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The University of Southampton
Winchester School of ArtPostgraduate study

Research degrees

Winchester offers research as an integral part of all its degrees, especially at graduate level. But for students who wish to pursue research by designing and carrying out a research project of their own, the major qualifications are the Master of Arts by Research (MA), the Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and the Doctorate (PhD).

The MA is especially challenging because students must learn research methods on the job, where students on taught MAs are given training before embarking on a thesis. But the thesis-only MA by Research gives students the opportunity to extend their reach in a controlled, relatively swift project. The MPhil can be completed in one year, but typically takes longer. All PhD students initially enrol in an MPhil, and have the option of taking that qualification, or continuing to compete their doctoral study.

Normally MA students will have a good first degree, preferably with a successful research component. MPhil/PhD candidates will normally have a good MA degree or equivalent. The Masters degree was originally the professional qualification for schoolmasters and mistresses; today it is the key professional qualification for a huge range of professions (and in the USA, the Master of Fine Art is the highest award possible for artists). Here the MA by Research can both establish the excellence of graduates in the professions, or act as a gateway to further research. The MPhil and PhD are traditionally the professional qualifications for people working in higher education. Other professions, notably curating and the auction industries, now also see PhDs as highly desirable.

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