St Andrews (When can I apply and what should I apply for?)

Hi I’m a student from the US who wants to apply to St Andrews. I cant seem to figure out when applications for St Andrews open. Does anyone know the earliest I can apply?

Also I am interested in studying Classics and IR, which one should I apply for?

You can apply thru the common app and can apply as soon as your application is complete. Admission is rolling in a manner of speaking because the department of the subject you apply to decides your admittance not an adcom. Note that you will need an essay separate from your common app essay that supports/explains why you want to and study the subjects you are applying for. UK schools are not interested in forming a well rounded class as much as they want kids who are passionate about the subject they are applying to study and have done well academically in that subject.

You can apply to both or either one. IR is probably the most popular and the most difficult to gain admittance so if you want to study IR definitely apply for it.

You can also apply for classics but be aware you could get accepted for classics and rejected for IR. Also you must take modules first year in all subjects you apply and are accepted into so that would leave you with one “elective” module if you are accepted for classics and IR.

Thanks that’s really helpful. If I were to apply for both, would I write two separate statements for each subject or would I get the same amount of space?

You write one essay because it’s considered a joint honours (akin to a double major in the US). However, if you decide at the end of your first year you’d like to proceed with one and drop the other that’s permissible too.

When drafting your essay the key points you should consider addressing are:

Your interest in both.
Your aptitude for both, and what you’ve done to develop your interest and knowledge in them. In the UK students begin honing interest in their subjects in the couple of years before they apply to university unlike US high school students.

Why you want to study them together, and how the two might complement each other.
How you see these two subjects fitting in with your longer-term goals (if you have some at this stage…not everyone does).

It can be a little tricky because you want to give equal attention to both subjects. One way might be to begin by talking about one subject, then the other, and then perhaps adding a line or two about why you think it would be beneficial to study them together.

Alternatively, you could talk about the first subject (what motivates you to study it, what aspects particularly interest you, and so forth), and then discuss the second in relation to the first, discussing why you think it complements the first and why a joint honours course benefits you and your goals.

Just some ideas.

You can do it two ways: either apply for the courses separately, but make the case for why each is a great fit for you in the one essay OR do a joint degree (Classics AND IR), in which you sell the profs from both depts on why they work together,

IMO they are both very high-risk strategies. If you are that unsure of what you want to study the UK may not be the place for you…

ps, if you decide to apply for a joint degree, note that the subject with the higher admissions requirements is the one that applies.

Thanks for the replies. Great info. St. Andrews doesn’t have a particular joint degree for classics and IR, so would it be best to apply for single honours IR and then add classics later?? I don’t see how I could apply for both of them at least through the common app. Should I do direct app then or just put classics as a backup?

You can only apply through one portal- Common App OR UCAS. You can apply for up to 5 courses on UCAS, so you could apply for each- but as I said earlier, you only write one essay, and it would be an interesting challenge to write that essay!

If you really want to study both at the university level the US really is a better bet for you.

Have you tried talking this through with someone at St. Andrews? Their Admissions people are helpful, and they understand the Scottish system is unfamiliar to Americans. While the individual departments make their own admissions decisions, there is an overall admissions team that does info sessions, etc.

If you want to take Ancient Civilization and International Relations at St A’s, the UCAS course code is is VL21, institution code S36. If you want to take Classical Studies and International Relations there, the course code is LQ28. I suggest you look at the UCAS listings and university webpages for more detail.

If you do not want to apply to the joint honors and really want to take IR courses at St A’s, then I suggest applying for IR. I have anecdotally heard that some students were not able to choose IR as an option course (although this was not a problem for my child, so this may depend on your own qualifications, accepted major, or academic advisor).

I can’t entirely agree with the comment that your personal statement should relate to what you are applying to study. My son’s personal statement had absolutely nothing to do with his interests of study. He was offered admissions, joint hounors program IR/Modern History. His essay was very emotional, describing a challenging time he faced and how he overcame it.