Pursuing a PhD is the ultimate goal of a scholar as it offers immense opportunities to delve into the ocean of knowledge of any domain of study. Involving a painstaking research process, a PhD can stretch from 3-5 years which is a colossal amount of time to immerse into a particular discipline. An Integrated PhD is a viable alternative to a regular doctoral degree as it saves you from the additional time and effort that goes into making the transition from a master’s degree to a research degree. If you’d like to fetch the information associated with different aspects of an Integrated PhD, continue reading our blog through which we aim to elaborate on the key essentials of this degree and the major institutions you can pursue it from.
This Blog Includes:
- What is an Integrated PhD?
- Difference Between Regular PhD and Integrated PhD
- Who Should Study an Integrated PhD?
- Entry Requirements
- Application Process
- Major Universities
What is an Integrated PhD?
Integrated PhD is a research programme mainly comprising of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics [STEM] fields. Some other similar doctoral programs are also available in Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities which are funded by the Research Councils. This 5-year degree program combines a master’s course with a PhD in which the first 2 years, students are supposed to study an MSc, MTech, MA or MRes and the next 3 years are dedicated to research work and a core PhD course. However, the duration may vary from university to university. On successful completion, scholars are awarded a doctoral degree.
How Does Integrated PhD Programme Works?
Your master’s program will be inclined towards providing subject knowledge and accumulation of research skills important for your doctorate. In fact, the master you study may actually be called a Master of Research (MRes) rather than a taught MSc or MA.
How is Integrated PhD Graded?
While the master’s portion is graded as a standalone qualification, the latter part is assessed on your thesis and performance in the viva voce.
Why Should You Study Integrated PhD?
For students looking forward to working in a field that would require a blend of qualifications and specific research training, an integrated doctorate course can be a great way to prepare for this. The extended degree program is designed to offer the skills and competencies you need. Students will gradually acquire logical ways to smoothly transcend from master’s to doctoral research.
Difference Between Regular PhD and Integrated PhD
Are you wondering what type of doctoral degree is right for you? Choosing between similar courses is a difficult task, but if you have the key differences in front of you, it becomes easier to make a concise decision. In order to pursue a regular PhD, scholars are required to have a master’s degree as the minimum qualification, whereas an Integrated PhD can be started just after completing your graduation. While a regular PhD can be done in any subject you want and is time-consuming, an integrated program takes fewer years to finish and also offers you the flexibility to select your field of interest.
Who Should Study an Integrated PhD?
An integrated PhD is an excellent choice for anyone who believes they might benefit from more formal research training before pursuing an independent PhD topic. People who apply for Integrated PhDs, on the other hand, tend to fall into one of two categories:
- Bachelor’s degree holders who do not have a Master’s degree
- International students who want to familiarise themselves with the higher education system in their host country before pursuing a PhD.
- A 2:1 undergraduate degree in a related topic is normally required for admission to an integrated PhD.
- International students may additionally be required to achieve English language proficiency criteria.
- Most courses will accept an IELTS score of 6.0 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in each section.
- Check the programme description of your chosen PhD programme for detailed entry criteria.
Typically, applications are submitted using an online gateway on your university’s website. The specific documents necessary may vary, but in general, you will need to provide a combination of the following:
Also, Read: How to pursue a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)?
Depending on the nature of the curriculum, there are a few alternative ways to apply for an Integrated PhD.
Submitting the Application with a Project Title
Some integrated PhDs will require you to select a research subject before applying (much like a normal PhD). Once you’ve identified a university that offers an integrated option for the subject you want to study, you’ll need to determine whether you want to propose your own research topic or apply for a PhD that has already been designed for you. In either case, reach out to potential supervisors before submitting your application.
The supervisor will be indicated in the advertisement if you are applying for a pre-designed PhD. If you created your own project, you’ll need to identify a professor whose expertise matches your research interests. In both circumstances, inform your potential supervisor that you will be applying for an integrated programme. This can help them assess if they are a good fit for the project.
Submitting the Application Without a Project Title
Some integrated PhD programmes do not require students to choose a research subject before beginning their study. Instead, in your first year, you will engage in numerous minor research projects alongside potential supervisors, allowing you to make an educated decision on your eventual PhD topic. During your first year, you will typically develop your research proposal. This is very prevalent in STEM disciplines.
You will not need to contact prospective supervisors before applying for these projects. However, when completing your application, it is still a good idea to consider areas of research that interest you.
Applying for CDT Programme
Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) finance many integrated PhD curricula. These are consortiums formed by groups of research entities (often universities and industry partners) that provide training for PhD cohorts and provide fully supported studentships. If you want to apply for an integrated CDT PhD (also known as a 1+3 programme), you can do so through your host university or through the CDT itself.
Individual projects are normally offered under each CDT programme, so you’ll need to mention which one you’re interested in when you apply. You may be prompted to mention a preference in your application yet may be matched with a different project.
This PhD program is a new model of doctoral training which retains the rigour, depth and focus of a conventional PhD while also extending a broader training experience. Let us briefly look at some of the most renowned institutions in the world offering excellent integrated doctoral courses:
Imperial College London
Established in 1907, this public research university is a one-of-a-kind in the UK, focusing extensively on Science, Medicine, Engineering and Business. Imperial College London aims to offer the next generation of PhD scholars the ability to get ahead of the curve. It provides three different Wellcome Trust Integrated PhD programs: MRes and PhD in Epidemiology, Evolution and Control of Infectious Diseases; MRes and PhD in Molecular and Cellular Basis of Infection and MRes and PhD in Theoretical Systems Biology and Bioinformatics. The program typically comprises a 1-year master’s degree followed by a 3-year PhD.
Also, the funding for Centres of Doctoral Training (CDT) and Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) is provided by the Research Councils. Students recruited to these centres come from a broad spectrum of disciplines and have access to the facilities and supervisors at the partner institutions.
To explore the centres that interest you, reach out to our counsellors at Leverage Edu and know more about the different training programmes and available studentships.
University of Copenhagen
It is quite interesting to know that the new graduates from the University of Copenhagen have established a unique record of setting up 290 businesses in a year on average. But what makes this oldest university of Denmark established in 1479 so popular? Not only prominent in the field of Humanities and Social Sciences, the institute also offers excellent research facilities to students pursuing a career in Science and Medical Sciences. Its Integrated MSc and PhD programme scheme lasting for a duration of 3+5 years gives the option to combine the MSc optional programs with the writing of the PhD dissertation. The scheme is divided into the following two parts:
- Part A – The students are required to complete the MSc program within two years before concluding the entire Integrated PhD program.
- Part B – The PhD program begins only when students have completed their part A, fulfilling the required eligibility criteria of the course.
Also, Read: PhD in UK
University of Warwick
Known to rank 64th in the world by QS World University Rankings 2023 and 8th in the UK by The Guardian 2023 league table, the University of Warwick is framed as internationally-leading research excellence. The university is committed to attracting and nurturing students across the world since 1965. Its new centre for doctoral training aims to develop mathematical concepts to address challenges in healthcare, financial and industrial sectors through an integrated research program. This MSc+PhD in MathSys (Mathematics for Real-World Systems) combines 1-year full-time MSc and a 3-year PhD, perhaps closely with one of the partner institutions. Other courses also include a 4-year Integrated PhD in Material Modelling.
Brunel University London
Founded in 1966, Brunel University London is home to nearly 13,000 students from more than 100 countries across the globe. The Brunel Integrated PhD brings together structured professional, research and subject training for typically 4 years. Once completed, scholars are awarded a PhD with an Integrated Postgraduate Diploma in Research. The coursework covers training and professional skills as well as providing field-specific content. You can choose your integrated research among the following courses:
- Business and Management
- Mathematical Sciences
- Advanced Manufacturing and Enterprise Engineering
- Electronic and Computer Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Information Systems and Computing
University of Southampton
Recognised as a founding member of the Russell Group, University of Southampton aims to develop critical thinking and independent learning skills in students to help them become future leaders. The university offers an Integrated PhD in Education to equip students with foundational research skills and opportunities to develop proposals during the early stages of the program. The coursework can be studied both full-time (4-year) and part-time (9-year). This is an intensive program integrating a substantial number of seminars, lectures, workshops, etc. conducted by a supervisory team with specialist expertise in your area. Other such programs include a PhD (Integrated) in Biomedical Science – Cell Biology and Immunology of Cancer designed to create the next generation of leaders in cancer study and a PhD in Web Science broadly engaged in the Digital Economy.
National University of Singapore
Transformative and multidisciplinary research at NUS has been consistently nurturing effective global leaders, impacting society and transforming lives for the better. The National University of Singapore was founded in 1905 and is known to be the first autonomous research in the country. The NUS PhD/MEng program allows students to chase ideas, seek new experiences and turn their ideas into reality. In a vibrant research-intensive environment, MEng students with PhD calibre can subsequently upgrade their course to the doctoral program after a year of study.
Loyola University Chicago
The Loyola University Chicago – Stritch School of Medicine offers an MD/PhD program incorporating medical and graduate education with high-impact scientific research. Since 1870, the university has strived to create integrated educational programs that are designed to be individualized and tailored to meet the professional goals of every student. The individuals demonstrating a strong interest in research can definitely opt for an Integrated PhD which aims to cover both degrees in 7 to 8 years of duration.
Graduates interested to delve deeper into the field of social work can consider Boston College for a combined MSW and PhD in Social Work. The college allows talented students to embark on their PhD coursework before completing a degree in the Master of Social Work. One of the greatest advantages of pursuing an Integrated PhD can be the elimination of redundancy between a master’s degree and doctoral program – saving approximately one year compared to the traditional PhD. At this private institution founded in 1863, international students get to acquire the fundamental American social welfare system and social work practices.
University of Rochester
Planning to put your nursing education in high gear? The University of Rochester, founded in 1850, offers a full-time MS-PhD combing a master’s in nursing alongside a research-intensive curriculum or 6 nurse practitioner speciality disciplines. As a scholar, you will be allowed to teach future healthcare experts in clinical and academic settings. The class size is generally small and limited to academically strong students ensuring that every student receives support and close mentorship from faculty. Students can choose among the following MS-PhD speciality courses:
- Nurse Practitioner Courses for Family, Pediatric, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care, Family Psychiatric Mental Health or Pediatric/Neonatal
- Nursing Education
Ans. The Integrated PhD combines taught specialist modules, training and skills courses, and research studies. This enables Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs) to widen and deepen their topic knowledge, as well as to broaden and develop their expertise in other directions.
Ans. While a traditional PhD can be completed in any subject and takes time, an integrated programme takes fewer years to complete and allows you to choose your field of interest.
Ans. A four-year postgraduate programme is an Integrated PhD. In the first year, you will complete a one-year Master’s degree (MRes or MSc), followed by a three-year PhD curriculum in the second through fourth years.
If you are aiming to increase your chances for timely completion of your doctorate program in comparison to those taking the traditional route of PhD, then an Integrated PhD is most suited for you. You can get in touch with our experts at Leverage Edu who can help you throughout the application process from choosing the right PhD degree to making an impressive application and drafting SOPs and LORs to get successfully shortlisted into your dream university abroad.