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Everything posted by pscwpv

  1. Definitely a good question, but they still don't have that much money. So for instance, if you get ESRC funding but aren't British, you don't get your living expenses covered, so nuffield will take those students and cover their stipend. Often the Clarendon partners with colleges to split the costs; Nuffield is big for this in the social sciences. The other consideration is the masters vs. DPhil debate. Funding a terminal masters students isn't the main priority for the university (rightly or wrongly) because the funding is meant to help them compete with US doctoral programs. So they will take DPhils who aren't Clarendon or ESRC scholars, but they'll rarely take a terminal masters student because those aren't the funding priority. It's the same reason very few terminal masters students get Clarendons; most Clarendons are for DPhils or people who want to stay on for the DPhil, who get automatically accepted onto an MSc-DPhil or MPhil-DPhil.
  2. Well the reason is they actually don't have much money to use. There's just some context here on UK education and Oxford in particular. Sorry if you know this already and it's unhelpful, but hopefully provides a bit of background. For the UK, undergrad student fees only started in 2012 and are capped at £9000 for UK/EU students, but the average Oxford undergrad costs far more than that to educate. The Colleges cover this cost from their endowment dividends, but it leaves very little money for graduate funding. At the same time, government funding has fallen faster than tuition rates have risen because of how unpopular tuition fees are, so all universities are facing funding shortfalls, but Oxford faces particular issues with undergrad costs. Equally, the colleges, central university and department are all separate legal entities so maintain separate funding, so college funding is not controlled by the departments or the university. The departments also have essentially no access to wealthy alumni because the colleges maintain priority and can deny the departments' requests to contact alumni for donations. (This is why the Blavatnik School of Public Policy and Said Business School are named after shady figured with no affiliation to Oxford). The colleges also get far more money than the departments, meaning you have a lot of resource-poor departments and resource-rich colleges. There is also wide variation: Magdalen, St. John's, Christ Church, Worcester are loaded, but St Peter's and Mansfield are out of money. So, there's little money for graduate funding. They prioritize DPhil funding in most departments, but they're very reliant on outside funding (ESRC, AHRC, Rhodes, Marshall, various country-specific funding) for lots of grad students. Clarendon is their initiative to try to overcome some of these issues, but that only funds 140 people a year across the whole university. Lots of the natural and hard sciences get Wellcome Trust funding, so the funding issue is particularly acute in Humanities and Social Sciences. As a result, in the context of the MPhil Comparative Government, they'll admit ~30 people for an expected intake of ~14. I would bet fewer than 7 of those end up with some amount of funding. Pretty much a max of 1 will have a Clarendon, 1-2 might have ESRC, maybe 1-2 Rhodes, 2-3 random college scholarships. In some years they'll have zero ESRC and zero Clarendons. The remaining students will be some combination of native-country-government funding and self-funding. They're aware their degrees become havens for the rich, but they don't have much recourse. The humanities and area studies masters are particularly bad for this: basically everyone I ever met doing the MPhil in Middle East Studies was super posh. Anyway, hope that answers the question. They really aren't nefarious about it, but they basically have a massively inefficient system that means they'll never be able to compete funding-wise with American universities. The bad part is that it's an open secret among Oxford students, so we at least make an educated decision about applying knowing funding is unlikely, while they really aren't up-front enough with outside applicants that the chances of getting funding are very low.
  3. Oh ya, I don't mean it's cause you've been denied from ESRC at all! Just that Nuffield takes very few non-ESRC, non-Clarendon students at the masters level, so if you're successful with ESRC, you might still end up there. Though, you could just get randomly allocated to some other college. I think Nuffield just turns almost every masters student down at the start, then when the list of people with scholarships is decided they'll take a few of them.
  4. Ya they rarely accept any masters students straight up. They'll take some DPhils, but mostly the masters students they end up with are on funding grants. So if you're successful with ESRC/Clarendon they'll be the college most likely to take you, but St Antony's is also likely, as are the wealthy colleges like Magdalen, Univ, Merton, etc.
  5. That means you're in for Oxford. Wouldn't think twice about it. If it's a Clarendon, you'll probably know in the next couple weeks; if it's ESRC (if you're European), who knows but probably sooner; otherwise, it'll be a University-based scholarship.
  6. Ya the departments do vary. A professor emailed me asking for a DPhil research proposal (I'm a masters applicant) for the Clarendon application. I know some people have been notified proactively, others have asked and been told. Seems a real crap-shoot as far as this goes. You might check out the student room (the UK's gradcafe) as they have a thread going. I will say the funding system is atrocious. They accept about twice as many people as there are spots on the assumption very few will get funding and only some will be able/willing to self-fund. I think for people unfamiliar with Oxford there's an assumption there is more funding than there is, but in reality, very few masters programs and in some departments very few DPhils have funding.
  7. Hiya, thought it might be useful to pass on some info on the Clarendon. I was notified last week that I'd been nominated by a department in the social science division and I went through this process last year (unsuccessfully obviously). If you get accepted, you can always email and ask if you've been put forward for funding. They'll usually let you know. Clarendons are decided at the divisional level, so each one gets 35 scholarships to dole out. Each department gets a number of nominations. For instance, I think the DPIR gets 8. I would imagine this has something to do with the size of the department. The division's Clarendon committee then decides, so some years a department won't get any and some years they'll get 3 or 4. That said, since they're decided at the division, committees meet at different times, so a Clarendon being awarded by the Humanities doesn't mean the Social Science Division has even met yet. I heard social sciences would be decided by the end of March. As far as ESRC, AHRC, etc, they'll each have their own processes and it depends whether the department gets automatically allocated funding from a body (English has a set number of AHRC awards, I believe) or if they nominate you to a central decision-making body.
  8. I don't know, but they typically accept quite a few people people on the premise that very few will get funding so the rest have to self-fund. So for 15 spots in Comp Gov they might accept 30 people or so but funding very few of those.
  9. They almost certainly won't start today. Last year's came out about a week from now, and I heard right after 9am UK time. The 8-10 week thing doesn't seem to hold up most years. They also tend to slowly roll things out. I was one of the first people to hear, but the IR notifications didn't get out for several more days, and there were people who didn't hear for a couple weeks. I applied to two programs at two different departments and heard this week from the non-DPIR department on Clarendon nominations. They said they would know the outcome by late March, suggesting nominations were probably due at the end of this week. That could mean most decisions are made or that they have their top admits decided but could still be making decisions about the border cases.
  10. Sorry to say the thinking seems to be both have sent out all acceptances. Poor form from both to keep people waiting on official news, particularly as Chicago released acceptances a month ago.
  11. I do think CIR has a great rep for placing students and has smaller cohorts, so gives more attention to individual students. I've also heard it can be a bit competitive/cut-throat from some Chicago IR PhDs who find the CIR attitude a little weird.
  12. I'd ask very specific placement questions from the MAPSS coordinator. See where their grads have actually gone for PhDs and how often. I feel like someone on here in the past was highly critical of their experience of MAPSS as a PhD prep tool, claiming their placement record into PhDs was not very strong compared to CIR. I could of course be imagining that complaint as I really can't remember where I read it. It's still worth asking just to get a complete picture. Maryland has lots of strong academics in particular fields, too, so depending on what you're studying, it can be a very strong program.
  13. ^this is all super interesting and probably better points than any advice I have for them. I'm from the US and wanted to study here, so applied, but none of my letter writers were from the US and only one was actually a political scientist. They did however constitute like 70% of the teaching I got. Part of my degree was quantitative research training (big 'Q-Step' thing across lots of UK universities) but that didn't show up on my transcript and I actually didn't mention it in my SOP (might've been a poor choice on my part, but none of the methods we used are things I plan to use for my research). I also haven't taken any math since high school, but had solid quant score. My course options were limited purely to things in my degree area: no pre-reqs, no electives, no languages, etc and there were no research methods options. I think a common choice is to try to prove you can succeed at a top national program, so a masters at LSE/Oxbridge in the UK or Sciences Po in France or Amsterdam/Utrecht in the Netherlands or Juan March/UC3M in Spain, etc. Outside the UK, lots are cheap for EU nationals and have decent scholarships for living expenses through both the institutions and the EU. I know far less about Latin America/Asia. I'd definitely agree with 3 above. The divide between US and non-US social science can be bigger than you think and getting a firm grasp on what people are studying is useful. Anyway, I think it's probably hard to offer advice. I got lucky mostly and had a good fit methodologically for a couple programs, which with my lack of quant methods training was helpful!
  14. Congrats to you, too! Ya, I've heard NYU has lots international students. I definitely faced no disadvantages with applications, that's for sure
  15. I'm from the US but did my undergrad in the UK. I wrote it on a few of my results. It was always helpful to see when I was looking at the results page, so thought I'd reciprocate. It is also pertinent to admissions committees, partially because they might not know how to evaluate results or they might think UK degrees aren't rigorous, etc, so seeing someone get in with a UK degree meant it was possible. As far as how UK degrees are evaluated, who knows. Outside Oxbridge and maybe the big London schools, there's likely a name recognition gap. Schools like Bristol, Manchester and Liverpool are really great but even they would probably be looked down upon by admissions committees in ways comparable US schools would not be. There's also the distinction in the number of courses: I had 9 courses and a thesis over the entirety of my undergrad and they all sound like introductory courses (comparative politics, international relations, political theory, etc.). So that might not be great because it's hard to specialize and show a deep interest in something. On the research area I applied to study, I've had zero coursework or instruction. That said I got into a couple t-10s, and there are Oxbridge grads at Princeton, Harvard and Stanford right now. Granted, most of them also did an MPhil or MSc, but it's certainly possible to get into top US programs coming from the UK and elsewhere. Lots of people at good programs did the LSE masters programs. I guess it's a different question of whether it's harder to get into US programs coming from outside the US, but yeah, there are a decent number of people from Europe, Latin America and Asia these days. I'd say far less than half at most top programs but a fair few. I went to a top level international program and was advised by a professor who had her PhD from Berkeley that it's hard to come from Europe without a masters, even from well known schools. Most of the people coming from my school to the US needed Oxbridge/LSE masters to get in. For instance, I just scrolled through half of Stanford's grad students, and while only a couple people who went to US schools had masters before starting their PhDs, every non-US student I could find a CV/linkedin for had a masters. Part of that is certainly a culture, particularly in continental Europe, of doing a masters anyway, but I would also bet there's some devaluation of the quality of non-US BAs.
  16. I wouldn't necessarily give up on Harris. They're big on development economics and your GRE shouldn't keep you out at all.
  17. Seems like a very solid resume for these apps. I'd second to work on your quant GRE. Worth retaking given the amount of time and just giving them fewer reasons to veto. Once they're winnowing from 100 to the final 35 or so, I think they probably just look for some reason to cut people and having as few reasons as possible is the dream. Otherwise, focus on SOP. That and letters are the thing that seem to actually get people in (or out), and from what I've heard from professors, they are often under-developed, even from otherwise very competitive applicants. You'll see quite a few people on the results thread railing about getting rejected from top-15s despite their excellent GPA/GRE/undergrad-rank stats, but they forget that lots of people have those things and the SOP and letters are the decision-makers. Mearsheimer is still taking students, but you may want to make sure there are backups for your interests. Chicago has some other solid younger quant-security people (thinking specifically of Paul Poast and Austin Carson) but I'm not a China person, so can't speak to any of that. I'm also doing security-adjacent things and also did the whole 'top-10 applications only' type thing, if you'd like to chat. Not sure I can offer too many pearls of wisdom, but can pass on what professors told me to think about.
  18. Out of just pure curiosity, i'd be interested to hear people's self-evaluations of what worked and what didn't for them. I think some of the letter-writer-preferences is probably trusting others' evaluations of students, which I think is a big part of why students from prestigious institutions have an easier time getting into prestigious grad institutions. If the letter readers think the person writing it is a good political scientist who has trained top-level grad students themselves, they'll trust the evaluation of the applicant more. Going to the same school as the recommender probably does this as well by signaling the writer is of the same caliber as the reader. The professor who advised me on grad school apps suggested using the biggest names who knew me best because recognizable names carry more weight, but letters still need to be personal. I'd definitely second the importance of fit in my experience. My area is pretty popular these days so there are lots of people doing research on it generally, but given my unusual (read unsexy) methodological interests, I got in only where there were people using those methods and who are actively interested in the particular topic I want to research. This might not be a problem if you're wanting to study American politics with quantitative methods, but seems to have been a big one for me. For the programs that were 'great' fits, I got into two and rejected one (where they typically have more accomplished prospective students than I, anyway).
  19. ya that is tough. I have a paranoid fear that snubbing departments is a bad look and the academic world (particularly within a subdiscipline) is so tiny that it's the wrong way to start, but you might just reach out to your preferred school and say you've already RSVP'd to another visit weekend, is there anyway you could come another time to meet with professors and get a lay of the land there? I think most would be happy to do that, particularly if it's just you meeting with a few professors and grad students.
  20. I've been accepted, as have several others on here. Official acceptances from the dean have also gone out.
  21. Were you studying latin america? I guess the question is whether fluency and the prestige of the fulbright would be enough to help you get into a program you prefer, which is a question well beyond my pay grade. It might help and if you want the experience anyway, it might be worth it. Might chat to your professors?
  22. Not a Fulbright alum and speaking with absolutely no authority on admissions, but I've seen only a couple programs that allow any sort of deferral and most the time they make you reapply. I think it's just a cost-benefit analysis. Some students at great departments spent time doing research/teaching under Fulbright, but I think it's all about how you tie it into your research interests. If it's learning language, conducting research, or something else that relates very closely to what you want to study and you can demonstrate some benefits of it, it could boost your profile (a letter from a big name professor you work with while there would probably also help), but if it won't make a significant difference, it might be more of a headache than it's worth. For instance, if you already have great language skills and research experience, it might not be huge (other than the prestige of the Fulbright itself), but if you develop fluency while there and gain some valuable field experience, it could help. Where are you considering right now?
  23. Columbia and Yale are pretty unpredictable. I'd bet we hear in the next week but they both have a tendency to report late and unpredictably. As far as their masters programs holding up decisions, I kinda doubt it. Columbia typically accepts, waitlists, rejects outright or tells people they've been rejected from the PhD but are being considered for the MA. A few people have previously reported that their rejection came with an MA acceptance, but it seems much more common to be told you're just being considered with the general MA applicants. I haven't seen Yale put people up for a masters, but to be fair, their application portal says PhD/Master's application, so maybe that's part of the delay. I just think they're taking their time. Only strange thing will be campus visit days. I'd imagine they'll be in late March, but that's not very long to make arrangements, so it's a bit weird.
  24. I just want to be finished so I don't have that weird lingering anxiety to check my email. I've developed a bizarre muscle memory of checking the results page and my email every time I open my computer. It's weirdly more annoying because I'm almost certain I won't get into either of my remaining two, but am still anxious about them.
  25. I just googled UCSD grad housing and there's lots. There is a big waitlist for some of the properties/housing types, but I think there are opportunities to live with partners
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