MPhil thoughts?


Like many of the users here, I started off on the MPhil programme and recently got bumped up to the full PhD programme after successful completion of my transfer thesis and the transfer/upgrade process.

My question is: How do potential employers feel about an MPhil qualification?

I like to think that I'm now at the stage where, if I submitted my thesis, I could get an MPhil for my efforts, or if everything went horribly wrong in my final year that if I didn't get the full PhD then at least I could be rewarded with an MPhil. Amongst the others in my office, the opinion is that if you tried to get a PhD and got an MPhil, then it's a bit like a 'failure', which is a bit worrying - as if employers would see the 'MPhil' on your CV and consider that you're not a good researcher (i.e. not good enough to get a full PhD), rather than seeing the MPhil as a valid qualification in the field of research.

Does anyone else have experience or opinion?

I'd like to think that the MPhil is a perfectly fine qualification, and gives me some that even if I can't get a full PhD for my final thesis that I still have a safety net of a new qualification to show for my years of study and research!

Avatar for Pjlu

Hi Zinar, it would depend what you were using the MPhil for. If you were not planning to be an academic or scientific researcher, then MPhil would be absolutely fine. Most employers look at both aspects of a potential candidates ability. This means they weigh up a balance of qualifications, experience and/or capability to work effectively in the role (if you are a new entrant). So for many jobs, having an MPhil would be an asset-a lot of employers wouldn't necessarily know the difference between an MPhil and a general Masters anyway-and Master Degrees are well regarded on the whole by employers in general.

However, you will be fine, I am sure. The fact is that you have now been placed on a PhD program and you would deserve to be there. It is nice to know there would be a safety net but I am sure at present that your supervisors have every confidence in you achieving your PhD.


An Mphil is a very significant achievement and an end in itself. Although some academics can be snobbish about it, narrow mindedly seeing it as a 'failed PhD', it is a nice qualification to have for research in many areas of the private sector (e.g. consultancies) and shouldn't hold you back. In fact, many of the people I work with, in very high up positions, have an MSc but bags and bags of expertise and experience.

Anyway, what's to say you won't completely finish your PhD!? You'll be fine. :-)


As others have said there is a (common) view in academia that an MPhil is a failed PhD, I guess this comes from knowing that if you haven't done enough for a PhD you can often get an MPhil. I know a couple of people that decided that they wanted out of their PhD and submitted for an MPhil instead and a coulple of people who chose to do an MPhil as a masters course, and they haven't had any issues getting jobs in industry.

If you intend to stick with you PhD don't worry too much about not doing enough for a PhD, if you put the work in and don't fall out with your supervisor it is very rare that you would fail.


I'd imagine that if you were aiming to stick around in academia an MPhil would make things tougher (after all, you'd be in direct competition with students with PhDs), but exiting to industry or another career would be more forgiving. I'm aiming to move to industry, so staying in academia is not a priority, though if I was actually offered a place or there was one available then I might feel different and consider it.

I already have a Masters' degree (my undergraduate MEng), so does the MPhil supersede that or would I have two masters (with one in research)?

Of course, I want to stay the mile and get the PhD, but I think my stress and anxiety about getting there will be significantly reduced if I know that at least I'll come out with something (even if my thesis goes horribly), as I hope I've done enough to warrant an MPhil if I submitted now (or with a bit more work).