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



listen. The department's reputation and history and your supervisor matter for sure. However, and I am sorry to deliver the reality as it is, red brick universities, prestigious universities and high ranking universities with a history of hosting some of the world's best scholars are the best choice for any aspiring doctoral student.

However, if you have funding from this university you got into, then take it.


What a condescending post. If you can't address people properly (dear *blank*?) I'd question your own suitability in the first place. And what is the point in bumping a thread to make such sweeping comments when the OP has already expressed her thanks for the contributions? Just not necessary.


My university isn't red brick - its made of regional limestone, so its off white with occassional bomb damage (thank you the Luftwaffe)



I definitely did not mean to come across as condescending. But, by the time I got to the "Adding Message" part, I had already forgotten to the person's name. Second, I wanted to share my point of view. As to your attitude, I can say to you that "the truth hurts"... "a lot".


Just read this thread for the first time... I have to say all of this is just lost on me. Maybe there is not as much of a distinction here as there is in the UK because I haven't noticed much of this type of snobbery (I don't mean that in a bad way but I couldn't think of a better word for it!!!) over here... or maybe I'm just blissfully unaware! I thought that the PhD was a standard qualification - so a PhD is a PhD no matter where it's from??? Either way, I am with the posters who said that the main concern is just getting one... full stop!!!


**As to your attitude, I can say to you that "the truth hurts"... "a lot".**

Rather bizarre, almost comical - especially coming from someone who's only months into a doctorate to someone who has completed and successfully working in academia.


Some very interesting points being made on this thread. I've had this conversation many times:

In an ideal world the reputation of the institution you study at should not matter no more than saying you grew up in city x rather than city y: In other words, if your work has been reviewed by your peers, via journal publications/ phd thesis and viva, and you are deemed to be competant enough to produce research of the standard befitting a doctor in philosophy then it shouldnt matter if you did your doctorate at Essex rather than Oxford...

But, we don't live in an ideal world, and it does matter. All things being equal, I do beleive that going to a more prestigious uni can give one a distinct advantage over candidates from less prestigious unis ( once you graduate that is )


The reason employers may tend to favour graduates from nice old prestigious unis over new and less prestigious unis is exactly the reason why many people, if given the choice, will spend lots of money to buy top name brand clothes over clothes from a budget retailer or buy one washing-up liquid brand over another ( assuming money is no object that is)

A brand is a powerful thing and the name of a uni is a brand like any other....

Well known brands tend to be trusted over all other brands as marks of quality, reliability, style,..... even if this trust isn't justified in every case.

think about it


For me, all this "in an ideal world" is nothing than bla bla bla.

I tell you why I have this opinion. In research, as we all know, publications have a very high importance. So, having a PhD from Red Brick and 0 publications does not match a PhD from Sunderland University(ha ha and three first author publications in 4star journals. So I ask again, who's the winner? The snobs, or the hard working excellent researchers? At the same time, I know that in some fields the funding does play an important role but in other fields, red brick or not is irrelevant.

And by the way, why is thread about Red Brick? I though Red Brick are the second league, old universities Premier League and Old Polys Bottom League. So no need for Snobbery in RedBrick, in my opinion. No need for snobbery anywhere else either, in my opinion. And finally, I've found snobbery everywhere I've been so far, including Professors from Old Polys.


If this discussion was about Master Degrees or Bachelor degrees, I would definitely agree with RJB.. about the power of brand names and say: "go to Oxford University instead of Manchester Metropolitan".

But in PhD research I don't really see the point of the whole discussion.


Before doing a PhD in Cambridge I did my undergraduates and masters in obscure universities in an Eastern European country. Never ever I had experienced a negative attitude from professors in Cambridge because of this. The different matter is fellow students, especially those who went to posh public schools.

H the realms of Undergrad studies then I would agree with the previous post. I went to a state school for my A-levels (back when A-levels were A-levels ) but never encountered any HE academic snobbery until I met people at the Russell league uni I went to. From the attitudes I experienced my education was sorely lacking in polish and refinement; I was unable to drop £100 at the local casino therefore poor and clearly unsuitable to walk its hallowed academic halls and I must therfore be deficient in the brain stakes. However, they made up a (still fairly large) minority of people...


The fact that half the people here think that university reputation is important means that that is the case. If half of employers, your peers, academics etc. have that view then yes, university reputation is important. By this rationale, half of the people you meet will think so.

The idea here isn't to compare someone with 5 publications from a less prestigious place with someone with 0 publications from a well known uni. Facts are facts. Two people, with the same one/two publications which is usual for a PhD (often none in my field) will be separated by the uni they did their undergrad and PhD at.


**But in PhD research I don't really see the point of the whole discussion.** Complete agree with Jouri here. It *is* a relevant discussion for some taught courses. But the PhD is an original, unique endeavour. Separating candidates by where they've studied is like comparing apples with oranges and therefore pointless. At this level of study, *what* you've done and *why* you've done it is far more important then *where* you've done it.

Students at PhD level often have other factors to consider too. Demographically they're likely to be older, their choices are probably influenced by basic ecomonics and family committments before university reputation gets a look in. If you've got dependants, maybe a mortgage, and you're faced with a choice between prestigious uni far away or the local newer one, you can't just clear off to the former just because it's considered "better". Saying that overall university reputation is paramount at this level is naive and misguided.


Why is it naive and misguided?