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MotherofAllCorgis

How can I strengthen my application to Oxbridge?

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1 minute ago, CrunchoMunch said:

I have interests in the early modern period and modern British history. In college, I dabbled largely in Roman history, but I explored a bit of German and Middle Eastern History as well. Due to my strong poly sci background and constitutional background, I could see myself doing well in political history/constitutional history. I'm hoping to pass off my political science publication/award as a sign that I can write a strong dissertation on British constitutionalism within the early modern/modern period to the admissions committee. For theories, idk yet. I do not know Latin, but a potential supervisor advised that it would not be necessary though helpful. My overall question is though does the fact that I did not write a senior history thesis or win any major history awards/publications count against me for application to the M.S.T? I have perfect history grades, and I will have very strong letters of reference. Will that be enough in itself for admission? When people talk about research on this forum do they mean research skills in general within the humanities/social sciences or do they mean historical research skills specifically? 

Grades don't mean squat once start applying and get into graduate school. Yes, they are important initial checks that applicants need to fulfill, but there is so much more to the process than grades. You check a lot of the boxes for acceptance, but there are a ton of unwritten/invisible boxes that you also need to check. It took me three cycles to learn that and I wish I had done so sooner.

I'm not an expert on the transition from Early Modern to Modern history, but I would presume that you will need at least French, if not also German, to create a solid Ph.D. dissertation that lands you on your feet in the job market.  @psstein and @telkanuru might be able to help you more with that aspect. As for the theories and historiography, you need to show knowledge of the field. From your brief description, it sounds like you will need to dive into theories of the state and state formation quite a bit. From there, you will need to choose subfields that interest you and read up on them. Historians no longer research on a topic and only teach within that topic. We must be able to sell ourselves to a wider audience than before, even more so if you get a degree from outside the USA. You will need to branch yourself out from the political and legal word to include other fields. Global history, the Atlantic world, ocean histories, empire and power, and even intellectual history are all aspects that could fit well with your interests. This is how you start checking those unofficial boxes (there will only be more if you do pursue a degree in the UK).

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I have no desire to pursue a Phd. I want to do a masters and go to law school. Does the fact that I did not write a senior history thesis or win any major history awards be a disadvantage? I'm sorry for asking the same question. I'm really nervous. 

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2 minutes ago, CrunchoMunch said:

I have no desire to pursue a Phd. I want to do a masters and go to law school. Does the fact that I did not write a senior history thesis or win any major history awards be a disadvantage? I'm sorry for asking the same question. I'm really nervous. 

It may seem like I am beating around your question, but the truth is that there is no direct answer to your question. Some years, the committee will look for awards while other years they will emphasize research and related experiences. I did not win any awards and did not write a senior thesis, but I was still accepted into an MA program in Germany. If you are going to be applying to an MSt program and hoping to transition to an MPhil, then you will still need to check boxes that are not written on their website, which is why I dived into languages, theories, and subfields.

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