Saturday, 1 August 2009

Cambridge v Other Uni


So today as I was checking to see if my lecturer had sent me back my research proposal, I found out that I have in fact got a place at Cambridge to study the M.Phil in Criminology.

Bugger..

I don't understand how the universe works with just dropping bombshells on you, or why it wants you to make impossible decisions all at once.

After editing my research proposal (down from 4 areas to just 1) I realised that I really do enjoy the Law of Evidence and that I am actually quite good at it. I did enjoy Criminology as an undergraduate, however a certain teacher who gave me 46% for an essay I spent two weeks on seriously pissed me off and from then on I did no work.

When it was suggested to me again at the beginning of this year as a possible post-grad option I was a bit repulsed, but gradually I got round to the idea that I had also enjoyed Criminology and it was really that I didn't like my teacher that put me off it.

I haven't got a confirmed place for my MA Res, however I don't see the problem with me getting in. My lecturer and I have discussed the research and he is happy to supervise me and I think my proposal would fascinate me non stop.

I know I've blogged about this before and sorry to all bore you with the Cambridge v Other Uni dichotomy, its just that I unfortunately keep getting things that I never thought I had a chance in hell of getting.

I have various options, but it depends whether I actually want to do a PHD, if not then it would be more beneficial to do the MA Res in Evidence. I am extremely tempted to go to Cambridge, you would have to be an idiot not to be! I am just not sure if I will enjoy it. However I am certain that I will enjoy my MA Res, but will i be kicking myself in years to come if I don't go?

Best of Luck to all of you who are underwaiting pupillage offers!


5 comments:

barboy said...

Am not sure about the appeal of Cantab. The MPhil, from what you have said previously, is not a "proper" MPhil but, being a taught, one year course it is analagous to an MA or an LLM from anywhere else. When it cropped up previously, I had a look and only Cantab uses MPhil in this way.

I don't doubt the the Cantab course will be well taught but, in itself, it reads like a dead end academically. So, how strong is the value of the Cantab badge moving forward ? In considering legal practice or academia, I am not convinced. An Oxford BCL is prized but that is pretty much the only time in which Oxbridge post grad law gets the thumbs up on forums such as SMQC.

In contrast, an MRes or any other research degree from a top Russell is going to be a springboard for further academic work, be it a proper MPhil or, even, a DPhil.

You do not want to say, but I assume the "other uni" is a top London college. In which case, the post grad faculties will be superb, and have a huge reach in terms of facilities, contacts and opportunities. Plus, to the extent it is relevant, you will still be local to the Inns etc.

It is not a like and like comparison, but I feel you need to be careful about placing too much reliance on the Cantab brand and undervaluing the merits of the alternative.

Secretly, I am kind of hoping this turns into an Oxbridge versus London scrap. I will be in the London corner, with the rest of the cool kids.

Bar or Bust said...

Firstly, congratulations. A very well deserved result. Now on to the decision.

Personally I would choose the MPhil from Cambrige. One you have the name of Cambridge on your CV which is a plus in any language. I too have looked at this course in the past and I know that although it is taught it still has a large piece of researched coursework to complete so the difference highlighted by BarBoy between the MRes and MPhil doesn't seem so striking.

It is also important to note that by going to a different institution in a different city shows that you are willing and able to face challenges and changes rather than remaining in the comfy familiar surroundings of your undergraduate uni.

There is however the question of whether or not from a career point of view a prost grad qualification concentrating on evidence would be better for a Criminal Barrister than one in Criminology?

Hope this helps, and congratulations again,

BoB

Lost said...

Bar Boy the other option has merits far beyond that of Cambridge, especially if I wanted to go into Criminal Law/Evidence academia..

My Ma Res would be one x 20,000 dissertation.

Cambridge is 1 x 18,000 and 4 x 3,000 word essays for the year.

It all really depends on whether I want the benefit of "at Cambridge" to be put on my CV v doing something I already know that I competent and hopefully can excel in.

I'm told that people do the Mphil do go into practice. My ideal criminal set, has nobody BUT cambridge applicants.. among their members..

Sorry to bore you all!
My family are sick of hearing about the debate!

barmaid said...

Hi Lost,

For the reasons mentioned above - Cambridge. It carries more clout and has greater versatility.

Anonymous said...

WOW!

SORRY TO SAY THIS (TELL ME IF I'M WRONG) BUT YOU NOW SOUND LIKE YOU WOULD RATHER HAVE HAD CANTAB TURN YOU DOWN!

YES, THEN THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN NO PROBLEMS - BUT CANTAB SEEMS TO THINK THAT YOU HAVE POTENTIAL!

YOU SAID THAT 'My ideal criminal set, has nobody BUT cambridge applicants' - SO THEN HOW DOES THE MA AT THE LONDON UNI COMPARE! ARE THERE ANY BARRISTERS AT THE TOP CRIMINAL SETS WHO HAVE AN MA FROM YOUR UNIVERSITY?

SORRY - YOU JUST SEEM TO BE MORE FOCUSED ON THE COURSE YOU THINK THAT YOU WILL ENJOY. . .AND NOT THE ONE THAT YOU THINK WILL HAVE THE MOST POTENTIAL FOR FUTURE ASPECTS!

GOOD LUCK!

KATIE