Mres and PhD

posted
15-May-16, 17:11
edited about 1 minute later
Avatar for Chemikalie89
posted about 3 years ago
Hey everyone,
I'm an italian student with a BSc in Chemistry. After some unsuccessful PhD applications (always: you are a good candidate, but bla bla bla, don't give up), I realized without a master I won't go anywhere further.

The problem is I don't want to get a Master here in Italy. Good unis ok, but it'd be two more years of only lectures, some labs and lot of books. I would prefer a more research degree, of course I'm willed to attend lectures and study, but I don't want it to be all about it. Here we don't have such Mres, that's why I'm deeply interested in it: 1 year, research activities and some lectures. It'd be awesome.

The only concern I have: A MRes will be enough to get a funded PhD position?
posted
16-May-16, 09:43
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 3 years ago
An MRes is a masters degree, so yes it's enough to get a funded PhD. Actually, MRes is often viewed as better than a MSc because you are doing research the whole time and have to write a thesis, whereas for an MSc your research project is generally only 4 months long.

But, many students get on to PhD programs without an MSc/MRes, so this may not really be your issue. How many PhDs have you applied for? How many interviews have you had? Where are you applying?
posted
16-May-16, 11:38
edited about 2 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 3 years ago
The MRes is specifically tuned to prepare you for a PhD (or other research based career). Make sure you study the course spec, as my MRes had A LOT of lectures (well, they were called seminars but were pretty much lectures in smaller groups) alongside carrying out the research project.
posted
16-May-16, 23:42
edited about 14 seconds later
Avatar for Chemikalie89
posted about 3 years ago
I applied for about 10 funded positions.0 interview, only encouraging messages and positive feedbacks.

I don't know what's wrong: my applications is good, my CV is good (I will graduate with 104/110, which is an upper second class), worked on my thesis for a year (doing research ALMOST by myself), good reference letters. But I'm not enough.

I have applied eveywhere: leeds, manchester, southampton, east anglia and Nottingham. Same results: unsuccessful.

Is it because I'm am a part-time student? because I haven't finished my exams yet (2 to go)? Cause I'm italian (don't think so, italians PhD students are appreciated abroad).

The only reason is cause I have only a BSc - which indeed is not english - and they may believe it's not enough.
posted
17-May-16, 00:05
Avatar for cloudofash
posted about 3 years ago
Its competetive, so upper second with no placements years etc find it a bit harder. If you can afford MRes, why not? It will help you. Choose a good Uni thought.
posted
17-May-16, 08:00
edited about 19 seconds later
Avatar for SocialJen
posted about 3 years ago
I already have an MA, but I have not studied in the British university system for 30 years and have chosen to go the MRes/PhD route. I think that I will be much more able to work on my PhD directly after an MRes, than if I went in 'cold' as it were. And probably more time-productive too. I can see how others would feel differently though.
posted
17-May-16, 08:46
edited about 57 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 3 years ago
Hi SocialJen, absolutely - the PhD can simply continue on from the MRes project. For some people it is like having an extra year to do the PhD (although the same work cannot actually be submitted for two separate degrees).

Quote From Chemikalie89:
I applied for about 10 funded positions.0 interview, only encouraging messages and positive feedbacks.

I don't know what's wrong: my applications is good, my CV is good (I will graduate with 104/110, which is an upper second class), worked on my thesis for a year (doing research ALMOST by myself), good reference letters. But I'm not enough.

I have applied eveywhere: leeds, manchester, southampton, east anglia and Nottingham. Same results: unsuccessful.

Is it because I'm am a part-time student? because I haven't finished my exams yet (2 to go)? Cause I'm italian (don't think so, italians PhD students are appreciated abroad).

The only reason is cause I have only a BSc - which indeed is not english - and they may believe it's not enough.


It is so competitive. It is not that you are not good enough, but consider that you are up against other candidates who have a first class degree or a Masters, or who studied in the UK at a university the admissions team are already familiar with. Don't give up! I definitely think doing an MRes in the UK would be the best thing.
posted
17-May-16, 09:42
edited about 17 seconds later
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From Chemikalie89:


Is it because I'm am a part-time student? because I haven't finished my exams yet (2 to go)? Cause I'm italian (don't think so, italians PhD students are appreciated abroad).
.


Are you applying to do a PhD part-time? If so, that could be a reason.

It's not because you are Italian.

You are applying to places you have a decent chance of getting into, so that's good.

It is competitive, and a MRes will certainly help you along the way. But keep applying to PhDs as well.
posted
17-May-16, 09:59
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 3 years ago
I agree with TreeofLife. Good luck!!!
posted
17-May-16, 15:05
edited about 15 minutes later
Avatar for Chemikalie89
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From TreeofLife:
Quote From Chemikalie89:


Is it because I'm am a part-time student? because I haven't finished my exams yet (2 to go)? Cause I'm italian (don't think so, italians PhD students are appreciated abroad).
.


Are you applying to do a PhD part-time? If so, that could be a reason.

It's not because you are Italian.

You are applying to places you have a decent chance of getting into, so that's good.

It is competitive, and a MRes will certainly help you along the way. But keep applying to PhDs as well.


I'm not applying part-time. :)

Yes, at this point I think a MRes would be the best decision...But I REALLY need some advises on the different unis I'm interested: as foreign student I don't know about their reputation (league tables, of course, but I can't make a decision based only on those numbers), their location (I just can't visit them all. And it's not only about campus, but the city)! So IF you have any suggestion......

MRes in organic/medicinal chemistry. Interested in Leeds, Nottingham, East Anglia, Southampton. Of course If you have any suggestions about other places, don't hesitate! (keep in mind I do it to get into a PhD)






PS: Yeah, my english has become a total mess. Used to be advanced, now I'm totally out of practice!
posted
17-May-16, 20:56
edited about 16 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
I am writing this quite often but is there a special reason why it has to be the UK? If it's not oxbridge or imperial college, it is a waste of money for a non-UK student (just MY opinion ;) ). This is not supposed to be UK bashing, but you get the same education and the same standards at countless other european universities but often without ridiculously high tuition/fees.

Most 2-year master degrees in Europe are nowadays research focused. It is not true that you spent most of the time in seminars or lectures. In my case, more than a year was pure lab work (9-month thesis project + several internships before that) and I don't think there are huge differences between biology and chemistry. You just have to look for the right program. The lectures during the master have the additional advantage that you go more into depth while still covering a broad area. During the PhD or the thesis you usually directly focus on your specific project and the really narrow research area it is in. If you know that your future research focus will lie in the field of organic chemistry, it can be beneficial to do a 2-year organic chemistry master after a general chemistry bachelor instead of directly continuing with a PhD or other specialized projects. I started my PhD a couple of months ago and the time for literature is limited. Due to the lab work you usually focus on the things that directly apply to your project even though I would sometimes like to read much more and think it would be highly beneficial....the day just has 24 hours ;) So it is good to have a solid knowledge basis before you start the PhD
posted
17-May-16, 21:26
Avatar for cloudofash
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From Dunham:
I am writing this quite often but is there a special reason why it has to be the UK? If it's not oxbridge or imperial college, it is a waste of money for a non-UK student (just MY opinion ;) ). This is not supposed to be UK bashing, but you get the same education and the same standards at countless other european universities but often without ridiculously high tuition/fees.

Most 2-year master degrees in Europe are nowadays research focused. It is not true that you spent most of the time in seminars or lectures. In my case, more than a year was pure lab work (9-month thesis project + several internships before that) and I don't think there are huge differences between biology and chemistry. You just have to look for the right program. The lectures during the master have the additional advantage that you go more into depth while still covering a broad area. During the PhD or the thesis you usually directly focus on your specific project and the really narrow research area it is in. If you know that your future research focus will lie in the field of organic chemistry, it can be beneficial to do a 2-year organic chemistry master after a general chemistry bachelor instead of directly continuing with a PhD or other specialized projects. I started my PhD a couple of months ago and the time for literature is limited. Due to the lab work you usually focus on the things that directly apply to your project even though I would sometimes like to read much more and think it would be highly beneficial....the day just has 24 hours ;) So it is good to have a solid knowledge basis before you start the PhD


I agree. I would add UCL to the mix of Universitites:)
posted
18-May-16, 00:25
edited about 49 seconds later
Avatar for Chemikalie89
posted about 3 years ago
I used to think the same. BUT you there are too many variables involved:
1) I don't want to take a 2 years master. I'm already 26 years old, so I don't stay in university till my 30s (I would for a PhD, it's a full time job);
2) I speak english, french and german. But English is the only foreign language I'm fluent in. Ok, I could go to Germany (which, IMHO, has a better degrees) BUT I don't really want to struggle everyday with the language. At least not while I'm studying (and yes, I have already experienced that);
3) Your unis are well-considered all over the world. Even if it's not oxbridge.

Italian BSc gives you a solid background. For sure I'm not ready for a PhD, at least I don't feel like that (!), but I had the chance to compare with UK students at the end of their MChem and I feel my background is stronger. But that's just my opinion.
posted
18-May-16, 11:47
edited about 18 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From Chemikalie89:
I used to think the same. BUT you there are too many variables involved:
1) I don't want to take a 2 years master. I'm already 26 years old, so I don't stay in university till my 30s (I would for a PhD, it's a full time job);


This is something you have to decide yourself. This magical line you are drawing there at the age of 30 is rather arbitrary and should not prevent you from doing a 2-year master. If you are already 26 years old and consider a Mres, you will be anyway over 30 when graduating. A minority of students manages to finish in 3 years, no matter if it is in Germany, UK, Belgium, Norway...and so on. No one will care if you got your PhD with 31 or 32.
A general chemistry degree gives you a general background in chemistry ;) That does not mean that you can't benefit from a more specialized master in inorganic chemistry or whatever field you choose. Keep in mind that these things can also affect your performance during your PhD. Comparing my knowledge to a couple of chemistry students and then conclude that it is probably not necessary....I don't know. That's your call.

PS: . Everybody that is involved in research knows the institutions with the highest reputation. There is nobody that considers all universities in England as great. So what is the point of spending thousands of pounds in a degree from the university of Leeds or Manchester if it is not higher regarded than a much cheaper degree from Paris? Again, not saying that these universities are bad but the UK also has a lot of average universities like every other country. Every employer can check how the university's chemistry program is ranked or how good your publications were. The times were someone said " Wow a degree from UK/USA! Must be great." are definitely over. In the end you have to make that decision, but these are some points that I would consider.

PSS: At least in bigger cities in Germany, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, whole Scandinavia, Netherlands and so on you will get by with speaking English. I have so many international friends who never learned German. Not even a little bit. Still they lived in Germany for years.
posted
18-May-16, 14:37
by AbiFAU
« Moderator »
Avatar for AbiFAU
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From Chemikalie89:
I used to think the same. BUT you there are too many variables involved:
1) I don't want to take a 2 years master. I'm already 26 years old, so I don't stay in university till my 30s (I would for a PhD, it's a full time job);
2) I speak english, french and german. But English is the only foreign language I'm fluent in. Ok, I could go to Germany (which, IMHO, has a better degrees) BUT I don't really want to struggle everyday with the language. At least not while I'm studying (and yes, I have already experienced that);
3) Your unis are well-considered all over the world. Even if it's not oxbridge.

Italian BSc gives you a solid background. For sure I'm not ready for a PhD, at least I don't feel like that (!), but I had the chance to compare with UK students at the end of their MChem and I feel my background is stronger. But that's just my opinion.


Hi Chemikalie89,

I noticed you had thought about studying in Germany but was concerned about not being fluent in the language. There are some masters courses in Germany that are actually taught in English! This week is our 'Study in Germany' social takeover. Pop over to our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FindAMasters/ and send us a message and the experts from DAAD will be able to help you with any questions you may have about studying in Germany.

All the best,
Abi

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