Applying to a PhD. in a highly reputable university with a degree from a not-so reputable university?


======= Date Modified 14 12 2010 22:12:28 =======
Hi all,

Might sound a bit daft but I'm hoping maybe someone could give an idea. I am about to finish an MA degree in a not quite a reputable university in the league tables and RAE's. I am still writing my dissertation and I believe I will have a distinction with probably 73/100 and I have an IELTS score of 8.00/9. I am hoping to apply for a PhD in Cambridge, Oxford and SOAS London. Is it likely to be accepted to these universities with such qualifications?

Many thanks.


You should apply and see! :p

Good Luck!


Hi Leaf,
I think you should give it a go. You will regret it if you don't try, and what have you got to lose?
I'm considering doing the same thing in about a years time. I think they ARE open to applications from graduates from other universities, but I think you have to prove that you've got a broader knowledge of your subject beyond what you've studied in your dissertation/modules etc. You would probably have to have an absolutely wicked proposal, so I would suggest you get some advice from the uni's you are applying to, and possibly from teachers you already know from your uni (if there are any that you get on really well with).
Do you have your eye on any supervisors in particular? Or is it more a case of you just want to study your subject further at a reputable university? (For me, it's a bit of both). :-)


Thanks a lot Cobweb and TheAce.

Cobweb, it's a bit of both for me as well. Mine is a Middle Eastern Studies related subject and the research centres and sources are the best in the UK as well as the the professors I'm hoping to supervise my project. I have already met some of them in conferences. And I can't say I don't really mind the reputation. :)
I will apply for some other universities too but I just wanted to see if it sounded ridiculously improbable. Thanks for the encouraging comments. Good luck to you as well. :)


======= Date Modified 23 Sep 2009 13:39:50 =======
Yes go for it but with one caveat - build some sort of relationship with the supervisor(s), whether it's working on the proposal or a general chat about the PhD, so that you've got them onside when it comes to the selection process. It will move you well up the pecking order.


Hi, just go ahead and apply. I just handed in my dissertation for my Masters yesterday. Like you, I am coming from a not so popular London uni, with a first degree from outside the UK but got an unconditional PhD offer with a Russel Group uni. I am starting on Monday. I am headed for a merit by the way. I think maybe my advantage was, I did a Research Methods and Statistics MSc. I am not even sure. But just get yourself a supervisor first before you apply.


Destiny, congratulations. So you don't actually need to get your degree and a distinction to get accepted? I will definitely contact the provisional supervisors of course once I finish my dissertation and have a substantial proposal. Good luck with your PhD. :)


Thanks Leaf, but like I said just go ahead and prepare a draft proposal then look for a potential supervisor. You have got more than enough credentials.