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Postgraduate diploma to Ph.D ?

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    I've been studying this year for a taught M.Res. I have just found out that I have failed to make the grade to progress to the research project. I am appealing, but the likely outcome is that I will be awarded a postgraduate diploma.
    The reason I failed to reach the criteria was that the course was maths orientated, I'm average at maths and below grade at maths exams, which were the reason for the low grades.
    I am a biologist and am currently annoyed with myself for taking on the challenge of a statistics based course. In the non-statistics modules I averaged 68%
    I want to do a Ph.D. so I am wondering how much not completing the masters will hold me back.
    So is it worth keeping applying for Ph.Ds, or look to work in industry for a year or two and then apply?
    Any thoughts would be most welcome
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    I would imagine it is going to be difficult if you are competing for a PhD place against applicants with Masters degrees, especially if the failed statistics module is going to be on the transcript for your Postgraduate Diploma.

    Is there no way you can retake the module?
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    There were several statistics modules, I don't think I can re-sit as I passed the modules (effectively getting 2.2s), they served to drag my average down below that required to progress to the dissertation (i.e equivalent of at least a 2.1 average) I recieved over 70 % for the coursework, my exam performance seriously dragged me down.
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    Can't be of much help but here is my two pence worth:

    I'm guessing your appeal is based on the fact that you're good at the rest of it except for the stats. Maybe your PhD application can be based on the same thing. Are you looking to do your PhD in something biology based?

    I agree with the person above who said that you will be competing with other people who have masters degrees, for a PhD place. What is your undergrad degree in? Could you possibly get some research experience outside of your course. If not then maybe going into industry for a while may help. What about doing another, more biology research oriented MRes degree?

    Oh and you mentioned a taught MRes? I don't think that actually exists! You either do a taugh MSc or an MRes!
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    Thanks for the feedback guys.
    I'm still feeling rather frustrated. Re: the transcript, it seems that after 9 months of study I've made my Ph.D applications poorer, which is daft but that would be the perception.
    I could do another Masters, this will take more more time and living very frugally. or I set about getting some research experience, probably for no money at all, but also an option. If only i had a time machine.
    My B.Sc is in Biology, I chose the M.Res course to bolster my stats, as any Biology Ph.D will require stats to analyse experimental data. My stats have improved a lot over the last year, but my ability to do maths exams has simply not kept pace, it was hard enough getting my head around doing the stats and learning to write computer programs which was also new to me, especially at PG level.
    It's also a bad time of year for getting onto things.
    There seem to be a number of taught M.Res courses, perhaps they are just for us Biology types?
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    I think the confusion is with your use of the term 'taught MRes'. MRes courses are generally considered research masters (as oppose to taught MSc courses), because the focus is primarily on completing research projects, even if there are a few taught modules.
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    I find the M.Res term confusing myself. The course I have been doing is mainly a taught course, yet leads to award of M.Res.
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    Have you tried talking to some of the lectuers and researchers involved in the field you would like to do a PhD in? They will probably have a good insight into what you can do to maximise your chances, whether that is another masters course or gaining more research experience.
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    If you've spent most of your masters degree writing computer programs then its not very relevant to biology research unless you plan to do a bioinformatics PhD. If you want to do something more research based then I would strongly suggest getting more research experience. Even more so because you will not come out of this masters course with much or any because you say you're not going to do a research project.

    Yes you do need to understand basic stats to do biology research but certainly not to a PG stats course level, especially if you're struggling with it.

    Good luck and let us know how you get on. PM if you want to talk some more.


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