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Masters by distance learning and will a masters help me get into lecturing as I'm really too old to start a part time PHD.

(22 Posts)
zebedeethezebra Thu 02-May-13 13:58:59


Has anyone done a part time masters by distance learning? If so, please would you talk to me about how it went. Was the tuition and supervision adequate? How easy was it do the online research? Which university? How many hours a week did it take? How was the application process?

I'm considering an LLM with De Montford or Edinburgh Uni but its incredibly expensive and I'm still trying to decide whether I really have the time.

I'm hoping that by doing this I can pursue a lecturing career. Although I have loads of experience in law, I'm just getting no where with my applications because my research experience (apart from with a practising law firm) is basically zero. Will having a master's help? I'm really too old to start a part time phD (I'm 46) and I understand you can't do a phD without a masters now anyway.

LRDtheFeministDragon Thu 02-May-13 15:11:58

Do you mean lecturing at university?

It's not my subject, but I know a couple of people who're coming to the end of Law PhDs and they are finding it incredibly competitive to get jobs, FWIW.

zebedeethezebra Thu 02-May-13 17:02:33

No wonder I can't get one then! grin

LRDtheFeministDragon Thu 02-May-13 17:05:18


Maybe it is different when you have loads of experience - it does seem a waste. I hope so. I just know people finding it really tough atm.

PiratePanda Thu 02-May-13 17:06:33

No, you will not get a lecturing job without a PhD these days, and almost noone I know has got a lecturing job in the past 10 years without a prestigious 3-year postdoctoral fellowship on top of the PhD, plus a string of internationally recognised publications to their name.

You are, on the other hand, being realistic by recognising that at 46 it's too late to start a PhD.

Sorry if this is a bit of a cold, sharp shock, but you have almost certainly missed the boat on a lecturing career.

zebedeethezebra Thu 02-May-13 18:21:46

How depressing - someone cheer me up! Is that really the case for law? Is research really so vital for subjects that are not science related?

givemeaclue Thu 02-May-13 18:23:50

Have you tried the college of law rather than a uni?

I have friends who teach with no masters or phd or research experience. They love it.

zebedeethezebra Thu 02-May-13 18:39:43

Yes I have thought of that Givemeaclue, but they are London based and I'm trying to get out of London.

givemeaclue Thu 02-May-13 18:46:30

Hi, there is one in bristol and I think other locations as well

campergirls Thu 02-May-13 18:50:17

The College (now University) of Law has centres all over the place - Brum, York, Manchester, Chester, a couple of others I can't remember. . A friend of mine works at one of the centres and she got in with only professional experience, no higher degrees, so it might be worth a go. But they have been shedding staff recently; I gather it's been a bloodbath and morale is low. Tbh I think with no advanced degrees, FE teaching is probably your best bet - not an easy sector to work in though. Sorry I can't be more encouraging.

mummytime Thu 02-May-13 18:53:18

You need to try to get a foot in the door with some teaching. Could you talk to your old college? What area of Law did you specialise in? What about A'level Law?

kritur Thu 02-May-13 21:04:44

Universities are diversifying their lecturing staff with a growth in lecturer: teaching track only posts. I'm in science and a PhD is essential for all lecturing posts. I don't know anyone in my institution who is lecturing without one I'm afraid.

LRDtheFeministDragon Thu 02-May-13 21:05:14

Like I say, not a lawyer, but I'm pretty sure it's not a science/non-science thing. Research is important in non-science subjects.

boomting Fri 03-May-13 11:49:07

How about doing a PGCE and teaching law at A Level? I'm sure if you could diversify into something like history or politics, then you would also be more attractive.

zebedeethezebra Fri 03-May-13 15:32:03

Thanks everyone, I really am no where near a College of Law or any other LPC centre and not in a position or wanting to relocate. I'll have to look into whether any of the local schools teach A Level law.

PiratePanda Fri 03-May-13 19:07:24

"Research is important in non-science subjects."

Yep. I'm in Humanities, and research is a non-negotiable.

Guitargirl Fri 03-May-13 19:18:04

A friend of mine is lecturer in accountancy and he doesn't have a PhD or a Masters. But he does have a PGCE FE and it is not a prestigious university (and not London). He also has several years experience teaching the professional accountancy exams.

That could be a route to think about?

LRDtheFeministDragon Fri 03-May-13 19:40:44

I think the reason some people are being very doom and gloom about the prospecting of lecturing without a PhD, and others know of mates who seem to disprove those worries, is because the job market has changed quite a lot, quite recently.

I know people who got into academia a while back on far fewer qualifications than people need now. It is really, really tighening up a lot.

MagratGarlik Fri 03-May-13 22:13:14

Everything at university is about the REF now, so in order to get a lecturing post you must show that you are capable of contributing to the REF. That means having done a PhD and some postdoc work in order to allow you to supervise PhDs yourself.

Even though there are some teaching only posts in universities, these are usually 'teaching fellowships' or 'university teacher' positions and are not usually on the same payscale as a lecturer and nor do they usually offer much in the way of career progression. (I am only familiar with RG universities though and one post-92 so it may be different is some less prestigious institutions). Even with extensive teaching experience in a less prestigious place, you would be unlikely to be able to move into a more prestigious institution as RG will usually look at research profile first and will only bother to look at teaching experience at all if two candidates are equally well matched research-wise.

A distance-learning Masters will cost you quite a bit, but is still unlikely to get you where you want to be. As others have said, I'd think about spending the money on a PGCE or the FE equivalent and focus on teaching at post-16 rather than post-18.

creamteas Sat 04-May-13 11:48:04

Some disciplines such as Law will recruit some teaching staff at university without a PhD, but this would, as others have said, be as a teaching-only post not a lectureship.

Usually once the census date has passed (so after Nov for REF), it gets slightly easier to get lectureships, in terms of publications, as long as you look like you will get the right number by the next REF (or whatever it morphs into). But given that university budgets are likely to be being cut again in the comprehensive spending review and there is much less research funding available, many universities are not replacing staff full-time staff.

overthemill Sat 04-May-13 16:48:12

you will need a phd but i don't see why you are too old at only 46 - 6 years part time? i am 55 and still contemplating one now my kids are older

MammaMedusa Sat 04-May-13 16:56:52

My mother started a part-time PhD at 48. She is now lecturing, but she did have to do a post-doctorate in the US which meant leaving all her children behind! Luckily we were all old enough.

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