Difference Between Taught and Research Master’s Degree

Having completed your undergraduate studies, for some reason you find yourself going back to obtain a master’s degree form for the furtherance of your career.

After identifying what field you want to obtain a master’s degree in. You may be faced with what mode of study you want your degree to be in. Postgraduate degree programs could either be a taught or research-based program. Adequate knowledge of what either program entails helps to make your decision making suits your needs.

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Why Do I Need a Master’s Degree?

You might want to ask, why do I need a master’s degree? Well, there are so many reasons why you would want to obtain a master’s degree. You need a master’s degree to climb your career ladder as most career requires an additional degree.

In most climbs, having an additional degree demonstrates an employee’s competence and also shows that they have more understanding as regards such field. Also, for one who has an interest in going into the academic world, a master’s degree is a major prerequisite to proceed into the Ph.D. level. For more information on the different types of master’s degree programs click here.

What is a Taught Master’s Degree?

Taught master’s degree follows a similar pattern to which the undergraduate programs are taught. Here, you are required to attend classes, prepare seminars and other activities which are guided by a time table.

Most/ majority of the master’s level programs are taught courses, this includes MSc, MA and postgraduate diploma’s (PGD). Assessments, examinations and also dissertation of a thesis leads the award of a taught MSc program.

What is a Research-Based Master’s Degree?

Unlike the taught master’s degree, research-based master’s programs have fewer restrictions in terms of attending classes and one has more freedom when compared to its counterpart.

The focus will be on one or more projects which can be supervised by your direct supervisor. Degrees awarded include a master of research (MRes) and master of philosophy (Mphil).

Research-based master’s program equips students with research skills and adequate training required for both research-based occupation’s and for research at the Ph.D. level.

As stated earlier, your choice of a postgraduate program would depend on two major factors;

1. Your career choice and academic interest

2. Availability in the desired institution

Your Career Choice And Academic Interest

One of the most important reasons why people further their education up to the master’s level is to equip themselves in their different career path.

If you’re looking to advance in knowledge and be placed in better positions within an organization then taught programs are more advisable.

Interest in research, or working in a profession in which research skills are valuable, an MRes is highly recommended. In fact, this is most recommended for people who have an interest in academics and research work.

Availability in the Institution of Intrest and Grades

Awards and degrees offered by institutions of higher learning vary from one place to the other. It is advised to check listings on their website to know if the desired program is available.

Sometimes after an MSc, depending on the grades obtained, you might be required to take a research-based program (usually MPhil) before proceeding to obtain a Ph.D.

In some cases, the MRes fees are usually lesser in comparison to that of an MA. While in other instances both MSc and MRes programs end up paying the same amount.

At the undergraduate level, it is advised you aim for a 2.1 degree (or a 2.2 which may be acceptable depending on the institution) regardless of the type of masters degree you would like to obtain. Taught courses most commonly come in a duration of one to two years full time or 2-3 years part-time. MRes takes one-two years full time or two-four years part-time.

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