Do you need a Masters to do a PhD??

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JimSwim
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Hey there,

Can anyone help - I'm in second year at mo, studying Politics and Philosophy - and looking to do a PhD in something inolving post-war British politics or the birth of Labour Party.

Anyhow, I'm wondering - do you need a Masters to be accepted to complete a PhD? I really don't know enough about this.

Also, how would I go about getting funding? Or is there not much chance in getting it? Can you pay yourself - and how much does that cost?

If anyone could shed any light on this I'd really appreciate it. Thanks very much,

Jim
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silverhalo
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Hiya Jim,

In the UK you do not need a Masters degree to do a PhD, but in many other European countries you do.

The funding works in a number of ways and can come from a number of sources. Generall Research Councils offer funding opportunities for post grad students to complete a PhD or a PhD in combination with a Masters. Take a look at this website http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk/ES.../postgraduate/

I suggest that you speak to one of your lecturers about PhD opportunities- it is possible that your department has some possibilities. This website might also be of use to you. http://www.findaphd.com/
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JimSwim
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Thanks for the reply, that's a great help.

Can anyone reading this who is in the middle of / about to begin a PhD without completing a Masters give some advice about how they went through the process?

Is it unlikely to get accepted to to undertake a PhD without a Masters? Would I need an exceptional degree classification for my BA, for instance?

Cheers, Jim
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The Boosh
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for your field you are probably going to need a masters if you are to secure funding from a research council. some people go straight from BA to PhD but, in all fairness, it's not THAT popular a route in the arts/humanities liek it is in the sciences (given the nature of the field). It can be (and has been) done, but I think you reduce your chances of funding dramatically.
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lorrybeep
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Most people are required to have done masters degrees before applying for their PhD studies, as you will see this is often the standard requirement by many top unis including oxbridge,lse,ucl,warwick.etc. Although having said that, there are some exceptional top performers offered to do PhDs on scholarships before they even graduate. In that case you can go directly from your bachelors to phds, but of course the decision is in the discretion of professors who are the people to offer you scholarships. Being top performer, we are talking about a very good first class here and the top of class.
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the_alba
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Not necessarily. You don't strictly HAVE to have a Master's, particularly if you can self-fund. The PhD scholarships, likewise, don't always go to super-exceptional students if they want to skip a Master's. I went to Hull. They had two PhD scholarships to hand out to third year students and / or Master's students. I didn't want one because I had my mind set on Oxford, but they gave one to a third year boy of pretty average intelligence. He got a first, but not an exceptional first. He wasn't the top of the year and didn't win any prizes. I think you're exaggerating how difficult it is to skip a Master's. It's actually very easy, and only if you want AHRC funding does it become impossible.
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JimSwim
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Thanks everyone, this is some good stuff and very helpful.

So, as I understand so far - It's not impossible to do a PhD without a Masters, but the chances of getting funding without one are incredibly slim. Unless I was a prodigious, Stephen Hawking-type person. (Which, sadly, I am not.)

I may edge towards doing a self-funded one, perhaps part-time to offset to massive cost it will incur.

As for the point about the top universities requiring Masters - well, I can understand this, but I think it's more about finding the right person to supervise your studies, as opposed to the reputation of the insitution itself - what their research specialises in, for instance.

But, thanks guys this is all very helpful.

How much do humanities PhDs cost usually? Any average figures?

Jim
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cant_think_of_a_username
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Im not sure if this applies to most universities but at imperial and most london unis, you dont need an MSc to do an MPhill/PhD. However, from what I understand, you can only go straight to a MPhill/PhD only if you obtain a 1st. If not, then there is a 99% chance that you'l be rejected and will have to do an MSc first.Good luck any way!
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Wise One
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There are also the New Route PhDs, which allow students with good Honours degrees are able to proceed to the programme in an integrated way and ensure completion in four years. They kind of include some Masters-type stuff in the first year.

For your subject, these are available at Loughborough, Sussex, Bradford, Kent, Exeter, Manchester, Reading, and Sheffield.

Just a thought.
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The Boosh
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^^^ the first year IS a masters in research methodology, and it's a 4 year route. part of the drive to set up the newroute was because of the length of time it took to do a phd in the first place (i.e. over 3 years rather than under 3 years). loads of places do them know, from imperial to sunderland. this is one of the main routes you have to take for research council funding if you are applying to the esrc/ahrb.

the gem about the newroute is that you can submit early if you think you can do it in under 3 years, and basically get a masters on top in the same amount of time. instead of writing an mphil/phd conversion paper, you do an msc dissertation on methodology which amounts to the same thing apparently.
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lorrybeep
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(Original post by The Boosh)
^^^ the first year IS a masters in research methodology, and it's a 4 year route. part of the drive to set up the newroute was because of the length of time it took to do a phd in the first place (i.e. over 3 years rather than under 3 years). loads of places do them know, from imperial to sunderland. this is one of the main routes you have to take for research council funding if you are applying to the esrc/ahrb.

the gem about the newroute is that you can submit early if you think you can do it in under 3 years, and basically get a masters on top in the same amount of time. instead of writing an mphil/phd conversion paper, you do an msc dissertation on methodology which amounts to the same thing apparently.
The new route PhD is geared towards overseas students, as I was told. For students study under the british system, most of them would probably prefer the standard route and are eligible for it if they have the grades (a 1st). Those without the grades would normally go for masters,which would work out the same as the new route PhD anyway. The merit side is that you get a Master title next to your name and can assess your suitability for PhD while on the programme. There are very few students who come right out from their BA knowing that they want a PhD. Its a big committment of time and money. I know people go from BA to PhD and all of them invest only time not money because their tuition fees are fully paid for by sponsors.
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lorrybeep
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(Original post by the_alba)
Not necessarily. You don't strictly HAVE to have a Master's, particularly if you can self-fund. The PhD scholarships, likewise, don't always go to super-exceptional students if they want to skip a Master's. I went to Hull. They had two PhD scholarships to hand out to third year students and / or Master's students. I didn't want one because I had my mind set on Oxford, but they gave one to a third year boy of pretty average intelligence. He got a first, but not an exceptional first. He wasn't the top of the year and didn't win any prizes. I think you're exaggerating how difficult it is to skip a Master's. It's actually very easy, and only if you want AHRC funding does it become impossible.
Thats what I said - You don't necessarily need to have a master to study PhD but often it isn't the case. Sure argurably it depends a lot on the field and the competiton. It's being said that for engineering/science students it's presumeably easier. For economics, it's rarely done. Take the example of LSE. It only recognises their own masters, that said for most people to do PhD at LSE you will spend one extra year doing master stuff, on the top of the master you already have. Thats economics department am talking about. And in fact, I don't know any top 10 uni accept economics graduates without an MSc. This is their NORMAL requirement. But I do notice that it is possible to do PhD right after a BA at the same uni you did your undergrad, provided that you perform exceptionally well.

I don't agree with you saying that skipping masters is very easy. But I can think of a reason why at HULL it might not be so hard skipping masters while being funded for your PhD study, say as opposed to at Oxford.
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the_alba
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^^ Oh, snobbery then is it? I know plenty of people at Oxford who skipped a Master's. Many are advised to audit the relevant Master's course, if indeed it is relevant, but it's not a pre-requisite. The reason those people are not funded by Oxford like many a funded at 'HULL' is that 'HULL' offer full scholarships in arts subjects, whereas Oxford, for all its apparent academic prowess, do not.
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The Boosh
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lorrybeep - no offense mate, but you have been misinformed.

the esrc (and i also think the ahrb) will NOT fund uk phd students unless they have met the 1+3 or +3 requirments which are provided through the new route phd. the esrc has approved the new route phd as the route they will fund. research council funding in the arts, humanities (if it is true with the ahrb) and social sciences requires the new route phd. occasionally a different system is approved by the esrc if the university can show its course meets the esrc new route phd criteria without technically being a new route phd, but it is rare.
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The Boosh
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(Original post by lorrybeep)
I can think of a reason why at HULL it might not be so hard skipping masters while being funded for your PhD study, say as opposed to at Oxford.
why would that be the case?
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aaaaz
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I know somebody who completed a PhD at Cam without doing a Masters. It was in an engineering field though.
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The Boosh
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for some wierd reason, reading your post reminded me of a girl i used to live with. she did an ma (hons) at st andrews (first class), ma at exeter (distinction) then applied to oxford for a dphil, only to be turned down because she wouldnt do another masters at oxford. funny world. i think she went to dublin in the end.

edit: her subject was history.
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lorrybeep
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(Original post by The Boosh)
lorrybeep - no offense mate, but you have been misinformed.

the esrc (and i also think the ahrb) will NOT fund uk phd students unless they have met the 1+3 or +3 requirments which are provided through the new route phd. the esrc has approved the new route phd as the route they will fund. research council funding in the arts, humanities (if it is true with the ahrb) and social sciences requires the new route phd. occasionally a different system is approved by the esrc if the university can show its course meets the esrc new route phd criteria without technically being a new route phd, but it is rare.
I see. I heard that to get fundings at esrc is extremly competitive. 1 or 2 students per class or per uni? Most people I know are funded by either their uni or other funding bodies. But then again, those people skipped masters, so maybe thats the reason why they aren't qualified for escr fundings.
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lorrybeep
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(Original post by the_alba)
^^ Oh, snobbery then is it? I know plenty of people at Oxford who skipped a Master's. Many are advised to audit the relevant Master's course, if indeed it is relevant, but it's not a pre-requisite. The reason those people are not funded by Oxford like many a funded at 'HULL' is that 'HULL' offer full scholarships in arts subjects, whereas Oxford, for all its apparent academic prowess, do not.
Yes exactly. Oxford vs Hull. You're likely to get fundings at Hull than Oxford for the apparent reason.

I do not know many people without a degree at Oxford who also skipped masters get accepted to do PhD at Oxford. So maybe you could tell us a little about the situation out there. What course you're doing and what is required to get a place at Oxford without masters if thats what you did in the first place?
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The Boosh
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(Original post by lorrybeep)
I see. I heard that to get fundings at esrc is extremly competitive. 1 or 2 students per class or per uni? Most people I know are funded by either their uni or other funding bodies. But then again, those people skipped masters, so maybe thats the reason why they aren't qualified for escr fundings.
the department first has to offer an "esrc approved" route (which is basically the new route phd - but inspected by the esrc and perhaps additional requirements added). then department then gets to enter one candidate a year into "open competition". if the university wins the open competition twice in a row, it is awarded "quotas" for several years (quotas are studentships which the department gives out rather than the esrc deciding). once the quota period runs out, the process starts again. i think this is similar for the ahrb too.

i think a large majority of full studentships in the arts, humanities and social sciences come from research councils. some departments offer full studentships too (or work as a graduate teaching assistant etc) but many dont have the cash (they work out around £40,000 minimum per phd). the sciences are full of cash so can offer more studentships at a higher rate.
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