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Equivalency between US and UK graduate and doctoral degrees

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katiescarlett:
I am in the process of looking for graduate schools, and I am highly interested in UK schools, as I want to study European and English history.  I even have exactly enough money put away for a year at the University of Edinburgh right now.  (Not enough to live on, but enough to pay tuition.)  I will graduate next May, but will begin applying to schools this fall, and am looking at all my options, of course at US schools, and also the University of Toronto, but am interested in UK schools especially.  If it helps, I am 34 years old, so saving the money myself might be a little easier as I have been working fulltime in health care for a long time now.  (Yes, I know, I am wanting a drastically different career, with teaching history  :))

Just curious on the equivalency of degrees.  If for example, I obtained a masters' degree in the UK, would I be able to come home to get a doctorate?

Deetee:
In general they are equivalent (though it's usually faster to get a UK degree). But you always want to double check with your prospective school.

Also, if you are planning to teach history at a college/university level, it is difficult to over emphasize how competitive that is. I do not want to dissuade you from this adventure but if you are planning this as a career change (And not a hobby) you need to be beyond excellent.

paintpots:
I would say the institution might matter here. E.g.  a masters from Oxbridge/Russell Group University (Edinburgh ticks that box) would be likely to have more weight than an ex-polytechnic (although there are many fine ex-polys in the UK, they are less likely to have a strong international reputation). It also depends on who you study with and their reputation in the field.

I think (or at least I get the impression) that graduate study in the UK is much shorter than in the US- 1 year for a full time masters, 3-4 years for a PhD (in my institution it's 4 years max), and that you can go straight into studying a PhD from a bachelors degree.

nrb80:
I would talk to whatever institution you intend to get a PhD from, or trusted mentors in whatever field you intend to work in before making any decisions. 

University of Edinburgh is an excellent school with a great international reputation.  My concern is the idea of doing a masters rather than a D Phil there - I would ask hard questions of where you want to end up about whether a masters makes sense.  Assuming you have an excellent undergraduate record, you should be able to go straight to a doctoral program. Also, depending on the field, the masters might be a liability - either as a waste of time/money for your end goal, or an albatross on your CV.  For example, my husband (in his last job) was a major employer / hiring manager for a PhD laden field - one foot in academia, one foot in industry.  He hired PhDs or people with undergrad degrees - a vocational masters (MBA, MPA, MPH) was fine, but didn't get anything over an undergrad.  An academic masters was immediately tossed - too often it's a wash out degree, or it is seen as showing a lack of commitment to the field. 

If I were you, I would talk to as many people in the eventual field you want to end up in as possible, and get advice on what makes the most sense for your goals.

LadyL:

--- Quote from: nrb80 on April 22, 2014, 11:07:50 AM ---University of Edinburgh is an excellent school with a great international reputation.  My concern is the idea of doing a masters rather than a D Phil there - I would ask hard questions of where you want to end up about whether a masters makes sense.  Assuming you have an excellent undergraduate record, you should be able to go straight to a doctoral program. Also, depending on the field, the masters might be a liability - either as a waste of time/money for your end goal, or an albatross on your CV.  For example, my husband (in his last job) was a major employer / hiring manager for a PhD laden field - one foot in academia, one foot in industry.  He hired PhDs or people with undergrad degrees - a vocational masters (MBA, MPA, MPH) was fine, but didn't get anything over an undergrad.  An academic masters was immediately tossed - too often it's a wash out degree, or it is seen as showing a lack of commitment to the field. 


--- End quote ---

POD to this advice. In some fields an MA is a waste of time/money. For research fields this seems particularly true - in the 2 research jobs I had before starting my doctoral work, I replaced people who had an MA and I got paid the same as they did.

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