Doing a PhD at a 'non red-brick' university



I've applied to do a PhD at a non-red brick university. It is fully funded and in my subject area but I'm feeling a bit down about it being at a less prestigious uni. I did my undergrad at a non-red brick uni and hoped to do my PhD at a red brick but can't afford to do it unless funded.

Will I be looked down upon by other academics because I've never been to a red brick?

I'm wishing now that I had applied to do my undergrad at a red brick so I had at least one association.

Am I being silly or does this matter?





I think you should really think about your question and the limited sense it makes at this point in time: with more than 50% of Ph.D students never submitting a thesis, your priority and concern should be to manage doing a PhD, not the institution. If you do manage, there are millions of ways to increase your "market value" through publications and so on.

Now, however, I think your question is very silly.



So say I complete my PhD successfully...

Would my research be looked upon in the same way as another PhD from a 'red brick' uni?

Is it more likely that the PhD from a 'red brick' would get a job over me (even if we were of equal intelligence and had published similar amounts) because they went to a better uni?

Is there not some snobbery surrounding the calibre of universities???


ok ! which uni is it ? If it is kings college London you are going to , it is still a prestigous uni


I find the supervisors at less prestigious universities more helpful and abit more 'normal'


I know someone who got a funded phH place at Oxford University in physical sciences , her previous uni was Manchester met.


Tell me if I'm being stupid (people often do so I won't be offended), but aren't non-red brick universities apparently the most prestigious, and red bricks are the post 1992 places? In which case I'm confused, because you say you're going to a good one in the first place?

Anyways, that doesn't matter. Its more about the reputation of your research department, group and ultimately your supervisor. I don't suppose you get much of a handle on that until you get there though...


if you are in a place where the people in the department are at the top of the tree then that is the best there is, they know the people you will need to know, will probably be ultra enthusiastic and will help you all the way, if they are up and coming the same applies. You have a long way to go and you need someone who will be there for you whatever the name of the place. A friend of mine got a place at Oxford and expected the best, but it didn't deliver for him. Choose the place you will be happy at, get the vibes right, once you start publishing and getting known it won't be an issue.


The THES uni ranking each year has alot to answer for--what a pretentious load of twaddle. It's all about the strength of each individual department and your supervisor. There's no way that a whole institution can receive a blanket rating. I didn't go to Oxbridge for any of my degrees--are we meant to feel inferior because we haven't ticked that box? Lyds, you should be happy right now that your PhD studentship is sorted out and that you've got full funding. Don't pay any attention to this ridiculous notion of an institutional hierarchy.


Well coastman I don't like to call you stupid but no, redbicks are actually older than the new universities (try Wiki).

There are a great many constraints and factors that combine on deciding where people go to study. I know plenty of people who have made good careers via less 'presitgious' universities. You really can't generalise as so much depends on your specific area and project.

You will find some snobbery about institutions - there is snobbery about everything. But not as much as you fear.

You've got funding - and remember - there are a lot of people self-funding at 'prestigious' universities who probably couldn't get funding anywhere at all.


"Is it more likely that the PhD from a 'red brick' would get a job over me".

As an aside, I'd be very interested to see some figures as to how many (successfully completed) PhD's actually end up in their chosen profession/job of choice, be it in education or otherwise.


When I was doing my undergraduate degree in pharmacology at a non red brich uni, I learnt with some medical students who were intercalating AND were from a fairly red brick uni.

at first I thought they were snobish about being medics and then being from the red brick uni, but later realised it was just me feeling a bit inferior.

so while I agreee that they is snobbery around, like what someone said they is snobbery about anything and you should not really sit down to fell sorry for yourself that you are going to a non red brick.
stand tall and be counted


If I'm correct, there are the old, traditional universities with centuries of history like Oxford, Cambridge, St Andrews and so on. Then, there are the red bricks, these were modern "old" universities, prior to 1992. And then, there are the former Polys which are neither red brick nor traditional. But then, at last, there is the question: who cares?

As others have said, there are more important factors than the choice of university. In relation to examiner's choice, many prefer to select someone from an old university for the viva because they are sometimes less strict and more relaxed than people who feel inferior and want to prove themselves and could therefore be extra strict. But in the end I reckon that the real challenge is to submit the thesis and not to get through the viva. Or is the real challenge to remain mentally intact and to find a proper job? Who knows?


Golf - according to this report:!eadeXb

48% of PhDs go on to work in education - teaching or postdocs.

Jouri - getting through without going bonkers is definitely the Big Goal.