congratulations for your offers! I also just have received notice about being accepted for the MPhil in IR at Oxford. I received the offer letter on Tuesday. I was very surprised as I did not expect to get in at all.
I did not apply for Cambridge but got accepted for the MSc in IR at the LSE. Three more friends from my year (I'm currently studying IR at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth) also secured a place for the LSE.
It will be quite a difficult choice to make. At the moment my criteria are as follows:
Reasons why to go to the LSE:
- first-class department, professors such as Chris Brown, David Held or Fred Halliday are among the top academics in the field, especially if you are interested in IR theory as I am. There are very very few IR theorists on the Oxford IR staff list that I came across during my undergraduate degree. I think would be difficult to deny that for IR the LSE has a better reputation than Oxford.
- London would be a very very exciting cosmopolitan big city to live in, especially after having spent three years in mid-West Wales as I did.
- you get the MSc after one year of studying
- being exposed to big city life could arguably be better for the sake of personal development rather than spending two years in a cosy and closely-knit college atmosphere
Reasons why to go to Oxford:
- The university as a whole definetely seems to enjoy a slightly better reputation than the LSE.
- Oxford as a university town, definetely has its attractions as well, and I may prefer the idea of living in a college rather than having to take the tube everyday in order to get to my classes (even at the cost of "personal development").
- a two-year MPhil must give you a much better grounding in the subject, a 30,000 word dissertation should be much more interesting and engaging than a 10,000 word dissertation at the LSE (besides, on a less important side: Does MPhil not sound much sexier than MSc
- the costs: instead of paying 12,000 pounds for one year at the LSE, you'll get two more years of student life for "mere" 10,000 pounds in Oxford (but of course you have to pay living expenses for an extra year)
- Is there a closer community among the IR MPhil students due to the smaller intake of students (25-30 in Oxford compared with 90-100 at the LSE, plus students of other masters courses)??
I would appreciate if people could add some points to these considerations. In particular I would be interested where you would find more interesting, fascinating and committed students, in Oxford or at the LSE? Or is there no difference? And my parents also asked me about job prospects? Are they higher for Oxford or for LSE graduates? Or no difference?
I put down St Anthony's as my first college choice. I had no idea whatsoever about the strenghts/weaknesses of particular colleges and just chose it because I somewhere read that it's a popular choice for IR students. Could anyone give me more precise information about that college? However, entry seems to be super competitive so I guess I'll be sent somewhere else. But I'm quite open about it and don't care whether it's small or big, old or new etc. It should take between 6-8 weeks before we are informed by the college who accepted us.
I wish you all the best for your other applications, I'm still waiting to hear from Columbia. All the best for any impending decisions. And perhaps, we will all see each other in October in Oxford...
(Original post by ClaireLeigh)
I have just been accepted onto the MPhil in IR at Oxford too, so just thought i'd say hi. I heard on Monday, and am totally thrilled, although, like you, am waiting to hear from a shambolically organised Cambridge, which as my Alma Mater will have a strong pull if i get an offer from there too.
What criteria are you going to use to choose between them if you get onto both courses? For me, the course at Oxford seems to suit my situation slightly better, as i am a History Major, and the Oxford course provides a good 2-year grounding in the subject which i reckon will prove useful. I also fancy trying out a new city for my graduate study.
That said, Cambridge has loads going for it. I know both cities quite well, as my twin studied at Oxford, and it is true that both universities are very different- Cambridge is smaller, more student-dominated, arguably more beautiful, and with second-to-none facilities and teaching. It also seems to attract the kind of student who is fervently dedicated to academia. Oxford on the other hand is larger, has a better non-college based night life, is arguably better known internationally, and tends to attract slightly more 'glamourous' students- the kind who will be packing out parliament and the london party-scene in the future.
The other big difference is prices. Whereas i found Cambridge very very cheap to live in as a student (College rooms are subsidised, your social life will be your college..), my sister found Oxford very expensive, with rooms comparable in price to renting in London (well known to be the most expensive real estate in the western world) and with much of your socialising being city-based. So if money is going to be tight, Cambridge might be the way forward, especially as they give you an MPhil after just one year (although, if like me you intend to do a phd they end up both being 4 years).
Hope that helps your decision making. Do you know when we hear about our college allocation? I put Magdalen as my first choice, but suspect that half the applicants may have done the same, so i am expecting to be 'bumped' to another college.