When I wrote about my graduation at KCL I had no idea that I will write about my Masters’ so soon after. I was waiting for the final confirmation before sharing the news, which happened last week. I am going to do a MSt in European History at Oxford. It had only a few places on this strand, about 10, and an overall intake of about 60, and over 300 applicants. I am so incredibly grateful and I know that I’m privileged to receive a place at Oxford.
I am going to give a short timeline and talk a bit about the college I picked.
The MSt includes various modules, but the most important one is the dissertation. While applications can be made without knowing what the topic of the dissertation will be, I imagine it’s less likely to receive an offer from Oxford without a clear idea why someone wants to study at Oxford.
The timeline goes like this:
– summer 2022: deciding on the topic of Holodomor – which is soviet genocide of Ukrainians in the 1930s. It was a man-made famine which saw almost 4 million people die of hunger. There are various estimates, but 4 million is the one on which historian experts in this area are agreeing upon.
– Oct-Nov 2022: choosing and contacting the supervisor I liked. I had two choices, after researching various universities. Oxford was one and St. Andrews in Scotland was the second one. I had a chat with my tutor from KCL about this as well. He studied at Oxford, so it was helpful from that point of view too.
– Nov 2022: draft the proposal/statement. The statement has a maximum of 1,000 words. It’s very short, so everything included in this statement needs to have a point.
I asked for references, as I needed 3. Other universities need only 1 or 2, but Oxford asks for 3.
I also started the application online.
– Dec 2022: discussing the topic with my supervisor and redrawing the proposal, as the scope was too large the first time. He was happy with my views and told me to make clear some aspects, such as what language are the primary sources in. As I don’t read Ukrainian, all my sources will be in English. The topic will encompass British coverage of Holodomor, so naturally all is in English. We talked about some of the secondary sources and I think my supervisor was happy that I obviously read the books we chatted about.
I finalised the bibliography for the proposal, which included 12 primary and 17 secondary sources. This is a basic bibliography, with only a few items, of course. I imagine the final bibliography will have way over 100 items, comparing to what I had for my dissertation.
Lastly in December, I decided on the college I will apply to. It wasn’t necessary, but, as you can see, I’m pretty organised.
– Early Jan 2023: application sent. The deadline was the 6th.
– March 2023: I received a conditional offer. Afterwards I received a place from my college of choice. The conditions were met and in October I will start my studies.
Now, a few words about Oriel College. It’s the 5th oldest, founded in 1326, under the reign of Edward II. This picture was taken on High Street. Walking for less than 5 minutes takes you to the Bodleian library or to Examination Schools, where the lectures are being held.
Oriel has under 600 students, graduates and undergraduates combined, which is close to the average number of students.
At Oriel there are Formal Hall dinners six days a week, which is a formal three-course meal. This means evening dress and gown for students. The prices are subsidised, the meal is £7.50 on their website, so it might be a bit higher for the next academic year, but still it’s incredibly cheap.
The dinner starts with a blessing in Latin, which is something I’m actually looking forward too. I see it as a tradition and not as religious. This is why I prefer Latin to English, as it feels ceremonial.
I will have to chat with them about vegan options, as they need be notified in advance, but that’s the case for most Oxford colleges. Of course there is the option of attending the earlier option of informal hall, where there isn’t the requirement for evening attire and gown. I think I will do a mix of both informal and formal throughout the year.
This is my update. If anyone reading this is considering applying to Oxford, please email me and I will reply with answers and suggestions.