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tell me about KCL!

I didn't really research KCL much before applying to their European Studies program (I know, I know) so I don't know much about it. How is it as a student? Futzy? Bureaucratic? OK? Any input at all?

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( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
tisiphone
Mar. 8th, 2011 10:45 pm (UTC)
Yes, what's wrong with the MA?
(Deleted comment)
tisiphone
Mar. 9th, 2011 08:19 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the insight, very useful to know.
not_emily
Mar. 9th, 2011 12:01 am (UTC)
I was...less than pleased with my MA program at KCL and individual faculty members within my department. My department didn't particularly care about about my program, so those of us in it were just kind of thrown into things. And I still remember being told by a faculty member on the first day that because I have a BA degree from an American institution, I'll have problems with the the UK system (which wasn't true, but I'm still massively annoyed at her for saying that. It psyched me out pretty bad.)

It really depends on your department and program as to whether or not it's worth it.
tisiphone
Mar. 9th, 2011 08:19 pm (UTC)
Huh, that's a weird point of view. Thanks!
partly_bouncy
Mar. 11th, 2011 10:52 am (UTC)
I think, at times, there is a bias against the American educational system and a feeling that it doesn't adequately prepare you for doing research inside the British model. I've encountered similar attitudes in Australia. (The progression here is different than the UK. They have an HDip. Australia's Bachelors degree lasts about three years. Then you get an honours degree by doing a research project for a year. A masters degree is a two year research project, where you do very little original research and instead seek to synethsize the work of others to create new meaning. And then a doctorate degree which is three years of research. The people I talked to just don't think American students are taught proper research skills.)
tisiphone
Mar. 11th, 2011 11:01 am (UTC)
Hmm, they kind of have a point actually. I had to seek out research methods classes in a different department to get any research methods at all in undergrad.
partly_bouncy
Mar. 11th, 2011 11:21 am (UTC)
Academically, the degree by coursework is looked down upon. The degree by research is viewed as academically more rigorous. I can't speak for the UK (I watch this community because there isn't one for Americans in Australian universities but things are at times similar enough) but the derision can be pretty high and for people who come from universities following a more American model of education (or a non-English language program), you often have to take a year of coursework before starting on your research degree. I didn't have to because I had two research methods classes and my Masters degree was in a department that specifically taught research skills.

Which type of degree are you applying for? Research or coursework?
tisiphone
Mar. 11th, 2011 12:09 pm (UTC)
I'm actually doing a discipline switch (social theory/economics to anthropology) so I've applied for coursework degrees - I need them, basically. The plan from there is to go into a research degree.
partly_bouncy
Mar. 11th, 2011 07:38 pm (UTC)
I did a discipline switch myself. I have a (Masters) degree in education and I'm getting a PhD in sport studies/communications. Didn't need the related degree, because the people looked at my work experience, my writing samples related to the topic that weren't published, and my transcript showing my research classes. They thought I was good enough despite the credentials in the area.

I don't know the British system and I'm operating on the assumption of the Australian system... but you could always apply for a Masters by research in that area, then apply for an upgrade to the PhD. It could save time and money if you have a clear idea as to the topic you want to do and if you think you have the research skills to do it. (And once you get there, just be clear that you're intending to upgrade and ask your supervisors to help guide you in that direction so you get a pass.)

I'm going through an upgrade process myself... but mostly because I suck at reading forms and they take them very literally. I put Masters on the first line, PhD on the second. Whoops. :(
tisiphone
Mar. 11th, 2011 07:41 pm (UTC)
I could do that, but I'm not inclined to for personal reasons, and also because I really don't have the knowledge that I would need to jump straight into anthropological research. Most especially, my ethnographic research skills are weak, but I also don't really know a lot of the theory due to the oddities of my undergraduate degree. My preferred program is actually Cambridge's social anthropology program, where you do a year of Mphil, then a year of Mres, then a PhD. I haven't heard back on that one yet, though.
partly_bouncy
Mar. 11th, 2011 07:50 pm (UTC)
Huh. (I have an American friend who goes to that university in another department.) But fair enough. :) That just seems like it takes a long time...

Knowledge of theory probably is important for that field. :) I've been lucky in that I haven't needed it much with what I'm doing. (Which is basically a population study of Australian sport fans online.)

I just remember being told that for research degrees, it isn't that important what department you're in, so long as you have the completed research. I've got a supervisor in communications and a supervisor in sport studies and I'm generally in the sport studies department. At the moment, I'm a Masters of Arts in Sport Studies but when I get my upgrade to be a PhD in Communications because it doesn't matter that much and the PhD in Communications is cheaper.

The British system, from my understanding, is more heavily reliant on one supervisor when you do your research and you can't really work around them, or go through others to get assistance if your supervisor isn't as... helpful as they could be. That's probably the biggest difference I know of between the British and Australian systems. (That and I have no dissertation defense. Go me!) They play really nicely down here. :)
brightbrowneyes
Mar. 9th, 2011 04:11 am (UTC)
I studied abroad at KCL. The history department was really cold and not very helpful about telling me how exams work. Everything worked out fine in the end but man, was it a headache. I did have a very good experience otherwise and I'm considering them for grad school.
tisiphone
Mar. 9th, 2011 08:20 pm (UTC)
Interesting, thanks.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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