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My first degree was in Economics and Finance. Frankly, I didn't do very well, although I did do enough to scrape a 2:1. There were a number of legitimate reasons for this underperformance, but it's still a fact.

Anyway,that was ten years ago. I am wondering whether studying a masters in one subject will bolster my chances of being accepted to a prestigious masters programme. E.g. if I study, say, an Msc in statistics at a lower-Russell Group uni now, would that bolster my chances of subsequently being accepted to a top sociology or poli sci programne at a top school? Or would it not make any difference?

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  • Who can say? Why not just apply to the program you really want and see what happens? – Buffy May 2 '20 at 22:39
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Presumably a higher relevant qualification ---or an equivalent qualification that is more recent and with better performance--- will be more valuable than an older qualification with poorer performance. Additionally, having a Masters degree in statistics (hopefully with good performance) would be of relevant value to entry into sociology or political science. As to whether it is necessary, who can say. Perhaps the best option is to apply to both ---i.e., apply to the top schools for immediate entry, and also apply to the MSc in Statistics as a fall-back. If you are not accepted for the former, you can still do the latter and then re-apply more strongly later.

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Right now, you will be accepted almost anywhere you apply for a Masters in the UK, so I would definitely suggest looking at the same university level or higher - do not limit yourself. Your first degree is quite relevant to Statistics, which gives you an edge, and besides already holding a Masters shows your level. I am confident you will not have a problem being accepted even in elite institutions.

On the second part of the question, on Sociology or Political Science, I am not clear on what you have in mind so I can only suppose you intend to apply for a PhD. There are many areas of both that use statistical analysis (e.g. voting patterns) and a quantitative background is always an asset, and Economics is always relevant to Politics. It is definitely relevant but puts you in the front row only for some areas - a more traditional choice like International Relations or History and Philosophy might be closer to a "one size fits all" approach to PhD applications in Sociology and Political Sciences. However, a candidate with your suggested background will be highly sought after in specific areas to the forefront, and there is a movement of Political Science research towards quantitative methods, so your second degree will be a very good fit.

Overall, it boils down to what interests you and I have no clue on that, but EconFin + Stats is quite a competitive background, especially for the private sector, and highly sought for a wide selection of Social Sciences research.

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