Is it possible to get PhD funding in the humanities with a 2:1 BA these days?

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Caiupingcalm
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I’m a finalist at Oxford and about to go on to do an MPhil at Cambridge. I’m seriously invested in the possibility of having a career in academia, but I’m not totally confident about getting a first in my current BA. I’m better at writing dissertations than exam essays and my dissertation results are generally good, which gives me hope that I’ll get a distinction in the upcoming MPhil. The MPhil will also allow me to work in a different field from that of my BA, which I’m no longer interested in, although both degrees are humanities subjects. However, the pressure of getting a first in my current BA is killing me with finals coming up in week. I just wonder if it’s super rare to secure PhD funding in the humanities in the UK these days with a mere 2:1 BA? Does not having a first potentially ruin any prospect of having a career in academia for me? And advice welcome. Many thanks.
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cferrari93
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Hi! Getting a 2:1 in your BA won't stop you from securing funding for a PhD, in fact many adverts for funded scholarships don't mention a BA grade requirement at all. There may be instances where it could affect applications, for example, if the decision was between you and someone with the same credentials but a higher undergraduate grade.

However, many PhD funding avenues are much more interested in the following:

- Your capacity to create original research which will bring value to the university/funding body
- Their department's interest and ability to supervise this research
- What experience you have in the field you're applying to
- Whether you fit the criteria for a specific funded project
- How you represent yourself and your work at interview

Obviously, if you want to stay at an Oxbridge university, the chance of competing against people who have that undergraduate grade edge is higher. But to get the most out of PhD research, it's much more important that you are working at a university that supports your specific field. Also, most universities are aware that many students graduate from their BAs at 21 - it would be ridiculous to judge people by something they did at 21 for the rest of their lives.

And finally, a 2:1 isn't "mere" or anything to be ashamed of. I have many friends who achieved a 2:1 and went on to do fantastic research.

I hope this helps ease your mind a little. If you want to see evidence that a BA grade isn't all that important for PhD funding, take a look at sites like FindaPhD. And good luck!
Last edited by cferrari93; 1 month ago
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Caiupingcalm
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(Original post by cferrari93)
Hi! Getting a 2:1 in your BA won't stop you from securing funding for a PhD, in fact many adverts for funded scholarships don't mention a BA grade requirement at all. There may be instances where it could affect applications, for example, if the decision was between you and someone with the same credentials but a higher undergraduate grade.

However, many PhD funding avenues are much more interested in the following:

- Your capacity to create original research which will bring value to the university/funding body
- Their department's interest and ability to supervise this research
- What experience you have in the field you're applying to
- Whether you fit the criteria for a specific funded project
- How you represent yourself and your work at interview

Obviously, if you want to stay at an Oxbridge university, the chance of competing against people who have that undergraduate grade edge is higher. But to get the most out of PhD research, it's much more important that you are working at a university that supports your specific field. Also, most universities are aware that many students graduate from their BAs at 21 - it would be ridiculous to judge people by something they did at 21 for the rest of their lives.

And finally, a 2:1 isn't "mere" or anything to be ashamed of. I have many friends who achieved a 2:1 and went on to do fantastic research.

I hope this helps ease your mind a little. If you want to see evidence that a BA grade isn't all that important for PhD funding, take a look at sites like FindaPhD. And good luck!
Thanks so much. Really needed to hear this x
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