If I drop out of my PhD do I auto get a masters??


I’m in my 4th year and writing up my PhD. I won’t go into detail but throughout this PhD I’ve went through a lot of hardship and misery – for example I’ve had several immediate family members pass away, among many other things. That was really hard for me to deal with during my PhD and my I completely fell away from my PhD after that. I lost all interest. I HATE it now. Anyway, I have enough data to write up something. It’s not very good, infact, I feel it’s absolutely rubbish but my supervisors are still trying to push me to write it. I’m due to submit at Christmas (this December) and still have LOADS to write: 2 analysis chapters, my discussion chapter, my literature review, my methods chapter, the into, the conclusion, the bibliography, etc – basically nearly all of it. I’ve been avoiding my supervisors emails because I can’t stand disappointing them because of my lack of motivation to ever write. Has anyone ever left writing up this late?

Next my main question here is, I live in the UK and if I dropped out, quit, right now, would I automatically get a Masters degree?? OR, if I didn’t quit and submitted something, but fail my Viva, what do I get? I’m unsure of what happens if I quit right now? Or what happens if I do submit some rubbish and fail?
Thanks :)


Hi! I am really sorry for what has happened to you. Doing a PhD is a real struggle by itself.

Now, regarding your question, I reckon that you do not get a masters if you just drop out. You have to submit a thesis, have a viva and then be awarded an Mphil
But maybe I am wrong and somebody else has something more encouraging to say


I am also sorry to hear about your experiences. I don't think it is an automatic process. You would need to formally discuss and submit it as an MPhil in order to be awarded one. Have you considered doing what you can and submitting it anyway - on the off-chance that it is enough to get the award of PhD? Maybe you would have nothing to lose that way, as if the supervisors thought it wasn't good enough for a PhD, they would be suggesting MPhil, and guide you down that route. Or if it got to viva stage and the examiners decided it was worthy of an MPhil and not a PhD, ditto.

To find out about the ins and outs - I would suggest to talking to your supervisors. Or you could try talking with the relevant team at your uni (at my uni it was called "the doctoral academy" and there were advisors who you could talk to about this kind of thing to help you decide what to do and understand the ins and outs of things).

I really would suggest talking to them because it sounds like you are (understandably) on a huge downer, and this means you could be seeing things more negatively than you might otherwise, and than they might. I left writing up till late. Also a few months prior, I had been on the verge of quitting (or rather, downgrading to an MPhil). I thought my thesis was crap and wouldn't be awarded a PhD. In the end, I felt happier with it once it was written (though still not over-joyed) and passed with minor corrections. It's probably better than you think. And you can do way more than you think in a short amount of time. And if needed you could always extend your deadline (I did mine several times!).

Hope this is somewhat informative / encouraging. Don't give up (unless you seriously do want to), and go for the PhD Award - it will be behind you forever soon.



No, you will not get a master's degree


Your situation sounds very similar to mine. I also submit in December, and feel like I have my whole thesis still to write. I also had some very difficult family situations to get through during my PhD, and with being part time I'm now in my 6th year. To say I've fallen out of love with it would be an understatement. Six years is such a long time to spend on one thing, and I have really got very bored. So many times I have wanted to walk away, and often I wish I had never made the decision to start. My PhD has not been a priority for so long now, so it is a real struggle to maintain focus on it. I'm worried about submitting something that is not good enough. I'm so anxious about my viva it's unbelievable. I also feel that if I am awarded an MPhil, then I will have wasted 6 years.

My problem is also that of procrastination. I have difficulty doing things before I really have to, so regardless of any personal difficulties that I have suffered during my PhD, I feel that I would still be in the situation of having the majority of work still eft to do with only 3 months to go. This week I feel that something has clicked however - I managed to get more work done this week than I have in a long time. I find that I do feel a lot happier and more confident when I manage to get something done - so this is what I am focussing on now. I now feel more able to give up the next 3 months to solidly working on my thesis. I almost feel better knowing it's only 3 months - then it'll be behind me (trying not to think about the possible outcome of Major revisions and needing to revisit it again!!).