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To want to do an MA when I don't have a first degree?

(47 Posts)
Noquals Tue 14-Jan-14 09:18:29

I'm not sure if this is unreasonable or possible?
There are a few issues/subjects that I am very interested in and pretty knowledgable about- built up from voluntary work and campaigning rather than employment.

I have done a couple of OU courses over the years, but the subjects I am interested in are much more specific than any courses or degrees I can find.
On the OU courses I didn't feel at all that I was on a learning curve, they didn't hold my interest and the last one I abandoned.

I have looked at MA's and (I think) you can research your own subject, this feels more like what I would like to do, but they seem quite strict about needing a first degree.

Is it possible?

NigellasDealer Greece Tue 14-Jan-14 09:20:15

possible yes i know someone who blagged their way onto an MA course without a first degree.

donttellalfred Tue 14-Jan-14 09:33:23

It is sometimes possible though rare. You need to show the department that you have the necessary skills which would ordinarily be gained during a first degree. This may be easier on a more vocational course than eg history or linguistics. Do you have an institution in mind?

BombayBunty Tue 14-Jan-14 09:34:43

My DH went straight from an HND onto an MA course. It was a research based MA.

IamGluezilla Tue 14-Jan-14 09:35:36

My friend did an MBA without a primary degree and at a v.good university (Durham)

SilverApples Tue 14-Jan-14 09:36:51

My dad did this, but his RL experience was a huge part of it.

hootloop Tue 14-Jan-14 09:37:00

I have never heard of anyone doing this but I think anything is possible if you know (or can get to know) the right people and know the right things to say.

IDugUpADiamond Tue 14-Jan-14 09:37:28

It's perfectly possible as you'll be a mature student. Ask the relevant institutions, not here.

GlassCastle Tue 14-Jan-14 09:39:23

Both my husband and myself did MA's first.

Not all knowledge is measured by a first degree. But the university or awarding body needs to be competent in its assessment of you.

Yes, it's not unusual, but would depend on the degree and the university, so better talk to them!

Twinkletron Tue 14-Jan-14 09:40:14

I work for the NHS and they pay for us to do an MA if we want to. I know of people with a 2:2 doing it!!

BookroomRed Tue 14-Jan-14 09:43:26

Depends entirely on the field and institution, and your own circumstances and experience. In my academic field, it could not happen, because you simply wouldn't have the depth of knowledge, research skills, technical language, writing skills etc that you would normally acquire over the course of an undergraduate degree. I have occasionally had MA students with a first degree in a different subject, and they struggled at times.

TunipTheUnconquerable Tue 14-Jan-14 09:50:11

I used to teach on a course where it was possible, but the way it worked was taught course + thesis = MA but the taught course on its own would give you a diploma, so it was a less risky decision to admit people to it without a first degree and then you would only let them go on to the thesis if they had done all right in the essays for the taught part of the course.
If the MA is 100% research, they're likely to be stricter. If you've done well on the OU courses it will help, even if you didn't do a whole degree. Have you got referees who will support you?

Noquals Tue 14-Jan-14 10:02:25

Thank you all, I will email the uni and see what they say. Turnip, it would be just research, but yes, I could get some very good references. I suppose I can only try!

ottertherotter Tue 14-Jan-14 10:36:36

Twinkletron-I know of people with a 2:2 doing it!!
WTF?? You think people with a 2:2 aren't good enough for a Masters?

Athrodiaeth Tue 14-Jan-14 10:40:00

I didn't know you needed a first to do an MA. Is that standard?

fedup21 Tue 14-Jan-14 10:45:42

Twinkletron-I know of people with a 2:2 doing it!!

Lol-but a 2:2 is a degree-I don't understand your point?!

peacefuleasyfeeling Tue 14-Jan-14 11:08:41

Athrodiaeth, I think OP is referring to a degree at all, i.e. an undergraduate course before embarking on a masters, as oppsed to a first class degree or "a first".

Thetallesttower Tue 14-Jan-14 11:11:40

A lot of Masters set a limit of 2:1 and above to go on their courses, for obvious reasons, these days those with 2:2's are in less academic half of the very large population that go to university. Twenty years ago, a 2:2 was the average grade.

Noquals Tue 14-Jan-14 11:37:13

Yes I do mean a degree at all!

Thetallesttower Tue 14-Jan-14 11:42:24

As I replied on the other thread about doing another degree, the key thing is to get information- will they consider you for the subject you want without a degree. Many Masters are not suitable for that, but a more applied one or an MBA are taken without a degree but lots of relevant experience. I think getting more information is important, people on here just can't tell you in relation to the specific subjects and institution, but the admissions officer will be able to do so.

Thumbwitch Tue 14-Jan-14 11:46:31

It is possible to do a Masters without a first degree; I have a friend who did one (although I think hers was an MSc rather than MA). But if she HAD had a first degree, she would have been doing a PhD instead of the Masters - it was all to do with the lab research work she was doing.

I did an MSc without having a 2:1 or above but this was 20 years ago, so it could have all changed now.

ComposHat Belgium Tue 14-Jan-14 11:57:14

Ive known people who've done vocational degrees who've got onto Masters degrees with a HND & bucketloads of relevant experience in that field.

In my subject (history) it would probably be unlikely, but I would check with the admissions tutor a md explain the level of relevant experience you have.

One thing to think about, btw, is finance. MA courses aren't cheap and they usually ask you to prove you have the money to support yourself for the year (which is something I find a bit dodgy, but the reasoning is that if you don't, you might drop out). You don't get a student loan as you do for a first degree.

Sorry if that is obvious, just I know people are sometimes surprised so thought I'd mention.

CocktailQueen Tue 14-Jan-14 12:03:12

I'm confused. My MA WAS my first degree! (In Scotland.) Is that not the case in England? I did a Master of Arts in English Lit and Language.

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