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UK and Irish Graduate Courses

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Explore grad​uate school

British and Irish postgraduate fellowships are, essentially, scholarships for graduate study: does graduate study make sense for you, given your background, interests, and longer-term aims and aspirations? where are the best programs for what you want to do?

If you're thinking about graduate school (anywhere in the world), there's no better source of advice than faculty mentors in your field. Talk to these experts about who is doing interesting research, where the strongest degree programs are and which of them might best suit your background, interests, and longer-term aims. You'll be able to have more fruitful conversations if you go in having done some homework first (see below).

If you're looking for help with career strategy, and what kinds of training, qualifications, and experience you need to pursue the kind of career you hope to pursue— or you're not sure what kind of career you'd like to pursue—the Yale Office of Career Strategy offers terrific resources and advising.

Note: If graduate school isn't a sensible next step for you right now, do something else: check out other great options available for fellowships and jobs.

Explore graduate programs in Britain and Ireland

If graduate study in Britain or Ireland sounds interesting:

  1. Attend one of the annual spring-term UK/Irish fellowship information sessions and hear from past applicants (calendar here), and/or watch a recorded session.
  2. See which universities might have the strongest program(s) in your field (see "Ranking universities" below).
  3. Wondering what an MPhil is or how to decide whether a "taught" or a "research" degree course is the right one for you? Try our unofficial guide to decoding degrees.
  4. Talk with someone who's studying there now/has in the past; book an appointment.
  5. Circle back to faculty with your shortlist (to get advice, and to help them write good letters of reference...).

Ranking universities

How do I know where to look for strong programs in my field?

Tip: Tips for reading the Times Higher's pdf of REF results by subject:

  • Research subjects are not in alphabetical order, so page through until you find what you need. You might want to explore more than one subject heading, especially if your interests are interdisciplinary.
  • The first column on the left tells you where in the 2014 rankings a particular institution falls in a given subject; the second column tells what their rating was in a similar survey in 2008 (the RAE), when applicable; the third column gives the name of the program; the fourth gives a rough idea of the size of the program, by listing the number of scholars whose work in that field was submitted for assessment in 2014; and the fifth column tells you what percentage of that program's research got the highest possible rating (4*).

Once you have a list of universities with research strengths in your field, you'll want to go to those universities' websites and see if you can find find the right degree program(s) for you:

  • Look for degree courses and ongoing research which seem to align with your preparation and interests, as well as for interesting scholars teaching there.
  • On university websites, if they've not switched over to terminology more like US "admissions" information, look for the "graduate prospectus," and the “alternative” prospectus (the alternative is written by students for students—useful when taken with a grain of salt).

Other helpful resources

What if I'm looking for a particular kind of degree course or for other kinds of information?
How do I choose a​ college at Oxford or Cambridge?
  • Apart from practical considerations involving funding and accommodation, you should look for a community you think you'd like to join. Browse college websites, especially information for prospective postgraduates or about the "MCR" (which means, essentially, the postgraduate student community). Look at the good advice offered by Oxford and Cambridge.
  • Talk with a Fellowships adviser and see what others have to say: talk with Graduate Fellowship Affiliates here at Yale, ask other people you may know about their experiences at Oxbridge, and see what student websites have to say about Cambridge and Oxford colleges (remembering that their opinions may not match yours).
  • The good news? If you are offered a place to read for a postgraduate degree, even if a college listed on your application cannot take you one of the other colleges will, guaranteed.