TheMannMountain1
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Is it better to do an integrated masters or a postgraduate masters for a course such as chemistry?
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BJack
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(Original post by TheMannMountain1)
Is it better to do an integrated masters or a postgraduate masters for a course such as chemistry?
The funding situation is more straightforward if you do an integrated masters (as long as you transfer to the MChem early in your degree - your institution should be able to advise on what 'early' means) and the integrated masters should leave you adequately prepared for a PhD, if that's your long-term goal.

I suppose you might find that you're drawn to an area of chemistry that your university doesn't really do much of, especially if you're in a smaller department. In that case you might be better off taking your masters somewhere with more focus on that subfield but I'd guess that's an unusual situation to end up in.
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TheMannMountain1
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(Original post by BJack)
The funding situation is more straightforward if you do an integrated masters (as long as you transfer to the MChem early in your degree - your institution should be able to advise on what 'early' means) and the integrated masters should leave you adequately prepared for a PhD, if that's your long-term goal.

I suppose you might find that you're drawn to an area of chemistry that your university doesn't really do much of, especially if you're in a smaller department. In that case you might be better off taking your masters somewhere with more focus on that subfield but I'd guess that's an unusual situation to end up in.
First of all, thanks for the advice. I've been told that postgrad. masters are slightly more valued than an integrated masters due to the fact that there's taught elements (usually) as well as the research project. However, there is obviously the ease of doing an integrated masters at the same university you are already at. I guess it depends on funding as well. Cheers.
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BJack
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(Original post by TheMannMountain1)
First of all, thanks for the advice. I've been told that postgrad. masters are slightly more valued than an integrated masters due to the fact that there's taught elements (usually) as well as the research project. However, there is obviously the ease of doing an integrated masters at the same university you are already at. I guess it depends on funding as well. Cheers.
Most universities have a mixture of research/project work in the fourth year. I think it's only Oxford that deviates from this, with the fourth year being entirely research-based. I haven't looked much at stand-alone chemistry masters degrees but I do know that there's a fair number of PhD programmes that start with a masters-level year of both teaching and research. So that seems to be quite a popular model, however your masters-level study is labelled.
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AlesanaWill
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(Original post by TheMannMountain1)
First of all, thanks for the advice. I've been told that postgrad. masters are slightly more valued than an integrated masters due to the fact that there's taught elements (usually) as well as the research project. However, there is obviously the ease of doing an integrated masters at the same university you are already at. I guess it depends on funding as well. Cheers.
Postgraduate masters are often more highly valued because they often require more work. If you do an integrated masters, your fourth year will start in September and end around June, whereas if you do a stand alone masters, your year may not end until the end of the summer (you'll be doing your dissertation over the summer). This does depend on the masters course though - I did a taught maths masters at Cambridge and this ended in June. Also, in a standalone masters you might get more say over the area you want to research in as the courses are more specific.

The benefit of an integrated masters is that in terms of funding it is treated as part of your undergraduate degree, so you are entitled to the usual student loan that you get for your first three years (i.e. a loan for fees and maintenance). If you do a standalone masters, you are not eligible for this. You are entitled to a £9000 postgraduate loan, which is paid in 3 installments. This probably won't even cover your tuition fees, so you need to find money to cover accommodation, etc. Also you'll need to negotiate with your university about paying the tuition fees in installments after you've received your postgraduate loan (the standard deadline for paying fees is usually before this).

I chose to do a standalone masters over doing an integrated masters because the standalone masters enabled me to do something that I was really interested in, whereas the integrated masters was much more generic and wouldn't have allowed me to go into as much depth in what I enjoyed. So if there's an area of Chemistry that you're particularly interested in that is better covered by a standalone masters than an integrated one, it's definitely worth considering.
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TheMannMountain1
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(Original post by AlesanaWill)
Postgraduate masters are often more highly valued because they often require more work. If you do an integrated masters, your fourth year will start in September and end around June, whereas if you do a stand alone masters, your year may not end until the end of the summer (you'll be doing your dissertation over the summer). This does depend on the masters course though - I did a taught maths masters at Cambridge and this ended in June. Also, in a standalone masters you might get more say over the area you want to research in as the courses are more specific.

The benefit of an integrated masters is that in terms of funding it is treated as part of your undergraduate degree, so you are entitled to the usual student loan that you get for your first three years (i.e. a loan for fees and maintenance). If you do a standalone masters, you are not eligible for this. You are entitled to a £9000 postgraduate loan, which is paid in 3 installments. This probably won't even cover your tuition fees, so you need to find money to cover accommodation, etc. Also you'll need to negotiate with your university about paying the tuition fees in installments after you've received your postgraduate loan (the standard deadline for paying fees is usually before this).

I chose to do a standalone masters over doing an integrated masters because the standalone masters enabled me to do something that I was really interested in, whereas the integrated masters was much more generic and wouldn't have allowed me to go into as much depth in what I enjoyed. So if there's an area of Chemistry that you're particularly interested in that is better covered by a standalone masters than an integrated one, it's definitely worth considering.
Thank you very much for the response. Like you said, there's pros of both. However, there are also cons that I'll have to consider I decide to do a masters, such as the accommodation cost. But then again, it would be ideal if a university close to home did the project I was looking at studying. Once again, many thanks.
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