I was just wondering to what extent those on a 1+3 worked on their PhD on the MRes year? Obviously all the work I do on the MRes will be focused on the PhD subject, however did you just focus on getting the modules done, or start working independently on your PhD too?
I've just started the "3" part, having done the MRes last year. There were two sorts of people in my cohort - those who already knew what their final project was going to be on, and those who didn't. The first group chose projects relevant to their final PhD project in terms of techniques, so that by the time we started our PhDs, we already had a lot of the practical experience. The subject areas varied, but there was a general overlap between first year stuff and PhD stuff. The second group generally chose a diverse range of projects to give them as wide a scope as possible so that they could choose a project later in the year. IMO this is not as good a way of doing things, as a lot of what you do in the first year you will never do again.
In terms of actual PhD work, unless one of the projects was preliminary work for the PhD proper, no one actually did any PhD stuff, other than learning the techniques that we'll be using.
I did the 1+3, and pretty much all the work I done that year was just for the masters - the modules and the dissertation. the dissertation was in the same subject area as the phd, so I guess some of the background lit was relevant for what I am doing now. but i didn't go out my way to prepare for the phd whilst doing the masters. the only extra thing I did was some teaching assistant work. But generally I found the dissertation was pretty time consuming for me. I guess the main thing relevant to the phd is that once the dissertation was done and the masters was effectively finished, work for the phd started straight away.
so my advice would be to just focus on the masters while you can, because there will be plenty of time to stress about your phd later!
Thanks so much guys. I was hoping that this was the norm - I would much rather be able to knuckle down and really concentrate on the MRes, after all it is a full time course. Of course, I fully plan to focus on my PhD research throughout, but thought that trying to make a real start on it seemed a bit premature. I will discuss this further with my supervisor next week, but for now you have put my mind at rest a little! :-)
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