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    Hi,

    I'm an undergraduated student of physics from Berlin. At the moment I'm studying abroad in Paris for a year.
    After I finished my BSc I want to do a masters in southern England.

    I've read in this Forum to get a picture of the whole masters-culture in UK and I've gained some impressions. I'll describe it, hoping that you will confirm or revise it:
    1) Doing a master degree isn't the normal way of finishing someones academic education. A Bachelor degree is enough to get yourself into the job market. Am I right?
    2) In Oxbridge there are thousands of students applying for each university place. Is it like that at other universities, too? Do I have a chance of getting a place at university with 2.1 grades at all?
    3) You can rise your chances for a postgraduate study place if you have work experiance. Is it common to spend several years working between Bachelor and Master?
    4) Universities are absolutely free with their decision of who will get a place at university. Are there facts which raise your chances, except the grades?
    5) Is it common to send your Bachelor thesis with your application for a Masters? How is its importance for the masters place?
    6) There is a chance to begin with the PhD right after the BSc. Is this whats called these MPhil-degrees? I think the odds to get into such programs are lower than for a MSc?

    I apologise for eventual mistakes. English isn't my mother language.
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    I did a Masters in UK more than 15years after my first degree. I live outside UK, so I have been looking at Masters degrees in Germany and other countries. The first thing I noticed is that doing a Masters in Europe is something that is generally done immediately after a first degree. In fact I am amazed by the number of young student PhD I see, that have minimal work experience.

    The postgrad degree that one takes after work experience in mainland Europe seems to be called the Masters of Advanced Studies (MAS).

    It is not clear to me yet how much of an effect have a MSc opposed to MAS will make to employers perception of the degree outside UK. I have not seen a college in UK that offers MAS, so almost all universities and colleges offer the MSc or MA as the higher degree either part-taught or research.

    What I do know is that Masters education is the requirement for many chartered institutions now. Doing it after some work experience will obviously enhance your prospects to feed your experience into the learning, but it really depends on your chosen subject.

    Hope this helps
    TBD
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    (Original post by fragant)
    Hi,

    I'm an undergraduated student of physics from Berlin. At the moment I'm studying abroad in Paris for a year.
    After I finished my BSc I want to do a masters in southern England.

    I've read in this Forum to get a picture of the whole masters-culture in UK and I've gained some impressions. I'll describe it, hoping that you will confirm or revise it:
    1) Doing a master degree isn't the normal way of finishing someones academic education. A Bachelor degree is enough to get yourself into the job market. Am I right?
    2) In Oxbridge there are thousands of students applying for each university place. Is it like that at other universities, too? Do I have a chance of getting a place at university with 2.1 grades at all?
    3) You can rise your chances for a postgraduate study place if you have work experiance. Is it common to spend several years working between Bachelor and Master?
    4) Universities are absolutely free with their decision of who will get a place at university. Are there facts which raise your chances, except the grades?
    5) Is it common to send your Bachelor thesis with your application for a Masters? How is its importance for the masters place?
    6) There is a chance to begin with the PhD right after the BSc. Is this whats called these MPhil-degrees? I think the odds to get into such programs are lower than for a MSc?

    I apologise for eventual mistakes. English isn't my mother language.
    1)Yes you can obviously work with just a Bachelor's degree but for certain jobs a Master's is required or recommended. Depending on what job you would like to have later, you should check whether a Master's would be necessary or useful.

    2) There are less applicants for graduate studies than for undergraduate studies at Oxbridge and most UK unis. It isnt always thousands of students vying for one place, it really depends on the subject. Thousands is really exaggerated. You can see on Oxford's website how many applicants for a subject applied last year and how many were offered a place. I give you an example for astrophysics.http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/postg...rophysics.html

    You can see on the right side bar that only 65 students applied and 12 were offered a place. For Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics only 27 people applied and 8 were offered a place.http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/postg...c_oceanic.html

    3) You can apply directly after having completed your Undergraduate's. In fact, many apply while still doing it and apply in their last year of their Bachelor. Others wait a bit between Bachelor and Master's but that is not required. Some people say it would be better if you want to do an MBA.

    Some universities do not put a lot of emphasis on work experience while others do, but they dont expect you to have worked for years in between a Bachelor's and a Master's. Usually they refer to work experience you have done while doing your Bachelor such as internships, ferial jobs, workshop, taking part in conferences or certain projects.Normally it is not a requirement but obviously it might work in your favour.

    4) Your grades will be the most important criteria to get a place. But your personal statement and references play a part in this too. Some universities put a lot of importance on personal statements such as Uni Bristol. If 2 people have the same grades the person with the better PS will have the advantage. There are many people who fulfill the grade requirements so obviously they need to look at other things too.
    This is where references, work experience and your PS come into play. For Oxbridge the research proposal will also be a factor or the written work samples.

    5) No, it is not common to send your Bachelor thesis along with your application. No one does this. Some universities or degree programmes require written work samples of about 2000 words and they often let you choose whether this is an individual piece or an excerpt of a longer piece. If it is the latter, you can send in a piece (2000 words long) of your thesis.

    6) I dont know anything about this. You should be able to ask the British Council in Paris about this. They will know best.

    And yes, you shouldnt have a problem at all to get into a good university with a 2:1 degree, most universities have requirements listed for other countries such as Germany or France. You can even get into most subjects at Oxbridge with a 2:1. Other good universities are Warwick, Imperial,UCL. Competition will be tough but you wont have thousands of competitors.
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    Will you get a Dipl Physics from your course or just a Bachelors? This is significant following the Bologna sellout, sorry agreement when for reasons unknown, a diploma is considered to be on a level with Masters....which may be significant if you want to become a chartered something and may not need the Masters to do so....

    TBD

    (Original post by fragant)
    Hi,

    I'm an undergraduated student of physics from Berlin. At the moment I'm studying abroad in Paris for a year.
    After I finished my BSc I want to do a masters in southern England.

    I've read in this Forum to get a picture of the whole masters-culture in UK and I've gained some impressions. I'll describe it, hoping that you will confirm or revise it:
    1) Doing a master degree isn't the normal way of finishing someones academic education. A Bachelor degree is enough to get yourself into the job market. Am I right?
    2) In Oxbridge there are thousands of students applying for each university place. Is it like that at other universities, too? Do I have a chance of getting a place at university with 2.1 grades at all?
    3) You can rise your chances for a postgraduate study place if you have work experiance. Is it common to spend several years working between Bachelor and Master?
    4) Universities are absolutely free with their decision of who will get a place at university. Are there facts which raise your chances, except the grades?
    5) Is it common to send your Bachelor thesis with your application for a Masters? How is its importance for the masters place?
    6) There is a chance to begin with the PhD right after the BSc. Is this whats called these MPhil-degrees? I think the odds to get into such programs are lower than for a MSc?

    I apologise for eventual mistakes. English isn't my mother language.
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    I'll finish my studies in Germany with a Bachelors.
    I'm optimstic now about finding a place for doing the masters degree. Everything seems to be similar to Germany.

    Except for the MPhil. That's something I didn't know. Do you do a MPhil if you want to make an academic career?
    I see that there are less MPhil courses than taught MSc. Are the chances to get into a MPhil course lower than these for a MSc?
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    (Original post by fragant)
    I'll finish my studies in Germany with a Bachelors.
    I'm optimstic now about finding a place for doing the masters degree. Everything seems to be similar to Germany.

    Except for the MPhil. That's something I didn't know. Do you do a MPhil if you want to make an academic career?
    I see that there are less MPhil courses than taught MSc. Are the chances to get into a MPhil course lower than these for a MSc?
    It's hard to make a call about "all MPhil" degrees or "all MSc" degrees. People will often do an MA or MSc and then progress to a PhD/DPhil if they want to pursue an academic career. However, if you want more postgraduate grounding in your subject, you might prefer to undertake a 2 year MPhil. But then, sometimes the title of the degree just reflects the discipline - ie. Master of Arts vs. Master of Science. And then again, sometimes it doesn't: ie. I'm applying for postgrad degrees in a humanities field, and some of the Masters I have applied for have been MSc, one MA, and one MPhil (all pretty much the same subject though). You couldn't say whether an MPhil is easier to get into than an MSc - it depends on the field and the institution.

    My advice would be to look at each option individually. Start with the subject you want to study and why you want to study it. Then look at the particular universities and their reputations in that area/whether there are particular people or institutes or research groups you would like to work with/within. Then find out specific information about the degrees.
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    I'm not too sure what field you are in, but in my dept. an MPhil is what people do if they aren't expected to pass their PhD.

    So, at some point between 15 and 21 months of working towards a PhD the student has to go through an interview-style exam with their internal and external examiners which proves that they have a suitably original research question and the potential to reach PhD standard by the end of 36 months (with an additional 12 months to write up if needed). If the student can't prove this, then they are dropped to an MPhil program and they need to quickly submit a thesis based on their preliminary research (and do some more if necessary) by the end of 24 months to gain the MPhil.

    Essentially, the MPhil is for people that have dropped down from a PhD for whatever reason.

    This may not be the case for all departments/subjects at all universities. I know at some all students who aim for a PhD are registered on an MPhil course and then have to prove their abilities at an upgrade meeting. Whereas for us, it's prove yourself or be downgraded.

    Does that make sense?
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    NewDana's description is generally true for most UK postgrad MPhil programmes (You'll see this as "MPhil/PhD" in most prospectuses.

    The two major exceptions are Oxbridge, where the MPhils are stand alone degrees but at different durations.

    Oxford
    - You should be careful and look at each Department's page carefully. I know at Oxford's Department of Politics and International Relations that it's the MSc and not the MPhil that leads you directly into the DPhil. And that one has the most difficult acceptance rate and demands a very fine tuned research proposal.

    -Social Science courses that are labelled "MPhil" are two years and a lot of students take them as terminal degrees. So they're taken by those that would not be satisfied with just one year learning the programme, a few look for jobs directly after.

    - The one thing you can gain from doing this is if you choose to stay on to a doctoral program. If you're a UK/EU resident you can apply for an ESRC+2 studentship (instead of the +3) and skip the Probationary Research Student year if you continue your DPhil in Oxford. Though for other PhD programs, they wouldn't necessarily take an MPhil student over an MSc/MA student.

    - I suppose another plus is that if you're sure that your PhD thesis will be a continuation of your MPhil dissertation, the 40,000 words that you would have already written at that point could save a lot of time and may be usable for the PhD's eventual 100,000 words. Compare this with the usual 10,000-15,000 word limit for 1-year MSc dissertation at other unis.


    Cambridge
    -MPhils are 1-year long terminal taught-degrees with 10,000 word dissertations (What you'd find as MSc or MAs in other unis), unless they are noted as a specialized research-track which may take two years.

    -Many MPhil students at Cambridge also don't necessarily have aspirations for a PhD and, while you can make internal transfer arrangements after results, it's not connected to the PhD like an MPhil/PhD at other unis are
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    (Original post by newDana)
    I'm not too sure what field you are in, but in my dept. an MPhil is what people do if they aren't expected to pass their PhD.

    (Original post by WaltzvWendt)
    NewDana's description is generally true for most UK postgrad MPhil programmes (You'll see this as "MPhil/PhD" in most prospectuses.
    This is a somewhat simplistic way of looking at the MPhil degree, and you can really never say it's for failed PhD students!!

    There are many people who would choose to undertake a two year MPhil for a wide variety of reasons. For instance, one, out of interest or passion in the subject, as unfashionable an idea as that may be. Two, in order to change research focus and acquire a background in a new subject or field. Three, if you did your BA in a different subject to what you wish to conduct your PhD research in, as a 'bridging' degree. Four, if you didn't obtain a first class in your undergraduate degree, an MPhil could be an excellent way of still gaining entry to a competitive PhD programme.

    Plus, as has already been mentioned, Masters degree names are not in any way standardised: in the UK or anywhere worldwide, so one person's MPhil might be another's MA or MSc.
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    (Original post by WaltzvWendt)
    Oxford
    - You should be careful and look at each Department's page carefully. I know at Oxford's Department of Politics and International Relations that it's the MSc and not the MPhil that leads you directly into the DPhil. And that one has the most difficult acceptance rate and demands a very fine tuned research proposal.

    -Social Science courses that are labelled "MPhil" are two years and a lot of students take them as terminal degrees. So they're taken by those that would not be satisfied with just one year learning the programme, a few look for jobs directly after.

    - The one thing you can gain from doing this is if you choose to stay on to a doctoral program. If you're a UK/EU resident you can apply for an ESRC+2 studentship (instead of the +3) and skip the Probationary Research Student year if you continue your DPhil in Oxford. Though for other PhD programs, they wouldn't necessarily take an MPhil student over an MSc/MA student.

    - I suppose another plus is that if you're sure that your PhD thesis will be a continuation of your MPhil dissertation, the 40,000 words that you would have already written at that point could save a lot of time and may be usable for the PhD's eventual 100,000 words. Compare this with the usual 10,000-15,000 word limit for 1-year MSc dissertation at other unis.


    [ents after results, it's not connected to the PhD like an MPhil/PhD at other unis are
    I think you've got that wrong. Whilst the department does offer a couple of MSC's intended to take you onto DPhil, many people do MPhil to DPhil in my experience. Lots do just the MPhil too, but generally 1/2-2/3 stay on from the IR MPhil.

    And, while in theory you can complete a DPhil in 2 years after that, it's often more like 3 years. The accepted practice is that the research that you've done for your 30,000 word MPhil will feed into your 90,000 word DPhil but you wouldn't just copy and paste. You are expected exapnd the project.

    MPhils do most of the PRS (probationer research student) research methods training so they can progress to DPhil status faster, and have already started on their research.
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    I see, that it must not be a disadvantage if you do a MSc instead of a MPhil if you want to do an academic career. Maybe it's more advisable to do the MSc if you want to change your uni for the PhD.

    If you're in a PhD or DPhil program, does someone see you more as a student or a employee (I don't know if thats the word I want to say. I mean someone who's done with his studies) in UK?

    When you're in a MPhil/DPhil program and when you're done with the first year (like finished your MPhil), do you still have to pay study-fees? Because that's what I found on a uni-page, I think. In Germany you normally get paid for doing a PhD.

    Is there a inofficial ranking of the universities? Such like
    1) Oxbridge
    2) Rest of Russel Group
    3) Rest
    Do you get necessarily a better postgrad-education in a uni the higher it is in such a ranking?
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    (Original post by fragant)
    Is there a inofficial ranking of the universities? Such like
    1) Oxbridge
    2) Rest of Russel Group
    3) Rest
    Do you get necessarily a better postgrad-education in a uni the higher it is in such a ranking?
    The short answer is no. It makes no sense to go to Oxford or Cambridge if they haven't the expertise to undertake the field of research you're interested in. The same applies to the rest of the Russell Group too. There are many institutions in the UK that fall outside that rather elitist grouping of universities and many academics as well and they all offer expertise in a diverse range of fields. Although Oxford and Cambridge have been trying to improve the way they teach and research in my field, history, they're still a long way behind many of the newer, younger departments and that judgement holds for the rest of the Russell Group too. In any case, research postgrads should try to rise above the facile, business-like obsession with ranking and position, no?
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    (Original post by fragant)
    I see, that it must not be a disadvantage if you do a MSc instead of a MPhil if you want to do an academic career. Maybe it's more advisable to do the MSc if you want to change your uni for the PhD.

    If you're in a PhD or DPhil program, does someone see you more as a student or a employee (I don't know if thats the word I want to say. I mean someone who's done with his studies) in UK?

    When you're in a MPhil/DPhil program and when you're done with the first year (like finished your MPhil), do you still have to pay study-fees? Because that's what I found on a uni-page, I think. In Germany you normally get paid for doing a PhD.

    Is there a inofficial ranking of the universities? Such like
    1) Oxbridge
    2) Rest of Russel Group
    3) Rest
    Do you get necessarily a better postgrad-education in a uni the higher it is in such a ranking?
    The answer to pretty much all your questions is that it depends on the programme and university. There are no hard and fast rules.

    The names of masters programmes vary between universities.

    The way in which you are viewed depends on the department and what you are doing.

    Fees and funding vary between universities. There is a fee for doing a PHD but some people (mainly in sciences) get funding which cover fees and gives a stipend. But not everyone does.

    The ranking of the university depends on your field.
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    (Original post by Little Jules)
    I think you've got that wrong. Whilst the department does offer a couple of MSC's intended to take you onto DPhil, many people do MPhil to DPhil in my experience. Lots do just the MPhil too, but generally 1/2-2/3 stay on from the IR MPhil.

    And, while in theory you can complete a DPhil in 2 years after that, it's often more like 3 years. The accepted practice is that the research that you've done for your 30,000 word MPhil will feed into your 90,000 word DPhil but you wouldn't just copy and paste. You are expected exapnd the project.

    MPhils do most of the PRS (probationer research student) research methods training so they can progress to DPhil status faster, and have already started on their research.
    Ah, I see. Perhaps trends may have changed. I should be more careful in using specific departments as examples. I was recalling information from a DPIR open day years ago (2006) and the MPhil students I've spoken to said that after the MPhil typically jobs were applied to the WTO, UN, and other regional//international bodies . In the open day speech the faculty has mentiond that most of the North American students take the IR MPhil and then apply to US law schools afterwards. For REES MPhils in Oxford (I know, not exactly IR) that I've more an immediate and personal connection, the majority decided not to make PhD/DPhil applications at the end despite their methods trainings and use the elevated "name brand" of their degrees for the private sector.

    I'm aware of the 2-year " is not exactly 2-year" time discrepancy. And have made numerous allusions in other posts in the forum related to ESRC +3s that the 3-year PhD may be a misnomer in recent times. It wasn't until I entered the PhD that it was warned that 3 years are when ideally research should be completed prior to writing-up. This isn't to say you can't complete a PhD in 3 years, I do know a few that managed, it's just difficult! I mentioned the ESRC+2 as a point of reference to which scheme and how many years of funding one would receive. It was the name of a scheme mentioned by Oxford MPhil friends that wished to continue to doctoral studies. This is separate from an ESRC +3, what someone that completed an LSE IR MSc would apply for. It was not a reflection on the actual time in reality a PhD would be completed in, but the funding guidelines. In any case, I've been told (though haven't seen this confirmed) that universities are penalized and made to pay fines to research councils if their PhDs are not completed within the funding time frames.

    Note I did say "useable" and was not necessarily alluding to a cut and paste job. Most of us doing PhDs have drafts of tens of thousands of words of draft chapters during the course of our 3 years, but they will all will undoubtedly need modifcation by the time our writing up periods commence. A colleague of mine is completing their PhD at my department after obtaining an Oxford MPhil in International Relations (you might even know him), and his proposal and 30,000 word writings are being expected to form an integral part of his current PhD project. I don't see these numerous caveats as absolutely helpful to prospective students though. It's dependant on the personal working style, project, and motivation whether they complete it within those 2 years or 3 years of funding. It is certainly not unheard of that a PhD is truly completed in 3 years (including the thesis submission).
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    (Original post by WaltzvWendt)
    Ah, I see. Perhaps trends may have changed. I should be more careful in using specific departments as examples. I was recalling information from a DPIR open day years ago (2006) and the MPhil students I've spoken to said that after the MPhil typically jobs were applied to the WTO, UN, and other regional//international bodies . In the open day speech the faculty has mentiond that most of the North American students take the IR MPhil and then apply to US law schools afterwards. For REES MPhils in Oxford (I know, not exactly IR) that I've more an immediate and personal connection, the majority decided not to make PhD/DPhil applications at the end despite their methods trainings and use the elevated "name brand" of their degrees for the private sector.
    I think it varies. Of the 22-odd MPhil students, you get a number applying for DPhils (in Ox or elsewhere) and others for jobs. I think our year has fewer DPhils than normal but that's largely because of funding restrictions this year. Equally, we only had 3 North American students in our year, whereas they often have more like 10, so we are different. Only one of those is doing law now. There seems to have been a trend for US students to get (unfunded, I think) DPhil places in Ox after their MPhil and then go and do law in the US at the same time. That's now been cracked down on as they were basically taking up places and doing no work!

    So the MPhil is entirely accepted as a stand-alone degree (which is what I'm using it for) but for many people it's a stepping stone to DPhil. Well, in IR anyway, but from what I've seen & heard, in other departments across Oxford too. But some departments have more one year masters.

    (Original post by WaltzvWendt)
    I'm aware of the 2-year " is not exactly 2-year" time discrepancy. And have made numerous allusions in other posts in the forum related to ESRC +3s that the 3-year PhD may be a misnomer in recent times. It wasn't until I entered the PhD that it was warned that 3 years are when ideally research should be completed prior to writing-up. This isn't to say you can't complete a PhD in 3 years, I do know a few that managed, it's just difficult! I mentioned the ESRC+2 as a point of reference to which scheme and how many years of funding one would receive. It was the name of a scheme mentioned by Oxford MPhil friends that wished to continue to doctoral studies. This is separate from an ESRC +3, what someone that completed an LSE IR MSc would apply for. It was not a reflection on the actual time in reality a PhD would be completed in, but the funding guidelines. In any case, I've been told (though haven't seen this confirmed) that universities are penalized and made to pay fines to research councils if their PhDs are not completed within the funding time frames.

    Note I did say "useable" and was not necessarily alluding to a cut and paste job. Most of us doing PhDs have drafts of tens of thousands of words of draft chapters during the course of our 3 years, but they will all will undoubtedly need modifcation by the time our writing up periods commence. A colleague of mine is completing their PhD at my department after obtaining an Oxford MPhil in International Relations (you might even know him), and his proposal and 30,000 word writings are being expected to form an integral part of his current PhD project. I don't see these numerous caveats as absolutely helpful to prospective students though. It's dependant on the personal working style, project, and motivation whether they complete it within those 2 years or 3 years of funding. It is certainly not unheard of that a PhD is truly completed in 3 years (including the thesis submission).
    I just wanted to highlight a misconception that Oxford is often quite happy to peddle (MPhil to DPhil = 2+2) which in reality many find doesn't work. I haven't heard about the ESRC +2 funding - I think we were all encouraged to apply for +3 this year, although given that we just told the department that we wanted to apply for ESRC & departmental funding if we were applying for a DPhil place, there wasn't much talk of specifics.

    You'll have to PM me the name of the person you know - I just can't think who it is!
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    If you go the academic path - I mean, if you study, do a PhD and 1-2 postdocs, is there a chance in UK to get a permanent position not as a professor?
    In other words: Are there permanent positions in research or teaching at university, except professorship?

    Because in Germany, these kind of positions have been reduced over the last 15 (my estimation) years. For that reason everyone in research at university wants a professorship and who doesn't get it must hope for another contract every 3-4 years. In France it's not that bad. How is it in UK?
 
 
 
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