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    Hey there,

    (Undergraduate masters)
    I was wondering if anyone knew, if you're intending on pursuing for a PhD, how relevant does your master research project have to be towards the PhD area?

    And, if you don't like any of the master projects offered, is there a possiblility of coming up with your own?

    Cheers



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    My Masters dissertation was in a different area to my current PhD. If you're going for a funded PhD then it would definitely help to have a track record in the area, but I'm funding myself at the moment so I suspect it's less of an issue than my general competence.

    When you do a Masters in my field - and I don't know if the same for all - you have to formulate your own project. My taught Masters coursework included the initial Lit Review and draft Project Plan. Sometimes staff have work you can do, but - again, in my field and it may not be the same across the board - it's considered a bit of a failure to take this up unless you can create your own spin on the project.
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    (Original post by danchemuk)
    [...] I was wondering if anyone knew, if you're intending on pursuing for a PhD, how relevant does your master research project have to be towards the PhD area?

    And, if you don't like any of the master projects offered, is there a possiblility of coming up with your own? [...]
    I suppose it depends on your field and where the money is coming from. In the arts, humanities, and social sciences you would be expected to come up with your own project irrespective of where the money comes from. There are few funded PhD projects, which lecturers have to apply for themselves, because universities are allocated research funding on a block basis (this has already changed somewhat with ESRC into research clusters). But when research councils are involved they always like to see a continuation from the master's dissertation to the PhD (a test run of sorts). Even when you have a defined topic most lecturers are open to changes and individual interpretations of the research area.

    The situation is different in STEM subjects where there is far less control. The student is basically just helping the supervisor in lots of cases, as far as I can glean from reading this forum.
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    For science subjects, it isn't always possible to do a master's project in a field relevant to your phd, and the people reviewing your application will understand this. (I have friends in exactly this situation who have several phd offers.) You should still be able to choose a project that develops relevant skills though (lab skills/programming/theoretical work etc.).

    Whether or not you can make up your own project will depend on the policy of your university and whether or not you can find a willing supervisor, but if you have something you would like to work on, it's certainly worth scouting around for potential supervisors!
 
 
 
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