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MPhil - a master or a research degree?

MPhil is regarded as a senior or second master degree, standing between a taught master’s and PhD. In the National Qualification Framework (NQF) of UK, the academic level for MPhil degree is NQF Level 7.

It is a stand-alone postgraduate research degree that allows students to undertake a programme over one year. This is often taken after completion of a bachelor’s degree as an intermediate step before transferring onto a subsequent PhD programme.The MPhil is the first stepping stone for PhD – this study prepares students for advanced research work that is required to start a PhD. It is, in fact, a shorter research degree, completed to the same academic quality as a PhD.

Research done in an MPhil course is normally limited in scope and originality i.e. may be a replication of a published research. An MPhil contributes new understanding of existing knowledge, by way of a critical review or evaluation and does not create new knowledge in the field while a PhD contributes new knowledge beyond what’s currently available.

Like the PhD, the MPhil develops students’ research and generic skills and is pursued under the guidance of a team of expert supervisors. Once the research is completed, students must write a 60,000 word thesis – this then has to be defended by an oral examination/viva. The research thesis demonstrates student’s proficiency in research methods, knowledge and understanding, and a critical evaluation of academic subject area.

To be considered, potential applicants should normally have a bachelor degree with good grades. However, Entry requirements may vary between academic areas and sometimes a taught master degree may be required. 

 

General guidelines to submitting applications for an MPhil

At the application stage, provide some standard information about yourself and your past academic attainments, strengths and performances. Include a detailed CV with supporting evidences of any work experience & other activities and training you have undertaken. Make sure that you provide only true information and you can support this with documents.

For references, wherever possible, it is advisable to give at least one reference from an academic who knows you from your past studies and academic strength and aware of your research potential. Make sure your referees know the details if you have given their reference.

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