SportScience98
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mnot
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(Original post by conorellis42)
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Hi,
what specifically are hoping to find out about?
I did an MSc with a 3 month research project & im a PhD researcher atm (in engineering), so not quite the same but I have experience with postgrad research.
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SportScience98
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(Original post by mnot)
Hi,
what specifically are hoping to find out about?
I did an MSc with a 3 month research project & im a PhD researcher atm (in engineering), so not quite the same but I have experience with postgrad research.
Mainly about the research side, and other peoples experiences conducting research (transitioning to working more autominously).

I'm wondering what its like in the postgraduate environment, writing my undergrad dissertation (a systematic review) was fun, but I'm doing a project this year.
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(Original post by conorellis42)
Mainly about the research side, and other peoples experiences conducting research (transitioning to working more autominously).

I'm wondering what its like in the postgraduate environment, writing my undergrad dissertation (a systematic review) was fun, but I'm doing a project this year.
Expect to operate more independently.
Research students get a lot of freedom, so you will most likely be able to work where/when you want. You'll probably be in a situation where on average you meet once per week with your supervisor.

I think a big thing is motivating yourself, for example in undergrad you probably had fairly regular deadlines every few weeks, so it forces you to keep the motivation. You might not have any formal deadlines for months on the MPhil, so making sure every month your making good progress is on you.

I decided to put in deadlines with my supervisor so I had a date to work towards, I also think planning & logistics is much more important because of this.

I really enjoy my research life, I would no doubt make more money in a grad job, but with studentships you get a much wider scope for a project and I think that makes the actual technical content more engaging.

As to the environment, it feels like a job but with a lot of freedom attached. Research students in my area are given an office away from teaching facilities which I share with other student researchers, post-docs & research fellows. (although with lockdown its a bit odd atm).

I hope this helps if you other questions ill do my best to answer them.
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SportScience98
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(Original post by mnot)
Expect to operate more independently.
Research students get a lot of freedom, so you will most likely be able to work where/when you want. You'll probably be in a situation where on average you meet once per week with your supervisor.

I think a big thing is motivating yourself, for example in undergrad you probably had fairly regular deadlines every few weeks, so it forces you to keep the motivation. You might not have any formal deadlines for months on the MPhil, so making sure every month your making good progress is on you.

I decided to put in deadlines with my supervisor so I had a date to work towards, I also think planning & logistics is much more important because of this.

I really enjoy my research life, I would no doubt make more money in a grad job, but with studentships you get a much wider scope for a project and I think that makes the actual technical content more engaging.

As to the environment, it feels like a job but with a lot of freedom attached. Research students in my area are given an office away from teaching facilities which I share with other student researchers, post-docs & research fellows. (although with lockdown its a bit odd atm).

I hope this helps if you other questions ill do my best to answer them.
Thanks for the response. Operating more independently is something I want to do.

During the final year of my undergraduate (this year) I used to meet up with my supervisor regularly, and she was the one who actually set the deadlines for me to get feedback on specific sections in the work. We'd communicate back and forth about specific elements of the work in order to make sure it was going in the right direction. So setting deadlines is something I'll probably pursue more proactively next year!

Since I'm doing an MRes, I think its about 70-75% research and 25-30% academic/research methods based, so its a good way to brush up on my statistical analysis, proposals, ethics etc leading up to it.

Should I treat my masters like a full time job then, e.g. 9-5 directed intense work (and more if required in different periods of time?)

I want to get top grades so I can get into top universities for sports science, so I might need a mid/high distinction?
Also, is it also my responsibility to make sure the experience I gain is relevant (i.e. field based vs research?)
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mnot
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(Original post by conorellis42)
Thanks for the response. Operating more independently is something I want to do.

During the final year of my undergraduate (this year) I used to meet up with my supervisor regularly, and she was the one who actually set the deadlines for me to get feedback on specific sections in the work. We'd communicate back and forth about specific elements of the work in order to make sure it was going in the right direction. So setting deadlines is something I'll probably pursue more proactively next year!

Since I'm doing an MRes, I think its about 70-75% research and 25-30% academic/research methods based, so its a good way to brush up on my statistical analysis, proposals, ethics etc leading up to it.

Should I treat my masters like a full time job then, e.g. 9-5 directed intense work (and more if required in different periods of time?)

I want to get top grades so I can get into top universities for sports science, so I might need a mid/high distinction?
Also, is it also my responsibility to make sure the experience I gain is relevant (i.e. field based vs research?)
Yes on my MSc i had to do some research methods courses: logistics basics, statistics, research ethics and a few other things (I even got LATEX training...). At my uni stuff this was pretty easy, and if you commit to putting in moderate effort getting a distinction was no problem.

Id try and keep a 9-5, not because you have to but because a good routine keeps you in the habit, sometimes ill work odd hours even like 1-2am if im in full stride just because I wanted to keep the momentum (but I also allow myself a long lie after a few beers or sometimes a short Friday so it all averages out...)

I think getting good grades and building good supervisor relationships should be a priority, I had really good academic grades and that definitely helped for my PhD funding, funding is notoriously competitive so anything that can put your resume in a good position is worth focusing on.

Yes, your research methods will be your responsibility, your supervisor will make suggestions & provide support but you need to be active in choosing the methods.
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SportScience98
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(Original post by mnot)
Yes on my MSc i had to do some research methods courses: logistics basics, statistics, research ethics and a few other things (I even got LATEX training...). At my uni stuff this was pretty easy, and if you commit to putting in moderate effort getting a distinction was no problem.

Id try and keep a 9-5, not because you have to but because a good routine keeps you in the habit, sometimes ill work odd hours even like 1-2am if im in full stride just because I wanted to keep the momentum (but I also allow myself a long lie after a few beers or sometimes a short Friday so it all averages out...)

I think getting good grades and building good supervisor relationships should be a priority, I had really good academic grades and that definitely helped for my PhD funding, funding is notoriously competitive so anything that can put your resume in a good position is worth focusing on.

Yes, your research methods will be your responsibility, your supervisor will make suggestions & provide support but you need to be active in choosing the methods.
That sounds decent then, I'll focus on putting in the required effort then. ah yes, if you're in full stride, may as well make the most of it. the rules go out of the window then!

As for building good supervisor relationships, I'm doing my MRes at the same uni I did my BSc on, and I'm already acquainted
with most of the lecturers (which is a big plus!)

Okay, I will make sure to get up to scratch on research methodology
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StarLinyx
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You will need to get at least a Merit grade overall for the MRes to open doors. A pass isn't looked on too well in academia. Think of the MRes as a mini PhD, which involves an 8-9 month research project involving a thesis of about 20-25k in words. An MRes is a bit more respected than an MSc, due to the extra time in the lab. The MRes is essentially a taster for the forthcoming PhD, if that is your aim. My MSc had a 6 month project included, worth 50% of the degree. So my MSc was similar to doing an MRes, but not quite as much lab time was needed.
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SportScience98
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(Original post by StarLinyx)
You will need to get at least a Merit grade overall for the MRes to open doors. A pass isn't looked on too well in academia. Think of the MRes as a mini PhD, which involves an 8-9 month research project involving a thesis of about 20-25k in words. An MRes is a bit more respected than an MSc, due to the extra time in the lab. The MRes is essentially a taster for the forthcoming PhD, if that is your aim. My MSc had a 6 month project included, worth 50% of the degree. So my MSc was similar to doing an MRes, but not quite as much lab time was needed.
20-25k sounds about right, as my undergraduate dissertation (8.5k words) took me about 400 hours, and we are expected to put in 1500 approximate hours in the bigger 120 credit project. I will make sure to apply myself then. Thats a reason why I wanted to do an MRes, to see if the PhD is for me and to gain specific experience in whats required so the transition does not feel as rough! Another reason was that my dissertation grade was higher than my coursework marks.
I recently quit social media and turned off all notifications on my phone (hermit mode!) I'm also learning how to focus on single tasks for extended periods of time
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(Original post by conorellis42)
20-25k sounds about right, as my undergraduate dissertation (8.5k words) took me about 400 hours, and we are expected to put in 1500 approximate hours in the bigger 120 credit project. I will make sure to apply myself then. Thats a reason why I wanted to do an MRes, to see if the PhD is for me and to gain specific experience in whats required so the transition does not feel as rough! Another reason was that my dissertation grade was higher than my coursework marks.
I recently quit social media and turned off all notifications on my phone (hermit mode!) I'm also learning how to focus on single tasks for extended periods of time
Make sure you get experience in the most important and widely used research lab methods within your field. That, as well as the Merit grade as a minimum, is much more important than the prestige of the university you will be studying at.
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SportScience98
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(Original post by StarLinyx)
Make sure you get experience in the most important and widely used research lab methods within your field. That, as well as the Merit grade as a minimum, is much more important than the prestige of the university you will be studying at.
Okay, I will ensure that I get this specific experience.
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(Original post by conorellis42)
Mainly about the research side, and other peoples experiences conducting research (transitioning to working more autominously).

I'm wondering what its like in the postgraduate environment, writing my undergrad dissertation (a systematic review) was fun, but I'm doing a project this year.
So I did an MRes in Biosciences, so very lab based, maybe my experiences will be a bit different but just in case there I something useful I'll add my bit.

My degree featured two research projects, yours will likely feature that or a single, larger project. This would likely be larger than an MSc project (being an MRes means more research, less teaching). I was pretty much expected to work "full time" on it, only taking time off to go to lectures as needed. As above, the idea was that I start to become more independent, etc. Even had roles in designing experiments, analysing data in my own way (if appropriate).

Workload wise I definitely felt like it was a slight step up from final year of undergrad, which was pretty much working full time-so can be intense at times, but still well worth the experience.
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(Original post by QuentinM)
So I did an MRes in Biosciences, so very lab based, maybe my experiences will be a bit different but just in case there I something useful I'll add my bit.

My degree featured two research projects, yours will likely feature that or a single, larger project. This would likely be larger than an MSc project (being an MRes means more research, less teaching). I was pretty much expected to work "full time" on it, only taking time off to go to lectures as needed. As above, the idea was that I start to become more independent, etc. Even had roles in designing experiments, analysing data in my own way (if appropriate).

Workload wise I definitely felt like it was a slight step up from final year of undergrad, which was pretty much working full time-so can be intense at times, but still well worth the experience.
I think my experience will also be quite lab based (physiological) but in a slightly different context of course. I think my one has a 120 credit larger project and a 15 credit smaller one (so about 70% projects, 30% academic/research methods?) But yeah its the idea of treating it like a '9-5' which intrigues me. Whether it would be a good transition into a PhD or industry career is also in my head because of this.

I assume like final year undergrad, it requires a lot of intense focus and structured study - but to a higher level compared to before!
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(Original post by conorellis42)
I think my experience will also be quite lab based (physiological) but in a slightly different context of course. I think my one has a 120 credit larger project and a 15 credit smaller one (so about 70% projects, 30% academic/research methods?) But yeah its the idea of treating it like a '9-5' which intrigues me. Whether it would be a good transition into a PhD or industry career is also in my head because of this.

I assume like final year undergrad, it requires a lot of intense focus and structured study - but to a higher level compared to before!
Although I say "9-5", all my supervisors told me "you put in the time needed to complete the work", so its not rigidly set in stone in that regard.

I personally chose an MRes over MSc because I thought it would be better for transitioning to a PhD later on, thankfully I'm now on a PhD so maybe it worked? It gave me more research experience, which helped me sell myself more in interviews. Also on my course personally (which has MSc and MRes options) the taught modules just weren't there for me on an MSc (I either had to choose 7 on an MSc, or choose 4 on an MRes) so I'm glad I went more research focused, personally.

Main difference for me was working for longer each day, I don't feel I necessarily had to study harder (I took less taught stuff maybe that's why) though I also did a lab project for final year undergrad which involved essentially working full time for ~3 months.
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(Original post by QuentinM)
Although I say "9-5", all my supervisors told me "you put in the time needed to complete the work", so its not rigidly set in stone in that regard.

I personally chose an MRes over MSc because I thought it would be better for transitioning to a PhD later on, thankfully I'm now on a PhD so maybe it worked? It gave me more research experience, which helped me sell myself more in interviews. Also on my course personally (which has MSc and MRes options) the taught modules just weren't there for me on an MSc (I either had to choose 7 on an MSc, or choose 4 on an MRes) so I'm glad I went more research focused, personally.

Main difference for me was working for longer each day, I don't feel I necessarily had to study harder (I took less taught stuff maybe that's why) though I also did a lab project for final year undergrad which involved essentially working full time for ~3 months.
That sounds like an interesting perspective from your supervisers. I've picked an MRes for the same reason, plus that I'm better at writing a thesis than completing general taught content. My main goal will probably be to set time to focus on my thesis and in the lab (and to try and keep a regimented structure to avoid becoming overwhelmed).
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