Value of an MSci (Biology) for PhD applications?

Watch
Wuzzie
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 6 years ago
#1
Our class of MSci Biologists from UCL are graduating soon, and we have mixed feelings about the additional Master's year we've taken. We were told coming into this that if we were interested in a career in research, we should take the MSci year, but we've since realised that this isn't strictly true, especially when compared to an MRes, or even another MSc.

The opinions I've received from different members of the Biosciences department at UCL have been mixed on this topic, as my personal tutor (and several others) don't view the undergraduate master's to be the same as a graduate MSc degree. The modules the MSci's and MSc's take are the same, and our research is graded at a master's level... but MSc's are apparently viewed as more competitive?

Edit: This has been cleared up, thank you jelly1000!

In light of this, I wanted to see if this view was shared by other institutions, and whether this would be seen to limit our applications for PhDs.

I'm aware that first class BSc's and MSci's with the right work experience have no difficulty getting a PhD, but for the other half of our class, with upper second class degrees (and plenty of research experience), is it more worthwhile going for another master's next, such as an MRes, to make them more competitive for a PhD against other graduate master's degrees?

I know there are a lot of other factors involved in PhD applications - personal statement, experience, the field of interest, etc. - but I'm curious to see if the dislike of MSci students is shared by other universities. .___.;;

-----

On another note, interestingly enough, I haven't been on TSR since I chose the UCL MSci over St. Andrews four years ago...
0
reply
jelly1000
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#2
Report 6 years ago
#2
(Original post by Wuzzie)
Our class of MSci Biologists from UCL are graduating in August 2014, and we have mixed feelings about the additional Master's year we've taken. We were told coming into this that if we were interested in a career in research, we should take the MSci year, but we've since realised that this isn't strictly true, especially when compared to an MRes, or even another MSc.

The opinions I've received from different members of the Biosciences department at UCL have been mixed on this topic, as my personal tutor (and several others) don't view the undergraduate master's to be the same as a graduate MSc degree. The modules the MSci's and MSc's take are the same, and our research is graded at a master's level... but MSc's are apparently viewed as more competitive.

In light of this, I wanted to see if this view was shared by other institutions, and whether this would be seen to limit our applications for PhDs.

I'm aware that first class BSc's and MSci's with the right work experience have no difficulty getting a PhD, but for the other half of our class, with upper second class degrees (and plenty of research experience), is it more worthwhile going for another master's next, such as an MRes, to make them more competitive for a PhD against other graduate master's degrees? How would you view the chances of a 2:1 MSci applicant for PhDs with research experience (both ICR and UCL) at top post-grad institutions? :-/

I know there are a lot of other factors involved in PhD applications - personal statement, experience, the field of interest, etc. - but I'm curious to see if the dislike of MSci students is shared by other universities. .___.;;

-----

On another note, interestingly enough, I haven't been on TSR since I chose the UCL MSci over St. Andrews four years ago...
But the 4th year of the MSci is still only 120 credits and 9 months long, whilst the postgraduate MSc is 180 credits and 1 year long. That's the big reason why MSci's are looked down on compared with the full postgraduate course. Can't help with the rest sorry.
0
reply
Wuzzie
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#3
Report Thread starter 6 years ago
#3
(Original post by jelly1000)
But the 4th year of the MSci is still only 120 credits and 9 months long, whilst the postgraduate MSc is 180 credits and 1 year long. That's the big reason why MSci's are looked down on compared with the full postgraduate course. Can't help with the rest sorry.
Hmm, that would explain it! There are nine month MSc's - my friend is working on hers at Oxford - but I think my MSci year was 120 credits. By the time I'd realised that leaving with a BSc and going on for an MRes may be better, I'd already started work for my third year dissertation, and decided to stick with it. I've enjoyed my time here, but now I'm stuck wondering whether or not my PhD applications will have any success; whether specialising further with an MRes or another MSc may be a good idea, or just a waste of time and money.

I'm spending the next year working (research until September at UCL, and then looking into work locally) and making applications. I'm currently applying to anything and everything that catches my interest. x___x
0
reply
jelly1000
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#4
Report 6 years ago
#4
(Original post by Wuzzie)
Hmm, that would explain it! There are nine month MSc's - my twin is working on hers at Oxford - but I think my MSci year was 120 credits. By the time I'd realised that leaving with a BSc and going on for an MRes may be better, I'd already started work for my third year dissertation, and decided to stick with it. I've enjoyed my time here, but now I'm stuck wondering whether or not my PhD applications will have any success; whether specialising further with an MRes or another MSc may be a good idea, or just a waste of time and money.

I'm spending the next year working (research until September at UCL, and then looking into work locally) and making applications. I'm currently applying to anything and everything that catches my interest. x___x
That's interesting, most 9 month courses are postgraduate diplomas. And fair enough, I don't know enough about Bio specifically to help other than say funding is usually easier if you have a first.
0
reply
Ashnard
Badges: 13
Rep:
?
#5
Report 6 years ago
#5
(Original post by Wuzzie)
Our class of MSci Biologists from UCL are graduating in August 2014, and we have mixed feelings about the additional Master's year we've taken. We were told coming into this that if we were interested in a career in research, we should take the MSci year, but we've since realised that this isn't strictly true, especially when compared to an MRes, or even another MSc.

The opinions I've received from different members of the Biosciences department at UCL have been mixed on this topic, as my personal tutor (and several others) don't view the undergraduate master's to be the same as a graduate MSc degree. The modules the MSci's and MSc's take are the same, and our research is graded at a master's level... but MSc's are apparently viewed as more competitive.

In light of this, I wanted to see if this view was shared by other institutions, and whether this would be seen to limit our applications for PhDs.

I'm aware that first class BSc's and MSci's with the right work experience have no difficulty getting a PhD, but for the other half of our class, with upper second class degrees (and plenty of research experience), is it more worthwhile going for another master's next, such as an MRes, to make them more competitive for a PhD against other graduate master's degrees? How would you view the chances of a 2:1 MSci applicant for PhDs with research experience (both ICR and UCL) at top post-grad institutions? :-/

I know there are a lot of other factors involved in PhD applications - personal statement, experience, the field of interest, etc. - but I'm curious to see if the dislike of MSci students is shared by other universities. .___.;;

-----

On another note, interestingly enough, I haven't been on TSR since I chose the UCL MSci over St. Andrews four years ago...
Can't really answer all of your questions but one thing I will say is that you may want to consider applying for a 4 year (1 + 3) Doctoral Training Programme, with the first year being an MRes and the remaining three years dedicated to the PhD project. I applied for some a couple of months into my MSci and I had no problem getting interviews. Obviously you not having an MSc/MRes is not a problem as that as included in the programme, and I think the added MSci year would be looked on favourably compared to a standard BSc.
0
reply
Wuzzie
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#6
Report Thread starter 6 years ago
#6
(Original post by jelly1000)
That's interesting, most 9 month courses are postgraduate diplomas. And fair enough, I don't know enough about Bio specifically to help other than say funding is usually easier if you have a first.
Hers is unusual, and definitely specialist; I haven't heard of others like it..!

(Original post by Ashnard)
Can't really answer all of your questions but one thing I will say is that you may want to consider applying for a 4 year (1 + 3) Doctoral Training Programme, with the first year being an MRes and the remaining three years dedicated to the PhD project. I applied for some a couple of months into my MSci and I had no problem getting interviews. Obviously you not having an MSc/MRes is not a problem as that as included in the programme, and I think the added MSci year would be looked on favourably compared to a standard BSc.
Brilliant. I've been looking into CDT's, but not that many are open now - I should have made these applications earlier, but the idea of starting another four year degree immediately after my last one seemed too much six months ago, and I was too busy to make applications. Now, I'm beginning to regret not making applications earlier regardless...
0
reply
jelly1000
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#7
Report 6 years ago
#7
(Original post by Wuzzie)
Hers is unusual, and definitely very specialist; I haven't heard of others like it..!



Brilliant. I've been looking into CDT's, but not that many are open now - I should have made these applications earlier, but the idea of starting another four year degree immediately after my last one seemed too much six months ago, and I was too busy to make applications. Now, I'm beginning to regret not making applications earlier regardless...
typical oxford! and nothing wrong with a break before you start, at the end of the day people go onto further study at any age.
0
reply
Ashnard
Badges: 13
Rep:
?
#8
Report 6 years ago
#8
(Original post by Wuzzie)
Brilliant. I've been looking into CDT's, but not that many are open now - I should have made these applications earlier, but the idea of starting another four year degree immediately after my last one seemed too much six months ago, and I was too busy to make applications. Now, I'm beginning to regret not making applications earlier regardless...
Yeah, I really didn't like having to start my applications so early into the MSci year. It just didn't feel like the right time. Anyway, as somebody has already pointed out, there wouldn't be anything wrong with you applying later (e.g. 2015-2016 intake), especially if you can find some science-related paid work in the meantime.
0
reply
Wuzzie
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#9
Report Thread starter 6 years ago
#9
(Original post by Ashnard)
Yeah, I really didn't like having to start my applications so early into the MSci year. It just didn't feel like the right time. Anyway, as somebody has already pointed out, there wouldn't be anything wrong with you applying later (e.g. 2015-2016 intake), especially if you can find some science-related paid work in the meantime.

(Original post by jelly1000)
typical oxford! and nothing wrong with a break before you start, at the end of the day people go onto further study at any age.
Thank you for the help today! I'll keep looking for programs that interest me, and keep up the applications for science-related work in the meantime. *u*
0
reply
redferry
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#10
Report 6 years ago
#10
(Original post by Wuzzie)
x
Hey!!

Biologist (well zoologist) with a PhD starting in September here. I have to say that personally I was very glad I took an MRes as it seemed to assist in getting a PhD over people who got MScis (my course was structured so you could do either). That being said, I know two people who went straight from undergraduate to PhD so having a combined MSci doesn't make things impossible. Although they were the top student in my year at Bristol and my housemate who is insaneley knowledgabe about insects and known in certain circles for breeding rare species of beetle (with the aid of our kitchen scales no less!). One of the MSci students in the year has a PhD also. Two others who have been applying to similar ones to me were turned down from everything and are having to build their research skills outside of academia unpaid.

I also think it helps to move around, I did Bristol then Leeds and will be starting a PhD at UCL in September, so that can be another disadvantage of doing a masters 4th year. Also, once I started applying the unwritten rule appeared to be you aren't considered unless you have a distinction at masters, for NERC funding at least.

My advice would be there is no rush to go straight into a PhD, try applying and see what happens. If it doesn't go well and you have the money, consider doing a masters.

What field of Biology are you looking in if you don't mind me asking?
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Should there be a new university admissions system that ditches predicted grades?

No, I think predicted grades should still be used to make offers (672)
33.67%
Yes, I like the idea of applying to uni after I received my grades (PQA) (848)
42.48%
Yes, I like the idea of receiving offers only after I receive my grades (PQO) (385)
19.29%
I think there is a better option than the ones suggested (let us know in the thread!) (91)
4.56%

Watched Threads

View All