The Student Room Group
University of Oxford, Pawel-Sytniewski
University of Oxford
Oxford

Postgrad Oxford Scholarship odds

Hi all!

I'm at the end of my undergrad degree at a UK university, looking ahead to funding possibilities for postgraduate degrees in 24/25 (using next academic year to raise £ in order to support postgrad study).

I see that 49% of Oxford postgrads apparently get some kind of tuition scholarship, so I wanted to start this thread for some transparency re. the rough grade thresholds for securing these Scholarships from Oxford, based on what the Uni call 'academic merit.'

In short, if i make it in at all, the likelihood of my getting funding influences the decisions i make now (i.e. move in with family and hustle in hospitality all year VS rent cheaply in my current uni city, save less but enjoy more)

Are there (Oxford?) postgrads out there who can demystify the academic 'standards' around obtaining scholarships? The kind of info that would be really useful would be stuff like: 'X scholarship(s) claim to consider strong 2:1 degrees but in reality financial support for these students is rare'. Or, at the other end of things, if your degree mark is at 75 you can feel quietly confident', 'if nearer to 80 you're in a great place'.

Thanks!

P.s. I'm humanities (English lit) if that makes a diff, considering applying to either English MSt, or NSEG MSc.

Info from here: https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/graduate/fees-and-funding/oxford-funding
(edited 8 months ago)
Reply 1
Hey. I just finished my studies under a two-year MPhil at Oxford, fully funded under a joint faculty (Classics) and college scholarship.

I have no idea about statistics for your target faculty (English, presumably) and the sitch is likely to vary a lot from faculty to faculty.

In terms of what you do now, there's no harm in saving up and frankly, you can't rely on getting funding, so I would say earn money if you can at all (you might only get partial funding, as well).

My advice would be as follows:-

- Are you aiming for/have you got a first at undergrad? I think for most master's degrees Oxford wants a first or at least a "strong upper second". Obviously a first is better.

- This is unlikely to be a strict numbers game, e.g. 'we don't consider anyone whose average marks was under 75' etc. As you can imagine, the assessors will look at your application in the round. So, while good grades are obviously important, I am not sure it's helpful to try and work out how they are used. I doubt that any rigid and systematic sifting process exists beyond what the course webpages say about the required grades for whatever degree course you're looking at.

- If you want to get funding you need to ensure your application shines in every possible way. (1) Did you get any awards or commendations, e.g. dean's list? Mention them prominently. (2) Have prestigious referees (if possible!) (3) Have a sexy research proposal - something that screams 'you will want to fund this because it's relevant, original and timely'. (4) Mention any side skills, aptitudes or aspects of your background which make you particularly apt to undertake the research you propose.

- If you want to clarify how much funding is available at the faculty you would be applying to, then ask a relevant person, e.g. whoever is in charge of graduate admissions. Either by email or at an open day. "How many of your master's intake get fully or partly funded by the university or a college?" should do it. (You really should go to a graduate open day at the faculty if you get the chance. And don't be afraid to ask lots of questions about funding. In my experience many people in your position don't have a clue about funding and don't ask about it. Don't be one of those people)

- Don't despair. The good thing about Oxford PG funding (although generally speaking, there's less available for master's degrees than for doctoral degrees) is that, moreso than Cambridge, the university is prepared to mix and match funding from different funding pots in order to ensure people get the amount of funding it seem they deserve. And they can surprise you. I was told about 2 out of 40 people in the faculty master's intake got full funding from the university or a college. Did I think I deserved to be in that 5%? Hell no. I'm nobody's idea of a perfect student. And yet, it happened.

If you want I can ask English faculty peeps for more info. Hope that helps.
(edited 7 months ago)
University of Oxford, Pawel-Sytniewski
University of Oxford
Oxford
Reply 2
P.S. I have spoken to someone who's just finished an English MSt at Oxford and here's what she had to say:

"I did do very well in my 3rd year of undergrad, particularly in my diss, so I think marks and academic potential probably play a big part in getting funding, but in my scholarship applications I also talked about the fact that I was a state school student in one of the lowest funded educational areas of the country, and that I had worked solidly throughout my degree in order to fund a potential masters... so I think financial need is considered alongside academic potential

I do know some people who got higher marks than me at undergrad who didn't get funding, so I think it's quite complicated"

She also said that she thinks her college choice was important, because she chose a college (Lincoln) which has a lot of postgraduate humanities funding, and both her scholarships that she ended up getting came from the college. However, I disagree with her on this point, because I didn't apply to the college that ended up choosing me, but that college still ended up giving me funding. As I said above, Oxford will work to match the best candidates to possible sources of funding, and at graduate level, they don't care so much which college you wrote on the form; if they want you that badly, they will see if college-based funding is an option.

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