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Best Academic Route? BSc, MPhil, PhD etc Watch

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    Hello, I am currently in the Summer of going into Sixth Form to study AS Biology, Chemistry, Maths and History, and was wondering what kind of academic route I'd need to become a Professor of my chosen Science, if it's Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry etc (I'll learn more during my A-Levels).

    I am not too clear about what different degrees there are for Science, even after searching the Internet for quite some time now.
    I am aware that there is a BSc (Bachelor of Science) and an Honours Degree. Are these different Degrees?

    Anyway, after getting that degree from a University, I'd like to do a Masters degree - MSc, right? Or would an MPhil be better (I've actually seen the terms MChem and MPhys being used, are these different, too?)

    *** Or should apply, via UCAS, to do a 4 year course right away after Sixth Form (so I'd get my Bachelors/Honours degree and then a Masters) rather than doing a 3 year course and THEN a Masters?
    Also, I'm aware that you can do a Masters that is 'Taught' or 'Research', which is better for a person wanting to become an eventual Science Professor?

    Either way, I'd like to then pursue a Ph.D, is there any advice you would like to give me regarding this? And after a Ph.D, where would I go next on the 'road to Prof'?

    I understand that I'm asking a lot, I apologise.
    THANK YOU SO MUCH!
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    Take a look in the postgraduate forum where you will find answers to all theses questions. One point first, though. Student finance is only available for a first degree. Everything else has to be self financed, with the very small amount of bursary funding being intensely fought over. You might like to start thinking ahead to how you might finance this.
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    (Original post by DanMargetts)
    Hello, I am currently in the Summer of going into Sixth Form to study AS Biology, Chemistry, Maths and History, and was wondering what kind of academic route I'd need to become a Professor of my chosen Science, if it's Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry etc (I'll learn more during my A-Levels).

    I am not too clear about what different degrees there are for Science, even after searching the Internet for quite some time now.
    I am aware that there is a BSc (Bachelor of Science) and an Honours Degree. Are these different Degrees?

    Anyway, after getting that degree from a University, I'd like to do a Masters degree - MSc, right? Or would an MPhil be better (I've actually seen the terms MChem and MPhys being used, are these different, too?)

    *** Or should apply, via UCAS, to do a 4 year course right away after Sixth Form (so I'd get my Bachelors/Honours degree and then a Masters) rather than doing a 3 year course and THEN a Masters?
    Also, I'm aware that you can do a Masters that is 'Taught' or 'Research', which is better for a person wanting to become an eventual Science Professor?

    Either way, I'd like to then pursue a Ph.D, is there any advice you would like to give me regarding this? And after a Ph.D, where would I go next on the 'road to Prof'?

    I understand that I'm asking a lot, I apologise.
    THANK YOU SO MUCH!
    A Bachelors degree have different classifications: first, 2:1, 2:2, 3rd, pass or fail. If you do a bachelors degree with honours then you need to get certain grades to achieve those honours otherwise you just get a pass. First is the highest as far as I'm aware.

    Undergraduate masters (4 yr course) is better imo as it's covered by student finance. Otherwise you'll have to pay for post grad (unless you get funding)

    Not sure which route would be better for academia though.

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    4 years MSci/MChem/MBio, research is probably the best route into a Professorship. Follow up with a PhD in the relevant field of study, PhD students carrying out research at a University, present some of the lectures in their relevant subject to undergraduates quite often as part of their commitments.

    I would suggest this route. There are a lot of different fields to study in, especially when you are progressing to MSci level. The 4 years masters courses include the BSc.
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    (Original post by donutaud15)
    A Bachelors degree have different classifications: first, 2:1, 2:2, 3rd, pass or fail. If you do a bachelors degree with honours then you need to get certain grades to achieve those honours otherwise you just get a pass. First is the highest as far as I'm aware.

    Undergraduate masters (4 yr course) is better imo as it's covered by student finance. Otherwise you'll have to pay for post grad (unless you get funding)

    Not sure which route would be better for academia though.

    Posted from TSR Mobile


    Thank you!
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    (Original post by carnationlilyrose)
    Take a look in the postgraduate forum where you will find answers to all theses questions. One point first, though. Student finance is only available for a first degree. Everything else has to be self financed, with the very small amount of bursary funding being intensely fought over. You might like to start thinking ahead to how you might finance this.

    Thank you!
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    (Accidentally posted twice)
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    Hi

    A "normal" English degree is BSc (Hons) meaning you got a 1st, 2.1, 2.2 or 3rd class degree with honours. Below that comes an ordinary degree - a pass without honours and below that a fail.

    As has been said, the advantage of a 4 year course is that you have secured funding for your masters from the outset, although if you are good enough for a career in academia and given you want to do science, funding may be less of an issue.

    Generally, a research masters gives a better foundation for a PhD.

    After gaining a Phd you would need to find employment at a university and basically work your way up, combining teaching with research in your chosen field.
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    The traditional route would start with a 3-year BSc. You automatically get a BSc (Hons) as long as you get a third class classification or above - there isn't a separate Honours degree. You would then go onto doing a one year MSc degree. However, a lot of universities now offer 4-year MSci degrees (note that they're MSci, not MSc) which essentially act as a BSc and an MSc - the last year normally has a research component and basically acts as a precursor to doing the PhD. You'd then apply for a PhD and hopefully get a placement. I'm not entirely sure what you'd do after that, but that's a long way away so you don't need to worry about that at the moment!

    Another slightly confusing thing is the terminology, because there are a lot of different titles for the same thing. A BSc is a 3 year undergraduate degree and an MSc is a one year taught or research based postgraduate degree. An MSci is a 4-year integrated masters undergraduate degree, but universities sometimes give the MSci a different name. For instance, some universities call their 4-year integrated masters chemistry courses MChem and the same thing goes for MPhys. I'm not 100% sure what the MPhil is, but it appears to be similar to a research-based MSc - it is definitely not the same thing as an MSci.

    It's really confusing, I know. The first decision you need to make is whether to go for a 3 year or 4 year undergraduate degree. MSci degrees appear to be very popular at the moment so if you're certain you want to go into research, it seems like the way to go. Given that you're in Year 11 at the moment, I really don't think you need to worry about post-masters right now!

    But essentially, the two main routes are:

    BSc -> MSc -> PhD -> Job
    MSci (or equivalent) -> PhD -> Job
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    (Original post by carnationlilyrose)
    I gave you one in one of your posts. Go and look in the postgrad forum, where the search filter will give you all the answers you need, and which is the appropriate forum for this question.

    I've seen it now, thanks again!
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    Research Master's (i.e. separate) would be better for pursuing academic research, but as said, it makes much less difference now. Most home students will do a 4-year MChem, MPhys etc. because it's covered by student finance.

    If you do a 4-year undergraduate you can still enter a PhD programme, which is what you need.

    Basically, get onto a course for now (BSc is fine, if that's the only option you have with grades for now). You will have the option to swap up to a taught Master's course if you do well enough in your first or second year (usually on track for a 2:1, so >60% average). Once you're at university you can probably chat to your tutors there about what opportunities might be around. Most of them will have a lot of knowledge on it because they've been there themselves.
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    Slow down son!
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    B.Sc. --> Ph.D. (+/- master's before) --> post-doctoral research --> start your own lab group --> many years of distinguished research --> professor

    give or take...
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    (Original post by MrEFeynman)
    4 years MSci/MChem/MBio, research is probably the best route into a Professorship. Follow up with a PhD in the relevant field of study, PhD students carrying out research at a University, present some of the lectures in their relevant subject to undergraduates quite often as part of their commitments.

    I would suggest this route. There are a lot of different fields to study in, especially when you are progressing to MSci level. The 4 years masters courses include the BSc.


    Okay, thank you! This was very helpful
    Would MSci be 3 years (the first 3) of a BSc and then 1 year of a Masters?
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    (Original post by nohomo)
    Slow down son!

    Sorry, I'm just a bit worried that these next few years will go too fast :eek:
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    (Original post by Nymthae)
    Research Master's (i.e. separate) would be better for pursuing academic research, but as said, it makes much less difference now. Most home students will do a 4-year MChem, MPhys etc. because it's covered by student finance.

    If you do a 4-year undergraduate you can still enter a PhD programme, which is what you need.

    Basically, get onto a course for now (BSc is fine, if that's the only option you have with grades for now). You will have the option to swap up to a taught Master's course if you do well enough in your first or second year (usually on track for a 2:1, so >60% average). Once you're at university you can probably chat to your tutors there about what opportunities might be around. Most of them will have a lot of knowledge on it because they've been there themselves.

    Okay, wow, this was incredibly helpful indeed, thank you very much!

    So, my best bet it to apply for a BSc like usual and see how I do. If I can get roughly 60% on average and my tutors have given me advice on what to do, I can 'swap up' to an MBio/MChem?
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    (Original post by DanMargetts)
    Okay, wow, this was incredibly helpful indeed, thank you very much!

    So, my best bet it to apply for a BSc like usual and see how I do. If I can get roughly 60% on average and my tutors have given me advice on what to do, I can 'swap up' to an MBio/MChem?
    this isn't a universal offer. it's quite a niche thing to do. don't go to university expecting this to happen on every course! it's also not necessarily the best way to get into academia.
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    Well, that's certainly a clear career plan!

    We generally expect our PhD students to have a Masters-level qualification and we usually see people coming through the MChem/MPhys/MEng route. We do sometimes take BSc graduates for PhDs, but often they have something like relevant industry experience. As people have already said, the MChem/MPhys/MEng route makes a lot of financial sense.

    In science and engineering you would generally apply for a specific place and/or project. Self funded PhDs are pretty unusual in these areas because they cost a lot of money.

    However, a lot (about half, I think) of EPSRC sponsored PhDs are now delivered through Centres for Doctoral Training. These include a training element which is often a taught Masters. So that's something else to think about.

    Good luck!

    C
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    (Original post by Chlorophile)
    The traditional route would start with a 3-year BSc. You automatically get a BSc (Hons) as long as you get a third class classification or above - there isn't a separate Honours degree. You would then go onto doing a one year MSc degree. However, a lot of universities now offer 4-year MSci degrees (note that they're MSci, not MSc) which essentially act as a BSc and an MSc - the last year normally has a research component and basically acts as a precursor to doing the PhD. You'd then apply for a PhD and hopefully get a placement. I'm not entirely sure what you'd do after that, but that's a long way away so you don't need to worry about that at the moment!

    Another slightly confusing thing is the terminology, because there are a lot of different titles for the same thing. A BSc is a 3 year undergraduate degree and an MSc is a one year taught or research based postgraduate degree. An MSci is a 4-year integrated masters undergraduate degree, but universities sometimes give the MSci a different name. For instance, some universities call their 4-year integrated masters chemistry courses MChem and the same thing goes for MPhys. I'm not 100% sure what the MPhil is, but it appears to be similar to a research-based MSc - it is definitely not the same thing as an MSci.

    It's really confusing, I know. The first decision you need to make is whether to go for a 3 year or 4 year undergraduate degree. MSci degrees appear to be very popular at the moment so if you're certain you want to go into research, it seems like the way to go. Given that you're in Year 11 at the moment, I really don't think you need to worry about post-masters right now!

    But essentially, the two main routes are:

    BSc -> MSc -> PhD -> Job
    MSci (or equivalent) -> PhD -> Job


    Okay, thank you very much, I found this very helpful!
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    it's worth noting that increasingly in bioscience fields, people are bypassing the master's and going straight from bachelor's to doctorate.
 
 
 
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