Signup date: 15 Jun 2014 at 10:40am
Last login: 03 Nov 2014 at 9:54pm
Post count: 8
I'm currently applying for molecular biology PhDs to start in late 2015.
In the meantime, I've been offered two jobs: one in software development and the other in software sales. The development job is relevant to the Phd in the sense that it requires numerate, analytical skills, but its salary is very low. The sales job offers a salary three times higher, but comes with no relevant experience or training.
My question is: does one's work experience affect the outcome of a PhD application?
I'm split between the sales and development jobs - one can help me pay off my debts, whilst the other is very interesting and might enhance my PhD applications.
I do want to do a PhD. I turned it down because of the supervisor - he is a great guy and well regarded but not particularly specialised in aspects of my field which I believe are important.
I did try that negotiation but it failed. I agree it would have been the perfect solution.
It's not so much that I care what other people think because of self-concious reasons, more that it might be a hindrance when applying for other things. For example, I fear that if I start this MPhil it will be hard to get on another PhD. Not least because my supervisor knows everybody and I fear (perhaps irrarionally) that they wouldn't want to nick his student.
Am I being paranoid?
I have recently declined a PhD at a particular Uni and consequently the supervisor offered me the same funding to do a one-year MPhil instead.
Of course, all or most PhDs start off as MPhils with very few unis offering standalone MPhils as normal (I think Oxbridge might be the only two?)
I intend to apply to other PhDs starting next September but, I was wondering, would doing the MPhil in the meantime look bad? There is of course a degree of stigma around it as a 'failed PhD'.
My field is biochem / molecular biology.
Does anyone have any knowledge or experience of people doing standalone MPhils?
I have just completed and MSc in the same discipline at the uni which has offered me the MPhil.
Thanks Wowzers, Charlie, Pineapple and Ian. The other group, Imperial, is leading in this discipline with many many more research groups than my current Uni's 2, so it does have lots more to offer.... But I emailed them today and they did confirm that a PhD there is not a sure thing, funding not being so easily available. So it's not an easy decision, by any means.
It seems that an MRes on top of an MSc is not a negative thing, but it could be viewed as such. I don't mind the professional student criticism as I worked in London before my current MSc for 3 years, so when I need to knuckle down, commit and earn, I can do it and prove that I can do it. Having said all that, I am 28 in august so keen to get on with things (and to be paid to study, rather than the opposite.)
Buuut, the rabbit hole has got a little deeper because I now have an interview tomorrow for a funded 4-year MRes and PhD at Oxford! That would of course be the best of both worlds, so hopefully it goes well. However, that adds another complication because tomorrow is also the day by which I must respond to the PhD here! I am thinking to accept the PhD offer from here, it would be daft not to, but do the interview anyway. The only issue is that the prof here who has offered me the PhD has also been my MSc project supervisor. Therefore, I would want him to be a referee for any applications that I make. He has not yet uploaded his reference for my application to the MRes and I have not completed the Ox formal application form. So, if I do accept the PhD here, I could not then ask him to act as a referee for the Ox app and he won't complete the reference for the MRes, I presume. Tough! Therefore, I'll need other referess who perhaps don't know me so well...
Thanks for the advice - good points raised, only some of which I had previously considered.
I do think that the MRes can complement, rather than clash with, an MSc. As I said on my personal statement, the extra experience garnered from further self-guided research should help me to maximise my time when I do eventually undertake a PhD.
However, whilst the MRes is only one year long, I had thought that it was a slight risk. As mentioned, my performance at the more-prestigious institution may not be quite so stellar and thus, as a net, it might take the shine off me, as it were. But there are two facts in mitigation against this: I will start applying for PhDs in the winter of this year, before I receive the majority of my MRes marks and, secondly, already holding an MSc in this area, I should do quite well!
Whilst I understand the professional student point, my undergrad was completed 4 years ago and in the interim I worked in a totally different industry. Hence, I would definitely benefit from extra training and tuition, whereas a recent undergrad might not. I hope that that would be noticed and accepted.
However, "One in the hand is better than two in the bush", as they say, so maybe I had better stick with my PhD. But the reason that I want to go elsewhere is that working at the leading centre for my subject (a biotech derivative) is simply the stuff that dreams are made of. So, if you have the chance to follow your dreams, surely you must take it!?
I don't know if the uni which offers the MRes will subsequently directly register me for a PhD, but I imagine that I'll have the option. By that stage I would have an MSc and an MRes, both from Russell Group unis, so I can't see a funding body denying me immediate entry onto a PhD.
PhD is my eventual goal and I didn't think that the MRes would put me at a disadvantage - why would it? Also, I had heard of the fact that many funders obligate candidates to complete an MRes before starting an PhD anyway.
It's all a bit annoying because I need that supervisor to write me a reference but, because he knows that I'm looking elsewhere, the PhD offer he made is timed and expires soon. So, I have to refuse the PhD before being 100% sure that I've succeeded in getting on the MRes.
I am about to complete an MSc in a life-sciences subject. All my grades are high and I expect to graduate with a distinction. I have been offered a funded PhD at this institution, starting right after I complete my MSc.
However, whilst intrested in the PhD and liking the surroundings here, there is another institution elsewhere which is leading the field in my discipline. It has many more research groups and is a much larger centre. This second uni offers an MRes in my discipline - similar to the MSc in that it has some taught elements, but the majority of the course duration is spent on research projects, the subject of each being picked by the student. Ideally, I would have got onto a PhD at the second uni, but applied too late to win funding.
My potential PhD supervisor from my current uni, however, has warned me not to undertake an MRes after an MSc, claiming that it would be bad for my CV.
Because of his warning, I am now beginning to question if the MRes was a good idea. I had imagined that I would start the MRes and then use that to get onto a PhD at the second uni, but now I'm wondering if there's much point.
Has anyone got any similar experience or advice?
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