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Home to many iconic universities that are centuries old, UK is an attractive destination for higher education. The island nation has many notable colleges offering combined masters and PhD programs that can be taken up right after a Bachelor’s degree. So, what is a combined degree? And why must you consider it?

Combined degrees are a means to meld two levels of learning into one, allowing you a chance to bulk up your knowledge and skillset through research at the highest standards. They give you an opportunity to course-share, instead of completing the same material twice at both individual masters and PhD levels.

The policies that govern these degrees vary, and therefore there are multiple types of integrated masters and PhD programs. The most common one offered in the UK is the ‘four-year PhD’ or ‘1+3’ program. As the name implies, these degrees include a one-year master’s program followed by a three-year PhD. This type of program not only builds your subject knowledge, but also focuses mainly on acquiring the research skills required for your doctorate. In fact, the master’s program you might study here might be an MRes (Master of research) rather than a typical MA or MS.

Integrated programs are gaining quite a lot of popularity since they are considered as a fast-forward method to get to a PhD. While a conventional PhD degree might take up to 10 years to complete, these combined degrees offer the same level of learning and experience in about half the time by using the master’s share of it as a kind of foundation course.

Here are some of the best integrated programs in the UK and the institutes offering them

  1. University of Oxford

    Combined Master of Science (MSc) and Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil)

    Oxford is an outstandingly international university with over half of their graduate students coming in from outside the UK. With an aim to create independent leaders, Oxford courses are intensive and inspiring.

    Integrated masters programs:

    • Social Data Science (MSc + DPhil)
      • Course Fee: $35,000/year
    • MSc in Social Science of the Internet + DPhil in Information, Communication and the Social Sciences
      • Course Fee: $33,000/year
    • DPhil in Neuroscience (1+3)
      • Course Fee: $30,000/year
    • DPhil in Radiation Oncology (1+3)
      • Course Fee: $33,000/year
  2. Applications for admission in 2021-2022 open on September 1st and the deadline will be in Jan 2021. Applying on time will automatically allow you to be considered for over 60 standard scholarships that cover course fees and a grant for living costs. Other scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit and/or potential like the commonwealth shared scholarship, and require an additional application.

  3. Newcastle University

    Newcastle is ranked among the world’s top 150 universities (QS World Rankings 2020) and has been awarded 5 QS stars for teaching excellence. Along with exceptional student life and career opportunities, this university offers a number of funding opportunities to international students through scholarships, charities and discounts.

    Integrated masters programs:

    • (IPhD) Computer Science
      • Cost: $30,000/year
    • (IPhD) Engineering and Science in the Marine Environment
      • Cost: $30,000/year
    • (IPhD) Educational and Applied Linguistics
      • Cost: $22,000/year
    • (IPhD) Linguistics and English Language
      • Cost: $22,000/year
  4. The courses start in September and although there is no application closing date, applying 2 months or earlier is recommended. Students can build a portfolio of awards by applying for multiple grants like the Aga Khan Development Network and the Nora Henry Trust, along with a guaranteed extra 2% tuition fee discount.

  5. University College London

    UCL is one of the oldest and most renowned institutes of the UK, boasting of 29 Nobel prize laureates. It is ranked 10th in the world (QS 2021) and was rated the top university in the UK for research excellence, making it a perfect destination for pursuing a doctorate.

    Integrated masters programs:

    • Security Science (MRes + MPhil/PhD)
      • Cost: $32,000
      • Applications close on 24th July 2020
    • Artificial Intelligence Enabled Healthcare (MRes + MPhil/PhD)
      • Cost: $32,000
      • Multiple modes of learning available
      • Application and funding deadline on 7th Aug 2020
    • Economics (MRes + MPhil/PhD)
      • Cost: $25,000
    • Medical Imaging (MRes + MPhil/PhD)
      • Cost: $31,000

    UCL recently reformed its funding system to make it more student-centric. From M.Phil onwards, students receive $2500 as a grant along with a minimum of $6000 as a scholarship. Working as a Teaching Assistant (full load) can earn students approximately $17,000 additionally.

  6. University of Warwick

    Warwick is a public research university and stands in the top 10 universities of the UK. Interesting fact, this is also the university with the highest-earning average in all of UK.

    Integrated masters programs offered:

    • Economics (MRes + PhD)
      • Cost: $34,000
    • Mathematics of Systems (MSc leading to PhD)
      • Cost: $27,000
  7. There are many funding routes available for students studying at Warwick like university-wide scholarships, graduate awards, international scholarships and loans. Indian students can apply to the Chevening Scholarship, the commonwealth scholarship and OFID scholarship which can grant students the tuition fee, health insurance, and a monthly allowance.

  8. University of Cambridge

    Cambridge has the most impressive catalogue of integrated courses with over 11 programs currently offered in contemporary fields of study like artificial intelligence, stem cell biology, material science, and sensor technologies.

    Some of the Integrated masters programs available:

    • Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (MRes + PhD)
      • Cost: $38,000
    • Connected Electronic & Photonic Systems (MRes + PhD)
      • Cost: $37,000
    • Management Studies (MRes + PhD)
      • Cost: $37,000
    • Cancer Biology (MRes + PhD)
      • Cost: $37,000

    The University of Cambridge offers studentships funded by the EPSRC and other partners. Additionally, each department has individual scholarships that are automatically applied if students enter the funding competition, and are awarded based on need and merit. Funding competitions usually happen in January and decisions are made early March onwards. Researching and applying early gives you a better chance to get aid. There are over 150 scholarships available, ranging from $6000 to $228,000. The Wellcome Sanger Institute 4-year PhD Studentships offers between $114,000 to $228,000 for the course duration of 4 years.

Although these are only a handful of universities, there are quite a few more in the UK that offer various integrated programs including Imperial College London, Brunel University and Lancaster University that are known for programs like Economics, Management Sciences and Statistics. This New Route PhD is an apt choice for individuals who are interested in specialized professional training and qualification. Studying from an extended degree program offers you exactly the skills and competencies you need, and you can develop these skills gradually in a logical order. Thus, making your transition from a Masters level to PhD level swift and smooth.

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