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Would a bad Masters result ruin a good Undergrad degree? Watch

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    I finished my undergrad in 2014 and graduated with at the top of my class with a high first, numerous academic awards, internships etc. However, after graduating I had some health issues, meaning that I had to take some time off to recover (approx. two years).

    Given that I wanted to apply for PhD programs and was out of education for a short period, I thought it would be a good idea to get a research masters to improve my application. However, I am currently struggling to complete this degree.

    My module marks have been very good so far (between 74-84), but it is the large project 120 credit research project that is proving very difficult, as my supervisory team has changed at least twice, and I have been told that yet another one of my supervisors is now leaving.

    So my question is this, how much of impact would a less than ideal masters grade affect my PhD applications (say a standard pass or low merit result overall)? Particularly at top universities e.g. Imperial, Edinburgh, Oxbridge etc.

    Additionally, do you think it would be worth staying on or leaving now? I can get more research experience without the masters through volunteering, but i am worried about the potential 2-3 year gap on my CV when applying for PhDs and jobs.

    Thanks again.
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    If you've done a Masters to improve your research track record, doing poorly in the research element certainly won't help. However, walking out of it when the going gets tough will probably be even more damaging. PhDs are a real rollercoaster and you need to be able to handle some major wrinkles. Supervisors playing musical chairs isn't helpful, but I'm afraid you just need to be less dependent on them. Getting through this will not only demonstrate your academic staying power, but it will also be a useful learning experience.
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    Put bluntly, receiving a low score in 120 credits of a research degree will of course disadvantage your application for doctoral research, not least because it will drag down your average but more obviously because it indicates poor research skills (whether this is true or not). Considering you have so far been scoring high distinctions, however, I wonder whether you are underestimating yourself. It's quite normal to feel anxious about the more independent work of the thesis relative to the taught elements; it requires of you less dependency on others and more self-motivation and academic creativity, which more or less defines all of the several years of a PhD, so you can see why admissions will look unfavourably upon poor masters research.

    That said, it seems premature to leave at this point - it's only January and presumably your thesis is not due until the end of summer. You will be in a better position with a research masters under your belt than a not insignificant gap with nothing academic to show for it other than some volunteering. Perhaps talk to the head of your department or your tutor/mentor about your concerns (switching supervisors three times is indeed unusual and understandably disruptive) and in the meantime work doubly hard on your research.
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    (Original post by Ligase)
    I
    My module marks have been very good so far (between 74-84), but it is the large project 120 credit research project that is proving very difficult, as my supervisory team has changed at least twice, and I have been told that yet another one of my supervisors is now leaving.

    So my question is this, how much of impact would a less than ideal masters grade affect my PhD applications (say a standard pass or low merit result overall)? Particularly at top universities e.g. Imperial, Edinburgh, Oxbridge etc.

    Additionally, do you think it would be worth staying on or leaving now? I can get more research experience without the masters through volunteering, but i am worried about the potential 2-3 year gap on my CV when applying for PhDs and jobs.

    Thanks again.
    I agree with the above posters, the issue is not any gap for health reasons, it is not being successful on the research element of the Masters. That is the key element that indicates PhD potential, and frankly, changing Supervisors isn't going to cut it as a reason, because a PhD is about independent research 'with guidance'.

    I'd say, if you are serious about PhD, then you have to turn around the dissertation element, to have a chance anywhere. Dropping out or getting a low grade because of the dissertation element would be equally harmful to your PhD prospects.
 
 
 
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