Research Council Funding: +3.5 or 1+3?

posted
07-Oct-19, 20:39
Avatar for cucaracha
posted about 1 month ago
If you have completed a Masters degree which included a module on research skills and methods along with the dissertation, which Research Council PhD Funding scheme should you apply for?
posted
08-Oct-19, 22:32
edited about 28 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 1 month ago
3.5 (or +3 as I knew it), unless you feel a need to do research methods again, more in depth.
posted
09-Oct-19, 22:14
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 1 month ago
I agree with Tudor_Queen, a 3+1 scheme is great if you think you need an extra year of learning skills.
posted
12-Oct-19, 01:23
edited about 17 minutes later
Avatar for cucaracha
posted about 1 month ago
Thank you both! I appreciate the responses.

Quote From Tudor_Queen:
3.5 (or +3 as I knew it), unless you feel a need to do research methods again, more in depth.


My uncertainty lies in the +3.5 scheme requirement to have undertaken a Masters degree with modules that cover 2 of the ESRC research areas, the research areas being Philosophy of Social Science Research; Research Design, Practice and Ethics; Quantitative Research Methods; and Qualitative Research Methods.

My research skills module covered methodologies and ethics at a superficial level, and I am intending to use qualitative interviewing methods (and potentially also quantitative questionnaires) in my PhD. The module leader even stated that the module is very basic and not designed as a research skills program that would satsify the ESRC.

Yet another tutor in charge of PGR admissions at that uni has suggested I can apply for the +3.5 scheme too. I'm confused as the Masters module clearly didn't cover these topics in much depth, or at all in the case of Quantitative and Qualitative methods!
But then surely very few people have had thorough research skills training at Masters level... And don't unis supply all their PhD students with research skills training in the first term anyway (like a PgCert in Research)??

Quote From rewt:
I agree with Tudor_Queen, a 3+1 scheme is great if you think you need an extra year of learning skills.


Do you know if a slight preference is given to those who select +3.5 since it means less funding is required? i.e. would I be decreasing my chances at all by selecting 1+3?

Say I apply for +3.5 but the Research Council find that my Masters hasn't covered enough of the research skill areas, would the Research Council outright reject me or just require that I do 1+3 instead?


One last question. I understand that the 1+3 scheme involves a full Masters year before the PhD. What does the +3.5 scheme actually involve? How many modules? Is it literally half a Masters year without a dissertation element?
posted
12-Oct-19, 14:12
edited about 4 seconds later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 1 month ago
So you have a masters degree and you are wondering if if you need a second masters to do a PhD?

Many people before you have done PhDs without a specialized masters and have done quite well. You learn quite a lot as you go through your PhD; from experience, your supervisor and other PhD students. Their are also books that you can read or you could just copy someone else's method.So you don't need a specialized masters to succeed, I think 3+1 has benefits if you focus on methods and topics directly related to your PhD.

Also, I know my department (Engineering), they prefer 3+1 students over 3.5, and will push people towards 3+1. As the masters part of the course is relatively profitable to run and my department likes money. So if you applied for both at my uni they would accept you onto the 3+1.
posted
12-Oct-19, 17:32
edited about 5 seconds later
Avatar for bewildered
posted about 1 month ago
Social scientist here - I'd suggest you ask your questions directly to the university as what is and isn't included in the different pathways does vary (assuming the information isn't on the DTP website). The DTP my university is part of does offer a 3.5 track for those with a Masters without sufficient methods training so your situation. You have to complete 60 credits of methods modules in the first year. But I know other DTPs that insist on 1+3 in that scenario.
Unlike it seems, from what Rewt says, in the sciences, to maximise your employability as a social scientist, you are best getting as broad a methods training as you can and then specialising in what you need for the thesis. Even if you're not using certain methods you need to be able to understand research that does use them, and having a decent knowledge of quant methods does open up a lot of job possibilities both within and outside academia.
posted
13-Oct-19, 00:23
edited about 43 minutes later
Avatar for cucaracha
posted about 1 month ago
Quote From rewt:
So you have a masters degree and you are wondering if if you need a second masters to do a PhD?
..


Yep - I have a Masters degree and I'm wondering if I need a second Masters (in Research Methods) in order to satisfy the ESRC requirements for a funded PhD.

Ahh that does make sense that the uni would prefer 1+3 since it's more money in their pot!
Is it actually possible to just tick both +3.5 and 1+3 and let them choose for me..?

Quote From bewildered:
Social scientist here - I'd suggest you ask your questions directly to the university as what is and isn't included in the different pathways does vary (assuming the information isn't on the DTP website). The DTP my university is part of does offer a 3.5 track for those with a Masters without sufficient methods training so your situation. You have to complete 60 credits of methods modules in the first year. But I know other DTPs that insist on 1+3 in that scenario.
Unlike it seems, from what Rewt says, in the sciences, to maximise your employability as a social scientist, you are best getting as broad a methods training as you can and then specialising in what you need for the thesis. Even if you're not using certain methods you need to be able to understand research that does use them, and having a decent knowledge of quant methods does open up a lot of job possibilities both within and outside academia.


Your insight is really helpful bewildered, thank you. I've found a studentships email for the uni I'm applying to, so I'll ask them if they'd insist on 1+3 or not for my situation. Seems a bit strange to have this inconsistency amongst the DTPs/unis.

For the 3.5 track your uni offers, is it literally 3 and a half years of study? Or are those 60 credits of methods modules undertaken as an 'extra' in the first year so that you still finish at the same time as self-funders at the end of year three?

I hadn't thought about that, the fact that a full year of methods training would maximise my employabillity and could help me out post-PhD (and would be quite interesting to learn in its own right). For that reason I'm actually starting to lean towards 1+3...
posted
13-Oct-19, 15:48
edited about 24 seconds later
Avatar for bewildered
posted about 1 month ago
It's 3.5 years of funding. It is unusual to complete a PhD in exactly 3 years by the way most people are closer to 4. It's not like a taught course where everyone ends on the same date.
posted
16-Oct-19, 11:04
edited about 16 seconds later
Avatar for Sicily91
posted about 1 month ago
Which RCs offer +3.5 route? I am a funded student on a +3 with BBSRC/ESRC and I've been told there will not be further funding post three year period.
posted
26-Oct-19, 00:49
edited about 15 seconds later
Avatar for cucaracha
posted about 3 weeks ago
Quote From Sicily91:
Which RCs offer +3.5 route? I am a funded student on a +3 with BBSRC/ESRC and I've been told there will not be further funding post three year period.


I can only speak for social science subjects under ESRC funding, where every subject seems to be available for +3.5 structure of provision as well as +3 and 1+3 :)

The funding is for the set number of years agreed at the start; they won't extend funding if you need more time.

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