Integrated Masters (4 yr) courses

(33 Posts)
ProfGrammaticus Sun 14-Feb-16 17:09:52

Poring over courses again for DS1 who will apply for Maths next time round, it has occurred to me - why all these four year courses? They didn't exist, I don't think, in my day, or if they did they were much less common. I could be wrong as I studied Law and just didn't look at science courses. But is it a new thing? And why? (And is it evidence that A levels just aren't sending people to start courses at the right level, so the unis are having to pick up the slack?)

titchy Sun 14-Feb-16 17:16:03

More common than they were, mainly as it means students can get a Masters degree using undergraduate student finance. Plus of course there are far more students than there ever were so a wider range of courses.

Nothing to do with A level standards!

titchy Sun 14-Feb-16 17:16:45

Oh and they are pretty much confined to sciences, not Arts or Humanities.

gooseberryroolz Sun 14-Feb-16 17:17:19

I expect they'll wither now that PG finance is coming in.

titchy Sun 14-Feb-16 17:21:56

Not sure - PG loans have to be paid back at the same time as UG loans, so 9% of salary for the UG loan plus 6% for the PG loan makes 15% of salary over £21k in repayments.

Integrated Masters would mean just 9% of salary in repayments.

gooseberryroolz Sun 14-Feb-16 17:30:56

True.

dreamingofsun Sun 14-Feb-16 17:39:07

we've investigated those this year. The pro is that you are guaranteed a place on masters course. the negative is that you just get the one qualification and it doesnt sound quite as stretching as doing it separately. Also if you do it separately you can chooose your specialism. on the other hand for the courses my son was looking at, if you start on the MSCI and then change your mind you can do the bsc - so nothing lost.

Dunlurking Sun 14-Feb-16 17:40:46

But a separate masters could be £1000s cheaper than £9000 UG fee. How does that affect the maths (not my strong point)? Couple of offers Ds has are for integrated masters (humanities).

ProfGrammaticus Sun 14-Feb-16 18:07:39

Yes, I thought they were mainly for sciences and maths.

Does it "look better" to apply for one, do you think, more committed to the subject? Or is it better to apply for the 4 year because then the finance is sorted out from the start and you still have the the option to do either 3 or 4 years?

bojorojo Sun 14-Feb-16 18:09:18

They are undergraduate Masters - not the same as a post graduate Masters. Employers will know the difference. The final year is undergraduate level and not the same as an MA which is a far more nuanced study into a specific area of interest. They tend to be science but have crept into MFL too. It is beneficial to do MEng if you can as it was widely believed 3 years was insufficient to cover what is needed.

titchy Sun 14-Feb-16 18:09:34

Humanities MAs wont be more than. £2000 less than £9000. The amount of repayment is fixed regardless of the total size of loan, but as I posted earlier a separate PG loan is related at the same time as the UG one, which can make a difference.

Integrated masters also get maintenance loan. The PG loan is capped at £10k which has to include maintenance.

titchy Sun 14-Feb-16 18:54:12

The final year of integrated masters degree are level 7 bojo, same as stand alone masters.

Dunlurking Sun 14-Feb-16 19:39:49

Thanks for explaining that titchy

disquit2 Sun 14-Feb-16 19:40:42

They are undergraduate Masters - not the same as a post graduate Masters.

As titchy says, this is really not true - they are certified to be level 7, although they are shorter than MSc courses, which run through an entire calendar year.

The main reason MSci/MMath/MEng courses were introduced (20 years ago) was lack of funding for masters in science and engineering. Bachelors degrees are not sufficient for those who want to go into careers related to the sciences/maths they are studying - UK bachelors graduates aren't competitive against graduates from elsewhere in the world, where masters degrees or higher are the norm for highly skilled jobs.

The new funding for postgraduate degrees will not change the necessity for these courses, as undergraduate financing allows for both 9k fees plus maintenance loans while the new postgraduate financing gives only 10k in total. Separate masters in maths and sciences subjects typically cost well over 9k, because of the high costs of running the research project component (plus MSc are 12+ months).

the negative is that you just get the one qualification and it doesnt sound quite as stretching as doing it separately. Also if you do it separately you can choose your specialism.

Both points are not really correct. Employers are perfectly well aware of what MSci qualifications are, and the differences relative to MSc. They know that both are level 7 but the latter are longer courses. And generically there is freedom to switch specialisms within MSci programmes; there is also the freedom to graduate after three years with a BSc if one really wants to an MSc in a completely different area. Separate MSc programmes in sciences can be cash cows aimed at foreign students in specific areas e.g. financial maths.

The only negative about applying for an MSci/MMath/MEng degree is that typically you are asked for one A level grade higher than the corresponding Bachelors. The positive is that indeed you seem more committed to the subject, and may therefore be more likely to get an offer from a selective course. If you start in the Bachelors you can almost always transfer onto the MSci/MMath/MEng programme until the end of the second year, provided that you are maintaining at least a 2:i average.

Parietal Sun 14-Feb-16 20:41:05

they are usually a good idea, but don't worry too much about the commitment now. a student who is keeping up good grades (2.1 level) can switch between the 3yr and 4yr course during 1st or 2nd year with no trouble. so apply to the university with the right options and decide later.

gooseberryroolz Sun 14-Feb-16 20:52:12

The new funding for postgraduate degrees will not change the necessity for these courses, as undergraduate financing allows for both 9k fees plus maintenance loans while the new postgraduate financing gives only 10k in total. Separate masters in maths and sciences subjects typically cost well over 9k, because of the high costs of running the research project component (plus MSc are 12+ months).

I'm assuming that will increase, though, disquit. Am I being optimisitic?

titchy Sun 14-Feb-16 21:04:00

Don't think there's any reason they'd change. Fees are pretty market driven and it's a competitive market. Funding for universities hasn't changed for masters programmes, and early indications don't support any hike in PG fees.

gooseberryroolz Sun 14-Feb-16 21:06:34

I meant that I expected that there would be pressure for the new (inadequate) £10k PG funding to be increased. Perhaps that's hopeful.

titchy Sun 14-Feb-16 21:25:55

Not a chance! Gov has to stump up the money upfront and hope it gets it all back. Maybe if the RAB charge can be demonstrated to be close to 100% they'd consider it, but tbh higher education needs cash elsewhere and that's what we'd be best fighting for.

titchy Sun 14-Feb-16 21:26:14

Not a chance! Gov has to stump up the money upfront and hope it gets it all back. Maybe if the RAB charge can be demonstrated to be close to 100% they'd consider it, but tbh higher education needs cash elsewhere and that's what we'd be best fighting for.

Headofthehive55 Sun 14-Feb-16 21:49:52

i think the demand comes from students who are trying to get a higher terminal qualification to help in the jobs market. It sounds so much better to go off to uni saying oh I'm doing a masters...

I think it's a bit of an arms race.

I think in some ways you are better off doing a separate one as your interests might change in those first few years - a masters allows you to change direction , specialise or compliment your skills such as doing a management masters alongside a science ungergrad.

eatyourveg Sun 14-Feb-16 22:55:31

I thought the new masters funding was just for fees and you had to cover living costs yourself whereas the integrated masters was covered by the undergraduate maintenance loan, or am I wrong?

gooseberryroolz Sun 14-Feb-16 22:57:27

It's £10k which can be used on any combination of fees and living costs, but obviously that amount doesn't stretch far.

traceyinrosso70 Sun 14-Feb-16 23:00:34

My daughter is on a MLang course - integrated masters in modern foreign languages (the first course of it's kind in her subject apparently) so not just science subjects !!

noblegiraffe Sun 14-Feb-16 23:15:03

I did an MMath in 1996 before tuition fees came in so I still got a grant. The impression I got at the time was they changed to a 4 year course because they had to spend the first year getting poor-standard students up to scratch. Dumbing down of A-levels etc.

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