looking for a job in after getting a PhD. Anything else in business, finance, banking etc won't care what you studied.

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