Research Tech to PhD with lower entry requirements at Oxbridge

28-Jul-18, 13:27
edited about 16 seconds later
by scotled
Avatar for scotled
posted about 3 weeks ago
Hello everyone!

I'm currently working as a research tech in a UK uni research lab. I have previously completed a BSc (2:ii) and MSc before starting this job in 2016. I started the job with the possibility of a PhD in mind, but wanted to gain real world experience to be sure it was a field I wanted to stay in and also help me develop following on from my lower undergrad result. I have my name on a paper recently published and will soon have a joint first author paper out (fingers crossed!!). Now my PI recently said she wants me to do a PhD with her on the area I'm currently working on and I'm keen to do this, but this is dependent on funding (which she is confident of getting). However, the lab is currently in the process if moving to oxbridge (want to keep it as anonymous as possible) where I will continue with my current role. My concern is that to do a PhD there they have a strict policy on entrance requirements. They state that a 2:i at undergrad is essential while I have a 2:ii.... Now in my MSc I got about 68 overall (70 was distinction), but there is nothing I can find about if this is something that will compensate for my under par undergrad result. I know this is a long shot, but does anyone know about a similar sort of situation? Are they at all flexible? I would be willing to apply to other universities, but after moving my whole life (and girlfriends) now and also having a supervisor and project I really like it would be a shame to have to move somewhere new quite soon after arriving here!! Once I'm all settled in I guess I'll ask but this is more just to give me a sense of what to expect.

Thanks in advance :)
30-Jul-18, 13:31
edited about 10 seconds later
by eng77
Avatar for eng77
posted about 2 weeks ago
Hello. I would say general observations not dirctly related to tier 1 universities. In general if the supervisor is willing to take you and has the fund, the rest is possible. In general having Msc is a plus point. Having a paper is another plus point. It is more likely that she gets you accepted. To summarise, the supervisor has the money and the power to get Phd students and you have enough qualififcations even in their strict criteria to do a Phd. I wish you the best.
30-Jul-18, 15:42
Avatar for kikothedog
posted about 2 weeks ago
As said, you'll find it's not what you know but who you know when it comes to academic funding of projects and giving phd spots. Money talks.
30-Jul-18, 15:44
Avatar for kikothedog
posted about 2 weeks ago
I had a PI that would only accept out of EU postdocs with government or industry (their countries industry) funding. And that funding went into a 'lab fund pot' where he decided what it got used for. :/
30-Jul-18, 18:04
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 2 weeks ago
As Eng77 said, if the PI wants you, they usually bend the rules to make it possible. To be honest, grades are not a perfect way to predict your ability to do research and most people know that. The reason they use it is that for most Ph.D. students, grades are the only bit of life experience they have.

Other ways to possibly get around it. Claim "extenuating circumstances" for your undergrad which didn't affect your masters. Claim you are a mature student and say that your experience compensates (mature students usually have different entrance criteria). Be a part-time PhD student while keeping the job while using the data from the job to submit a thesis.

Just talk to your PI about your worries. He is the most informed person on this subject and will help you get past the bureaucracy or will point you in the right direction.

kikothedog; that supervisor sounds fun! And is that legal?
06-Aug-18, 11:33
edited about 25 seconds later
by pf329
Avatar for pf329
posted about 1 week ago
If the worst comes to the worst and Oxbridge rejects your application, there's always Oxford Brookes or Anglia Ruskin.


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