Turn on thread page Beta
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Hello people of TSR! New to forums here..

    I am a second year undergrad from Nagoya University, Japan. I am majoring in Chem and Bio engineering. I am not actually japanese..an international student (in case some of you are curious).

    Recently, I've begun exploring the possibility of pursuing graduate studies in the UK; so far, I've looked at phD programs at cambridge, oxford, imperial, Manchester and such like (been looking at potential supervisors and reading up on their work), and I have a few questions about this..

    a) Would it be wise to apply for a masters course, (UK or elsewhere) before I make an application to a phD program? I'd love to hear phD students in chemistry and allied fields weigh in on this..
    or, in other words: what is the relative proportion of people applying with or without masters degrees, or rather what is the relative proportion of successful applicants with or without masters degrees.

    b) Typically, for undergrads who apply without a masters..is expected of them to have some significant experience doing research. (At my university, I'll be working on a project in my final year for my graduation thesis; besides that since I am keen on getting my toes wet I've been trying to look for some other research related opportunities that I might pursue in my second/third year at uni).

    c) I am studying at Nagoya as part of the G30 international programs, a relatively new initiative undertaken by the japanese govt. It saw its first graduating class last fall. Does coming from a fresh program, from an otherwise well reputed university disadvantage me in anyway.

    d) Often universities encourage you to contact potential supervisors. What would be a good time to establish this contact?

    Misc. infor.: I have an undergraduate gpa of 4.08/4.3 (highest in my year among the people in my major, i think); my interests (though constantly evolving) are in supra-molecular chemistrs, systems chemistry, self-assemblies etc. I'm expected to graduate in 2018 (fall)..so I would be applying sometime in 2017 (expect to finish applications dec 2017~ Jan 2018..give or take)
    [Additionally, I might consider applying to graduate programs in the US..not exactly relevant]
    • TSR Support Team
    • Very Important Poster
    • PS Reviewer
    • Clearing and Applications Advisor
    Online

    20
    ReputationRep:
    TSR Support Team
    Very Important Poster
    PS Reviewer
    Clearing and Applications Advisor
    Generally you need a 2.1 at undergrad level to apply for PhDs but having a masters won't hurt. You may want to think about applying for both and seeing what you get. It takes time but won't cost you anything. While you may get PhD offers funding is a different story. Research experience always helps. Your interest, enthusiasm, match with supervisor and project, funding options and references will be major deciding factors in whether or not you get offers you can take up. Don't worry about how new your program is. Contact with supervisors is crucial so start that process during the break between your penultimate and final years.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by alleycat393)
    Generally you need a 2.1 at undergrad level to apply for PhDs but having a masters won't hurt.
    Hi! Thanks for your input. I am aware that you need a 2.1 at undergrad to apply for a phD, and I was wondering how would GPAs on 4.3 scale be converted to that system? I do find it a little bit confusing. (should've put it down with my original list of questions)Any thoughts on that? Is there a universal set of rules, or do different institutes do it differently? (I've been led to believe that it is the latter..)

    And yeah, thinking about applying to both masters and phD programs. Will be working on getting some research experience, not just for my resume's sake..i am really keen on getting my toes wet and see if I am cut out for it..

    That's a relief. About getting in touch with supervisors..say 6 months before i apply ought to do it? or maybe 8-12? Don't want to leave it till the very last minute, but would contacting them too early might look bad? (idk..they might feel I am wasting their time, or something along those lines.
    Offline

    9
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by getafix)
    a) Would it be wise to apply for a masters course, (UK or elsewhere) before I make an application to a phD program? I'd love to hear phD students in chemistry and allied fields weigh in on this..
    or, in other words: what is the relative proportion of people applying with or without masters degrees, or rather what is the relative proportion of successful applicants with or without masters degrees.

    b) Typically, for undergrads who apply without a masters..is expected of them to have some significant experience doing research. (At my university, I'll be working on a project in my final year for my graduation thesis; besides that since I am keen on getting my toes wet I've been trying to look for some other research related opportunities that I might pursue in my second/third year at uni).

    c) I am studying at Nagoya as part of the G30 international programs, a relatively new initiative undertaken by the japanese govt. It saw its first graduating class last fall. Does coming from a fresh program, from an otherwise well reputed university disadvantage me in anyway.
    a) A Master's isn't always needed (I have friends in related fields who entered directly into PhD studies) but it can provide a stronger basis for an application, or show a stronger inclination towards one field. It also depends on where you apply - some countries will require a Master's prior to admittance for a PhD.

    b) It isn't expected, but more research experience is better. It will also help ease you into the lifestyle of a student researcher, as well as understand your responsibilities better rather than being tossed into the deep end. This may be anecdotal, but I've seen a number of students who did very well academically for their undergraduate degree, but couldn't cut it in a research capacity. Try to spend summers at a research lab if possible. Professors usually are keen on taking students who show some interest in research.

    c) The only thing which would be a disadvantage would be not performing well at the undergraduate level.
    (Original post by getafix)
    Hi! Thanks for your input. I am aware that you need a 2.1 at undergrad to apply for a phD, and I was wondering how would GPAs on 4.3 scale be converted to that system? I do find it a little bit confusing. (should've put it down with my original list of questions)Any thoughts on that? Is there a universal set of rules, or do different institutes do it differently? (I've been led to believe that it is the latter..)
    Looks like it's around a first class honours degree.
    • TSR Support Team
    • Very Important Poster
    • PS Reviewer
    • Clearing and Applications Advisor
    Online

    20
    ReputationRep:
    TSR Support Team
    Very Important Poster
    PS Reviewer
    Clearing and Applications Advisor
    (Original post by getafix)
    Hi! Thanks for your input. I am aware that you need a 2.1 at undergrad to apply for a phD, and I was wondering how would GPAs on 4.3 scale be converted to that system? I do find it a little bit confusing. (should've put it down with my original list of questions)Any thoughts on that? Is there a universal set of rules, or do different institutes do it differently? (I've been led to believe that it is the latter..)

    And yeah, thinking about applying to both masters and phD programs. Will be working on getting some research experience, not just for my resume's sake..i am really keen on getting my toes wet and see if I am cut out for it..

    That's a relief. About getting in touch with supervisors..say 6 months before i apply ought to do it? or maybe 8-12? Don't want to leave it till the very last minute, but would contacting them too early might look bad? (idk..they might feel I am wasting their time, or something along those lines.
    Don't try and convert your GPA. Contact the uni and see what they have to say. Different unis will view your qualifications differently. 6-8 months in advance is good for contacting supervisors. They are busy people and it shows that you're keen. That also gives them enough time to think about funding if they're really interested or have something in the pipeline.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by alleycat393)
    Don't try and convert your GPA. Contact the uni and see what they have to say. Different unis will view your qualifications differently. 6-8 months in advance is good for contacting supervisors. They are busy people and it shows that you're keen. That also gives them enough time to think about funding if they're really interested or have something in the pipeline.
    Will do. Thanks a bunch.
    Offline

    9
    ReputationRep:
    Just a heads up - you may end up in a discussion with admissions people regarding your degree if Honours isn't automatically added onto it after the completion of a research project.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by zombiejon)
    Just a heads up - you may end up in a discussion with admissions people regarding your degree if Honours isn't automatically added onto it after the completion of a research project.
    What kind of a discussion would that be? I don't think "Honours" is added to my degree after completing a research project, or at all for that matter.
    Offline

    9
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by getafix)
    What kind of a discussion would that be? I don't think "Honours" is added to my degree after completing a research project, or at all for that matter.
    Some background information. I graduated from a North American university, where *** laude was not awarded to degrees, and Honours are only added onto a degree if an undergraduate thesis was defended.

    When I applied for a Master's program, both the course coordinator and I knew that I had the grades to get in. The course coordinator is also an academic and knows how the degree system worked in North America. However, since I did not have Honours attached to my degree, the admissions people raised a stink, arguing that since I didn't have Honours I didn't qualify. It took some discussion to change their minds.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by zombiejon)
    Some background information. I graduated from a North American university, where *** laude was not awarded to degrees, and Honours are only added onto a degree if an undergraduate thesis was defended.

    When I applied for a Master's program, both the course coordinator and I knew that I had the grades to get in. The course coordinator is also an academic and knows how the degree system worked in North America. However, since I did not have Honours attached to my degree, the admissions people raised a stink, arguing that since I didn't have Honours I didn't qualify. It took some discussion to change their minds.
    Ah I see. Thanks for the heads up. I'll bear that in mind when I apply.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    Hi getafix, first many congrats for getting onto the Nagoya Global 30 program, that does sound interesting.

    for the MSc/Phd options: in mainland EU it's thought (in general) that an initial bachelors degree is nice, but to actually get a job in engineering/finance etc you really need the continuation of studies to MSc level.
    For the doctoral path , this is to consider should you wish (instead of working) to continue on in academia, perhaps eventually to teach or teach and research, or just for people to call you 'doctor'

    I've got many friends with both doctorates & masters , the doctorates can sometimes make you *hate* the subject of your thesis never to return! as they are so narrowly focussed & so deep e.g. a physicist with a doctorate in optics might instead work in applied electromagnetism or particles.
    The masters is usually entirely aligned with your preferred directions in your career. Sometimes the institution offering the course give a choice in what you actually will do, or sometimes everything is pre-defined.

    I've also looked into eventual MSc at EPFL & ETH in Switzerland, plus many German universities teach at masters entirely in English, there's a great & worldwide choice.

    For Nagoya, was the application process straightforward - did the Skype interview - or the real interview in Japan pose any exciting or challenging hard questions? I'm considering the Japanese Global 30 program perhaps next year!
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by LuigiMario)
    Hi getafix, first many congrats for getting onto the Nagoya Global 30 program, that does sound interesting.

    for the MSc/Phd options: in mainland EU it's thought (in general) that an initial bachelors degree is nice, but to actually get a job in engineering/finance etc you really need the continuation of studies to MSc level.
    For the doctoral path , this is to consider should you wish (instead of working) to continue on in academia, perhaps eventually to teach or teach and research, or just for people to call you 'doctor'

    I've got many friends with both doctorates & masters , the doctorates can sometimes make you *hate* the subject of your thesis never to return! as they are so narrowly focussed & so deep e.g. a physicist with a doctorate in optics might instead work in applied electromagnetism or particles.
    The masters is usually entirely aligned with your preferred directions in your career. Sometimes the institution offering the course give a choice in what you actually will do, or sometimes everything is pre-defined.

    I've also looked into eventual MSc at EPFL & ETH in Switzerland, plus many German universities teach at masters entirely in English, there's a great & worldwide choice.

    For Nagoya, was the application process straightforward - did the Skype interview - or the real interview in Japan pose any exciting or challenging hard questions? I'm considering the Japanese Global 30 program perhaps next year!
    Well I am pretty set on doing a doctorate, and as you said staying on in academia to do research/teach. So, I am only looking at a masters degree as potentially helpful towards preparing me for a phD. And yes, I have looked into EPFL and ETH, Zurich for a masters.

    Was just wondering, how common/ or uncommon it is for people to do a masters before doing a phD. Additionally, if having one gives you somewhat of an advantage over the rest of the applicant pool.

    The application process was straightforward, and the admissions staff were really a joy to interact with--extremely courteous, prompt and helpful. Nothing challenging or hard in the interview; I sorta clicked with one of the prof. on the panel and we had a nice casual chat about chemistry. He did have some questions prepared for me, but towards the end he said ah well, i think you probably know the answers to them anyway, so let's not go into them, and we left it at that.

    Anyway, good luck with your application.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    Well it does depend on your subject, a professor that I was talking to said she considered that a doctorate should only be started/finished a whole decade after a masters!. (This was specifically in the field of Psychology however, and the prof at Warwick Uni said that maturity was needed and expected for the doctorate, I think that decade doing real things might be more important than an MSc?)

    However my friends who are currently at uni in Scotland - just finished Geology-science at St.Andrews & animal biology degrees at Glasgow uni, they are both now doing their relevant MScs at Glasgow, and are starting to think about where to continue for the doctorate in a very quick succession. One is going to stay at Glasgow, I guess & the other is looking at Australia of all places.

    For Chem & Bio Engineering, you could try to reverse engineer some of the 'prestigious posts' - for example http://www.embl.de/training/eipp/index.html and start a chat with a few people who could suggest what they think about their most interesting encountered paths to research. [European Molecular Biology Laboratory "Training" in case links don't work] - they offer their own doctorate, which is rare, but after a quick look I couldn't find the criteria for application other than "competitive"

    buona fortuna
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by LuigiMario)
    Well it does depend on your subject, a professor that I was talking to said she considered that a doctorate should only be started/finished a whole decade after a masters!. (This was specifically in the field of Psychology however, and the prof at Warwick Uni said that maturity was needed and expected for the doctorate, I think that decade doing real things might be more important than an MSc?)
    Well, fair enough that seems reasonable. haha

    (Original post by LuigiMario)
    For Chem & Bio Engineering, you could try to reverse engineer some of the 'prestigious posts' - for example http://www.embl.de/training/eipp/index.html and start a chat with a few people who could suggest what they think about their most interesting encountered paths to research. [European Molecular Biology Laboratory "Training" in case links don't work] - they offer their own doctorate, which is rare, but after a quick look I couldn't find the criteria for application other than "competitive"

    buona fortuna
    that's a mighty fine suggestion my little plumber friend. haha Thanks, I will look into it. And hit me up if you need anything..hope to see you in Nagoya sometime then? What department are you applying to?
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by getafix)
    Well, fair enough that seems reasonable. haha



    that's a mighty fine suggestion my little plumber friend. haha Thanks, I will look into it. And hit me up if you need anything..hope to see you in Nagoya sometime then? What department are you applying to?
    @getafix Department: not completely sure - something engineering. . .p'raps, to be honest I would enjoy doing anything in Japan.

    I asked my couple of friends who are doing masters at prestigious colleges in Scotland, and they are currently shocked by the extant demands of their different MSc; assignment after assignment, sometimes assignment then another assignment in parallel, it seems like they are triple the workload of their previous coursework during 4-year times at prestigious colleges in Scotland.

    In other words MSc workload is possibly similar to the BSc at Nagoya where people "look forward to the weekend for a chance to finish the homework" or something like that!

    bye
 
 
 
The home of Results and Clearing

3,158

people online now

1,567,000

students helped last year

University open days

  1. London Metropolitan University
    Undergraduate Open Day Undergraduate
    Sat, 18 Aug '18
  2. Edge Hill University
    All Faculties Undergraduate
    Sat, 18 Aug '18
  3. Bournemouth University
    Clearing Open Day Undergraduate
    Sat, 18 Aug '18
Poll
A-level students - how do you feel about your results?

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.