Confusion with traditional scottish MA and english BA...?

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bluepebbles
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By now I have worked out that this just seem to be just to different names for the graduation title of a three/ four year undergraduate course.
But supposing I m doing a combined honours study at a Scottish university, graduating with a master of arts. ( I intend to study philosophy and psychology) but want to do further study. Do I have to apply for a master course or will I have to do a PhD if I want to continue studying. I m asking because it seems weird to apply for a master's course if you already ( at least theoretically) have one... I really could use some help ...
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oxymoronic
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(Original post by bluepebbles)
By now I have worked out that this just seem to be just to different names for the graduation title of a three/ four year undergraduate course.
But supposing I m doing a combined honours study at a Scottish university, graduating with a master of arts. ( I intend to study philosophy and psychology) but want to do further study. Do I have to apply for a master course or will I have to do a PhD if I want to continue studying. I m asking because it seems weird to apply for a master's course if you already ( at least theoretically) have one... I really could use some help ...
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You would apply to a Masters course and then if that were a MA too, then you'd have an undergraduate MA and a postgraduate MA.

An undergraduate Scottish MA is the exact same as a BA from an English university, it isn't a real MA. If you did a course which had an integrated Masters (eg: physics, maths, engineering) then you'd have a 5 year course leading to a MPhys, MEng etc which is the same as a MPhys integrated Masters awarded by an English uni.
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Zedd
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It's not as simple as saying that the Scottish MA is equivalent to the English BA. In Scotland you can get MA(Hons) and BA(Hons) in non-scientific courses depending upon which university you attend. They are relatively similar in that each takes four years full-time study, and each has two years of honours studies which contribute to your honours classification. The comparison between the Scottish MA(Hons) and the English BA(Hons) is more difficult to clarify and the reasons for this are in themselves complicated. To give an example, in the junior honours year of my philosophy degree I did approximately 13,000 words worth of work and 3 examinations; this year I will be doing 21,000 words worth of work, a 10,000 word dissertation, 4 presentations, and two examinations. When I compare that to what BA(Hons) students do, I often find that I am having to do a lot more work, and that the nature of the work is more independent and research based. Even in comparison to some postgraduate MA courses in England I am doing more work.

If you apply to do a postgraduate course in Scotland you are more and more likely to complete one of the following: MRes, MLitt, MSci. This is to separate the undergraduate MA(Hons) from postgraduate courses, as well as allow for different types of postgraduate training.

EDIT- Regarding the PhD: If you want to complete a PhD in philosophy or psychology then you will still have to complete a postgraduate degree, most likely an MSci or MLitt dependant upon where you go, and then you could apply to a PhD or MPhil programme.
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oxymoronic
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(Original post by Zedd)
It's not as simple as saying that the Scottish MA is equivalent to the English BA.
It is equivalent in so far as both are undergraduate qualifications. Regardless of the amount of work you may have put into your personal degree course which happens to award MA (Hons) the case is that once you graduate you will have a qualification which is considered to be the same as a BA (Hons) from an English university then if you wanted to do further postgraduate study with either qualification, it would be the same route.

It's like how when you graduate from Cambridge with a BA you can "upgrade it" after a few years to a Cambridge MA. In so far as your academic qualifications are concerned, you still only have an undergraduate degree, it's just called something different. The same is the case with Scottish universities that award an MA for undergraduate study.
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Zedd
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(Original post by oxymoronic)
It is equivalent in so far as both are undergraduate qualifications. Regardless of the amount of work you may have put into your personal degree course which happens to award MA (Hons) the case is that once you graduate you will have a qualification which is considered to be the same as a BA (Hons) from an English university then if you wanted to do further postgraduate study with either qualification, it would be the same route.
An MChem and MPhys can be undergraduate degrees, but they aren't equivalent to BSc Chemistry or BSc Physics. I am not saying that an MA(Hons) from a Scottish university ought to be taken as being a postgraduate MA. What I am saying is that it's not as simple as saying that it's merely down to Scottish preference to disguise BA(Hons) as MA(Hons) because I suspect there could well be a difference between the two. As far as I'm aware there isn't any data on this, so I can't say more than that.

You're right in that they are regarded as being equivalent to pretty much anyone that takes your degree into consideration, and I wouldn't dispute that. I'm just pointing out that an MA(Hons) tends to involve more work than a BA(Hons), not simply in terms of length of degree but also in intensity.
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oxymoronic
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(Original post by Zedd)
An MChem and MPhys can be undergraduate degrees, but they aren't equivalent to BSc Chemistry or BSc Physics. I am not saying that an MA(Hons) from a Scottish university ought to be taken as being a postgraduate MA. What I am saying is that it's not as simple as saying that it's merely down to Scottish preference to disguise BA(Hons) as MA(Hons) because I suspect there could well be a difference between the two. As far as I'm aware there isn't any data on this, so I can't say more than that.
It's a historical thing, that's really all there is to it - that's what it's always been called. The MA/BA distinction also reflects that in the first two years of degrees students will often study a very broad, flexible range of subjects which is completely different to in English universities where you turn up and only study the subject you originally applied to study. I personally benefited an awful lot from continuing with other subjects (in my case, my languages) in first and second year of my degree, which had I studied in England, I wouldn't have been able to do it.

You're right in that they are regarded as being equivalent to pretty much anyone that takes your degree into consideration, and I wouldn't dispute that. I'm just pointing out that an MA(Hons) tends to involve more work than a BA(Hons), not simply in terms of length of degree but also in intensity.
I think this will depend between universities, as it will do within England too. I can't say that my degree at Edinburgh was substantially harder or more intensive in the later years as a consequence of it being 4 years than what I saw other people do with 3 years in England. I think it just depends on the university. For example, to me, your dissertation seems really short as my 4th year one was 18,000 words but it looks like you have had more assessed essays generally than I had so it's all relative.
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Good bloke
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(Original post by Zedd)
An MChem and MPhys can be undergraduate degrees, but they aren't equivalent to BSc Chemistry or BSc Physics.
No matter how many times you say that it isn't simple, it is. An MA from a Scottish ancient or one from Oxford or Cambridge is exactly equivalent to a BA from other universities. Undergraduate masters degrees, such as the MEng and MPhys, on the other hand, are equivalent to postgraduate masters (i.e real) degrees because of the extra year of study to get the qualification up from the bachelors level.
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Good bloke
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(Original post by oxymoronic)
I can't say that my degree at Edinburgh was substantially harder or more intensive in the later years as a consequence of it being 4 years than what I saw other people do with 3 years in England.
Don't forget the Scottish four year MA is designed for people who leave school a year earlier and younger than those for whom the English BA is designed. Many English students join Scottish degrees in year 2 for this reason.
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oxymoronic
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(Original post by Good bloke)
Don't forget the Scottish four year MA is designed for people who leave school a year earlier and younger than those for whom the English BA is designed. Many English students join Scottish degrees in year 2 for this reason.
Only in certain subjects, primarily the sciences and engineering areas. It isn't common across the board at all universities - I believe Aberdeen have more options for people studying arts/humanities subjects to do direct entry to 2nd year but this isn't something that is offered at all at Edinburgh and not at Glasgow either, as far as I'm aware. Regardless of your qualifications on entry, everyone doing arts/humanities degrees (where the MA is awarded) will start in first year at Edinburgh.
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Good bloke
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(Original post by oxymoronic)
Only in certain subjects, primarily the sciences and engineering areas. It isn't common across the board at all universities - I believe Aberdeen have more options for people studying arts/humanities subjects to do direct entry to 2nd year but this isn't something that is offered at all at Edinburgh and not at Glasgow either, as far as I'm aware. Regardless of your qualifications on entry, everyone doing arts/humanities degrees (where the MA is awarded) will start in first year at Edinburgh.
OK. Thanks.
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Zedd
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(Original post by Good bloke)
Don't forget the Scottish four year MA is designed for people who leave school a year earlier and younger than those for whom the English BA is designed. Many English students join Scottish degrees in year 2 for this reason.
(Original post by oxymoronic)
Only in certain subjects, primarily the sciences and engineering areas. It isn't common across the board at all universities - I believe Aberdeen have more options for people studying arts/humanities subjects to do direct entry to 2nd year but this isn't something that is offered at all at Edinburgh and not at Glasgow either, as far as I'm aware. Regardless of your qualifications on entry, everyone doing arts/humanities degrees (where the MA is awarded) will start in first year at Edinburgh.
Regarding the length: At Aberdeen I know that you have to have completed certain courses throughout the degree otherwise you won't be awarded a degree at all. So, for philosophy, you need to have done courses a, b, c in first year, and x, y, z in second. Only when you get to honours are you not obligated to take particular courses, although you are obligated to take x amount of junior honours courses and x amount of senior honours, as well as a dissertation. So, if an A-Level student were to apply to 2nd year entry in a humanities subject at Aberdeen, they would find themselves oversubscribed in courses so that they can progress into honours and eventually receive a degree. Generally speaking though I believe the norm is for English students to enter first year.
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Carnationlilyrose
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(Original post by oxymoronic)
Only in certain subjects, primarily the sciences and engineering areas. It isn't common across the board at all universities - I believe Aberdeen have more options for people studying arts/humanities subjects to do direct entry to 2nd year but this isn't something that is offered at all at Edinburgh and not at Glasgow either, as far as I'm aware. Regardless of your qualifications on entry, everyone doing arts/humanities degrees (where the MA is awarded) will start in first year at Edinburgh.
I'm aware that this is a slightly different case, but my son went directly into the second year of a Fine Art degree at ECA, whose degrees were awarded by Edinburgh at the time and which is now fully absorbed into Edinburgh University itself. It's the normal route for English students with an art foundation qualification.
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oxymoronic
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(Original post by carnationlilyrose)
I'm aware that this is a slightly different case, but my son went directly into the second year of a Fine Art degree at ECA, whose degrees were awarded by Edinburgh at the time and which is now fully absorbed into Edinburgh University itself. It's the normal route for English students with an art foundation qualification.
I always forget that Edinburgh now has ECA too as it wasn't anything that happened when I was studying there.. I have to say, it's not anything I know anything about so whenever I talk about the art/humanities I'm referring to the subjects that were in the College of Humanities and Social Science before ECA joined as an extra school last year, sorry.
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Carnationlilyrose
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(Original post by oxymoronic)
I always forget that Edinburgh now has ECA too as it wasn't anything that happened when I was studying there.. I have to say, it's not anything I know anything about so whenever I talk about the art/humanities I'm referring to the subjects that were in the College of Humanities and Social Science before ECA joined as an extra school last year, sorry.
I just thought I'd mention it because it might crop up. It has always been the case at ECA, but it's not been an issue for Edinburgh Uni students until now. Going back a few years now (I may mean decades, I realise) we used to get students going straight into the second year at the university from our English school. I don't recall when that stopped happening.
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crunchierock
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Old traditional scottiosh undergrads are awarded as MA - usually only for art, soc sci - for science usually is 4 years BSc (Edin, Dundee, StAndrews, Glasgow, Aberdeen). Postgrad is called Mlitt or Master of Letters
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johnfalc
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https://www.timeshighereducation.com...150077.article
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johnfalc
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Sir Graeme Davies Principal, Glasgow University.

The Scottish master of arts is not an ordinary undergraduate degree. When it was proposed in the recent Quality Assurance Agency consultation that Glasgow's MA should be replaced by a bachelor of arts degree, the university responded negatively. Glasgow was joined in its stand by Scotland's other ancient universities,
Aberdeen, St Andrews and Edinburgh, and by the University of Dundee.
Not only have members of our academic staff opposed the proposed changes, but concerns have been voiced by some of Glasgow's 40,000 MA graduates, who have picked up on the rumours. We owe it to them not to allow their degrees to be devalued.
There are many reasons we said no. For a start, the MA is enshrined in the origins of the university and is the hallmark of our degrees in arts and social sciences. A papal bull - which William Turnbull, who was then the bishop of Glasgow, obtained from Pope Nicholas V in 1451 - gives the university the right to award degrees. From that time a student in the third year was designated as Baccalaureat and could graduate BA. A fourth-year student was a Magistrand and at the end of the year was entitled to compete for an MA.
Yet the proposals outlined in the QAA's consultation paper on a revised qualifications framework simply tidied these things up without examining them properly.
The Scottish MA increases the length and depth of study. Students in their fourth year will study the material that might be abridged in other postgraduate MA courses.
There is no need for confusion north and south of the border as to what an MA means - the Scottish MA has been a mark of high quality for centuries. Students should not be put off by worries about the cost of another year of fees, as a great many of our courses are four years in length. But the MA in particular reflects the history of Scotland's education system.
We do offer a general three-year degree, which does not take subjects to honours level, but it is not studied so widely.
Students seem to prefer the breadth offered by the MA.
I believe it will be difficult for the QAA to force us to change our qualifications framework. Informal advice leads me to conclude that it would require a parliamentary sanction and Scotland's universities would undoubtedly act against one.
There is also the additional challenge presented at the end of our bull, which warns off those intent on threatening the system: "If anyone shall presume to attempt this, let them know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God, and of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul."
Should Scotland's MA be tidied up into a BA degree? Email us on [email protected]
SOAPBOX DEBATE
To comment on any issue raised, email us on [email protected] or join the debate on www.netnexus.org/ext/thes/soapbox
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Neifirst
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A Scottish undergrad MA is NOT equivalent to an English BA.

A Scottish Integrated Masters is 5 years, 600 credits.
An English Integrated Masters is 4 years, 480 credits.

A Scottish Masters (MLitt) is 1 year, 180credits.
An English Masters (MA) is 1 year, 120 credits.

A Scottish PGDip is 9 months, 120 credits.
An English PGDip is 9 months, 60 credits.

A Scottish undergrad MA is 4 years, 480 credits.
An English undergrad BA is 3 years, 360 credits.

A Scottish undergrad BSc is 4 years, 480 credits.
An English undergrad BSc is 3 years, 360 credits.

A Scottish General Degree is 3 years, 360 credits.
I can't find any information on a General Degree existing in England.

A Scottish General degree is equivalent to an BA. A Scottish MA is equivalent to a BA and an English MA.

So now you know. The Scottish Ancient Universities don't consider someone as a graduate in any specific subject unless they have completed 480 credits of work.
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username738914
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(Original post by Neifirst)
A Scottish undergrad MA is NOT equivalent to an English BA.

A Scottish Integrated Masters is 5 years, 600 credits.
An English Integrated Masters is 4 years, 480 credits.

A Scottish Masters (MLitt) is 1 year, 180credits.
An English Masters (MA) is 1 year, 120 credits.

A Scottish PGDip is 9 months, 120 credits.
An English PGDip is 9 months, 60 credits.

A Scottish undergrad MA is 4 years, 480 credits.
An English undergrad BA is 3 years, 360 credits.

A Scottish undergrad BSc is 4 years, 480 credits.
An English undergrad BSc is 3 years, 360 credits.

A Scottish General Degree is 3 years, 360 credits.
I can't find any information on a General Degree existing in England.

A Scottish General degree is equivalent to an BA. A Scottish MA is equivalent to a BA and an English MA.

So now you know. The Scottish Ancient Universities don't consider someone as a graduate in any specific subject unless they have completed 480 credits of work.
A Scottish general degree is equivalent to an English BA without honours (aka ordinary degree).

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Neifirst
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(Original post by Good bloke)
No matter how many times you say that it isn't simple, it is. An MA from a Scottish ancient or one from Oxford or Cambridge is exactly equivalent to a BA from other universities. Undergraduate masters degrees, such as the MEng and MPhys, on the other hand, are equivalent to postgraduate masters (i.e real) degrees because of the extra year of study to get the qualification up from the bachelors level.
How 'exactly' is that? 😂
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