wrong masters?


hi! could anyone help me make this decision?

the best masters programme offered to me this year is an MA in 'applied' conflict resolution. it does not have a dissertion either.

would it be a waste of time if i want to pursue a PhD after?

thank you guys...anything will be appreciated!


depends on where you want to do the PhD ... in the UK and US for instance, you get into programs with a bachelor already (though a master is advantageous). in other countries (e.g. Germany, Netherlands...) you usually need a 5-year degree (either 3 year bachelor + 2 year maser, or 4 year bachelor + 1 year master or ...) - this is expressed in the number of required credit points (and sometimes years of university) in the respective phd program description.


hi sholok
Monkey is right. On the other hand, a masters which is done well (with flying colours :-) ) is not a waste of time; you can still go further with it. However, it will be to your advantage if you had some idea of what phd you wanted to do before you did your masters.

love satchi


That would not be a good preparation for a PhD so no I wouldn't use my money that way. If there's no dissertation then it's presumably an MA aimed at offering a placement instead to help you get into that line of work. Great if that's what you want but less good if you want to continue onto a social sciences PhD. However, if you are not being offered any places on more traditional MAs i.e. ones with a dissertation, are your undergraduate qualifications poor or your IELTS score weak if you're an international applicant? Or did you just apply to the LSE & Oxbridge? If the latter, I'd suggest looking at what's on offer at Russell Group / 1994 group universities elsewhere in the UK. There will probably still be some places available. If it's the IELTS that's the problem then take a year to work on that and reapply. But in all honesty, in social sciences if your first degree is weak, it's going to be a problem these days and I'd suggest perhaps looking in a different direction to a PhD.


thanks for replying! i feel better already..

actually this is the only offer i got with proper funding and i really don't want to wait another year.

would it be very very hard to receive a phD offer without the dissertion in my masters, even if the field of study matches?

i actually have a good IELTS and a satisfactory first degree but masters programmes in UK has so few funding opportunities! its frustrating :-(


======= Date Modified 27 Jun 2010 14:41:01 =======
I can see the temptation of a funded masters but there is a but....

If there's no dissertation, I doubt it's on the ESRC-recognised list of MAs. That means that to get any research council funding for a PhD (assuming you're eligible for ESRC) then you'd have to do a second MA. If you are ESRC eligible and sure you want to do a PhD, then do this if it involves no debt (if it does I'd be wary), and start applying in the Autumn for 1+3 places, so that you've got time to work up a strong proposal. If you're not ESRC-eligible, then I have a nasty feeling given that universities are budgeting for 25% cuts in funding that university PhD scholarships are going to be very thin on the ground in the future. You might be better looking outside the UK for PhD funding if not ESRC-eligible.

Big caveat - the ESRC is changing its funding system for PhDs for next year and no-one really knows what it will look like. But I can't see them abandoning the insistence on a research training focussed MA given how much they've pushed that.

Oh another thought: if there's no dissertation how many credits are there? If there's less than 90 ECTS or 180 UK credits, you may find other countries won't recognise it very willingly as an MA (especially in mainland Europe).


does that mean i can try UK/USA without a dissertion ? :-)

i browsed to see the PhD funding possibilities in the UK and they seem slim!

hey, thx for replying!


You can try the UK but you may be disadvantaged if you haven't carried out a substantial piece of research. As I say though if you're not ESRC eligible then there's not much about usually and probably even less in the future.

In the USA you don't need a MA to go onto a PhD, you go in straight from undergraduate. But obviously you have to do very well on the GRE & other parts of the application process etc to get a funded place. You also have to be very aware that the US is very hierarchical when it comes to PhD programmes. If you google grad school cafe then that would take you to more information on the US.


I'm from Bangladesh so i see i have to find a proper masters next year. or go for US degree which i think are too long!

thanks very much for the advice.

I see Uni of Kent at Brussels offers some funding. could u tell me if it's a good uni?