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Applying to Southampton for Masters with an Art background but not wanting to do Art

I’m a mature student, I got a degree in 2010, high 2:1 from a prestigious art institution (average percentage for end of year assessment was 74, but they used the 85 mark for a first due to the large amount of firsts the previous year).

My degree involved a lot of essay writing and was not applied, it was very theoretical. However, over time I’ve moved away from “art” and into other fields. I’m interested in business, ethics, sustainability, and use these in my employment and also self employment. I’d like to apply for a masters which suits what I am interested in now, and what I have worked with. However, I notice quite a few master’s programmes at Southampton specifically state you can’t apply for them if you have done “art” in your former education. I think that’s fair enough, but I wondered whether on the masters programmes which don’t specifically warn me off, do I still have a chance of getting on them? Or will my choice of subject at undergrad put Southampton off?
Reply 1
Original post by ImaginaryIcon
I’m a mature student, I got a degree in 2010, high 2:1 from a prestigious art institution (average percentage for end of year assessment was 74, but they used the 85 mark for a first due to the large amount of firsts the previous year).

My degree involved a lot of essay writing and was not applied, it was very theoretical. However, over time I’ve moved away from “art” and into other fields. I’m interested in business, ethics, sustainability, and use these in my employment and also self employment. I’d like to apply for a masters which suits what I am interested in now, and what I have worked with. However, I notice quite a few master’s programmes at Southampton specifically state you can’t apply for them if you have done “art” in your former education. I think that’s fair enough, but I wondered whether on the masters programmes which don’t specifically warn me off, do I still have a chance of getting on them? Or will my choice of subject at undergrad put Southampton off?

Could you post a link to the course(s) which specify that they don't accept art? It sounds unusual for the areas you might consider.
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The Masters requirements are usually pretty clear, so if there is no subject requirement you should be fine, (as above might be useful to link to the course page).

To be honest I'd be more concerned about the age of the undergrad quaification. Unless they state specifically that this is not an issue, then I would contact the uni directly to check before applying.
Reply 4
@Admit-One
In my social circle having a gap of 15 years in your education isn’t unusual, but most people I know studied art at postgraduate level, rather than other subjects. I’m aware being a mature student is unusual outside of the arts, is it so severe that someone would have to do a second undergraduate degree? Or can professional experience make up for it? I have bags and bags of professional experience!
Original post by ImaginaryIcon
@Admit-One
In my social circle having a gap of 15 years in your education isn’t unusual, but most people I know studied art at postgraduate level, rather than other subjects. I’m aware being a mature student is unusual outside of the arts, is it so severe that someone would have to do a second undergraduate degree? Or can professional experience make up for it? I have bags and bags of professional experience!

Not severe enough that you'd need to do a second UG degree, but depending on the objectives of the course, a gap of 5+ or 10+ years might prompt them to contact you to check your goals or recommend other routes.

I work in postgrad admissions, but Art is not my speciality so I can only talk about general requirements.

I think for you as a mature student with an unrelated academic background, reaching out to the admissions team or academic department would be a must. Mature students tend to be more case-by-case, so it is difficult to advise even if you found someone on the same course.

@PQ is very good with art programmes but not sure whether postgrad applications might be out of their remit.
Original post by ImaginaryIcon
I’m a mature student, I got a degree in 2010, high 2:1 from a prestigious art institution (average percentage for end of year assessment was 74, but they used the 85 mark for a first due to the large amount of firsts the previous year).

My degree involved a lot of essay writing and was not applied, it was very theoretical. However, over time I’ve moved away from “art” and into other fields. I’m interested in business, ethics, sustainability, and use these in my employment and also self employment. I’d like to apply for a masters which suits what I am interested in now, and what I have worked with. However, I notice quite a few master’s programmes at Southampton specifically state you can’t apply for them if you have done “art” in your former education. I think that’s fair enough, but I wondered whether on the masters programmes which don’t specifically warn me off, do I still have a chance of getting on them? Or will my choice of subject at undergrad put Southampton off?

Precisely which masters is it that you're looking at applying for at Southampton.

Generally they're not particularly selective at postgraduate level for most courses. I doubt they'd be particularly concerned.
Reply 7
Original post by PQ
Precisely which masters is it that you're looking at applying for at Southampton.

Generally they're not particularly selective at postgraduate level for most courses. I doubt they'd be particularly concerned.

Either:
https://www.southampton.ac.uk/courses/global-business-ethics-philosophy-of-management-masters-ma

or:

https://www.southampton.ac.uk/courses/environmental-consultancy-masters-msc

Thank you for your honestly written comment, it helps when people are truthful! I am aware of the drop off in selectivity when it gets to postgrad level, I’ve seen it on the entry criteria for other programmes elsewhere. It takes a long time to get to a position of being able to afford to do a masters, when you have so many other responsibilities. Financially it would have made more sense to do a PhD, and technically I probably could. But I felt like I’d be doing myself a disservice not to do a masters first.
Original post by ImaginaryIcon
Either:
https://www.southampton.ac.uk/courses/global-business-ethics-philosophy-of-management-masters-ma

or:

https://www.southampton.ac.uk/courses/environmental-consultancy-masters-msc

Thank you for your honestly written comment, it helps when people are truthful! I am aware of the drop off in selectivity when it gets to postgrad level, I’ve seen it on the entry criteria for other programmes elsewhere. It takes a long time to get to a position of being able to afford to do a masters, when you have so many other responsibilities. Financially it would have made more sense to do a PhD, and technically I probably could. But I felt like I’d be doing myself a disservice not to do a masters first.

Do either of those specifically rule out "Art" at undergraduate level?
Reply 9
Original post by ageshallnot
Do either of those specifically rule out "Art" at undergraduate level?

No, they don’t. Other programmes similar to them did, so I took them off my list to consider applying to. I wondered if it was an institutional bias away from an arts educational background. It wasn’t long ago that art was not a degree subject, and art schools operated separately from academia. That changed before I studied, and the programmes became far more academic and essay focused, to comply with the standards. It’s an improvement, in my view. The past was limiting.
Reply 10
These look like very different masters degrees someone might study for very different purposes. Is your aim to do a masters degree for personal challenge / fulfilment or career reasons?
Original post by ajj2000
These look like very different masters degrees someone might study for very different purposes. Is your aim to do a masters degree for personal challenge / fulfilment or career reasons?

For a personal challenge which relates to my career history (both do) and potentially for a shift in career to a different position. Without a masters there is less chance for progression, and being taken seriously.

I don’t have a specific job I want to do afterwards and have an open mind about where study might lead.
Original post by ImaginaryIcon
Either:
https://www.southampton.ac.uk/courses/global-business-ethics-philosophy-of-management-masters-ma

or:

https://www.southampton.ac.uk/courses/environmental-consultancy-masters-msc

Thank you for your honestly written comment, it helps when people are truthful! I am aware of the drop off in selectivity when it gets to postgrad level, I’ve seen it on the entry criteria for other programmes elsewhere. It takes a long time to get to a position of being able to afford to do a masters, when you have so many other responsibilities. Financially it would have made more sense to do a PhD, and technically I probably could. But I felt like I’d be doing myself a disservice not to do a masters first.


It'd be worth contacting the course leaders for both courses directly (https://www.southampton.ac.uk/people/5x87s7/professor-jonathan-way and https://www.southampton.ac.uk/people/5xhjqh/doctor-andrew-phillips ) to ask them if your academic and professional background seem like a good fit for their masters degrees. They're in different departments (Philosophy v Geog/ES) so they may well be looking for very different things- and as mentioned above the courses are pretty different too!
Original post by ImaginaryIcon
No, they don’t. Other programmes similar to them did, so I took them off my list to consider applying to. I wondered if it was an institutional bias away from an arts educational background. It wasn’t long ago that art was not a degree subject, and art schools operated separately from academia. That changed before I studied, and the programmes became far more academic and essay focused, to comply with the standards. It’s an improvement, in my view. The past was limiting.

If it's of any encouragement I know someone who did a drama degree at undergraduate, then a few years later a postgraduate in International Relations at a good university.
Original post by ageshallnot
If it's of any encouragement I know someone who did a drama degree at undergraduate, then a few years later a postgraduate in International Relations at a good university.


That is fabulous, and is the kind of career turnaround I am looking to replicate. Someone I studied with went on to do a business MSc at LSE, someone else did Human Rights at UCL. I’m inspired by my friends who made these changes in trajectory.
Reply 15
I agree with the posts above. I’ve also known people who would seem not to meet entry requirements get acceptances for masters degree after discussion with admissions officers.
Original post by ImaginaryIcon
That is fabulous, and is the kind of career turnaround I am looking to replicate. Someone I studied with went on to do a business MSc at LSE, someone else did Human Rights at UCL. I’m inspired by my friends who made these changes in trajectory.


He achieved a distinction in his master's and now works at the Foreign Office.
S
Original post by ageshallnot
He achieved a distinction in his master's and now works at the Foreign Office.

That’s great to know. I think this is the benefit of PGT, it doesn’t need to lead to academia. Personally, I wouldn’t want to just work in a university, I need to interact with the wider world, probably like your friend. As it happens, I’m mostly working in a university now, and going back to university to study would enable me to prove to the outside world that I have aptitude.
Original post by ImaginaryIcon
I’m a mature student, I got a degree in 2010, high 2:1 from a prestigious art institution (average percentage for end of year assessment was 74, but they used the 85 mark for a first due to the large amount of firsts the previous year).

My degree involved a lot of essay writing and was not applied, it was very theoretical. However, over time I’ve moved away from “art” and into other fields. I’m interested in business, ethics, sustainability, and use these in my employment and also self employment. I’d like to apply for a masters which suits what I am interested in now, and what I have worked with. However, I notice quite a few master’s programmes at Southampton specifically state you can’t apply for them if you have done “art” in your former education. I think that’s fair enough, but I wondered whether on the masters programmes which don’t specifically warn me off, do I still have a chance of getting on them? Or will my choice of subject at undergrad put Southampton off?

Hey!
It's fantastic to hear about your interest in pursuing a master's degree at Southampton, especially considering your diverse background in art and your current focus on business, ethics, and sustainability.

Firstly, each master's program may have its own specific entry requirements and criteria. While some programs explicitly mention restrictions on applicants with an art background, others may not have such limitations. This is a positive sign, as it indicates a potential openness to applicants from diverse academic backgrounds.

Your high 2:1 degree from a prestigious art institution certainly demonstrates your academic capabilities, and your professional experience in business, ethics, and sustainability adds valuable real-world context to your application. Many universities, including Southampton, often consider both academic achievements and professional experience when evaluating applications.

I would recommend thoroughly reviewing the entry requirements and any specific guidelines for the master's programs you are interested in. If a program does not explicitly discourage applicants with an art background, it's likely that they welcome a range of academic experiences.

Additionally, consider reaching out to the admissions office or program coordinator for the specific master's programs you're interested in. They can provide more personalized guidance and clarify any concerns you might have about your academic background. Explain your situation, emphasizing how your current interests align with the program and how your unique background could contribute to the academic community.

Remember that universities value diversity and appreciate applicants with varied perspectives and experiences. Your journey from art to business, ethics, and sustainability can be seen as a strength, showcasing your adaptability and interdisciplinary approach.

Best of luck with your application! If you have any more questions or need further assistance, feel free to ask.

Best Wishes
Priya :smile:
Student Ambassador
University of Southampton

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