Getting an MPhil : Is it really that bad?


======= Date Modified 18 39 2008 10:39:20 =======
I'm just considering my options at the moment.

I've just submitted a mammoth upgrade report (probably length of a PhD) and I'm terried that it will be rejected-but I've got a sinking feeling that it will. Judging from my other supervisor who is not marking it but yet reading between the lines of her email, I may have to resort to an MPhil.

Just throwing it out there really-what do people think of an MPhil rather than a PhD???


pineapple, if you don't want to pursue a career in academia, and are unhappy with your PhD, then I really don't see the point of staying on to achieve a PhD when you can have an MPhil right now, leave, and start doing something you enjoy.

if you get an MPhil now you can always tell yourself that you have studied your chosen topic intensively, you made something out of it, and you got a degree for it. then you left to do something more interesting. how good is that?

if you want to go on to be a lecturer or researcher, then probably it would be worth sticking in there and doing those extra bits of work that will get you that PhD. inside academia, i think a PhD is a bit more work for a huge difference in prospects and standing. outside of academia, i think a PhD is a lot more work than a MPhil but with little to no extra recognition.

just on the side: from some of your posts in the past i got the impression that you tend to have low self-confidence when in fact most people around you value your work highly. if you do want to stay in academia, don't let a bad day keep you from going where you want to go!


Hi Pineapple, rather than stressing about it why don't you call or e-mail your supervisor? Find out from her what she thought rather than trying to read between the lines. With e-mail it can be so difficult to get at what someone was thinking. Best of luck!


I have and she's not replying to my specfic questions about the upgrading. She is responding to questions regarding other stuff I'm doing.

It doesn't look good



I don't get it. You've done so much work. Is it the actual work that is a problem or that you aren't that great at writing up?


======= Date Modified 18 Sep 2008 16:50:12 =======
======= Date Modified 18 Sep 2008 16:48:45 =======
I don't know what it is. In the past, they've had problems with my work not being detailed enough, problems with my writing and the structuring of my chapters. Now I've worked and collected hundreds of pieces of relevant work (sups now say that its too detailed-although its relevant), I've improved my writing technique and now I've fixed the structuring of my chapters. They said a few weeks before I submitted that I've conducted an enormous amount of work, but the problem is it's not as linked as it could be. I've now made sure that my points are all clearly linked to my hypotheses and research questions.

I really don't know what more else I can do! I submitted 5 complete chapters; 1) intro 2) 2 literature review chapters, 3) 1 review and presentation of a model (a new overall framework from previous work plus a model of my main IV) and my research questions, and 4) a large methods and methodology section (reviewed all my methodology I've developed and created-linked this to the adv and dis of previous research methodology), decribed details of pilot study and subs revision of methodology, ethics and potential limitations) plus a huge reference list (20,000 words) , tables, figures and appendicies.

What more do these people want?!?!?!

My supervisors email about what to include in an MPhil results section (if I dont upgrade) and only to do more types of fieldwork if I pass upgrade. Perhaps she's only just informing me of the options if I don't pass-but its only just made me nervous, tearful and worried :( She herself said some of my chapters were ok and the ones which she said are fine, I haven't made many changes I'm confused and a little lost :( (But she isn't marking my report though)

(Sorry if I'm being so negative)


======= Date Modified 18 Sep 2008 17:32:04 =======
Is this upgrade report a 1st year report, or a 2nd/3rd year report? If its the first, then you have plenty of time - if its the latter then it sounds like you have a lot of material that just needs shaping.

Your structure description does sound like there is a lot of reviewing of other material, so maybe you need to refocus the report and big up your own work?

Definately get a list of things from your supervisor, so you can correct some of what they think is wrong.

Depending on what you want to do, then an MPhil can be great on its own, or a stepping stone to another PhD project. There's no right or wrong move, so try to feel good about it!


reading your description of your thesis, sounds like a great amount of work! and sounds fine to me, i would be very suprised if they failed your upgrade! i am sure you will be upgraded to phd status. and your sup does suggest , just a few field work things to do for phd status.

i completely bombed my mphil viva and report! it was complete shite, the thesis itself was rubbish and i didnt know much of the viva questions, but i still got transferred, which was shocking!

just be confident and say you will get all the stuff required for phd done, and you will be fine and dandy!

based on the desciption of your thesis, it sounds more like a phd than a mphil transfer report. im very impressed by the amount of hard work you have done. makes my phd thesis at the moment seem like a middle school science report!

impressive stuff pineapple, you have nothing to worry about!(up)


I think you need to consider what you want to do next.

If you want a career in academia or research you will need a PhD as that is the entry criteria for most jobs in universities, and if you work outside (researching in industry) your career could stall without a PhD, although here its less clear cut. Similarly if you wanted to do something like clinical psychology (I think you mentioned that before) be aware that you will be judged against people with completed PhDs and publications and/or assistant psychologist jobs, etc.

If you want a generic graduate career an MPhil would probably be helpful in its own right, but wont guarantee you a premium (e.g larger starting salary, higher entry position).

I think part of the MPhil problem is that at one time it was a respected qualification in its own right, and people actively sought to do one. Now far more people have PhDs, those people get preference for jobs etc and the bar is raised. Generally, I also hear that people see a real stigma that an MPhil is a "failed PhD", and there is baggage associated with that (having to explain everytime someone asks "You got an MPhil? Why didn't you go for a full PhD").

If you have a proper thought out plan, an MPhil isn't necessarily an obstacle. However, bear in mind it does open far fewer doors than the full PhD.