The UK higher education system offers degrees that sound similar to those in the US, but there are some important differences. The undergraduate BA in the UK is typically a three-year degree, focused on a particular subject area and lacking the general education component of our degree requirements. Scottish universities do have a four-year undergraduate degree, very similar to our own structure. For graduate degrees (post-graduate study), there are masters and doctoral degrees, just as in the US, but they vary in both the depth of focus, the duration and the method of instructions. While there may be individual programmatic or institutional variants, here’s a general overview:
Taught Masters: e.g. MSt, MSc, and others. Usually one year in length, but may vary between 9-15 months. Consists of course instruction and independent research work.
Research Masters: e.g.MPhil and others. Usually two years in length, highly independent research program, working with a faculty mentor. Depending on the program, there may a be a broad research methods course, but typically, you’ll be immersing yourself in a specific area of research.
DPhil: PhD, usually 3-4 years in duration. This is shorter than the US program, which is typically 5-7 years, depending on the field. But some key differences–the DPhil does not include the kind of broad coursework that an American PhD does, nor does it incorporate teaching experience into the degree program. Some UK programs may require you to begin as a MA student and then convert your program to the DPhil; others allow you to begin the DPhil immediately. But key to note–this is a very self-directed, research intensive degree, without the kind of taught course foundation you’re used to in the undergraduate degree.
That’s the quick primer–so when looking at degree programs in different faculties, you’ll have a sense of what’s involved. It’s important to talk with the department about your background and your interests to know what the best degree program for your interest area is.
Back from a quick visit to the UK. I visited multiple schools (9?) in one week and will profiles those I saw in additional posts. The most important take-away for those considering graduate study in the UK is to do your research about the university and the program. There are many excellent opportunities available for students at UK universities, and some are considerably less expensive than their US analogs. There are scholarship opportunities through Rhodes, Marshall, Churchill, Gates Cambridge and Fulbright for those who qualify. But there are also scholarships at the institution too–and I encourage interested students to research those as well. On the plane ride home, for example, I sat next to an American grad student who had just completed the first year of a DPhil (that’s PhD in the US system) in anthropology at LSE and received a full-tuition grant from LSE to support her program. Given the expense of graduate education these days, it’s worth exploring all the funding options open to you. A good place to start is looking carefully at the Russell Group of UK universities–this is an excellent collection of top research universities throughout the UK. See http://www.russellgroup.ac.uk . You want to research the program and faculty to determine whether this is a good fit for you. In addition to reading the websites, that will likely mean communicating with faculty and program advisors (and for a research degree or a fellowship application–that is a must!). You want to know that this is an excellent program for you, but also that you are a competitive applicant for the program in terms of your academic record, course and/or research background.
Anyone considering an ETA to Taiwan–good news! The number of ETA grants has been increased. 73 awards will be available for 2015-16. See http://www.us.fulbrightonline.org/countries/selectedcountry/taiwan for more info.
For those thinking about applying for a British Scholarship (Churchill, Gates-Cambridge, Marshall, Mitchell, Rhodes) in the fall, here are some notes and suggestions to get you started:
If you haven’t yet sent me a preliminary application, we should talk! I am around for much of the summer, but will be traveling too—so my ability to respond to you may be faster or slower depending on when you contact me. In general, I will be unavailable during the following times: June 14-July 2; July 13-18; August 2-5; and August 18-26. So plan accordingly, be patient and maybe a little bit of both. Contact me at email@example.com or x3183.
Please note: The schedule below is organized around the competitions requiring nomination by Middlebury. The Gates Cambridge is a direct apply fellowship. You do not need to be nominated to apply, but I am glad to talk with you about the process and discuss essays with you. There are other fellowships supporting study in the UK not discussed here, either because you apply directly (without nomination) or there’s a much later nomination deadline (St. Andrews). See list of UK ideas in earlier post, and also look at the Fulbright as another option (again, earlier post).
Application Process and Timetable:
By July 1: Identify the program(s) you are interested in applying to; determine which scholarship competitions are appropriate; and which faculty or program contacts are important for you to connect with. You will want to have conversations (typically done through email, sometimes phone) to discuss your research interests, how they align with faculty in the program, and be certain this is a program that will help you reach your educational objectives (and that you’re a good candidate for it!). If you’re planning on pursuing research with a faculty member, you will need to talk with them about your interest and affirm their interest in having you join their lab/project.
By July 30: Draft research proposal and/or application essays due to me. Share with relevant faculty/advisors for feedback. Share with me your ideas for letters of recommendation.
September 2 noon: Submit applications for nomination for Churchill, Marshall, Rhodes, or Mitchell. If applying for nomination for both Marshall and Rhodes, you need only submit nomination materials for the Marshall. Required materials for nomination: 1. Draft of application form; 2. Application Essays; 3. Current resume; 4. Degree progress report. Note: These competitions have moved onto online platforms. You may register and work on an application, but DO NOT add recommenders yet (we don’t want them getting requests for letters if you’re not nominated) if the form generates an automatic email when you add their names. Also do not submit the application yet, again, until you know whether you are going to be nominated. And if you have questions let me know.
Sept 9-12: Nomination interviews will take place. You will need to sign up for a date/time. Note, this may interfere with class time–you will need to talk with your professors about that if there is a conflict.
Sept 13-September 30 or /November 11: Work on revising and polishing application and essays. Marshall, Mitchell, Rhodes final deadline is October 1; Churchill is November 11. Gates Cambridge is October 15 (Round 1); December 3 (Round 2)
The schedule above is intended to help you organize the different parts of the application and get everything done so that you are ready to go by the early September nomination deadline. Note: the campus submission deadline, that campus interview, and foundation deadlines are hard deadlines.
For rising seniors and alumni interested in fellowships for graduate study in the UK, there are several programs worth exploring. These are all highly competitive and all require a strong academic record (and some specify minimum GPAs) among other criteria. But one of the most challenging issues for many students is citizenship. Not all programs are open to citizens from all countries. So below is a rough breakdown of the scholarships open to US citizens and to citizens of other countries.
For US citizens:
- Churchill (Cambridge, STEM fields)
- Fulbright (UK)
- Gates-Cambridge (Cambridge)
- Marshall (UK)
- Mitchell (Ireland)
- NIH Oxbridge (Oxford, Cambridge, NIH; biomedical sciences)
- Rhodes (Oxford)
- Saltire (Scotland)
- St. Andrews (Scotland)
For citizens of countries other than US:
- Chevening (selected countries)
- Gates-Cambridge (Cambridge)
- Rhodes (Oxford) : selected countries
- Saltire (Scotland): selected countries
Also look at scholarships at specific universities. For example, Oxford lists several for different citizenship types and/or programs of study. If you’re interested in a particular program at a particular university, it is worth looking around the website to see if there are scholarships you may be eligible for!
For those thinking about applying for a Fulbright grant in the fall, here are some notes and suggestions to get you started:
If you haven’t yet sent me a preliminary application, we should talk! I am around for much of the summer, but will be traveling too—so my ability to respond to you may be faster or slower depending on when you contact me. In general, I will be generally unavailable during the following times:
June 14-July 2; July 13-18; August 2-5; and August 18-26. So plan accordingly, be patient and maybe a little bit of both. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or x3183.
Fall deadlines: I may need to adjust slightly—will know more in August, but it won’t vary greatly from what I’ve outlined below.
Application Process and Timetable:
By June 15: Have read through carefully the Applicants section of the Fulbright website, any/all country pages you are considering and have identified the place, grant type and rough project idea for your application.
By July 1: Create an account for the Fulbright U.S. Student Application 2015-2016 online. Link available through the “Applicant” section of the Fulbright website http://us.fulbrightonline.org/about . You may begin filling out the application, but DO NOT submit names of recommenders until you have talked with me about who you plan to select. Why? Because when you enter recommender names into the Embark system, an email link is sent to them, allowing them to upload a confidential letter. If you change your mind about who you want, that can create awkward situations! Also note that you will be applying through Middlebury College (you’ll see Prof. Jeff Cason’s or my name).
By July 15: Draft research proposal and/or application essays. Send to me and (as possible) share with relevant faculty/advisors for feedback. Relevant faculty/advisors are people who know something about the academic project and/or geographic area.
By August 30: Have arranged for letters of recommendations to be submitted by September 27.
Early September: Look for on-campus workshop/info session, date/time TBA.
By September 15: Have secured a letter of affiliation and made arrangements to have language evaluation (if needed) completed by September 26.
By September 24: Have picked up your transcript from my office to upload into your application. My office will order transcripts on your behalf (no charge!) based on active applicants earlier in September.
By September 26 at noon: Have submitted all components of your application. Essays must be polished with no grammatical or spelling errors. There will be very limited opportunities for revision after this date, generally in cases where there are observations made during the campus interview process that need attention.
Early October: You will sign up for a brief interview about your application. This interview is required for us to evaluate your strength as a candidate and we share that evaluation with Fulbright.
October 13: All must be done, proofed, in place, etc by end of day for me to send your application to Fulbright on October 14.
Most of these deadlines above are not absolutes, but guidelines intended to help you organize the different parts of the application and get everything done so that you are ready to go by the September deadline. Note: the campus submission deadline, that campus interview, and that October 13 final check—those really are hard deadlines.
A few important notes:
- Faculty and contacts abroad may be less available when semester is not in session. Contacts abroad may also have a different definition of responsiveness to email, depending on culture—so you need to give yourself several weeks in many cases to secure your letters of affiliation and/or research proposal feedback. Letters should be on university/organization letterhead and signed by recommender.
- When asking for letters of recommendation: for Middlebury faculty/staff, ask 3-4 weeks in advance of the deadline. For recommenders from elsewhere, depending on where, you may need to allow even more time. When asking for a letter, share your current draft of a research proposal or ETA statement of purpose and a current resume. Also share the recommender guidelines from Fulbright. You want your letters to address the selection criteria Fulbright is evaluating you on!
- For you ETA folks, you will need 3 letters of recommendation too. However, Fulbright requires them to fill out a form with short answers to questions that focus on ways in which you express yourself in English; whether you have any demonstrated experience with teaching/mentoring; how well you work in unstructured situations; and anything else that would have bearing on your ability to work successfully in the ETA position.
- Some research proposals will require IRB approval. What’s that? Why might you need it? Look at their website at go/irb . Good news—you DO NOT need IRB approval to submit the Fulbright application in September. But if you’re selected as a finalist in January, we have you go through the approval process (as needed) so that when you do receive the grant, you will have a safe and vetted research proposal and methodology ready to go. Point being—be aware that your research proposal may fall into this category and know that conversation about this may come up during the campus interview in October.
- All letters of affiliation and recommendation must be in English. If your letter is written in another language, there must be a translation provided in addition to the original. For letters of affiliation, you can provide that translation, since this is not confidential and you upload that letter. For letters of recommendation, your recommender must obtain that translation (and not from you!) and upload both documents him/herself.
- Performing/creative arts candidates: You will need to submit your supplemental materials by the Sept. 26 deadline as well.
- Transcripts: if you transferred to Middlebury or have courses from other schools that are relevant, you are responsible for obtaining and uploading these transcripts.
- Foreign language evaluation form: required for non-English speaking countries. Some exceptions for ETA grants—but read the country/grant information carefully. In most cases, you will be able to take care of this in September with a Middlebury faculty member. If you’re an alumnus or seeking evaluation in a language not taught at Middlebury, you would need to find an appropriate professional language teacher to complete the form.
- Critical Language Enhancement Supplement required ONLY if you’re applying for one! The Critical Language Scholarship grants may also be a good source of additional language support prior to the Fulbright grant beginning— see http://www.clscholarship.org/ .
If you’re interested in applying for Watson Fellowship nomination in the fall and we haven’t yet talked, now is a great time to connect! I am around for much of the summer, but will be traveling too—so my ability to respond to you may be faster or slower depending on when you contact me. In general, I will be generally unavailable during the following times: June 14-July 2; July 13-18; August 2-5; and August 18-26. So plan accordingly, be patient and maybe a little bit of both. You can reach me at email@example.com and/or 802-443-3183.
For the fall deadlines, I may need to adjust slightly—will have everything set in August, but it won’t vary greatly from what I’ve outlined below.
For the nomination process in September, you will need to submit the following:
- Watson Application Cover Sheet (available by through go/fellowships)
- A proposal explaining what you want to do, your background/experience, and the source of your interest in the topic. Please consult the Watson Foundation Web site; this statement should be a blend of the Personal Statement and the Project Proposal. Draft proposals must be no more than 5 pages long, double-spaced, double-sided, in 12-point font. (Yes, if nominated, you’ll be reworking this into two separate essays.)
- Academic transcript, printed from Banner Web (use the Degree Progress format)
I will hold an info session again in early September (date TBA) and am looking at a September 22 campus deadline for nomination applications. We will invite a group of applicants to interview with Watson campus committee members; that group will select up to four nominees and one alternate.
Application Process and Timetable:
By June 15: Have read through carefully information on the Watson fellowship site—both at go/fellowships (click on Watson in list) and at http://www.watsonfellowship.org/site/index.html .
By July 20: Draft of cover sheet and combined proposal/ personal essay for nomination application (see materials above) to me for feedback. Do also share with other relevant people for feedback.
Early September: Look for on-campus workshop/info session, date/time TBA. Talk with those you would want to write letters of recommendation for you, just giving them a heads up. Note: letters are only needed IF you are nominated! But you do want to start the conversation with those you would ask.
By September 15: Have some local contacts in countries in place.
September 22: Submit your application for Watson nomination.
Late September/early October: We will hold Watson interviews for a subset of applicants. Dates/times TBD.
November 5: Watson foundation application deadline
For the most part, deadlines above are not absolute, but guidelines intended to help you organize the different parts of the application and get everything done so that you are ready to go by the September deadline. Note: the campus submission and foundation deadlines really are hard deadlines.
A few important notes about the Watson:
- Really read through (and think through) the Watson website, especially the eligibility section. There are lots of good questions for you to ask yourself and your project idea to see if this is a good fit.
- Your application should really reflect YOU. This is not an academic fellowship. It’s about a deep, abiding personal interest you have and it’s also about you as a deeply curious, independent, courageous person. The Watson foundation is looking for fellows who are independent, imaginative, resourceful, responsible, bold, and self-motivated. Your project is just that—your project and should embody, reflect a passion you have. It does not have to be unique to you but definitely can be. It should grow organically from your life—things that you’ve done, explored, studied, wondered about, are inspired by—and should be personally significant to you. Watson priorities are person first, project second.
- Selecting countries for visiting: you should be choosing places that are new to you (the stretch factor). You may have been inspired by a period of study abroad or travel in a certain place, but depending on the amount of time you spent there (more than 4-6 weeks typically), you should not include that country/area on your project list. (And often there are ways to adapt a particular interest to a different set of countries/areas). Also, some countries are of such a broad and diverse scale, you may be able to justify a visit to a different part of that country. China or Russia might fall into the latter category. The Netherlands would not. For some of you, this is an area we may need to discuss further and think about how you might adapt your proposal. And any country on the US state department warning list (NOT travel advisory), you may not include that country on your list. And as you develop your proposed travel itinerary, keep in mind, this may be ideal and you should have back up plans. Sometimes things won’t work out, or the money won’t stretch that far—all possible. I don’t expect you have figured out everything with respect to the feasibility of all components for the nomination process, but I do expect you’ve given serious consideration to different ideas and are prepared for some shifts in your plan. The list of countries ultimately may change between application for nomination, application for Watson, Watson interview and departure, and actual fellowship year. Any country on the US state dept warning list may be listed provisionally in case it changes (and of course, countries may also shift in the other direction too).
- Contacts abroad may take some time to identify and connect with, so definitely allow for that. What you want from them may differ according to your project, but they should provide a resource and a kind of grounding for you in the community/country/project focus. You may also be contributing to them as well—but make sure that your mission, your project is still your own.
- When thinking about recommendations—if you are nominated, you will need 2-3. If two, both can be from Middlebury or one from Middlebury and one external. If three, one must be from Middlebury, one external. If you are nominated, I will talk with you further about what is most helpful in these letters for the Watson selection committee.
- Language ability: you will definitely propose going places where you do not speak the language—and you should. But do think about how you will conduct the work of the project in these spaces. Guides/interpreters may be essential in some cases.
- In thinking about your blended personal/project statement, you want to describe the following: Your plan for the 12-month fellowship year, including a description of your project and details about how you intend to carry it out. (In addition to focusing on a topic you are passionate about, the project should be personally challenging (yet feasible), independent, and sustainable over 12 months.) Discuss why you chose your topic, how it developed out of previous interests or experiences, and how it represents a new challenge. You may also want to describe your background, your college years, your professional goals and aspirations, and your reasons for seeking a Watson Fellowship.
There is no requirement for proficiency in Chinese language… indeed, the program’s aim is to provide opportunities to those who have not experienced a study-aboard program either in China or Taiwan, but are eager to pursue some overseas immersion Mandarin and cultural study. Accepted students will be enrolled in the Chinese Language Center at the National Cheng Kung University (NCKU, http://www.ncku.edu.tw ) in Tainan City, Taiwan. The University is recognized as one of the two top institutions of higher education in Taiwan. The application period ends on Feb. 15, 2013 for early acceptance and March 31, 2013 for general acceptance. Applications can be submitted on line at www.taiwanusalliance.com .
The 2013 TUSA program starts July 1 and ends August 23th. A stipend of NT $25,000 (US $800) per month for two months (July & August) will be awarded to each scholarship recipient. The scholarship is budgeted to cover tuition, dormitory fees, all program-related travel and excursions, and accident/outpatient health insurance. The program is sponsored by the Ministry of Education in Taiwan, and a total of 36 ‘Ambassador’ students will be accepted for the 2013 class.
Visit the web site at www.taiwanusalliance.com for additional information about the 2013 TUSA Summer ‘Ambassador’ program.
Joint Summer Research Programs
University of California, Berkeley & Columbia University
for students at
the Creating Connections Consortium (C3)*
Supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Students from the Creating Connections Consortium (C3) – which includes Middlebury College – are encouraged to apply for faculty/graduate student-mentored research opportunities in the Arts, Humanities, and Social and Physical Sciences. Participants will engage in graduate-level research and hone skills necessary to apply to and succeed in graduate and professional programs.
C3 applicants from diverse populations and backgrounds historically underrepresented in higher education are encouraged to apply.
- Exposure to graduate-level research, mentor/advisee relationships, GRE preparation, and the graduate school application process
- Weekly seminars, workshops, and group events
- Participants present research results to faculty, graduate students, and the campus community at final Research Symposium
- Transportation, stipend, and campus housing provided
SEE LINKS BELOW FOR SPECIFIC PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS/DETAILS
SUMMER RESEARCH PROGRAM
Program dates: June 2 – August 3, 2013
University of California, Berkeley SUMMER RESEARCH OPPORTUNITY PROGRAM
Program Dates: June 2 – July 27, 2013
Application deadline: February 22, 2013
The application deadlines for the Rangel and Payne Fellowship Programs are approaching. Below are the deadlines, followed by short descriptions of each program. Please note that there is a page on the websites under each opportunity entitled “Tips for Preparing a Competitive Application” that may assist you.
Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellowship Program: January 18, 2013
Donald M. Payne International Development Fellowship Program: January 23, 2013
The Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program seeks outstanding young people interested in careers in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State. The Rangel Graduate Fellowship Program provides benefits valued at up to $90,000 over two years toward a two-year master’s degree, arranges internships on Capitol Hill and at U.S. embassies, and provides professional development and support activities. Those who successfully complete the program enter the State Department Foreign Service. Fellows may use the fellowship to attend a two-year master’s program in a U.S. institution to study an area of relevance to the Foreign Service, including international relations, public policy, public administration, languages, or business administration. Applicants must be college seniors or graduates looking to start two-year graduate programs in fall 2013, have GPAs of at least 3.2, and be U.S. citizens. The program welcomes applications from those with any undergraduate major and encourages applications from members of minority groups historically underrepresented in the Foreign Service and those with financial need. Information and application materials are at www.rangelprogram.org. The application deadline is January 18, 2013. The Program is funded by the U.S. Department of State and managed by Howard University.
The USAID Donald M. Payne International Development Fellowship prepares outstanding young people for careers in international development as USAID Foreign Service Officers. The Payne Fellowship Program provides benefits valued at up to $90,000 over two years toward a two-year master’s degree, arranges internships on Capitol Hill and at USAID missions overseas, and provides professional development and support activities. Fellows who successfully complete the program become USAID Foreign Service Officers. Fellows may use the fellowship to attend a two-year master’s program in a U.S. institution to study an area of relevance to the USAID Foreign Service, including international development, international relations, public policy, business administration, foreign languages, economics, agriculture, environmental sciences, health, or urban planning at a graduate or professional school approved by the Payne Program. At the end of the two-year fellowship, Fellows enter the USAID Foreign Service. Applicants must be college seniors or graduates looking to start graduate school in the fall of the year they apply, have GPAs of at least 3.2 and be U.S. citizens. The program welcomes applications from those with any undergraduate major and encourages applications from members of minority groups historically underrepresented in the USAID Foreign Service and those with financial need. Information and application materials for the program are available at www.paynefellows.org. The application deadline is January 23, 2013. The Program is funded by USAID and managed by Howard University.