Is a European PhD possible with a UK MPhys degree?

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In summary: I am worried about being instantly disregarded at the application process. In summary, the person is studying for an MPhys in the UK, which is considered equivalent to an MSc and BSc. The structure is slightly different, with the first two years being the same as a bachelor's course and the third year spent in Denmark with mostly masters courses. They have the option to do a "bachelors project" in Denmark and the fourth year is split between a masters thesis and courses. The person intends to do a PhD in Europe, but is concerned about only having 3+1 years of study compared to the usual 3+2 in Europe. They have contacted professors in Denmark and the Netherlands, but
  • #1
cameron
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Hi,

I am currently studying for an MPhys in the UK. In the UK this is considered essentially equivalent to an MSc and a BSc although the structure is a little different: the first 2 years are the exact same as a bachelors course, then my 3rd year I am currently spending in Denmark doing mostly masters courses. It is not usual to do a "bachelors project" but I do have the option to choose do that in Denmark. The fourth year is half a masters thesis and half courses.

I intend to do a PhD in Europe (either Denmark or the Netherlands) but I am concerned about the fact I have only been studying for 3+1 years whereas most people in Europe do 3+2. I have emailed a few professors listing PhDs in both countries and they have just replied saying they "need an MSc". I'm not sure if they are not aware of the MPhys or they don't think it is good enough, but either way I am worried about being instantly disregarded at the application process.

Does anyone have any experience with this, or any advice with how to increase the chance of being accepted?

In the worst case scenario I could apply to do an additional European masters but I am also concerned that since I will have done the MPhys I won't be accepted into scholarship programs!

Thank you,
Cameron
 
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  • #2
Did you ask explicitly about MPhys?

Do you know someone who knows someone in DK/NL? I don’t know your field, but if it is reasonably connected that could help. Recommendations are more important than a year of courses.

You still have to check the university websites (or ask via mail) for formal requirements - that is not the task of the professors.
 
  • #3
I did ask explicitly about MPhys, but I don't know whether they fully understood what the MPhys is (although that has the same consequences as if it is not equivalent to MSc).

And I know people in one university in the Netherlands but I'm not sure if it is the field I want to go into and also it is not where I want to live, either way I will ask my tutor to ask them, hopefully it will give some insight
 
  • #4
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  • #5
Formally: I think, in general, the UK 3+1 years university education is considered equivalent to the continental 3+2 years, though of course you must check with individual institutions on their policies. This also corresponds well with the fact that after both, one can go into a 3 year PhD consisting of only research work.

Practically: what really matters is what you know, of course. For experimental physics, an MPhys is probably sufficient especially if you've done substantial project work or internships. For theoretical physics, an MPhys typically does NOT get you to a "research-level" understanding, e.g. usually you would learn only up to the very basics of quantum field theory and would not be prepared to immediately begin research in particle theory or CMT, etc. In the UK this is usually remedied by taking courses in the first year of the PhD. I'm not sure how it works in Europe, but it may be that even for theory everything is learned in the 2 year masters program.

There are, however, some 1 year masters programs in the UK that aim to deliver a comprehensive course in theoretical physics. The two well-known ones are the Part III of the math tripos in Cambridge and the MMathPhys in Oxford. I think there are MMathPhys programs in some other universities as well.

The solution might only be to transfer to an MMathPhys-type program for the 4th year, or do significant amounts of self-studying.
 
  • #6
cameron said:
Hi,

I am currently studying for an MPhys in the UK. In the UK this is considered essentially equivalent to an MSc and a BSc although the structure is a little different: the first 2 years are the exact same as a bachelors course, then my 3rd year I am currently spending in Denmark doing mostly masters courses. It is not usual to do a "bachelors project" but I do have the option to choose do that in Denmark. The fourth year is half a masters thesis and half courses.

I intend to do a PhD in Europe (either Denmark or the Netherlands) but I am concerned about the fact I have only been studying for 3+1 years whereas most people in Europe do 3+2. I have emailed a few professors listing PhDs in both countries and they have just replied saying they "need an MSc". I'm not sure if they are not aware of the MPhys or they don't think it is good enough, but either way I am worried about being instantly disregarded at the application process.

Does anyone have any experience with this, or any advice with how to increase the chance of being accepted?

In the worst case scenario I could apply to do an additional European masters but I am also concerned that since I will have done the MPhys I won't be accepted into scholarship programs!

Thank you,
Cameron

Hi Cameron. How did it go and what did you choose? Im in a similar situation at Manchester Uni and planning a year abroud in Germany if I stay on the MPhys. It would be really helpful to hear how it went for you.
 
  • #7
Forgive my ignorance, but what exactly are the educational and academic benefits of offering an MPhys, when an MSc in Physics is the norm? By the way, won't you support your application with a full transcript from your institution, plus recommendation letters and the like?
 
  • #8
This is an old thread guys!
 
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  • #9
It's an old thread, but to help others, at some UK Unis instead of a BSc they start off on a four year MSc degree where they do a bigger final year project, with more theory topics in third year than in a normal BSc, with engineering being one where I've seen students doing this. They graduate with just the MSc, not two degrees. UK is usually three years BSc then one year to an MSc. (The exception is Scotland where a BSc is usually four years.) Those signing up for a PhD take three years, but if not making the grade, can get an MSc at the end of the first year of the PhD. And chemistry at Oxford Uni does a full year long project (called a Part Two year) so it's four years for their BSc. Then a PhD there can be two years if it extends the Part Two or three years if done elsewhere on a different topic.

A part two guy in my lab at Ox. was doing xray crystalography and to practice they gave him a compound with a known structure to gain experience. I pointed at a container with what we called "the white stuff" that I'd got as a product by accident. It had defeated elemental analysis, IR, NMR and Mass Spec as to what it's structure was. I suggested he could practice on that, his supervisor said okay, and eventually he got its structure. We then could work out how the reaction ended up with it as the product instead of what I was actually after.
 

Related to Is a European PhD possible with a UK MPhys degree?

What is the difference between a European PhD and a UK MPhys?

A European PhD is a doctoral degree that is recognized and awarded by universities in European countries. It typically involves extensive research and a dissertation. On the other hand, a UK MPhys is a Master of Physics degree that is specific to the United Kingdom and typically involves coursework, research, and a final project.

Can I pursue a European PhD with a UK MPhys degree?

Yes, many universities in Europe accept UK MPhys degrees as a prerequisite for admission into their PhD programs. However, it is important to check with individual universities for their specific requirements and application processes.

What are the benefits of pursuing a European PhD with a UK MPhys?

One of the main benefits is the opportunity to gain a higher level of education and expertise in a specific field of study. Additionally, a European PhD may open up more career opportunities, both in academia and industry, as it is a highly respected and recognized degree.

How long does it take to complete a European PhD with a UK MPhys?

The duration of a European PhD may vary depending on the country and university, but it typically takes 3-4 years to complete. However, with a UK MPhys degree, the overall time may be reduced as some universities may give credit for coursework completed during the MPhys program.

Are there any financial considerations for pursuing a European PhD with a UK MPhys?

Depending on the university and country, there may be different tuition fees for international students. It is important to research and budget for these costs, as well as potential funding opportunities such as scholarships or grants. Additionally, some European countries may require proof of financial stability as part of the visa application process for international students.

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