Outside the US

Lena Ting ting at roses
Mon Feb 19 15:27:27 EST 1996


srickard at hgmp.mrc.ac.uk ("Ms. S.J. Rickard") writes:
: No we don't have a qualifying year betwwen graduating from our degrees 
: and starting postgraduate study. A majority of degrees are 3 years (some 
: have industrial sandwich years etc) and if you achieve a 3rd or above (se 
: previous e mail) then you graduate with honours. British degrees are 
: notoriously difficult, so 3 years is deemed sufficient I think, but there 
      ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

I don't really understand the logic here....Because it's so difficult,
you need only endure 3 years?

My understanding of the British degree (which isn't saying that much),
is that, although there seem to be fewer post-high-school years of
study, students tend to specialize their field of knowledge quite
early, like in Jr. High.  Thus, there is less "general knowledge"
stuff that you do in college.  American students don't learn as much
is high school, and don't specialize, either, so college takes longer,
as there is some ground to make up.

As for the PhD, it's a rather quick program, only 3 years, no classes.
You work on a project, produce a thesis, and voila.  I also heard that
even if your project is a "failure", you can still write is up, and
hand it in, having done your 3 years of research, and having learned
what research is all about.  I think in the US, the emphasis is on
producing original, published (or publishable) results in you thesis,
so it often takes a long time, and often several failed attempts
before success.

I don't know what the level of undergrad classes is in the UK, so I am
wondering if the classwork in grad schools in the US is the equivalent
of an advanced undergrad class in the UK, or if the Brits simply don't
get class training in such subjects, and learn independently.  
Do you do journal clubs (get together and discuss recent journal
articles) in the UK?

Lena




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