Ph.D: Cambridge, LSE, KCL, QM, Bristol.


D.M.90
Anyone has any advice on which of these universities are better for a Ph.D generally and/or specifically in medical law? How would you rank them?

Cambridge, LSE, King's College, Queen Mary and Bristol.

Of course, Cambridge is Cambridge, but on some 2012 law school rankings, LSE seems to be first and Cambridge second. Do you think it's possible?

Thanks!
Anyone has any advice on which of these universities are better for a Ph.D generally and/or specifically in medical law? How would you rank them?

Cambridge, LSE, King's College, Queen Mary and Bristol.

Of course, Cambridge is Cambridge, but on some 2012 law school rankings, LSE seems to be first and Cambridge second. Do you think it's possible?

Thanks!
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Beshem
Which ranking is that? :)
Which ranking is that? :)
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D.M.90
It's this one :)

http://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/league-tables/rankings?s=Law
It's this one :)

http://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/league-tables/rankings?s=Law
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Beshem
I am not sure how they do those rankings but I will specify certain criteria to rank these schools. In my opinion, there are three major elements for a Ph.D. programme: The quality of the academic staff, the facilities and the reputation of the school. Cambridge and Oxford have the best academic staff in most subjects (perhaps some exceptions are maritime law, human rights law...). LSE is even weaker than the UCL in this respect. When it comes to the facilities, Oxbridge and LSE's libraries are more or less the same. Cambridge is the richest university in Europe and has strong ties with Harvard (a formal link exists between Cambridge and Harvard law schools). As regards the reputation element, an Oxbridge degree seems to be more valuable than the other UK degrees.

If you can strike a good balance between these elements, it will reveal the most suitable institution for the Ph.D. studies.
I am not sure how they do those rankings but I will specify certain criteria to rank these schools. In my opinion, there are three major elements for a Ph.D. programme: The quality of the academic staff, the facilities and the reputation of the school. Cambridge and Oxford have the best academic staff in most subjects (perhaps some exceptions are maritime law, human rights law...). LSE is even weaker than the UCL in this respect. When it comes to the facilities, Oxbridge and LSE's libraries are more or less the same. Cambridge is the richest university in Europe and has strong ties with Harvard (a formal link exists between Cambridge and Harvard law schools). As regards the reputation element, an Oxbridge degree seems to be more valuable than the other UK degrees.

If you can strike a good balance between these elements, it will reveal the most suitable institution for the Ph.D. studies.
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D.M.90
Thanks a lot for your reply. It was really helpful. :) I will definitely take all you said in consideration.
Thanks a lot for your reply. It was really helpful. :) I will definitely take all you said in consideration.
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Beshem
Which area do you have in mind?
Which area do you have in mind?
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D.M.90
I definitely want to do a Ph.D in medical law. The area I chose deals specifically with consent, capacity and the issue of financial incentives. Most universities I mentioned allowed, some even encouraged, to contact professors that are specialized in your topic in advance to get an idea whether they like your topic and whether they would be willing to supervise it etc. I did this before submitting my application for all universities except Bristol and Cambridge, because they don't allow applicants to do it, so I'm not sure whether they are specialized in medical law, I assume and hope that at least Cambridge is though.
I definitely want to do a Ph.D in medical law. The area I chose deals specifically with consent, capacity and the issue of financial incentives. Most universities I mentioned allowed, some even encouraged, to contact professors that are specialized in your topic in advance to get an idea whether they like your topic and whether they would be willing to supervise it etc. I did this before submitting my application for all universities except Bristol and Cambridge, because they don't allow applicants to do it, so I'm not sure whether they are specialized in medical law, I assume and hope that at least Cambridge is though.
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Beshem
It seems like Cambridge has a course on medical law: http://www.law.cam.ac.uk/faculty-resources/courses-and-subjects/tripos/papers/medical-law-half-paper-tripos/77/syllabus

According to the page, Spencer teaches it too and is a great academic.
It seems like Cambridge has a course on medical law: http://www.law.cam.ac.uk/faculty-resources/courses-and-subjects/tripos/papers/medical-law-half-paper-tripos/77/syllabus

According to the page, Spencer teaches it too and is a great academic.
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D.M.90
Oh yes, I saw that too when I was doing some research to see if Cambridge was good for medical law. I am assuming that if they teach it at LLB and/or LLM level, they are ok with supervising it even at a Ph.D level. Good to know that Spencer is a good professor, I'll keep that in mind.
Oh yes, I saw that too when I was doing some research to see if Cambridge was good for medical law. I am assuming that if they teach it at LLB and/or LLM level, they are ok with supervising it even at a Ph.D level. Good to know that Spencer is a good professor, I'll keep that in mind.
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Beshem
Yes, they should be able to supervise it in Ph.D. level too. Due to the nature of Ph.D. studies, they are supposed to be quite liberal in terms of the research topics. Apparently, if your research deals with a really specific aspect of Kirghiz law, they might not find themselves to be an adequate institution to supervise it.

Why did not consider Oxford, btw?
Yes, they should be able to supervise it in Ph.D. level too. Due to the nature of Ph.D. studies, they are supposed to be quite liberal in terms of the research topics. Apparently, if your research deals with a really specific aspect of Kirghiz law, they might not find themselves to be an adequate institution to supervise it.

Why did not consider Oxford, btw?
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D.M.90
Nice. This is reassuring. Thanks :)

Hah, good question, when I decided to do a Ph.D it was too late to apply to Oxford, the deadline had literally just passed, so I went for Cambridge. However, I don't not have a first in my LLB and I'm doing my LLM now, but I'm afraid that a high 2.1 in both degrees is not enough for a Ph.D at Oxbridge, but it's worth trying :)
Nice. This is reassuring. Thanks :)

Hah, good question, when I decided to do a Ph.D it was too late to apply to Oxford, the deadline had literally just passed, so I went for Cambridge. However, I don't not have a first in my LLB and I'm doing my LLM now, but I'm afraid that a high 2.1 in both degrees is not enough for a Ph.D at Oxbridge, but it's worth trying :)
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Beshem
You can never know. I know someone who got into Oxford DPhil with a third in LLM from Cambridge (obviously they did not somehow base the entrance on this LLM but still might encouraging).
You can never know. I know someone who got into Oxford DPhil with a third in LLM from Cambridge (obviously they did not somehow base the entrance on this LLM but still might encouraging).
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D.M.90
Wow. I heard of some rare cases of acceptances with a 2.2 balanced out by a lot of work experience and extra curricular activities, but it's the first time I hear about a third. That's impressive!
Wow. I heard of some rare cases of acceptances with a 2.2 balanced out by a lot of work experience and extra curricular activities, but it's the first time I hear about a third. That's impressive!
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colmich
I was admitted to the Cambridge PhD in January for a public/international law topic. Good luck!
I was admitted to the Cambridge PhD in January for a public/international law topic. Good luck!
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D.M.90
Congratulations! :) can I ask you if you had a first in both your LLB and your LLM and approfoximately how long they took to make a decision?
Congratulations! :) can I ask you if you had a first in both your LLB and your LLM and approfoximately how long they took to make a decision?
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yhdlee2
Hey guys,

Never thought that I would see a thread discussing PhD applications in this forum :p

I have also applied to a number of universities (Oxford, UCL, LSE and Nottingham) around one or two months ago. My research proposal is on private international law (more specifically, certain aspects of the Rome II regulation). For the time being, I have only received a reply from Nottingham, saying that there is no available supervisor for my chosen research field. They however did not reject my application straightaway; instead they simply asked me to submit an alternative research proposal and pick another research area. I dont know whether by asking me to submit another proposal and not rejecting my application they were implying that I have met their entry requirement but for the (un)availability of suitable supervisor. In any case, I am planning to send them another research proposal later.

With regard to other applications, there are few matters which worry me a lot: first of all, I did not contact with any professors in these law schools to discuss my proposal before I submitted the applications. On top of that, I only got a low 2:2 LLB from the University of London International Program. That being said, I do have a LLM with high distinction (and in fact I was ranked the first) from one of the only three local law schools in Hong Kong. Additionally, I have an article (more than ten-thousand words) which has been accepted for publication on one internationally-renowned maritime law journal (forthcoming in the first half of 2012). And I have also been working as a research assistant in the law school from where I got my LLM for several months, and possibly will start co-authoring some books with a couple of professors in next few months. I am wondering if I still stand a chance in relation to my PhD/DPhil applications (perhaps with the exception of Nottingham as explained above)
Hey guys,

Never thought that I would see a thread discussing PhD applications in this forum :p

I have also applied to a number of universities (Oxford, UCL, LSE and Nottingham) around one or two months ago. My research proposal is on private international law (more specifically, certain aspects of the Rome II regulation). For the time being, I have only received a reply from Nottingham, saying that there is no available supervisor for my chosen research field. They however did not reject my application straightaway; instead they simply asked me to submit an alternative research proposal and pick another research area. I don’t know whether by asking me to submit another proposal and not rejecting my application they were implying that I have met their entry requirement but for the (un)availability of suitable supervisor. In any case, I am planning to send them another research proposal later.

With regard to other applications, there are few matters which worry me a lot: first of all, I did not contact with any professors in these law schools to discuss my proposal before I submitted the applications. On top of that, I only got a low 2:2 LLB from the University of London International Program. That being said, I do have a LLM with high distinction (and in fact I was ranked the first) from one of the only three local law schools in Hong Kong. Additionally, I have an article (more than ten-thousand words) which has been accepted for publication on one internationally-renowned maritime law journal (forthcoming in the first half of 2012). And I have also been working as a research assistant in the law school from where I got my LLM for several months, and possibly will start co-authoring some books with a couple of professors in next few months. I am wondering if I still stand a chance in relation to my PhD/DPhil applications (perhaps with the exception of Nottingham as explained above)…
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D.M.90
Ha, true. Didn't think I would get many answers in fact :)

I think that contacting professors in advance is not an advantage per se, I think some universities encourage it simply because it's easier for the applicant and especially to avoid submitting a research proposal that they are unable to supervise, like it happened for Nottingham. A part from this, I doubt it's a problem.
Uhmmm, I know for sure that they give the greatest weight to your most recent qualifications, so the low 2.2. in your LLB should not be a problem as it's outweighed by the high distinction in your LLM and all your other achievements. My LLM professors at Trinity College (that are also involved in Ph.D admissions and supervision) also told me that both the LLB dissertation and the LLM dissertation are usually given great weight, more than any exam grades. So if your LLB dissertation was good, even though your overall grade was not a 2.1 or a first, that should be another advantage.
Ha, true. Didn't think I would get many answers in fact :)

I think that contacting professors in advance is not an advantage per se, I think some universities encourage it simply because it's easier for the applicant and especially to avoid submitting a research proposal that they are unable to supervise, like it happened for Nottingham. A part from this, I doubt it's a problem.
Uhmmm, I know for sure that they give the greatest weight to your most recent qualifications, so the low 2.2. in your LLB should not be a problem as it's outweighed by the high distinction in your LLM and all your other achievements. My LLM professors at Trinity College (that are also involved in Ph.D admissions and supervision) also told me that both the LLB dissertation and the LLM dissertation are usually given great weight, more than any exam grades. So if your LLB dissertation was good, even though your overall grade was not a 2.1 or a first, that should be another advantage.
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yhdlee2
Thanks for your reply. It really helps. As the assessment method of the University of London International LLB program was (and still is) purely based on exams, I did not write a dissertation for my LLB. I did write an optional 20000-word dissertation for my LLM though, and managed to get an A grade for it. I hope it would help in my PhD applications.

As Im typing this, UCL in fact informed me of their decision just now. Unfortunately they refused to offer me a place for their PhD program, as they were of the opinion that while my proposal was well researched, it was not sufficiently fleshed out so as to present a project of PhD scope. Well at least they did not turn down my application because of my education background. It might be just that my current research proposal is too specific and too unpopular that there are not many academics out there willing to supervise such a research. I am still looking forward to hearing from Oxford and LSE though. Have you heard anything from LSE or other universities yet?
Thanks for your reply. It really helps. As the assessment method of the University of London International LLB program was (and still is) purely based on exams, I did not write a dissertation for my LLB. I did write an optional 20000-word dissertation for my LLM though, and managed to get an A grade for it. I hope it would help in my PhD applications.

As I’m typing this, UCL in fact informed me of their decision just now. Unfortunately they refused to offer me a place for their PhD program, as they were of the opinion that while my proposal ‘was well researched, it was not sufficiently fleshed out so as to present a project of PhD scope’. Well… at least they did not turn down my application because of my education background. It might be just that my current research proposal is too specific and too unpopular that there are not many academics out there willing to supervise such a research. I am still looking forward to hearing from Oxford and LSE though. Have you heard anything from LSE or other universities yet?
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Beshem
What is your research topic exactly? Then I might be able to help you how to amend it.
What is your research topic exactly? Then I might be able to help you how to amend it.

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D.M.90
I am sure that the A you got on your LLM dissertation will definitely help.

I am sorry about UCL. I wish you the best of luck with the other universities :) I wasn't able to submit an application to UCL because I sent an email in advance to check if they had a suitable supervisor and surprisingly enough they said that they do not have one for medical ethics this coming year. Also, what they said about your proposal worries me, I think my proposal was pretty simple, nothing too professional. It was basically about all the questions I would want to answer in my thesis and the methods I am planning to use, but I had very little on the answers I am likely to provide and on the specific sources I am going to use. Oh well, it's too late now.

I still didn't hear from any universities because I submitted an application to LSE on the 5th of March and I think it will take them approximately a couple months, same for Cambridge, even though I submitted the application more than a month ago now. I am supposed to hear from Bristol at some point this week and I still have to submit an application to King's and Queen Mary, their deadlines are in May so I have time. Did you submit all of your applications and did they tell you when you are going to get a decision?
I am sure that the A you got on your LLM dissertation will definitely help.

I am sorry about UCL. I wish you the best of luck with the other universities :) I wasn't able to submit an application to UCL because I sent an email in advance to check if they had a suitable supervisor and surprisingly enough they said that they do not have one for medical ethics this coming year. Also, what they said about your proposal worries me, I think my proposal was pretty simple, nothing too professional. It was basically about all the questions I would want to answer in my thesis and the methods I am planning to use, but I had very little on the answers I am likely to provide and on the specific sources I am going to use. Oh well, it's too late now.

I still didn't hear from any universities because I submitted an application to LSE on the 5th of March and I think it will take them approximately a couple months, same for Cambridge, even though I submitted the application more than a month ago now. I am supposed to hear from Bristol at some point this week and I still have to submit an application to King's and Queen Mary, their deadlines are in May so I have time. Did you submit all of your applications and did they tell you when you are going to get a decision?
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