Combined honours = lower postgraduate chances? Watch

moomoobrowncow
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  • Hey guys, im hoping to apply to Exeter, St andrews and Leeds this year to study philosophy and biology
    /biology and the history and philosophy of science. My question was, in the event of me wanting to do an MSc in a further biological field (neuroscience being my ideal choice) does the mixed nature of my degree (assuming also that I will have relevant work experience by the time apply for the MSc) hold me back in being accepted onto courses? Would i be better off with a single honours in biology or human biosciences if I wanted to progress to postgrad courses?
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Klix88
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Shouldn't be too much of an issue. You just need to ensure that you demonstrate a particular interest in your desired Masters field. If you have options then make sure your chosen modules reflect that interest where possible, and ground your dissertation in that field.
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Kalivha
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50% of my cohort did joint honours, so from my limited sample I'd say it's not an issue.

But then we're an interdisciplinary department to begin with, so this would make sense.

(FWIW, I'm at Warwick so I'd say things have gone well for most of us...)
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(Original post by moomoobrowncow)
  • Hey guys, im hoping to apply to Exeter, St andrews and Leeds this year to study philosophy and biology
    /biology and the history and philosophy of science. My question was, in the event of me wanting to do an MSc in a further biological field (neuroscience being my ideal choice) does the mixed nature of my degree (assuming also that I will have relevant work experience by the time apply for the MSc) hold me back in being accepted onto courses? Would i be better off with a single honours in biology or human biosciences if I wanted to progress to postgrad courses?
Essentially, no, as long as you take the requisite skills and modules for your desired postgrad degree. If joint honours at undergrad makes you happier and will give you a better classification, why not.

However, take a close look at the modules - will you miss anything doing joint honours that you would want to take?

I was of the mind that my psychology and philosophy degree (which I did for my first year) was good for a career afterwards in psychology (and I still believe philosophical training is really good for scientific arguments and writing in general! so there's a bonus for you!). However in my first year, I realised by continuing on as joint honours, I would miss 'advanced statistics' and 'psychology of language', two modules I wanted to take, and would be good for my interests. So, after first year I switched to single honours as I knew that, while I loved philosophy, it wasn't going to be my career.

Basically, since you already have an inkling of career choices, think really hard about whether that is the best choice for where you want to go after. Of course, situations can change, but you don't want to get to third year and realise you would have been better off doing single honours.

(By the way, if you want to study neuroscience, why not apply to just neuroscience? I applied for psychology and philosophy through UCAS but soon after realised I would have rather applied for neuroscience as I want to do research into neuroscience. I don't regret where I am because I've done quite well, but every now and then I regret not doing neuroscience as an undergrad degree. So think about it, if you want to do neuroscience in the ideal world, what would be the best choice? Biology + philosophy, or just neuroscience. Before starting the degree, even if you've already applied, it's not too late to ask to switch courses, if your grades are good enough)
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