I’m 22, I gained a 2i in BSc Biochemistry in 2001 and I recently graduated with a Distinction (1st) in MSc Biotechnology. However my A’ Level grades were very poor indeed and I have no industrial experience.
During a recent talk with one of my MSc Professors, he has encouraged me to apply to the Oxbridge universities for a PhD.
Hitherto I had never really considered the option, however I do respect the opinions of the Professor who has suggested that I do this. My university qualifications do match those required in the prospectuses.
However as everyone knows both Oxford and Cambridge require straight A’s (or equivalent) for BSc entry.
My question is this - that despite my good BSc and MSc results, could my poor A’level results ultimately prevent me from gaining entry into these institutions? To what extent do A’ Level results determine the quality of a PhD candidate?
Do I stand a chance?
Your A levels results have been nullified by the Higher and more relevant BSc and MSc degrees, regardless of grade.
I would encourage anyone who shows the right research potential to apply to the Oxbridge group, ultimatly at PhD level this is all that matters.
My 'A' level grades weren't brilliant but I have now been accepted on to a Ph.D. It takes determination and of course finding the right institution helps! A University is only as good as you make it. It doesn't matter where you go - as long as you are happy.
My guess is that supervisors will take your whole application as a package. A-levels are just one part of your profile and so the rest may just have to be that little bit better to compensate.
The best advice given to you here is to contact the individual Admissions Staff as to how much weighting they give A-levels. No doubt it varies considerably.
At the end of the day, how can Oxbridge be the ultimate? You're salivating at the prospect of entering this ivy tower, yet, how good is the department there? Is it all in the name? I did a masters at one of the best occupational psychology depts in the country, but there was a distinct lack of support. I did my undergrad at a 'new uni' and came out with a first. I think ultimately examine the department,not the name. My masters got me no where, my first got me everywhere!
Studentships in conservation and ecology are very popular and competition is strong. If you are changing from another discipline you should be able to show that you have had an active interest in your chosen new subject. The most important thing in applying for any PhD is that you fulfill the funding criteria. Try not to get hung up on Oxbridge, whilst many leading research teams are based there, other institutions have there fair share of high profile researchers. A departments Research Assesment Excercise (RAE) rating is a better indication of quality when looking for a PhD.
i am sure you will be qualified for some PhD awards, just be very liberal and try to look for other very good schools when choosing.
don't be too rigid in choosing oxbridge or camford or what so ever you call it.
i think you better start looking at other universities before it is too late!
On the Oxbridge application form, they do not ask for your A levels. However, for a competitive doctorate, they may not like the fact that you have only a 2:1. If your distinction is from a highly regarded university, this will REALLY help. All universities are NOT equal in the eyes of Oxford and Cambridge. Also, with regard to quality, no, the only grad. school that even comes close is LSE (perhaps Imperial) the other institutions have nowhere near the research reputations of Oxbridge-go take a took at the RAE.
Best of Luck.
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