PhD with 2:2 MChem possible?

posted
21-Oct-19, 16:58
edited about 26 seconds later
Avatar for Grimnebulin19
posted about 1 month ago
I graduated this year with a 2:2 MChem with a year in industry at a RG uni (UK). Is it still possible to get accepted onto a fully funded PhD at a prestigious institution? Or are my chances pretty low?
posted
22-Oct-19, 16:27
edited about 13 seconds later
by Cat123
Avatar for Cat123
posted about 3 weeks ago
Some places I applied to informed me that with an undergrad masters like you have I was at a disadvantage compared to those with an MSc, and I had a 2:1 from a RG university. Your chances are very low I'm afraid. I think you would likely need to complete an MSc or MRes and get a good result to have a chance of getting accepted onto a fully funded PhD anywhere. There were PhDs which I could not be considered for at RG Universities as they specified that a 1st is required, generally its at least a high 2:1 and I speak from experience of applying for science PhDs at RG Universities. While you may be capable of doing a PhD requirements can be set by the funder in respect of the degree result you must have achieved and generally its so competitive to get a fully funded place that with a 2:2 you just wouldn't make the shortlist.
posted
22-Oct-19, 18:22
edited a moment later
Avatar for Grimnebulin19
posted about 3 weeks ago
Quote From Cat123:
Some places I applied to informed me that with an undergrad masters like you have I was at a disadvantage compared to those with an MSc, and I had a 2:1 from a RG university. Your chances are very low I'm afraid. I think you would likely need to complete an MSc or MRes and get a good result to have a chance of getting accepted onto a fully funded PhD anywhere. There were PhDs which I could not be considered for at RG Universities as they specified that a 1st is required, generally its at least a high 2:1 and I speak from experience of applying for science PhDs at RG Universities. While you may be capable of doing a PhD requirements can be set by the funder in respect of the degree result you must have achieved and generally its so competitive to get a fully funded place that with a 2:2 you just wouldn't make the shortlist.


Why would you be at a disadvantage with an MChem as opposed to an MSc? Which unis did you apply to? And with an MRes, is it 1 year MRes and 3 years PhD? Do you think my year in industry could help me here?
posted
22-Oct-19, 22:25
edited about 24 seconds later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 3 weeks ago
Quote From Grimnebulin19:
Why would you be at a disadvantage with an MChem as opposed to an MSc? Which unis did you apply to? And with an MRes, is it 1 year MRes and 3 years PhD? Do you think my year in industry could help me here?


MRes involves actual research and is a better indication of your research ability than a taught MChem. While a year in industry can be useful, you would need to explain why it is useful ie. transferable skills or knowledge. Though I agree with Cat, a 2:2 doesn't look that good, especially at prestigious universities.
posted
22-Oct-19, 23:26
Avatar for Grimnebulin19
posted about 3 weeks ago
MRes involves actual research and is a better indication of your research ability than a taught MChem. While a year in industry can be useful, you would need to explain why it is useful ie. transferable skills or knowledge. Though I agree with Cat, a 2:2 doesn't look that good, especially at prestigious universities.[/quote]

An MChem involves 2 research projects, 1 in year 3 and 1 in year 4. So I'd be surprised if Mscs are considered more valuable. Can you apply for an MRes easily with a 2:2, then stay for a PhD (1 + 3)?
posted
23-Oct-19, 00:49
edited about 14 minutes later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 3 weeks ago
Quote From Grimnebulin19:
An MChem involves 2 research projects, 1 in year 3 and 1 in year 4. So I'd be surprised if Mscs are considered more valuable. Can you apply for an MRes easily with a 2:2, then stay for a PhD (1 + 3)?


I did an MEng and wish I did the MSc instead. For industry there is usually very little difference between MChem and MSc however for research there are small but significant differences. Usually integrated masters require less credits and the there is more focus on teamwork. MSc students also have the opportunity to do research over the summer and they are expected to do more research for their dissertation. Those and other small things prepare you slightly better for exclusively research based PhDs. You can get a PhD with an integrated masters and I know lots of PhDs students at RG universities with integrated masters but there is a small preference. Also you can still apply for an MRes after an Mchem.
posted
23-Oct-19, 11:35
Avatar for chaotic1328
posted about 3 weeks ago
Not sure about STEM subjects, as I am in the social sciences field. All I can say is that it is virtually unheard of for a 2:2 degree holder to be offered a fully funded PhD place (or for that matter, a 2:2 plus a pass at MA as you have an integrated Master's) in the social sciences. Unless you have some exceptional working experience, I'd say your best bet might be to enroll on either a research Master's, and try to get a decent Distinction to offset your 2:2.

Good luck!
posted
24-Oct-19, 11:26
edited about 9 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 3 weeks ago
You should be considering whether a 2:2 is a sufficient baseline for a PhD rather than worrying about being accepted for a position.
In my opinion, you shouldn't be thinking about a PhD unless you have a 1st or a very good 2:1.
Having said that, people do get into PhD funded positions with 2:2 grades. I just wouldn't recommend it.
posted
24-Oct-19, 11:39
edited about 10 seconds later
Avatar for Grimnebulin19
posted about 3 weeks ago
Quote From pm133:
You should be considering whether a 2:2 is a sufficient baseline for a PhD rather than worrying about being accepted for a position.
In my opinion, you shouldn't be thinking about a PhD unless you have a 1st or a very good 2:1.
Having said that, people do get into PhD funded positions with 2:2 grades. I just wouldn't recommend it.


If you said that people do get into PhDs with 2:2s, I suppose you know of some examples? Any in STEM? And why would you not recommend it? In my case I did fine on my research projects but screwed up on exams in 1st sem 4th year, which is what sunk my grades.
posted
24-Oct-19, 12:41
by eng77
Avatar for eng77
posted about 3 weeks ago
Finding a PhD funding is pretty difficult for first or 2:1 graduates. With 2:2 the chances are much lower because they have already enough applicants with higher grades. You are trying to convince posters that 2:2 is fine. In fact what they tell you is the reality of the situation. The point is not if it is fair or not. It is not pleasant news but you could think of alternatives. If you have a Master (taught or research) with a good grade, this would increase your chances.
posted
25-Oct-19, 14:17
edited about 3 minutes later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 3 weeks ago

If you said that people do get into PhDs with 2:2s, I suppose you know of some examples? Any in STEM? And why would you not recommend it? In my case I did fine on my research projects but screwed up on exams in 1st sem 4th year, which is what sunk my grades.


Yes I know of at least 2 or 3 in the department I was studying at alone. All of them had 2:2 grades and all were in STEM.
Two of them did not graduate with a PhD.

The reason I would not recommend it is that with a 2:2, you have not developed the theoretical background or discipline on which to found your PhD. A PhD is not just about being able to cope with research projects. It's about developing a deep understanding of what you are doing and why. In 9 months you'll have to demonstrate that theoretical underpinning in a VIVA and if you fail it your PhD could be over before it even starts. How confident do you feel that you can correct this background knowledge gap in just 9 months in addition to demonstrating sufficient lab progress to warrant keeping you on the programme? That's what you've got to ask yourself.

As for getting places with a 2:2, most funded PhD positions probably only attract a few applicants unless the researcher is particularly famous (unlikely) or you are talking about Oxford or Cambridge. The minimum 2:1 or 1st restriction is not really a restriction. If you are the only candidate they will definitely make an exception rather than hand the funding money back.

Bear in mind, this is only my opinion. I was in the same boat. Got a 2:2 first time round and went back and upped it to a 1st before going for the PhD. I couldn't have made it without fixing my degree knowledge first. You need to decide for yourself.
posted
25-Oct-19, 23:52
Avatar for Jamie_Wizard
posted about 3 weeks ago
pm133, I get the sense that you are projecting your own feelings of inadequacy at achieving a 2:2 onto the questioner. I don't think that necessary not helpful. For instance you yourself, by your own admission, were one of the 2:2 students. The suggestion that you "upped" your grade to a 1st and corrected your knowledge deficit is rather ridiculous - for a start, an undergraduate or integrated degree covers a broad area of the subject, whereas a masters, particularly in STEM fields, focuses on a very specific area. Therefore, it wouldn't be possible to fix all of the foundation knowledge in all areas of the subject. Also, your masters doesn't change your initial degree, and unfortunately there is some prejudice in academia. That said, whilst it may be fashionable to get hung up on degree classifications, I don't think it guarantees success at PhD, as you yourself have succeeded at one.

Grimnebulin19, I don't think that having a 2:2 will stop you from achieving a PhD. However, in my opinion, it would be difficult to gain a more highly-funded place where there is a lot of competition from those with a higher degree classification. As others have said, the funding body would have specific eligibility rules. This would certainly be the case for a sought-after scholarship at a prestigious university.

If you have your heart set on a prestigious university, then I recommend you work hard and prove yourself on your PhD and perhaps get a post-doc. position at a more prestigious university. There's certainly nothing stopping you if during your PhD you have been able to make some recognised and impactful contributions - through publications etc...
posted
26-Oct-19, 13:31
edited about 4 minutes later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 3 weeks ago
Jamie, my advice was directed towards the original poster and was given in good faith.
What is not helpful is people like you jumping in with unwarranted personal attacks like you did in that first sentence.
We are not high school children so please cut it out.

For the benefit of doubt, I mentioned my 2:2 to demonstrate that I know what I am talking about because I have actually been in their shoes and also to show one of the ways to get around and fix a low grade and then succeed at PhD level. Nothing to do with inadequacy at all. That was a ridiculous interpretation of my advice.

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