Probably a stupid question where the answer is no

(16 Posts)
BuckingFrolics Tue 19-Mar-19 19:55:07

Can one go from a BA to a PhD? No Masters?

I don't work - own a successful business - so time and money are available to me.

I and have an obsession with a historical/literary figure. Id like to research this persons life and to what extent their circumstances changed them from x to y.

Am I mad?

OP’s posts: |
Arkengarthdale Tue 19-Mar-19 20:02:56

My DH went from first degree to PhD but in the same subject and same university without a gap in between. So yes it can be done but that was quite a long time ago!

Springisallaround Tue 19-Mar-19 22:45:47

I do know someone that is doing this, but am unsure it's very typical. I probably wouldn't want to take a PhD student without a Masters unless I was assured they were practically a genius- it's a big jump especially if they've had a big gap time-wise between the two. This does sound a bit like a 'hobby PhD' to be honest and that would make me (and my institution) nervous. If you have time and money, why not a relevant Masters?

YetAnotherThing Tue 19-Mar-19 22:50:07

I did it but as a scientist and with a long gap between BSc and starting PhD (12 years) but I had lots of relevant experience in between, so supervisor was happy to take me into lab.

Springisallaround Tue 19-Mar-19 22:55:05

You could still study one aspect of the person's work in your Masters dissertation, saving the whole thing for the PhD if you decided to go on with it (doing the Masters might just saturate your interest, you never know).

BackforGood Tue 19-Mar-19 22:59:59

Same as the first reply here.
DH did a B.Sc, then on to a PhD. Fairly normal in his field still - but relevant scientific research that could change all sort of things in the world. Not sure how that translates into 'an interest'.

smithloves Tue 19-Mar-19 23:14:05

Yes it's very normal.

parietal Tue 19-Mar-19 23:19:13

I did (15+ years ago). At that time, I was told that doing a MSc was seen as a waste of time if you were PhD level, so I went straight to PhD.

Now, it is very rare for that to happen, mainly because it is hard to get funding and a person with an MSc will almost always beat someone without when it comes to getting a grant.

if you are self-funded, you are in a different position.

but it might be worth thinking about whether you really need a phd - it can be lonely and unfocused, and there can be very little supervision.

A relative of mine was in the same position as you - retired early with lots of funds, wanted to move into history research. He did a taught Masters for 1 year in order to get close supervision and get up-to-date with the basic skills of history research. Afterwards, he went & wrote a book on his chosen topic as an independent researcher, and never bothered with the PhD. That is both cheaper & gives you more flexibility than a full PhD, so it might be worth considering.

Ottessa Tue 19-Mar-19 23:23:11

I wouldn’t take you on as a student on that basis, no.

chocolatebrazilnut Tue 19-Mar-19 23:32:42

I did a BSc then straight on to a PhD, although I had to register for an MSc at first and was then allowed to transfer to the PhD after a year (no formal process). I did the BSc and PhD at different universities. The students who had done their BSc at the same university could go straight on to the PhD course.

CatandtheFiddle Wed 20-Mar-19 14:24:15

Ummmm, if you came to me with that sort of proposition, Id be very very wary of taking you on as a PhD student, and would probably insist you did a Masters. A PhD is not really a vehicle simply for pursuing that sort of fascination. It's a lot more, and a lot different. And you probably don't really have a clear idea about just what it involves.

Harsh I know, but a PhD is a serious piece of work, and not just a hobby, in my view.

CatandtheFiddle Wed 20-Mar-19 14:25:00

A relative of mine was in the same position as you - retired early with lots of funds, wanted to move into history research. He did a taught Masters for 1 year in order to get close supervision and get up-to-date with the basic skills of history research. Afterwards, he went & wrote a book on his chosen topic as an independent researcher, and never bothered with the PhD. That is both cheaper & gives you more flexibility than a full PhD, so it might be worth considering

A much better plan!

bibliomania Wed 20-Mar-19 14:54:29

Another voice saying consider writing a book rather than do a PhD. It means you can aim it at a different audience, and gives you freedom to write in a more informal, personal style. You can pay a small fee for membership of a university library in order to get access to the literature.

BuckingFrolics Wed 20-Mar-19 18:10:29

There is much sense in these responses thanks.

I think I didn't want to just research as a book, as I want the rigour of the PhD supervision. Also I imagined that having the phd structure (loose I know) would drive me forward.

But perhaps that suggests I'm pretty "hobbyist". I've been running a business for 20 years and really want to do something for its own sake not for money - and to produce something meaningful.

I need to do more thinking obviously.

OP’s posts: |
Closetlibrarian Sun 24-Mar-19 20:29:17

What you gain with a masters (in the humanities) is not just the knowledge, but the skills and the discipline required for doctoral research.

But yes, like others on here, I wouldn't accept a PhD applicant on this basis. It would be too massively steep a learning curve for them in the first year/ 18 months. You really do have to hit the ground running in order to get the thing done in 3 years. So, that includes having the skills required as well as having as rock-solid a research question before you start.

whatnotmum Tue 26-Mar-19 09:01:52

I did this recently in a non vocational social science subject with lots theory.

I didn't have many problems getting onto courses - (though more like the middle or upper-middle tier of universities than the top 10) but its extremely difficult to get funding like this. I did in the end and am crazy lucky - I haven't actually heard of anyone else in my subject do this in recent years.

I spend about 9 months on my proposal, and had a few years vaguely relevant experience.

I honestly feel like for me a taught Masters would have been a waste of time and money. You can look at research masters though, which are often cheaper, and can give you a chance to start on your research.

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