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Oxford scholarships (Ertegun/Clarendon etc.) 2019


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On 3/13/2019 at 2:11 AM, accidental_philologist said:

Hello all! I'm just one of the anxious Oxford candidates waiting to see if I ever hear from any funding -- please join me in my pain. Post if or when you have any news! 

Hi there, although I didn't apply for Ertegun/Clarendon scholarships but I see where you are coming from.
From past successful applicants for Clarendon the key is to have top-notch grades and if you have it then you stand a real good chance to bag it.
Anyhow, best wishes for your decision outcome and do share the good news when you hear it. Fingers crossed!

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1 hour ago, whatdoiknow? said:

What makes you say that?

There is a post on The Student Room about the Clarendon scholarship and also someone posted about getting Clarendon on Twitter, so I think the info is somehow reliable.

As for Ertegun, few of us were told that the successful candidates will be notified on 15th during the interview. 

 

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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. 

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Thanks for the info @pscwpv! That's really good to know. I'm in the social sciences, but when I asked the department I was accepted to if they would tell me if they had nominated me for anything, they refused to tell me. I guess it varies by department? Or do you mean to email someone with the Clarendon program directly?  

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1 hour ago, accidental_philologist said:

Thanks for the info @pscwpv! That's really good to know. I'm in the social sciences, but when I asked the department I was accepted to if they would tell me if they had nominated me for anything, they refused to tell me. I guess it varies by department? Or do you mean to email someone with the Clarendon program directly?  

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.

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On 3/15/2019 at 4:51 PM, pscwpv said:

but in reality, very few masters programs and in some departments very few DPhils have funding.

Huh. Thank you for the information. I'm just wondering WHAT the thought process is behind this? Are they really so blatantly elitist as to say that only the independently wealthy may attend, and equally qualified (I mean, they were also accepted) but poorer people just ... can't? Or do students from the UK and (previously?) the EU get higher chances for funding, or are they just depending on external scholarships like Rhodes or whatever (which still smacks of irresponsibility)? I know it's something probably you nor any of us can answer, but I am a bit shocked if the attitude is so on-the-nose about the money... 

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1 hour ago, accidental_philologist said:

Huh. Thank you for the information. I'm just wondering WHAT the thought process is behind this? Are they really so blatantly elitist as to say that only the independently wealthy may attend, and equally qualified (I mean, they were also accepted) but poorer people just ... can't? Or do students from the UK and (previously?) the EU get higher chances for funding, or are they just depending on external scholarships like Rhodes or whatever (which still smacks of irresponsibility)? I know it's something probably you nor any of us can answer, but I am a bit shocked if the attitude is so on-the-nose about the money... 

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.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi, I received my acceptance to the MPP at the Blavatnik School on March 18th (yay!) but the outcome of my scholarship questionnaire, which says they cannot offer me any funding "at the moment", has left me confused and anxious.  Any updates on Departmental or University funding would be much appreciated! 

I also heard that about 75% of last year's MPP cohort received full funding- is this likely to be affected/ substantially reduced because of Brexit? 

Edited by PRK303
Forgot to mention the name of my course
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