Should your MA/MSc dissertation follow on from undergrad?

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Obloblob
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I'm hoping to do my MA this year after finishing my undergraduate degree. My MA is in the same subject as my undergrad (archaeology) but I don't really want to do my MA dissertation on the same general topic as my undergraduate one.

Will it work against me or look bad if I do a dissertation in an unrelated topic? Or is it common?


Thanks in advance
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theology2727
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To my mind, its unimportant to do your two dissertations on the same topic. Indeed, it could look good on your CV if you show that you understand two different parts of your fields well enough to write good dissertations on.

However, there are certain bonuses to staying in roughly the same field. Primarily, these all come from the fact that you are likely to know the field well. So for a typical UK Master's you will have 9 months to write a dissertation that offers an original understanding of your field, and that is not too much time to get to know the field, know what needs to be said, and say it (obviously things are different if its a 2 year MA). But if you can do it then it could make you seem like a more rounded applicant (though, I think, universities might care primarily about the quality, then the variety secondarily). Also, if you stay in the same field for your undergrad-PhD (proposal) then you will be in a better place to write the proposal?

Thus, in short, what looks best is a good thesis. Staying in the same field can be helpful if you plan on remaining there for a PhD, but changing is certainly not in of itself a bad thing, and could make you a more rounded applicant.

I originally applied to my Master's course to study something somewhat unrelated to my undergraduate dissertation, but at the end of my dissertation I stumbled across something exciting that has been able to form the basis of my Master's Thesis, and it's certainly been to my advantage that I already know the vast majority of the relevant secondary material.

Hope this helps!
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Klix88
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(Original post by Obloblob)
I'm hoping to do my MA this year after finishing my undergraduate degree. My MA is in the same subject as my undergrad (archaeology) but I don't really want to do my MA dissertation on the same general topic as my undergraduate one.

Will it work against me or look bad if I do a dissertation in an unrelated topic? Or is it common?


Thanks in advance
It won't do you any harm to have different dissertation topics. At this point in your study, your interests are expected to shift around and start to be refined. It helps if you have a taught grounding in your Masters diss topic, but I found that even that much isn't essential if you have a supervisor or other staff who are interested and willing to help.
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