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naturalproduct
Thursday, 10 August 2017 at 10:36pm
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Thread: Has this ever been done to get a PhD before?

posted
12-Aug-17, 18:42
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posted about 2 months ago

Having poor grades throughout and then firing in an 80% in your final year would likely demonstrate that you have a lack of focus until you feel the flames of the fire at your feet.
It would indicate that working without very close supervision is a problem for you. Specifically it would indicate to me that you would not be right for a PhD position unless you could find a way of convincing me that you had fundamentally changed your attitude. Also getting an 80% on top of 3 years of 60% would suggest a complete disconnect between your course years. Without going back and re-studying your first 3 years I would be very suspicious of how it was possible to get 80% in year 4.
If your 80% was largely down to project work then your transcript would show it and that would tell me that whilst you had decent technical skills in the lab you lacked the theoretical underpinning to support a PhD application.

You should think about my advice and consider how you would either argue against it or mitigate for it. I used to help out with interviewing technical candidates when I was an employee and I had my own recriutment business for a short time as well so I am more likely to be picky in my analysis of your situation. You might find that supervisors simply want a bum on a seat.


In the first post I mentioned the MSci project is 75% of the final year, so, the high grades are almost impossible without doing outstanding in the project. Since this is a highly practical degree, being able to explain the results will require a being adept at a high amount of theoretical background and knowledge, so doing incredibly well in the final year in this case, will also highlight the grasp of ones underlying theory.
This is why I mentioned if doing exceptionally well in the final year will outweigh the previous years grades, as even if the project is worth 75 %, it also implies that ones theory is advanced, if they do that well.
Which is why I was wondering overall, if I were to apply after obtaining the degree, if it would favour me than my current situation.

I greatly appreciate your input, and I am incredibly happy you chose not to sugarcoat anything, because what you said, I will seriously consider and will probably hear it from others, so many thanks for your input.

Thread: Has this ever been done to get a PhD before?

posted
12-Aug-17, 18:40
edited about 13 seconds later
Avatar for naturalproduct
posted about 2 months ago


Having poor grades throughout and then firing in an 80% in your final year would likely demonstrate that you have a lack of focus until you feel the flames of the fire at your feet.
It would indicate that working without very close supervision is a problem for you. Specifically it would indicate to me that you would not be right for a PhD position unless you could find a way of convincing me that you had fundamentally changed your attitude. Also getting an 80% on top of 3 years of 60% would suggest a complete disconnect between your course years. Without going back and re-studying your first 3 years I would be very suspicious of how it was possible to get 80% in year 4.
If your 80% was largely down to project work then your transcript would show it and that would tell me that whilst you had decent technical skills in the lab you lacked the theoretical underpinning to support a PhD application.

You should think about my advice and consider how you would either argue against it or mitigate for it. I used to help out with interviewing technical candidates when I was an employee and I had my own recriutment business for a short time as well so I am more likely to be picky in my analysis of your situation. You might find that supervisors simply want a bum on a seat.


About the “fire at feet” situation, yes this is completely right, this may play a role.
However, the working with close supervision is the opposite case here. In order to achieve an over 80 criteria for the MSci project, you are required to work independently on the project without much prodding from supervisor, and the more help you demand from the supervisor, that will lower the overall mark (20 % of the project is marked for “originality, independence, initiative”). Why I mentioned the 80% in the first place is because to actually achieve this, the criteria demands independent work. (My fault for not including this, but here I had to mention it as doing well in the MSci is opposite of being “spoon-fed” by the supervisor).

Thread: Has this ever been done to get a PhD before?

posted
12-Aug-17, 18:40
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posted about 2 months ago

If I was in your position I would not be considering a PhD at all at this moment. I would consider my grades were simply too low to allow me to be as successful as I could be. That is a personal opinion only and I accept it is not one that most share. ToL gives an alternative viewpoint for example which you may prefer to go with. Certainly having the actual degree makes it easier to sell to potential supervisors but the problem is that at 62% you appear to have only picked up about half of what you were taught. How are you going to catch up with what you have not understood quickly enough to prevent you overrunning your PhD funding? Even if you don't need much of it, you will still be at a serious disadvantage. Universities in general are absolutely choc full of people in trouble and a lot of them struggle because they don't have the basics absolutely nailed down. None of this means you CANT succeed but you face a much higher hurdle than those who gained a 1st.


Learning approximately half of the content taught is one way to look at it, however, my university is very reluctant to awards firsts, especially high ones at that. To be fair, how high would you expect someone to get for a good chance for a PhD (if only considering grades), because obtaining even above 75% overall for the year is regarded by academics of the institution to be outstanding, and yet one could still say they have a 25% “learning gap”. This brings me on to the next point, being that a lot of the courses (bar organic chemistry and some physical) do not prerequisites from previous years, hence, the material not being completely reliant on the entire degrees course content. Also, as an example, PhDs in chemistry (in my case and many others) are usually branched into 3 of organic, physical and inorganic; point being made is that a 100% in physical modules, does not impact ones organic knowledge in any way, shape or form. As an example, many from my year have 40s for physical chemistry, but 85+ in the other; in a completely numerical situation, that may average out to an overall within the 60s, however, a supervisor has no use for an organic PhD position to a person who has 80% overall, with 90s in inorganic and physical, but a 50 in organic.
(Apologies for the long examples, but in this case, for chemistry, it has to be said).

Thread: Has this ever been done to get a PhD before?

posted
11-Aug-17, 20:59
edited a moment later
Avatar for naturalproduct
posted about 2 months ago
Quote From TreeofLife:
Yes a good 4th year mark will of course be of benefit for those reasons, but there's the issue of consistency. Any perspective supervisor will wonder why you didn't do as well in other years. More consistent candidates might have the edge over you.

Getting your MSci supervisor to like you will be a massive benefit. Supervisors won't sell you in a reference or to their colleagues if they didn't think you were a good student for them.

And a low 2.1 really isn't a problem anyway to be honest, like I said, most PhD students I know got a 2.1. But this is Biology at a Russell Group uni, might be different elsewhere.


Yes ofcourse, I understand, the consistency will definitely be different for a final year mark very much higher than the other years' "average" marks, but I was really hoping it wouldn't hinder me greatly.

Other than doing massive amounts of reading around the project topic, and working hard, and efficiently around the lab hour clock, how would you advise to make an outstanding impression on my supervisor from as early as possible?

The 2.1 students getting into the PhD positions really make me believe there is some hope, I do chemistry at a top end Russel Group, I would assume they are not too different?

Thank you so much for your input once again, I really appreciate it.

Thread: Has this ever been done to get a PhD before?

posted
11-Aug-17, 19:19
edited about 21 seconds later
Avatar for naturalproduct
posted about 2 months ago
Quote From TreeofLife:
X


Thank you for the response.

For PhD applications, universities will require a transcript of marks for all years, so I was wondering, whether a very good 4th year mark, would be looked upon favorably, seeing as if the final year mark is much higher than all other years, it would demonstrate that you are very competent at the height of your degree; and thus would show what a candidate is capable of?

The additional skills you've mentioned are definitely a must, I understand that, as it is no easy feat.

With regards to past grades, if one makes a very good impression on their MSci project supervisor, will that aid with the application, especially if it is to the same university department? (since the academics will know each other relatively well). So is that likely to act in ones favor despite the current low 2.1?

Many thanks for our input, it is greatly appreciated.

Thread: Has this ever been done to get a PhD before?

posted
11-Aug-17, 18:41
Avatar for naturalproduct
posted about 2 months ago
Thank you for the response.

Could you elaborate on why getting onto a PhD is "easy", because I had always thought it was difficult, as you mentioned, that it is strongly advised to have a first class classification.

You're correct in saying my grades do not support my case very well, does that mean you recommend to waiting until finishing the degree, and if the overall grades turn out very good, then applying?

Would that put me in a better position, as the MSci project year is the most relevant to doing a PhD since that is where the longest part of research is carried out within the entire degree?

I didn't completely understand what you meant by doing a PhD elsewhere, do you mean that I should apply in my 4th year but to other places? If so, what do you mean by "other" places? Because not everywhere will have the research field in which I am interested in.

Thread: PhD with a 2:2 (help!)

posted
11-Aug-17, 17:36
edited about 8 seconds later
Avatar for naturalproduct
posted about 2 months ago
Quote From cjjohnson:
Hi, I’m looking for some advice that anyone may have with the troubles I am having with regards to enrolling onto a PhD and securing funding. I completed my BSc in psychology in 2015 only achieving a 2:2 and my MSc in 2016 achieving a Merit in psychological research methods. I know I could have done way better if I had just put some real effort in however my laziness and living the party life are starting to come back to haunt me. I’m in the process of trying to apply for a PhD of my own design which I believe has great potential in the field of evolutionary psychology and perception, however, I’m starting to see big barriers, especially with obtaining university funding/scholarships because of my 2:2 at bachelors level. My question is how much will this 2:2 hold me back in terms of getting a PhD and securing funding, either internally from a university or externally from charities and trusts? Is there anyone else in my situation or has been?

Thanks for reading.


A merit equates to a 2.1 classification correct?

If so, shouldn't your MSc put you in a position to apply?

Thread: Has this ever been done to get a PhD before?

posted
10-Aug-17, 22:55
Avatar for naturalproduct
posted about 2 months ago
Hi, I'm new here, and wanted to ask about the impact of grades (in certain years) on a PhD application (assuming that references are good).

I study an MSci Chemistry degree, and will be entering 4th year this coming September.

My 1st and 2nd year results were mid 2.1's (~65%), however, upon receiving my 3rd year result last month I am rather worried; I have unfortunately ended up with a 2.2 (59%).

The average across the first 3 years totals to approximately 62%; now my MSci year counts for 40% of the entire degree.

I believe the usual time for PhD applications are November/December onwards?

However, I am under the influence that my 3rd year result will greatly impact the application seeing as at the current time, the 3rd year mark will be the most influential seeing as it is the most recent result and so far the hardest out of the first 3 years (is this a correct assumption to make?).

Now what I wish to ask is if I manage to score a strong first in the MSci year, will that outweigh the results of the first 3 years and put me in a better position to successfully obtain a PhD place? (The project is worth 75% and exams are 25% weightings in the MSci year).

And in this regard, will it be more or less beneficial to apply for a PhD once my MSci year is complete?

I wish to undertake a PhD within one of the top 5 UK institutions (I will not name it) as some of the projects I am very interested in (still narrowing it down) have supervisors there.


Many Thanks in advance


Other information:
I attend a top 5 UK institution (without giving it away).
I had no mitigation in the 3rd year or any other issues.
I need ~ 80% in my MSci year to obtain an overall first class degree classification (this is not impossible).
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