Can you do a PhD without doing a masters?

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  • John_PJohn_P Frets: 2438
    edited December 2019
    Yes.  

    Or do one with a masters along the way that you continue in a PhD if you are still interested.   
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  • prowlaprowla Frets: 2767
    Yes, afaik you can't do a PhD on the same precise research as a masters.
    I'm trying to think but nothing's happening!
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  • There's nothing to legislate against it, whether it would make it harder to get a place is another matter. 
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  • Adam_MDAdam_MD Frets: 3416
    Yes my wife did her phd without having a masters. 
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  • ToneControlToneControl Frets: 7689
    edited December 2019
    AFAIK usually only if you have the domain knowledge required for the PhD covered in the B.Sc.
    e.g. no PhD in Computers with a BSc in Physics, normally do a "conversion" taught+dissertation 1 year MSc in between

    It's a hell of a lot of work for little reward unless you want to work in a Uni

    In the old days, you could register part time for 5 years instead of full-time for 3, and the yearly fee was 10% or something. I'd take a look at what there is around Europe too.
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  • ColsCols Frets: 1416
    Yes, you can (I did).  Normally a 1st or 2.1 is required to go straight from a BSc into a PhD; with a 2.2 a Masters would likely be required.
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  • Yes. You’ll probably be registered for a masters by research (M.Phil) and then have your work reviewed after 12 - 18 months. If you’ve made good progress then you’ll convert to a PhD and continue your research. If the quality / quantity of your work is not up to scratch, then your supervisors may recommend that you write up for an M.Phil.
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  • You can, but my daughter, who’s recently completed her Masters in BioMed (got a 1st, and it’s her graduation ceremony today) tells me that most people do a Masters before they do a PhD these days.
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  • Cols said:
    Yes, you can (I did).  Normally a 1st or 2.1 is required to go straight from a BSc into a PhD; with a 2.2 a Masters would likely be required.
    That’s how it was in my day. People only did a masters if they really wanted to do a PhD but only got a Desmond. If you got a 2:1 or first there was no point as it just cost you an additional two years.
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  • sgosdensgosden Frets: 1317

    My brother did biology degree > worked in a lab doing some sort of genetic research (which I can never really understand) > just started a PhD in the same department this year.

    He was in the subject field for 4/5 years with his name cited on research papers, and had previous applications knocked back.

    So doable but not easy in his case.

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  • LuttiSLuttiS Frets: 2058
    Mrs. L did masters then on to PhD. My brother failed his masters (glug glug), then through his work sort of got into academic field and is now doing his PhD through there as it directly relates to his work. 

    My understanding is that you can go to PhD without masters, but your very unlikely to get it funded. 
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  • You will end up paying a shitload of fees.  They aint cheap
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  • tony99tony99 Frets: 3763
    You will end up paying a shitload of fees.  They aint cheap
    You don't necessarily need to pay for it though.
    Bollocks you don't know Bono !!
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  • fields5069fields5069 Frets: 2701
    edited December 2019
    Cols said:
    Yes, you can (I did).  Normally a 1st or 2.1 is required to go straight from a BSc into a PhD; with a 2.2 a Masters would likely be required.
    This, that's how it was explained to me in 1990 anyway. I got a Desmond, so next I did a Masters but then still couldn't be bothered to apply for a PhD. It was all about spending the most time possible away from the real world, so 5 years wasn't a bad shift.
    Some folks like water, some folks like wine.
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  • Both my kids have PHD's.
    My daughter went to Imperial to do a degree ,then wanted to continue and do a Masters and this led to a PHD in Entomology.
    She liked insects.
    My son did a Degree/Masters at Manchester. He wanted to carry on and did his PHD in Theoretical Physics.
    Was at CERN for a year .He graduates in a couple of weeks time.
    He loves Physics.
    They both did what they loved. I didn't pressure them, but did support and guide them.
    If you do what you love your brain absorbs the information, makes it a bit easier.
    I helped with their accommodation and food ,spending money etc.
    They both started before the fees went up.

    There was a lot of stress ,it is hard work.
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  • NPPNPP Frets: 189
    it is definitely possible. Entry requirements are set by individual universities or even departments within them so it's best to check locally.

    There's FindaPhD.com and jobs.ac.uk where funded PhD opportunities are advertised. Some of them may be part-time. 'Collaborative funding' is all the rage now so if you can get an employer to contribute a little bit that might be an option. Such a contribution doesn't have to be 50% and can involve time, use of equipment, expenses, mentoring, not just real money. 

    All that said a PhD is a long, hard slog and you should know why you are doing it and how you will cope with the anxieties that develop along the way before embarking on it. If you are after a qualification to enhance your career outside academia rather than after a (very uncertain) academic career then maybe a masters would be preferable (shorter, cheaper, not taking you too far away from the professional world). 

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  • John_P said:
    Yes.  Or do one with a masters along the way that you continue in a PhD if you are still interested.   
    Beats getting a job.
    Be seeing you.
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  • fobfob Frets: 773
    What do you want to do a PHD in? Or to what end?

    I generally think people would be better off stacking MScs than doing a PHD if it is specifically for employment purposes.
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  • tony99tony99 Frets: 3763
    fob said:
    What do you want to do a PHD in? Or to what end?

    I generally think people would be better off stacking MScs than doing a PHD if it is specifically for employment purposes.
    It's his friend, I think he's pretending to have a friend
    Bollocks you don't know Bono !!
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  • ColsCols Frets: 1416
    You can, but my daughter, who’s recently completed her Masters in BioMed (got a 1st, and it’s her graduation ceremony today) tells me that most people do a Masters before they do a PhD these days.
    Congrats to your daughter!  That’s awesome.

    Naturally there may be an element of competition, depending on how prestigious the place is (e.g. PhD supervisor is a world-renowned scientist at a top level university) and what the funding is.  If there are two otherwise equally qualified candidates competing for the same place and one of them has an MSc, you’d pick that one.

    Apart from that, there’s the question of time and money - generally an MSc is at least another year out of your life, and if you subsequently go on to do a PhD your potential employers are going to be taking you on the basis of the PhD rather than whatever you did before.  So if you can get away without doing a Masters to get a PhD placement, do it.
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  • I went straight from an undergraduate degree to reading for a Ph D but it was a long time ago, I don't know how common it would be now.

    If you do a degree in arts or humanities at a Scottish university they normally award an MA (Hons) as a first degree, or at least that used to be the case and I assume still is.  So there's a tradition of people going straight onto a Ph D.
    "A scientist did it and ran away"
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  • martmart Frets: 3866
    NPP said:
    .... 
    All that said a PhD is a long, hard slog and you should know why you are doing it and how you will cope with the anxieties that develop along the way before embarking on it. ...
    This. I have probably over 100 friends with PhDs, and, like me, every one struggled with motivation in the middle - it’s a very lonely isolating thing to do, and 3-4 years with very little structure (completely unlike a bachelors degree). 
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  • GrunfeldGrunfeld Frets: 3309

    If you do what you love your brain absorbs the information, makes it a bit easier....

    There was a lot of stress ,it is hard work.
    +1 on the do what you love.
    I've just done an MSc and it wasn't quite in an area I love. 
    In guitar terms it would be like thinking I'd signed up to do a dissertation on post-rock chord progressions and discovering that my supervisor was actually into Bluegrass and Rockabilly.  Yes, I managed to play along but it was a slog.
    I was way too far into it before I realised just how Rockabilly it was. 
    So really, really do your homework before committing is my nugget of wisdom.
    I know with PhD's they seldom work out as planned but I wasn't expecting this at master's level.

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  • Seems like his friend no longer has any interest =)
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  • mart said:
    NPP said:
    .... 
    All that said a PhD is a long, hard slog and you should know why you are doing it and how you will cope with the anxieties that develop along the way before embarking on it. ...
    This. I have probably over 100 friends with PhDs, and, like me, every one struggled with motivation in the middle - it’s a very lonely isolating thing to do, and 3-4 years with very little structure (completely unlike a bachelors degree). 
    yep, lots of very bright people drop out.
    Much more challenging in terms of will power and motivation than a BSc or MSc
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  • If anyone is curious, it seems that there are social mobility access routes to PhD's for people who don't necessarily meet all of the strict entry requirements for the regular routes.
    TACOMA NARROWS BRIDGE DISASTER
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  • (and yes I'm looking into it)
    TACOMA NARROWS BRIDGE DISASTER
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 27342
    (and yes I'm looking into it)
    I'm not sure you can do a PhD in tits.
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  • octatonic said:
    (and yes I'm looking into it)
    I'm not sure you can do a PhD in tits.
    Someone has to try!!!
    TACOMA NARROWS BRIDGE DISASTER
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  • Matt_McGMatt_McG Frets: 256
    I think @NPP is right above.

    You can do it, and some programs will allow it, and some will not. And it would be common to be admitted onto some sort of provisional masters program and then convert over at some point, which would be quicker than doing them consecutively.

    My PhD program, it would have been incredibly rare. I knew of a couple of people who came straight in, but they had done 4 or 5 year dedicated programs in my subject (Philosophy), mostly at European universities and even then it was tricky to get admitted.

    For me, I had a Scottish MA (honours already so had done 4 solid years, but was still strongly encouraged to do the masters. That specific masters was (by reputation), "the hardest philosophy degree in the world", and it's not that unusual (or certainly wasn't in the past) to just do that, and never bother with the PhD.

    I'd concur with those who are recommending (if it's vocational) to do a masters and consider NOT doing a PhD. They are much harder work than anyone anticipates going in, and just getting the degree is only part of it.

    Funding and finding a way to support yourself are hard, fitting in teaching -- if you want to do it and go on to be an academic -- on top of that is harder still, and then you need to be seriously considering the fact that you will be going on the job market at the end, so networking, kissing the right people's arses, publishing, attending and presenting at conferences, and generally building your profile all take huge amounts of work.

    Because if you don't do that, and you apply for an academic or academic related job, you can be sure that there will be people you are up against who have spent 3 or 4 years assiduously building their reputation, publication record, teaching and "service" record, and so on, and they'll get the job, and you won't. It doesn't matter how good you are if no-one knows about you, and you don't have influential people in your field advocating for you.

    That said, if you are prepared to do the work -- and really, it's an unbelievable amount of work, it's the furthest away from a doss/skive you can imagine -- there can be really interesting things at the end of it.

    I'm glad I did mine, although I'm not an academic any more. But there was a LOT of pain along the way.
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