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applying for a BSC or masters?

(22 Posts)
dreamingofsun Sat 18-Jul-15 20:24:16

my son will need a MSC for the job he wants to do. He's in sixth form and will apply to unis in the autumn. The grades to apply for the BSC and Masters combined (ie 4 year course) are higher than just the straight BSC. What happens if he doesn't get the grades for the MSC - do the unis then automatically allow him to go on the BSC (if he gets the grades)? Or is it a case of you didn't get the MSC grades and all the BSC places are now full so no place at all?

titchy Sat 18-Jul-15 21:31:11

Assuming you're talking about integrated Masters (if so it'll be called MPhys or MEng by the way, not MSc) usually if they just miss the grade offer they'll be offered the BSc instead, so a second bite of the cherry, and often even if they start on a BSc route if they do really well in the first year there's the chance to move onto the Masters pathway. The first two years, and possibly the third, are the same for both BSc and Masters pathways by the way, they're not completely different courses.

What career specifically requires a Masters out of interest?

dreamingofsun Sat 18-Jul-15 22:07:18

geology, espec petrochechemicals/mineral exploration. thanks titchy. i've had a child that did a bsc and went on to do an msc but none of them so far have considered applying for full 4 years in one go.

titchy Sat 18-Jul-15 22:13:53

It's a good route - the big advantage is they can get an SLC maintenance loan if they do the integrated route so definitely a good idea to consider it. BSc plus a year MSc works though - there'll be loans for MSc fees from next year, he'd you'd need to fund his living expenses.

dreamingofsun Sat 18-Jul-15 22:21:23

good to know about the msc loans from next year....he's our third child going to uni and its all proving a bit expensive! Even though we're only covering a bit of the cost

ErrolTheDragon Sat 18-Jul-15 22:44:46

Have you been to any uni open days? We've been to some eng ones and they went into the BEng/MEng (essentially people can transfer up if yr1 results good enough and move down if inadequate).

If you're unsure of the position I'd suggest your dc emails the admissions tutor for one or two places he's interested in to ask for clarification.

DoesItReallyMatter Sun 19-Jul-15 00:48:16

It depends on the Uni so you need to speak to each one (and get it in writing)

cdtaylornats Sun 19-Jul-15 19:54:21

You should have a look at the Institute of Petroleum Engineering at Heriot-Watt, as well as lots of contacts in the Scottish oil industry they have a campus in Dubai with links to the oil industry there.

Bunnyjo Sun 19-Jul-15 20:50:07

My university course has either a standard BSc degree or an integrated MSci degree and the entry requirements are the same. However those wishing to do the MSci have to secure a 2:i second year average to be eligible, otherwise they will transfer to the BSc. Different universities have different requirements, so your DS must check with each institute.

I have chosen the BSc route as I hope to do a PhD which leads to an MRes in the first year and the PhD after another 3 years.

dreamingofsun Sun 19-Jul-15 21:18:41

thanks everyone. we've just started visiting unis. some useful thoughts here to consider. hadn't seen the heriot watt option before.

Needmoresleep Sun 19-Jul-15 23:51:48

I don't know if it is relevent, but I was casually looking at fees for a Masters in Economics and have found that costs can vary greatly. LSE would be almost £24,000 whereas Cambridge is almost £15,000 for a home student. I know one overseas student who switched from Imperial to LSE for a maths masters specifically because the fees for International students were lower.

I assume that if you take a four year course leading to a Masters fees will remain the same. It might be worth checking what fees for a stand alone fourth year would be.

titchy Mon 20-Jul-15 07:52:03

The fees for integrated Masters are the same for UG. The entitlement to fees loans and maintenance loans is also the same. Loans for stand alone masters fees up to £10k will be available from next year.

eatyourveg Mon 20-Jul-15 08:23:36

there'll be loans for MSc fees from next year, he'd you'd need to fund his living expenses.

I'm assuming an integrated masters with an UG loan includes the maintenance loan for the 4th year?

eatyourveg Mon 20-Jul-15 08:25:36

woops hadn't seen the last post blush seems integrated masters is a much better route in terms of getting financing then

Needmoresleep Mon 20-Jul-15 08:42:51

Sorry to continue the hijack, but I have now looked at Warwick. They seem to be able to offer a range of Masters including maths and law for £7,400, yet charge home students £19,840 for economics. UCL is £14,250, more expensive than most of the other subjects they offer, but a bargain compared with Prosthodontics or Financial Maths. Given a Masters is a de facto requirement if you want to be a professional economist, as opposed to going into banking or finance, it seems tough. Supply and demand I assume.

Taking a stand alone Masters presumably allows you to pick your institutions and course and allows you to "trade up" if you do well in your first degree, but costs seem to vary a lot. LSE apparently offer a discount for their UGs who stay on to do a Masters, but fees would still be over £20,000. An awful lot for one year, even if loans were available for part.

spinoa Mon 20-Jul-15 09:06:24

Loans for tuition for Masters will almost certainly be capped at £10k. Economics masters can charge more because students can take out professional loans to pay the fees, given their prospects of highly paid jobs afterwards. (Although I thought the top jobs want PhDs, not just Masters?) Maths masters are usually taken to access maths PhDs or specific jobs involving mathematics; they are not oversubscribed (except for specific financial maths programmes) so they charge the most they can for home students and try to break even by attracting enough international students.

An integrated masters degree does not give an equivalent qualification to a bachelors plus masters. For example, in mathematics the four year combined programme gives an MMath (with no research component) while the other route give BSc plus MSc (with research component). You need to check carefully what would be required for any particular career trajectory.

Note that it is often possible to trade up institutions already in the fourth year of an integrated degree. Many students go to Cambridge to do the fourth year MMath (Part III) from other UK universities, for example.

SecretSquirrels Mon 20-Jul-15 11:27:15

DS2 has done the rounds of open days and been given conflicting advice on whether to apply for a BSC or combined masters. He is looking at a science subject. Several places advised him to go for the 4 year course because he would be guaranteed funding and could trade down later if he chose. Others said not to bother unless intent on a research career.

spinoa An integrated masters degree does not give an equivalent qualification to a bachelors plus masters I didn't know this and I'm pretty sure no one spelt this out to DS on the open days.

Assuming the grades are not an obstacle is there any disadvantage to starting off on a 4 year MSci course? We don't know what changes may be made to fees, loans funding. My instinct would be that this was a safe option?

spinoa Mon 20-Jul-15 11:37:02

There is no disadvantage to starting off on a 4 year programme if the grades are not an obstacle. It is indeed a safe option, although in practice it would be unusual for a department to refuse a student the option to switch onto the 4 year programme later (assuming the student is averaging a minimum of 2:i).

As for whether the distinction between MSci and MSc is important: this really depends heavily on subject and proposed career. An MMath does not suffice to enter some maths PhD programmes, for example, and is not recognised as equivalent to a European research based MSc (so would affect recruitment by international companies). Yet an MMath is the best choice for PhD programmes in pure and applied maths/mathematical physics. MMath v BSc v MSc would tend to make relatively little difference for most non-specialised generic graduate recruitment. Physics would work similarly but I don't know the ins and outs of the distinctions for other sciences.

titchy Mon 20-Jul-15 12:10:58

The final M level year usually involves a research project though - at least in the ones I've looked at - eg MChem at Aberdeen involves half a year on a modules which includes assessing research proporals and the second half on a research project placement. www.abdn.ac.uk/registry/courses/undergraduate/2015-2016/chemistry

spinoa Mon 20-Jul-15 12:42:06

Yes, MSci degrees do have projects, but they are often not as long or deep as those on a full MSc. The fourth year of an MSci usually follows the undergraduate academic calendar while the MSc may well involve considerably more teaching/studying/research time, even if it is still a one year programme.

A European MSc is two years and will usually include a one year long research project. It is dubious whether a one year UK MSc can be considered equivalent to a European MSc but an MSci won't usually be viewed as equivalent, which can be an issue in some circumstances. (I have known MSci students have to do an extra preparatory masters year before doing a PhD in Europe, or be rejected from European/other international employers for not having a full masters.) But again this varies quite a lot by subject area.

eatyourveg Mon 20-Jul-15 19:54:23

ds3 heard a lot about integrated masters on his open days - never heard any mention of them when ds1 did the rounds of uni though he's arts rather than sciences

spinioa are you saying that a MSci is a sort of half MSc? Like an AS and A2 both of which are L3 qualifications?

spinoa Tue 21-Jul-15 08:57:55

Yes, an MSci is like a partial MSc. Not sure whether one would call it half or more than half, but the fact that MSci and MSc are not quite equivalent is encapsulated in their different names.

Most MSci degrees were started in the mid 1990s. At that time it became clear that the new GCSEs/A levels were no longer giving the same level of preparation and so universities had to push first year material to second year, second year to third year. The third year material was thence pushed to a new fourth year and padded out with an extended research project. I recall a very sharp transition when almost all physics degrees in the UK suddenly switched to four year programmes.

Some MSci degrees existed long before the 1990s - part III mathematics at Cambridge is a well-known example - and picked up the MSci title relatively recently.

Humanities don't tend to do integrated bachelors/masters. I think it is partly because they need students to do a full research masters before starting a PhD while an integrated masters doesn't really help humanities students in the general graduate job market. I suspect however that it is also because it would be extremely expensive for the student loan system to have to suddenly underwrite a whole new class of four year humanities degrees. If humanities departments could get four year degrees funded by undergraduate loans they would probably go for it, as humanities students really struggle to pay fees for masters.

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