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Hi all, 

I'm currently looking into one year MA programmes in Theory (or general politics, maybe philosophy progs that are good for theory). I'm open to programmes in different countries (though I feel like a lot of US programmes are 2 years and/or closed for fall apps) but am primarily looking in the UK. I've had a look at KCL, LSE and York, but as I would like to apply for PhDs in the US, maybe Canada after finishing my masters, I was wondering if people know if any schools or programmes are more well respected than others in the UK (bar the obvious, LSE, Oxbridge). 

Thanks in advance, and if anyone is in a similar position feel free to msg me! :) 

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22 minutes ago, defcaffeinated said:

Hi all, 

I'm currently looking into one year MA programmes in Theory (or general politics, maybe philosophy progs that are good for theory). I'm open to programmes in different countries (though I feel like a lot of US programmes are 2 years and/or closed for fall apps) but am primarily looking in the UK. I've had a look at KCL, LSE and York, but as I would like to apply for PhDs in the US, maybe Canada after finishing my masters, I was wondering if people know if any schools or programmes are more well respected than others in the UK (bar the obvious, LSE, Oxbridge). 

Thanks in advance, and if anyone is in a similar position feel free to msg me! :) 

I’m an American with a Master’s from the UK. :) Oxbridge and LSE are your best bets hands down if you want to go to a R1. I can’t really recommend going anywhere else in the UK and having the same level of name and prestige recognition. KCL (unless it’s IR or War Studies) and UCL are simply not as known in the US, and York is definitely not known so I really wouldn’t even consider it. Edinburgh has a good reputation so you could check there. 
 

edit for typo 

Edited by BrownSugar
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I would argue that the program in the History of Political Thought at QMUL/UCL has a pretty good track record, but may or may not be worth the price tag. SOAS also has a program in Comparative Political Thought that I was looking at, but that may depend on your interests. What's your timeframe? If you're looking to apply next year, I'd recommend oxbridge and LSE, but it may be too late to get funding from them at this point for Fall 2021. For the US there's MAPSS and MAPH at Chicago, but they're notoriously expensive. Finally, a word of warning on one-year programs: You won't be able to develop solid enough rapport with your profs by the first semester for you to get LORs, so you're committing to finishing the program before you apply to PhDs. That may not be a problem for you, but make sure you've got a plan for what to do with that time away from school. 

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Actually, LSE's funding deadline is April. If you apply by the end of this month, you would have a decent shot at funding. In addition, many UK master's are usually 12 months (especially London unis like LSE). Therefore, you won't have an issue with time because you can't apply after only one semester since you'd be graduating in Nov/Dec. For instance, my UK master's was Sep 2019-Sep 2020 and I applied in November 2020 for my PhDs. Therefore, a one year MSc is enough to get to know your professors well and for them to get to know you too (both schools I got into thus far praised my letters). It's up to you to make a good impression as a student and researcher when writing your dissertation :) Above poster is right about one year US programs though. 

 

Edit for typo

Edited by BrownSugar
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14 hours ago, Homeless said:

I would argue that the program in the History of Political Thought at QMUL/UCL has a pretty good track record, but may or may not be worth the price tag. SOAS also has a program in Comparative Political Thought that I was looking at, but that may depend on your interests. What's your timeframe? If you're looking to apply next year, I'd recommend oxbridge and LSE, but it may be too late to get funding from them at this point for Fall 2021. For the US there's MAPSS and MAPH at Chicago, but they're notoriously expensive. Finally, a word of warning on one-year programs: You won't be able to develop solid enough rapport with your profs by the first semester for you to get LORs, so you're committing to finishing the program before you apply to PhDs. That may not be a problem for you, but make sure you've got a plan for what to do with that time away from school. 

Thanks for this - I've heard great things about the History of Political Thought course at QMUL specifically (from people who went there)! I am applying this year. I'm waiting to hear from MAPSS and LSE but just thinking about what happens if I don't get in or can't afford them. I've heard that problem with one-year programmes before but I think depending on how the first semester goes it might be okay, I'd probably want one of my letters to be from my undergrad thesis supervisor, one from someone I'm currently doing research with and one from a masters prof.  

11 hours ago, BrownSugar said:

Actually, LSE's funding deadline is April. If you apply by the end of this month, you would have a decent shot at funding. In addition, many UK master's are usually 12 months (especially London unis like LSE). Therefore, you won't have an issue with time because you can't apply after only one semester since you'd be graduating in Nov/Dec. For instance, my UK master's was Sep 2019-Sep 2020 and I applied in November 2020 for my PhDs. Therefore, a one year MSc is enough to get to know your professors well and for them to get to know you too (both schools I got into thus far praised my letters). It's up to you to make a good impression as a student and researcher when writing your dissertation :) Above poster is right about one year US programs though. 

 

Edit for typo

Thanks for all your advice and congrats on your results this cycle!! Seriously just amazing! I've applied to LSE and should be hearing back soon, so fingers crossed I get in as it looks like applicant numbers for some courses have doubled. It is pretty expensive, but thankfully I can live at home if I stay in London (even though I don't want to and it's not a great working environment) but I am pretty sure even just tuition is more than the maximum masters loan you can get. I'm kind of in the stage of planning for not getting in, or getting in and not being able to afford it. Do you think going to a less well known or smaller school and potentially having access to more research opportunities could make up for the lack of name brand recognition?

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2 hours ago, defcaffeinated said:

Thanks for all your advice and congrats on your results this cycle!! Seriously just amazing! I've applied to LSE and should be hearing back soon, so fingers crossed I get in as it looks like applicant numbers for some courses have doubled. It is pretty expensive, but thankfully I can live at home if I stay in London (even though I don't want to and it's not a great working environment) but I am pretty sure even just tuition is more than the maximum masters loan you can get. I'm kind of in the stage of planning for not getting in, or getting in and not being able to afford it. Do you think going to a less well known or smaller school and potentially having access to more research opportunities could make up for the lack of name brand recognition?

Thank you!! I completely understand the expense issue. I think if you get a Distinction in your degree and dissertation and make an excellent impression on professors, it could make up for the lack of name brand recognition to some extent. I want to say ‘for sure’, but I don’t know how all ad coms will look at it. What I can tell you is that I was told by people on the ad coms where I got in that several professors on the committees advocated for my acceptance given the name brand recognition of my alma mater - they immediately knew the high caliber research and training I would’ve done/gotten and also recognized/know of the work of each professor that recommended me. I didn’t even bother getting letters from my undergrad because nothing could beat letters from my last uni. So I think name brand matters to a great extent if applying from foreign universities during such a rough cycle. Obviously can’t tell you what next cycle will be like but I can’t imagine it gets much easier 😕 

 

edit for typo 

Edited by BrownSugar
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21 minutes ago, BrownSugar said:

Thank you!! I completely understand the expense issue. I think if you get a Distinction in your degree and dissertation and make an excellent impression on professors, it could make up for the lack of name brand recognition to some extent. I want to say ‘for sure’, but I don’t know how all ad coms will look at it. What I can tell you is that I was told by people on the ad coms where I got in that several professors on the committees advocated for my acceptance given the name brand recognition of my alma mater - they immediately knew the high caliber research and training I would’ve done/gotten and also recognized/know of the work of each professor that recommended me. I didn’t even bother getting letters from my undergrad because nothing could beat letters from my last uni. So I think name brand matters to a great extent if applying from foreign universities during such a rough cycle. Obviously can’t tell you what next cycle will be like but I can’t imagine it gets much easier 😕 

 

edit for typo 

That makes a lot of sense thank you! Thankfully I have savings from working this year and can pick up a part time job (I'm working full time and studying full time right now, so just a part time job next year would be a lot easier haha). Just hope I get in! Kind of freaked myself out by looking at admissions stats from last yr - 192 apps, 66 offers which is nice but if it's doubled/tripled this yr...

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3 minutes ago, defcaffeinated said:

That makes a lot of sense thank you! Thankfully I have savings from working this year and can pick up a part time job (I'm working full time and studying full time right now, so just a part time job next year would be a lot easier haha). Just hope I get in! Kind of freaked myself out by looking at admissions stats from last yr - 192 apps, 66 offers which is nice but if it's doubled/tripled this yr...

Keep your hopes up!! My program was 450+ applicants with around 40 offers and I still got an offer with an upper second undergrad :) 

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8 minutes ago, BrownSugar said:

Keep your hopes up!! My program was 450+ applicants with around 40 offers and I still got an offer with an upper second undergrad :) 

Wow! Well from all you've said, clearly you're an exceptional candidate :). Just out of curiosity, are there many opportunities to get involved with research at LSE in your experience?

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17 minutes ago, defcaffeinated said:

Wow! Well from all you've said, clearly you're an exceptional candidate :). Just out of curiosity, are there many opportunities to get involved with research at LSE in your experience?

There are if you put yourself out there and directly ask professors etc. People who take initiative get the most out of LSE. :) 

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Have you looked at Cambridge's MPhil in Political Thought and Intellectual History program? They have a rolling admission and is open for applications until March 31. Granted it is pretty competitive but they've produced some of the world's foremost theorists and it can't hurt to try. I've had a couple professors that graduated from that program, and even if you aren't really into the Cambridge tradition of textual analysis, it is a very rigorous and useful (and not to mention very well-recognized) training for any kind of work you wanna do later on. 

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