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I am looking to leave my career in computing and go back to university to study a History MA.

The trouble is I only have a 3rd class degree in Computing from around 1990.

What would you recommend I do to get myself back in the saddle, and to make myself more attractive to MA courses?

  • There isn't much basis for an answer here. History? What qualifications do you have? How can you get some? – Buffy Jan 30 at 10:52
  • I can only recommend you to audit a couple of undergraduate history courses in a local university first. You may need to get permission to audit. Once you get into the class, impress the prof, the rest of it may be easier. – scaaahu Jan 30 at 13:12
  • @scaaahu what does audit a couse mean? – WendyG Jan 30 at 13:45
  • Please see What does “auditing a course” mean? – scaaahu Jan 30 at 13:47
  • @scaaahu the only links I found were links to courses teaching auditing :) but I will ask around – WendyG Jan 30 at 14:29
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There are some options in the UK, such as the Open University. I'm also interested in learning more about History, and found some interesting looking courses at the University of Oxford's Continuing Education department.

Perhaps you, and future courses you apply to, would be able to gauge your interest and ability if you did one or more of these modules.

This applies more generally, as well, and could be achieved through online learning courses, for example.

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  • thanks the oxford online courses are a great idea. If I do a few of these I have to write papers, get them actually read by somebody, and something to include in an application if I don't get horribly put off – WendyG Jan 30 at 16:44
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I wouldn't expect your degree in computing from three decades ago to have much impact on your application for a postgraduate degree. You can confirm by contacting a perspective university. (I doubt university websites will be particularly useful, since they probably won't consider your situation.)

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To be accepted in any masters program, you're going to need at least one professor that will look at your application and say "yes, I'd like to supervise this student".

Normally, the admissions committee would be inspired by letters of recommendation from your undergrad profs, but in your case you'd be better off with letters from your current employer saying how dedicated and hard working you are.

Have you published any blogs etc. that demonstrate how well you can write? Do some of them discuss specific topics in history, showing your interest in the subject, and your knowledge and ability to analyze the facts and study their relationships?

But if you are able, the most helpful thing would be to visit the university and sit in on some classes. You might find it so boring that you'll change your mind. Or, you might find it so interesting that you'll discuss things with the professor. If you can impress a prof or two, that's where your most effective letters of recommendation will come from.

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