Post-grad degrees for Officers

Discussion in 'Officers' started by TheKing, Jul 4, 2009.

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  1. Please can someone clear this up for me once and for all.

    I'm just reading Mike Jacksons' autobiography and it seems the Army looks after its officers professional/academic development much less than it did in his day.

    Swimmingly, he left Sandhurst having done an A Level in Russian there, then went to Brummie University do to a degree in Russian Studies, paid for by the Army, on his full pay.

    I went to a less-than-prestigious university with a traditional-yet-useless degree, and really want to be an Officer first and foremost. But I'd like to have the opportunity to study at a decent university, whilst serving, and perhaps improve my skills / employability on leaving. I'd love to be able to do a Master's at Ox/Cambridge, or one of the London uni's, for example.

    I'm aware that one could get a year-long MSc paid for at one point, on full pay, but now you have to do the Cranfield Module Master's, which is supposed to be a ball ache.

    What are the realistic options for a young officer, having completed Platoon Commanders and done his first few tours, cracking on with an MSc from a decent Uni? Even if I was willing to pay for it myself or partially...

    Any credible advice seriously welcome.

  2. Not true - the Medics offer a Masters in Management from the University of Westminster (part-time) and also offer one year MA's (full time) at Oxford Brooke and the London School of Tropical Medicine.
  3. He specified good universities. Not trying to be funny, but those arent exactly high class institutions.

    Edited to add: If you really have the ability to go to Oxbrige on a masters then you will probably regret not delaying your army career for a couple of years. PM me with your academic quals and prospective degree and I'll have a word with some people I know who are involved in admissions at Cambridge and I'll let you know if you have a realistic shot. Obviously, the minimum quals listed on the website aren't the same as the actual quals you require to get in.
  4. If you already have a degree well done that puts you in the 80% bracket, in days gone by most of those going through RMAS were straight from school average age 18-20 and it was then 20% with degrees on joining, that has changed over the past 15 or so years.
    You might have a "useless degree", but you will have to demonstrate that it is worth HM Forces to put you through a decent Uni to help improve your chances of employability on leaving !
    In this penny pinching era I think your chances are remote so admit with pride you have a BA (Hons) in Beckham nail care techniques! It might help you pull the nurses.
  5. Bad times then.

    But seriously, if the Army want their officers leaving to find sh1te jobs or telling the outside world how useless being an Officer is for the transition to civ div then let them screw their personnel over. It used to be a hige selling point and a motivation factor I'm led to believe.

    Not every officer wants to be an ammo nerd getting erotic about blowing up buildings or doing a recce patrol, some of us are quite interested in the management side, the welfare of soldiers, etc, and if it bodes badly for when I leave after a good decade then it's time these views were aired to the top brass. I know the Army is about liking it or lumping it, but when something WAS there and has been taken, compared to just wanting something arbitrarily, then there is a serious case to be had.
  6. To be frank, I suspect that your slightly tainted view of those "institutions" is derived from a lack of real knowledge. I have been involved in University education for over 25 years my friend and your views are a little dated (and pompous).
  7. To be frank, I suspect that your slightly tainted view of those "institutions" is derived from a lack of real knowledge. I have been involved in University education for over 25 years my friend and your views are a little dated (and pompous).
  8. Sadly the rest of the world shares those views and judges institutions by their reputation, except for a few specific courses (aerodynamic engineering at Southampton, aeronautical at Cranfield, economics at the LSE). Brookes and Westminster aren't even Russell group.

    As for a lack of knowledge, I dont think so. I have many friends at Brookes and its somewhat lacking as an undergraduate institution judging by the workload and course content. They ALL agree with me, which is why they love it so much. Besides, whats pompus about saying that one university is better than another?
  9. I'm inclined to agree, the idea that the post nominals MSc from a Masters in Management from the University of Westminster (part-time) are as equal to an Oxbridge MSc are laughable.

    Jew Unit check your PMs.
  10. TheKing, calm down and lose the attitude. Before you get worked up about this issue, you need to learn more about the Army and the underlying issues about officers and degrees. There are quite a few relevant threads which you could find with a simple search.

    Still more importantly, concentrate on passing AOSB.

    Training at Sandhurst, the steep learning curve of joining your chosen regiment / corps and coping with a heavy op tempo will keep you busy for the next four years at least.

    Bear in mind that much of a YOs education now is dealt with through distance learning, rather than residential courses. I am not stamping on your dreams, only pointing out that there will be heavy demands on your time.

    Once you've reached senior captain level your career has a chance of developing in a direction which will afford you more time to study, and a specialism which might tie into a Masters.

    The Army - like any employer - has no obligation to give you time or money to study an area unrelated to your role. The Cranfield one is - hence the funding. Don't want the ball-ache? Don't take the money.

    Our Army now shouldn't inherit / resurrect the obligation it carried in the 60s - it was a very different beast then.. far larger and better funded for a start. It also had a general interest in developing a more intellectual officer culture, and a specific interest in learning about the culture of its enemy.

    By all means study for an OU degree, which would be very laudable and could be very fulfilling and holistically / tangenitally useful for your general military development.

    But you shouldn't feel aggrieved that there are few opportunities to go to a swanky university at the Army's expense. Your attendance at a less-than-prestigious university ( your term, not mine ) was a result of your performance, suitability and choices.

    Officers don't leave condemned to shite jobs - if you looked around this forum and the jobs one you'd discover that the contrary is true, and that your ELC credits come in rather handy. I found when leaving that the skills I learnt, the experience I developed and the network I had earnt membership of stood me in rather good stead. That's not to say that the system's perfect but that you - having not yet served let alone left the Army - are not in a position to comment.

    There's nothing nerdish about putting your own long term career aspirations to one side and throwing yourself wholly into recce patrols and blowing up buildings as a young officer. Commanding a sub-unit will give you a very good grounding in welfare and management - without which further study is superficial.

    Pass AOSB, go to Sandhurst and throw yourself into your daunting responsibilities as a YO wholeheartedly - your blokes and your peers expect and deserve nothing less. Don't regret choices you made in the past, whinge about the system or fret about leaving until you have ( with luck and I suspect some greater maturity ) accomplished the first stage of your chosen and laudable career.


    P.S. I am working towards a qual from the University of Westminster through the Army, and whole-heartedly agree with Jew-Unit! :-D
  11. Incredibly mature & sensible post, if not a little stark. Like I say, it's the fact that once upon a merry time you could go off and improve your CV at a civvy uni, and now they've streamlined the whole thing, yet they quite happily sell it to you as a PO. I do get aggrieved when I see something that isn't right, but I totally respect your main points: get through RMAS before I start thinking about resettlement, and on that note I shall.
  12. Am I right in thinking you believe only one or two courses are "rated" at Soton, Cranfield & LSE?!

    Think you'll find LSE has rather a high international reputation for much it offers! Cranfield is a pretty well regarded post-grad institution - its business school being especially highly esteemed. Southampton is one of the more "competitive entrance" establishments, notable for strength in depth, but with a particularly good reputation for pure & applied science (chemistry in particular), all engineering, and medicine. It also has world leading departments in areas like Jewish history, cultural criticism, & international relations. Very sound for law - more than a few City firms trawl for recruits there.

    Oxford Brookes is a very sound place - good at what it does with notable strength in aspects of history, architecture, and some areas of applied science, engineering, & business/ management.

    Westminster ain't at all bad either - certainly plenty of FCO types have done language & politics courses there, and the "employability" of Westminster grads is generally very high - someone rates its products.

    "Russell Group" membership is simply one indicator of quality, & to a large extent suggests a certain "critical mass" of research activity of a particular type - St Andrews & Durham are not in it, but I'd hardly describe either as second rate!

    FWIW, an MSt or MSc from Oxbridge are not, in my experience, any more demanding/ worthwhile than MAs/ MScs from most other places. IMO, Master's degrees have become "cash cows" for universities eager to exploit the insecurities of graduates conditioned to believe that "something extra" will enhance their chances in the employment market. They may be useful if professionally relevant, or as a preparation for research, but all too often "doing a Master's" is a displacement activity for people who'd be better off getting "hands on" experience of something - anything! This is a growing problem in Education - increasingly "multiple diplomitosis" reigns: BA/ BSc followed by Master's, and then - often because they can't find another course/ think of what to do - a PGCE. Experience has taught me to be cautious of an applicant with this profile: motivation questionable, & often possessed of a grossly inflated opinion of their own capabilities.

    Apropos the original question - a good 'un is a good 'un ( graduate or not ), whilst a plank is a plank no matter how many post nominals s/he has. I'd question the commitment & judgement of anyone who joined the Army in the hope it might offer a pathway to a higher degree from a "prestigious university".
  13. I think its all relative. You may believe that Brookes is good and it certainly beats out universities like Bangor, but it sure isn't Oxbridge or the Ivy Leauge.

    As for the bold, the only reputation Southampton has is being one of few western medical institutions to admit without an interview. It certainly has no reputation for biomedical science or any clinical excellence above and beyond other institutions of a similar calibre.

    The fact remains that employers will take a degree from Russell group + durham and rate it much higher than one from Brookes or Westminster. This maybe due to outdated bias, but it remains the case and therefore the original poster is not aiming for any of these, as evidenced by his lack of motivation for cranfield.
  14. To follow on from Charlie_Cong's excellent post, get your professional grounding on a firm base first. You will have access to various post-grad oportunities depending on what Regt you end up with. You will also have access to the Modular Masters prog (see Education forum) at a time in your career where it will benefit you and the Service. There are plenty of excellent officers without post grad degrees and plenty of total throbbers who have academic qualifications dribbling from every hole.