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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
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continue applying for MA? - please help - October 30th 2010, 07:41 PM

I recently noticed a real weakness in my university's degree that puts it at a severe disadvantage when competing for Masters courses in the UK. Without going into detail I will be graduating this May with a joint major in Greek & Roman Cvilisation and Archaeology. I was going to move onto something else, but this year I've realised I really don't want to leave the Classics and really want to do an MA in it. I've worked hard for almost 3 years now and I have a scholarship and will hoepfully continue and get my First.

I'm slightly torn between doing an MA in Classical Language & Literature and an MA in Modern Middle Eastern Studies (which will include learning Arabic). MMES suddenly entered my mind in August while I was in Greece and I was reading T.E. Lawrence's (Lawrence of Arabia) Seven Pillars of Wisdom who had studied Classics at Oxford, was an archaeologist and then worked for the army in the Middle East and led the Arabic revolt against the Turks in the Great War. It was absolutely facinating how he showed the Arab and Muslim mindset and how he viewed it as a Christian aristocrat. I also read a lot of Robert Fisk's work (Middle East correspondent for The Independent). I've just generally had this massive interest in the Middle East a lot of my life.

But if I took that MA, I'd still probably look at an MA in Classics at some point.

So the long and the short of my problem is I will be graduating with no knowledge of a Classical language. The MSt in Classics at Oxford says it has elementary classes in Greek and Latin. It says on requirements that a classical language is of significant advantage in applying which implies it is not essential. There are 25 places and last year there were 59 applicants.

I emailed the Director of Graduate Studies for the faculty of Classics at Oxford, and he reckons I have everything for a successful application, but they normally expect a classical language of degree level competence. He recommended applying in 2012 after I enroll in a course in Latin.

So what do I do? A classical language isn't essential on the website, but this man is telling me otherwise. I'm really tempted to continue and apply...but is it worth it?

My supervisor who did his BA, MA and PhD at Magdelen College, Oxford, after talking to him earlier this year about a degree in Middle Eastern Studies recommended I apply to Trinity College, Oxford for it. I am at no disadvantage language-wise for it...Oxford is one of very few universities that offers courses focused on the Middle East - and I'm almost positive there's no BA version.

So, I think I stand a strong chance of getting the latter MA, so should I just apply for that? Should I bother at all with the MA in Classics at Oxford?

This was my statement of purpose for the MA in Classics :

My first experience of Classics was when I was eighteen and I took a module on Homer out of an oblique interest. I was so taken by the depth and magnitude of the two epics and how they conveyed the human psyche and emotions timelessly yet with the preserve of an antiquated period; that it resulted in me changing degrees from a BSc to a BA so that I could study Greek & Roman Civilisation. From there my passion in literature from Antiquity grew so-much-so that I began reading as many of the classical authors as I could, including plenty un-prescribed for my studies. The eclectic mix of disciplines that comes with studying the classics appealed to my broad range of interests and spurred on my dedication to education as a whole, resulting in a dogged determination to be a high achiever and eventually obtain a PhD and contribute to the research in classical literature.

It is in this academic year that I regret immensely not possessing a Classical language to appreciate the sources in their original; and not having taken a degree in traditional Classics, or even single honours Greek & Roman Civilisation, so that I would have an even greater grounding in the subject than I do now. It is with an incentive for an intense and focused instruction in Classical literature and the schooling of a classical language that I am applying for admission to the MSt programme in Greek and/or Latin Language and Literature.
   
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Re: continue applying for MA? - please help - November 1st 2010, 04:31 AM

You want to do a classical MA regardless of whether or not you do this Middle Eastern Studies MA. Which will mean learning the classical languages at some point. They say its not essential but translate that to mean it is essential, and whilst you might as well give it a shot (if they say no you've not lost anything, but there is always the chance they'll say yes) that professor has basically told you no you need to go and learn Latin. So do that! You've said about how disappointed you are with your lack of knowledge so why don't you go and spend a year learning latin and greek, then apply for the MA you actually really want to do at the University you really want to go to.


(RAH) + (AH) + RO(MA + MAMA) + (GA) + OOH + (LA) = Bad Romance

Religion is like a penis.
It's fine to have one.
It's fine to be proud of it.
But please don't whip it out in public and start waving it around.
And PLEASE don't try and shove it down my throat.
   
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Re: continue applying for MA? - please help - November 1st 2010, 09:27 PM

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Originally Posted by her_beautiful_mistake View Post
You want to do a classical MA regardless of whether or not you do this Middle Eastern Studies MA. Which will mean learning the classical languages at some point. They say its not essential but translate that to mean it is essential, and whilst you might as well give it a shot (if they say no you've not lost anything, but there is always the chance they'll say yes) that professor has basically told you no you need to go and learn Latin. So do that! You've said about how disappointed you are with your lack of knowledge so why don't you go and spend a year learning latin and greek, then apply for the MA you actually really want to do at the University you really want to go to.
Yeah. I think you're right. Its 50 to apply as well...which is a bit much. It just leaves the question begging, where do I go to learn Latin? I could do it in my own time, but then would I get it to degree standard in that time - and how would they know if I don't have any form of qualification. Its a bit of a conundrum. I'll ask my supervisor on Wednesday what to do about it...and if I should apply.

The thing is I could stay here and just do my MA, learn Latin and Greek and then do a PhD at Oxford...but am I right in being so vain as to take a year out just to have Oxford on my CV for my MA?

I wouldn't breathe a word to anyone about it in my life, except the couple of Professors I know...at least here I can let loose desires like this...because I'm not that smart, I just put in hours and hours...and I could just do an MA here...
   
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Re: continue applying for MA? - please help - November 1st 2010, 10:35 PM

It's not vain its improving your knowledge base with the hopes of getting onto the degree course you want to. It's sensible.

Do your University not offer modules in latin/greek that you could sign up for.. maybe stay an extra year for that or something? Or look into the open university. Look around.


(RAH) + (AH) + RO(MA + MAMA) + (GA) + OOH + (LA) = Bad Romance

Religion is like a penis.
It's fine to have one.
It's fine to be proud of it.
But please don't whip it out in public and start waving it around.
And PLEASE don't try and shove it down my throat.
   
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Re: continue applying for MA? - please help - November 2nd 2010, 01:31 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by her_beautiful_mistake View Post
It's not vain its improving your knowledge base with the hopes of getting onto the degree course you want to. It's sensible.

Do your University not offer modules in latin/greek that you could sign up for.. maybe stay an extra year for that or something? Or look into the open university. Look around.
My university isn't my home town. Its a bit too expensive for me to stay here another year...even in the city. I'll aska professor if I can sit on some latin lectures...

I hadn't thought of Open University...thats a great idea!
   
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Re: continue applying for MA? - please help - November 5th 2010, 11:08 PM

I talked to my supervisor about it, and he had a look at my statement of purpose and said I've managed to turn my weaknesses into strengths and the fact that I've addressed them will add to their evaluation of it.

He reckons I should still apply and in failing in getting a place I should do a 6 week summer course in Latin that are widely offered and apply in 2011.

He reckons I'll get a place and he said he doesn't mind spending time on this because it will reflect well on having a graduate from the school of classics (and presumably him if he's my supervisor) getting into Oxford. However, he said only one student had ever got into Oxford before.

He seems pretty confident which is even more daunting for me. He seemed to brush aside a lot of the complications that I see, especially the classical language (apparently 90% of graduates in classics from the UK don't have a classical language which means Oxbridge have had to go against their traditions more and more), and the issue with showing that you can financially support yourself, i.e. bank loans for me.

I do have one question though, and I'll ask him too, but I'd like thoughts on it:

I don't know what college to apply to. I've narrowed it down to Trinity, Jesus, Magdalen and Wadham. I like all of them because they're absolutely beautiful buildings, which is half of what I want anyway. But I've outlined ulterior motives for picking one:

Trinity was first mentioned by a Professor I much admire who went to Oxford. It was also the college Richard Hillary went to. I read Hillary's book, The Last Enemy, several months ago and he was an RAF pilot who was shot down underwent reconstructive surgery and wrote his memoirs during that time only to be shot down and killed in 1943 aged 21. It was a beautiful book and he wrote a lot about his time in Trinity and described it so well that I can almost picture it already.

Jesus College is where my personal hero went to, T.E. Lawrence. Unlike Hillary he wrote nothing about his time there, but the fact that he went there and studied Classics is half the reason why I want to go there.

Magdalen I'm considering purely because it is absolutely beautiful. Not to mention that its probably the best (though that puts me off quite a bit).

Wadham is where the Professor I mentioned went to. I admire him a lot, but out of these 4 Wadham is the least pretty looking college.

I think it really boils down to Jesus and Trinity, but I'm still not sure.
   
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Re: continue applying for MA? - please help - November 6th 2010, 03:28 AM

I would not go to Trinity or Jesus simply because I know the type of people that go there. The last time I stayed there they told jokes in latin at informal dinner. No. I was going to apply to St Johns or St Annes because I do not enjoy the company of a large amount of people that went to public school -- and Trinity/Jesus is full of them.

But that's just me. For the love of god do not pick your college based purely on how it looks!


(RAH) + (AH) + RO(MA + MAMA) + (GA) + OOH + (LA) = Bad Romance

Religion is like a penis.
It's fine to have one.
It's fine to be proud of it.
But please don't whip it out in public and start waving it around.
And PLEASE don't try and shove it down my throat.
   
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Re: continue applying for MA? - please help - November 6th 2010, 04:33 AM

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Originally Posted by her_beautiful_mistake View Post
I would not go to Trinity or Jesus simply because I know the type of people that go there. The last time I stayed there they told jokes in latin at informal dinner. No. I was going to apply to St Johns or St Annes because I do not enjoy the company of a large amount of people that went to public school -- and Trinity/Jesus is full of them.

But that's just me. For the love of god do not pick your college based purely on how it looks!
I wouldn't mind jokes in Latin and they all seem public school dominated.

I should have perhaps explained that pretty buildings is a massive thing for me. I absolutely loath concrete and glass buildings. They're depressing and have no character - for me anyway. I can look at the buildings of Magdalen forever, because they're so beautiful. I love passing through the streets of Georgian Dublin and the beautiful architecture in that part of the city...its incredibly uplifting for me.

But Trinity and Jesus are my favourites mainly because of Hillary and Lawrence. I'm kind of leaning towards Trinity because Professor Lloyd suggested it, but I know I'll regret not going to Jesus if I get in, because of Lawrence and vice-versa. Its a trivial matter and probably the least of my worried, but I think I'm just toying with it
   
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Re: continue applying for MA? - please help - November 6th 2010, 12:44 PM

They're not all public school dominated at all! Many have 75%+ state school and it is just the general environment that I went for.. the colleges like Trinity and Jesus? Just not the environment I would want to live in, work in, stay in longer than a week. I picked where I would be happy not where the prettiest buildings are. Another thing to think of is that different colleges have different requirements and are more/less flexible on different things. I cannot see Jesus or Trinity being flexible about the fact you don't knowl a classical language. Just for the love of god pick one for reasons other than the buildings because really they do not matter. Are there even unattractive colleges to start with? And if you're living in Oxford even if you don't live in Trinity or Jesus it doesn't stop you going there to see the buildings. Think about the fact you are going to have to live/study there for X amount of time. That's all the advice I have for you, and to be frank any respect I had has pretty much disappeared. What would you say at interview when they said 'this college'?!


(RAH) + (AH) + RO(MA + MAMA) + (GA) + OOH + (LA) = Bad Romance

Religion is like a penis.
It's fine to have one.
It's fine to be proud of it.
But please don't whip it out in public and start waving it around.
And PLEASE don't try and shove it down my throat.
   
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Re: continue applying for MA? - please help - November 6th 2010, 05:25 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by her_beautiful_mistake View Post
They're not all public school dominated at all! Many have 75%+ state school and it is just the general environment that I went for.. the colleges like Trinity and Jesus? Just not the environment I would want to live in, work in, stay in longer than a week. I picked where I would be happy not where the prettiest buildings are. Another thing to think of is that different colleges have different requirements and are more/less flexible on different things. I cannot see Jesus or Trinity being flexible about the fact you don't knowl a classical language. Just for the love of god pick one for reasons other than the buildings because really they do not matter. Are there even unattractive colleges to start with? And if you're living in Oxford even if you don't live in Trinity or Jesus it doesn't stop you going there to see the buildings. Think about the fact you are going to have to live/study there for X amount of time. That's all the advice I have for you, and to be frank any respect I had has pretty much disappeared. What would you say at interview when they said 'this college'?!

The buildings are a big deal to me and I'd be a lot happier in a pretty building. I can see you don't understand it, but try and understand my reasoning I've outlined. Its a huge thing for me.

Secondly, I don't really care for public school people or state school people. There's wankers and nice people in all social groups - and from my upbringing and status in my head there really isn't much difference between a middle class person and a public school person.

The college doesnt make a difference for the MA, and if Prof. Lloyd reckons I'd stand a chance with Trinity, everywhere else except Magadalen could be considered?
   
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