Taught vs. research? Watch

FadedJade
  • CV Helper
Badges: 15
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 10 years ago
#1
Hi again,

I kind of hate the fact that I'm going to be asking lots of questions, given how I annoyed I get with it all in my own uni forum, but you people are nice and I will help answer questions when I get there

Anyway, Of the people on here, I was wondering who does a taught qualification and who does a research one? Of the taught degrees, do you feel that it prepares you adequately for potential research?

I'm currently stuck between the two, as for taught MAs I'm only ever interested in half the options so would have to take things I dont like, and the research ones are just writing one single thesis. Maybe I have been looking at the wrong courses! I know that when you apply you would have to write down the area you would like to research into, but I don't think that in a couple of months when I'll be writing my applications I'll be in a position to choose one area of interest. I have about three areas that I'd like to look into in a fair bit of depth.

Not sure what the point of this is, maybe to ask if anyone was in the same position and how they resolved it?

Thankies

Nina xx

ps, Surely If you are just doing a research thesis, where you actually end up doesnt really matter all that much in terms of course right? (obviously specialisms of supervisors aside). Just making sure I haven't missed anything obvious!
0
reply
pendragon
Badges: 11
Rep:
?
#2
Report 10 years ago
#2
Good taught masters exist, and many taught masters have a research component - its just weighted less than in a research degree. Which is easier depends on how good at exams you are and how good at writing a thesis you are. You should do whichever you will get a better result for, as doing a taught masters at a good uni is quite acceptable on the way to a PhD. PM me if you have any more questions or explanation.
0
reply
rottcodd
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#3
Report 10 years ago
#3
I'm currently stuck between the two, as for taught MAs I'm only ever interested in half the options so would have to take things I dont like, and the research ones are just writing one single thesis. Maybe I have been looking at the wrong courses! I know that when you apply you would have to write down the area you would like to research into, but I don't think that in a couple of months when I'll be writing my applications I'll be in a position to choose one area of interest. I have about three areas that I'd like to look into in a fair bit of depth.
I nearly ended up applying for a research masters, but in the end went with a taught one. Like you, I've got a couple of slightly different research interests on the go and I want to have another years worth of breathing space to test out a few ideas and see if I want to stick with them or not. I think I would be equally happy studying either, but a research masters would limit the opportunity to change my mind if I wanted to. If you don't think you can specialise this early, then a taught masters is really the only way to go.

If you did do a research masters in one of your areas of interest, but then decided that you wanted to do a PhD on one of your other interests, I can imagine it would be odd for a university to receive a PhD application from someone who wants to study a particular area but has carried out a research masters in a completely different one. Though I guess it depends on how similar your three areas of interest are...It would also make funding more difficult.

Even if you are only interested in half of the modules of a taught MA, it still might be a good idea to do them anyway to make your knowledge of your discipline more rounded. I didn't think one of the taught modules at the MA I start this September would have anything to do with what I wanted to do my dissertation on, but even in my third year as an undergraduate I began to notice potential ways of how that taught module could perhaps be relavent to what I was interested. Basically, anything extra you can explore within your discipline, even if it isn't directly related to what you want to research on, I would have thought would still be useful. Plus, the taught modules will probably end after the spring term, leaving you to do a dissertation on whatever you wanted.

ps, Surely If you are just doing a research thesis, where you actually end up doesnt really matter all that much in terms of course right? (obviously specialisms of supervisors aside). Just making sure I haven't missed anything obvious
Apart from superviors, you should also think about availability of resources. So for example if I wanted to do research on a particular poet, I wouldn't go anywhere other than Durham because they have a special centre dedicated to that poet with supervisors who are interested in that area. So it would make sense to go there over say Manchester, which has somebody interested in it but not this particular local centre, so I would end up having to make research trips to Durham.
0
reply
FadedJade
  • CV Helper
Badges: 15
Rep:
?
#4
Report Thread starter 10 years ago
#4
Thanks guys,

Philosophy broadly splits into two areas the metaphysical stuff (meta, logic, philsci) and the applied stuff (political, ethics and aesthetics) and its very much the latter that is my interests. I know there are a number of taught masters that dont examine but are constantly examined by essays, and that sort of approach would probably suit me best due to the unreliability of my health.

One problem is that at present I've only really looked at the 'top' unis, and not looked further afield even though I know that undergrad and postgrad reputation etc are completely different (as is the extent to which it matters). I guess I need to do some more research and case my net wider!

I think you are right rottcodd and I need to look more towards a taught masters! Damnit! Most of the ones I have seen specialise in the other half of philosophy. I'd better get ordering some prospecti!

Thanks guys I dont really have people at hand to ask random questions about this stuff so this is really useful.
0
reply
rottcodd
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#5
Report 10 years ago
#5
Ah okay, I didn't realise about that splitting stuff. Maybe a tutor at your undergrad uni might be able to recommend somewhere that specialises in what you are interested in?

Don't take my word for it about going for the taught MA - wait and see what the wiser contingent of this subforum says!
0
reply
oriel historian
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#6
Report 10 years ago
#6
(Original post by Nina)
Thanks guys,

Philosophy broadly splits into two areas the metaphysical stuff (meta, logic, philsci) and the applied stuff (political, ethics and aesthetics) and its very much the latter that is my interests. I know there are a number of taught masters that dont examine but are constantly examined by essays, and that sort of approach would probably suit me best due to the unreliability of my health.

One problem is that at present I've only really looked at the 'top' unis, and not looked further afield even though I know that undergrad and postgrad reputation etc are completely different (as is the extent to which it matters). I guess I need to do some more research and case my net wider!

I think you are right rottcodd and I need to look more towards a taught masters! Damnit! Most of the ones I have seen specialise in the other half of philosophy. I'd better get ordering some prospecti!

Thanks guys I dont really have people at hand to ask random questions about this stuff so this is really useful.
Oxford has quite a specialism in political philosophy. You'd probably have to apply through the philosophy department but they've got quite a number of good and reasonably respected people.

I'd advocate research degrees, taught ones are merely cashcows. It's a particular niggle of mine.
0
reply
FadedJade
  • CV Helper
Badges: 15
Rep:
?
#7
Report Thread starter 10 years ago
#7
I intend on applying to Oxford, but I believe that there are only 10 places for the course I wish to do there, so it's not going to happen given that I haven't got a first.
0
reply
oriel historian
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#8
Report 10 years ago
#8
(Original post by Nina)
I intend on applying to Oxford, but I believe that there are only 10 places for the course I wish to do there, so it's not going to happen given that I haven't got a first.
Which one?

edit: just to say, these look alright -

http://www.york.ac.uk/depts/poli/pro...urses/polphil/
http://www.historyofpoliticalthought.org/
http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/Schoolo...calPhilosophy/

Being a historian I can't comment on them from their worthwhile nature but they're all from reputable universities so I would imagine they're of a good standard. Other than that what about looking at courses based on continental philosophy which would probably fit in with what you're interested in. Certainly the scientific approach of English philosophy disagrees with me.
0
reply
FadedJade
  • CV Helper
Badges: 15
Rep:
?
#9
Report Thread starter 10 years ago
#9
BPhil. and thank you I will have a look. I'm sure once I take into account the way I want to be assessed, the non-meta side, the non-London-but-somewhere-my-other-half-can-find-work requirements I'll actually have narrowed it down quite nicely!
0
reply
Kitty Pimms
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#10
Report 10 years ago
#10
(Original post by Nina)
Thanks guys,

Philosophy broadly splits into two areas the metaphysical stuff (meta, logic, philsci) and the applied stuff (political, ethics and aesthetics) and its very much the latter that is my interests. I know there are a number of taught masters that dont examine but are constantly examined by essays, and that sort of approach would probably suit me best due to the unreliability of my health.
If you're into political philosophy, I'm sure I can recommend some good departments and courses for you.

Anyhoo, I would like to ditto Rottcodd, although no doubt less articulately. I tend to favour taught masters (assuming 'research' in this context is taken to mean 'writing a thesis' rather than an MRes, which is a taught research masters. Phew.) simply because they give you an additional year of learning before you have to carve out your own research. They are no disadvantage when it comes to applying for PhDs, and probably more interesting if you're not totally decided what you want to do your doctorate on. (I'm running ahead of myself. Do you want to do a doctorate?!).
0
reply
oriel historian
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#11
Report 10 years ago
#11
(Original post by IlexAquifolium)
If you're into political philosophy, I'm sure I can recommend some good departments and courses for you.

Anyhoo, I would like to ditto Rottcodd, although no doubt less articulately. I tend to favour taught masters (assuming 'research' in this context is taken to mean 'writing a thesis' rather than an MRes, which is a taught research masters. Phew.) simply because they give you an additional year of learning before you have to carve out your own research. They are no disadvantage when it comes to applying for PhDs, and probably more interesting if you're not totally decided what you want to do your doctorate on. (I'm running ahead of myself. Do you want to do a doctorate?!).
GAAAAAAAAAAAH!!! You're feeding the universities lots of money they don't need or deserve!!! Seriously, taught masters are for people who think nothing of cash like MBA students or whatever; for people interested in arts doing a research masters is far more interesting, flexible, and useful. I mean how much more 'classroom' teaching does one *need* after a full undergraduate degree. That's when you get lectured at rather than contributing to the research base of your subject.

Taught masters are pathetic. :mad:
0
reply
Kitty Pimms
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#12
Report 10 years ago
#12
(Original post by oriel historian)
GAAAAAAAAAAAH!!! You're feeding the universities lots of money they don't need or deserve!!! Seriously, taught masters are for people who think nothing of cash like MBA students or whatever; for people interested in arts doing a research masters is far more interesting, flexible, and useful. I mean how much more 'classroom' teaching does one *need* after a full undergraduate degree. That's when you get lectured at rather than contributing to the research base of your subject.

Taught masters are pathetic. :mad:
Oi you, I'm doing a taught MRes :mad: I'm not feeding them money though, the ESRC is, because they make you do this exceedingly boring course to get your cash.
0
reply
oriel historian
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#13
Report 10 years ago
#13
(Original post by IlexAquifolium)
Oi you, I'm doing a taught MRes :mad: I'm not feeding them money though, the ESRC is, because they make you do this exceedingly boring course to get your cash.
This is the silly flaw in the system. Instead of letting people get on with their research they force people into learning extra skill sets that they don't need. Research isn't about a method or theories, it's about the feel of things. How things click in your mind. Did Edward Gibbon have 'theory and practice' lessons? No, he wrote how he 'felt'. Why, in the twenty first century do we have to pander to expectations when it's the research that we do that is meant to 'make' our name in the academic world. It irks me to say the least that centralised funding bodies who don't really give a damn about their students anyway - how could they with all these hurdles and the sheer pathetic number of scholarships given out - dictate terms like those? Grrrr.
0
reply
FadedJade
  • CV Helper
Badges: 15
Rep:
?
#14
Report Thread starter 10 years ago
#14
MRes sounds exactly like the sort of thing I want to do. (Is that actually a separate qualification or just your shorthand?)

Edit: Yes I would like to do a doctorate, but at this time I may very well have a deferred entry two year contract with KPMG (I'm interning now, and hopefully they'll offer me a job at the end of it!) so I'm just focusing on the masters right now.
0
reply
Kitty Pimms
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#15
Report 10 years ago
#15
(Original post by Nina)
MRes sounds exactly like the sort of thing I want to do. (Is that actually a separate qualification or just your shorthand?)
Well, it's a bit of an umbrella term. It just describes a taught research masters, although they're often termed MScs or MAs. They tend to be more prevelant in empirical subjects but you do find the odd one popping up in the arts. Why not have a look at Oxford's political theory research MSc? That's probably the closest thing in philosophy I can think of off the top of my head.
0
reply
FadedJade
  • CV Helper
Badges: 15
Rep:
?
#16
Report Thread starter 10 years ago
#16
I thought as much. Think I might make a huge spreadsheet and start researching!
0
reply
apotoftea
Badges: 19
Rep:
?
#17
Report 10 years ago
#17
(Original post by oriel historian)
taught masters are for people who think nothing of cash like MBA students or whatever
Trust me - I'm thinking a hell of a lot about the £10 000 I'm spending next year.

I've chosen to do a taught MA rather than a research one for the same reasons that rottcodd has already said. I've got a couple of areas of interest that I want to develop further plus have the chance (if I want to) of studying topics I've not been able to do on my BA. I looked at the research masters but just didn't want to be THAT committed to one or two topics.

Plus, on a more personal level, I want another year to improve my writing and do another dissertation albeit a smaller one than the MRes ones before I hopefully start a PhD. Only a handful of universities offer my research areas so that somewhat swayed the decision.
0
reply
Caspar David Friedrich
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#18
Report 10 years ago
#18
(Original post by oriel historian)
GAAAAAAAAAAAH!!! You're feeding the universities lots of money they don't need or deserve!!! Seriously, taught masters are for people who think nothing of cash like MBA students or whatever; for people interested in arts doing a research masters is far more interesting, flexible, and useful. I mean how much more 'classroom' teaching does one *need* after a full undergraduate degree. That's when you get lectured at rather than contributing to the research base of your subject.

Taught masters are pathetic. :mad:
There are a lot of subjects (and from looking around history departments some months ago, a big barge full of good universities) in which taught masters don't do too much for those who are on a PhD track and serve as 'cash cows' as you say, but there are some areas in which they are not only useful but even essential first steps. Perhaps it is the fault of my broad American undergraduate curriculum, but I couldn't possibly do serious medieval research without the appropriate linguistic and manuscript training which my taught MA will provide - hence why I'm doing it. Besides, there are also those people with BAs in different but related subjects along with those who are not thinking in terms of research to cater to, many of whom both like and need the 'advanced' subject matter content of traditional taught courses. You really need to consider what these degrees are all about, who does them and why they take them before calling all of them pathetic.

Anyways Nina, I agree with Rottcodd & Ilex, it sounds like a taught masters might be better suited to you at the moment. They've addressed it quite well already. Rock on! :cool: .
0
reply
oriel historian
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#19
Report 10 years ago
#19
(Original post by Caspar David Friedrich)
There are a lot of subjects (and from looking around history departments some months ago, a big barge full of good universities) in which taught masters don't do too much for those who are on a PhD track and serve as 'cash cows' as you say, but there are some areas in which they are not only useful but even essential first steps. Perhaps it is the fault of my broad American undergraduate curriculum, but I couldn't possibly do serious medieval research without the appropriate linguistic and manuscript training which my taught MA will provide - hence why I'm doing it. Besides, there are also those people with BAs in different but related subjects along with those who are not thinking in terms of research to cater to, many of whom both like and need the 'advanced' subject matter content of traditional taught courses. You really need to consider what these degrees are all about, who does them and why they take them before calling all of them pathetic.
The purpose of research masters is to provide you with the skills for research. Consider this statement from the University of Nottingham, which perhaps serves as a middle point for most universities in the British Isles:

"This course provides an opportunity for students to study specific areas of history in greater depth than at undergraduate level. Those with an interest in British History, Medieval History, Environmental History., Social and Cultural History, Islamic and Middle Eastern History, East Asian History and Contemporary History will benefit from the school's expertise in those areas. Students undertake a mixture of compulsory and optional modules which reflect their interests and are given training for further research work or other professional careers." Their MA (Research) in history is being described here.

Taught masters do not provide those skills in any where near the same degree because they are merely an extension of the undergraduate experience. In many cases the undergraduate experience provides for crossovers in skill sets - lawyers can cope with historical enquiry, they may need to teach themselves some theories but the process of deduction and making choices is similar as an example. Moreover, if it were the case that taught degrees provided those with a keen eye on research with the right skills why is it that the recommendation is for research masters for those in that category? Well, the simple fact is taught degrees leave you wanting because - and this is the words of a senior researcher at Edinburgh - they were 'invented' out of necessity, they had too many people clamouring to 'extend' their undergraduate experience for another year.

Believe me, mate, I have considered this long and hard and have come to the conclusion that I have. I don't just make these sorts of statements without thinking and I'd thank you to not suggest otherwise. :confused:
0
reply
FadedJade
  • CV Helper
Badges: 15
Rep:
?
#20
Report Thread starter 10 years ago
#20
Since I last posted I've researched some different institutions to the ones I was initially considering and some of them seem really suited to what I want to do. It's been good to consolidate what I want - makes me realise somestuff about the direction I want to take. So thanks for all your input, it has been as helpful as ever

*Until next time, with my next question heehee*

OT question, I know that I get annoyed with threads getting repeated a lot in the cam forum - does that happen a lot here? (please say I didnt repeat a common one!)
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

University open days

  • Cardiff Metropolitan University
    Undergraduate Open Day - Llandaff Campus Undergraduate
    Sat, 27 Apr '19
  • University of East Anglia
    Could you inspire the next generation? Find out more about becoming a Primary teacher with UEA… Postgraduate
    Sat, 27 Apr '19
  • Anglia Ruskin University
    Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care; Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Business and Law; Science and Engineering Undergraduate
    Sat, 27 Apr '19

Have you registered to vote?

Yes! (502)
37.8%
No - but I will (102)
7.68%
No - I don't want to (91)
6.85%
No - I can't vote (<18, not in UK, etc) (633)
47.67%

Watched Threads

View All
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise