I have just completed my BSc (Hons) degree in technology Management & Computing, and waiting for the results of my final dissertation. I am confident enough to earn a 2.1 degree but the average is not very high (60) and even I have 50 marks for two 10 credit modules. However, I am expecting an A grade for my dissertation which is exactly a research project. Also I have strong academic references as I have gained class highest for both course work and final exam for a certain module. I am aspiring to go for a PhD in Information Systems / Human Computer Interaction or related areas.
By the way, I have learnt from some of my friends regarding the usefulness of work experience in PhD Scolorships. Some of them stated that the relevent experience will be an added advantage in these circumstances. What do you think about the nature of work which I could do to increase my potentiality to be eligible for a scol? As, my subject area is a social science area, is it advicable to work any data collection related work such as requirement gathering for IS projects, or doing and data collection work in relevant organizations such as Tourist Board Research Division? Please advice me... Also please let me know what else i could do imcrease my potentiality for a PhD scol? Thanks.
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Hi Arunsam, from a UK perspective, a First class degree is normally required in order to proceed straight to a PhD and win a scholarship ("scol"??). Depending on the competitiveness of your discipline, you may need a First class degree just to get entry into a PhD course, and thus, a Masters degree will be the most appropriate route for you.
Work experience isn't really a vital component of a PhD application, unless it's directly relevant or necessary for your research. I advise you concentrate on your academic skills rather than work experience. Eg. look at publishing your undergraduate dissertation, and working on a great research proposal.
Generally, someone with an undergraduate 2.1 degree will not get a scholarship (though there are exceptions).
I am in the process of publishing my dissertation as a book. Also, I am working on some papers, which I am planning to submit for relevant journals. I was thinking this, along with an year of working experience as a research assistant would be enough for applying for a scholarship. However, your reply shows that the competition might be high and I may not be able to secure anything. In case is it advisable to go for an MRes? In such case do you think that I have any opportunity to apply for funding for my MRes, with my 2.1 + publications? Please let me know.
Hi, I think it's impossible for us to say whether you've got a chance of securing a scholarship or not because it varies widely between disciplines and universities. Maybe just apply for a few things? Otherwise, I think I would go either for a masters (MA, MSc) or try and get more relevant work experience. Good luck. :-)
I've known people get accepted for PhDs with just a 2:1 BSc, so it's certainly not impossible - and it will look good if you get a First for your dissertation, as this is a better indicator of how you'll do in PhD-level research than exam performance. Could you talk to one of your BSc tutors and ask what they advise? If you're at the stage of having some ideas for a research proposal, and feel you can make a good case for why you want to do a PhD and why you think you'll do a good job, you could contact some potential supervisors and see if they're interested in taking you on.
As for work experience - it depends. If it's research in the relevant field, then yes I think it definitely will help. Some PhD programs will accept research/lab experience in place of an Masters degree - this is the case in lab sciences anyway. But if you can't get proper research experience, you'd be better off doing an MSc/MRes.
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