Demystifying Study in the UK/Ireland

A Bit of Definition

  • The tutorial system: the one-to-one teaching environment, or small seminars vs. large lectures and the pedegogical system made famous by Oxford and Cambridge. Not every university in the UK uses this model but you can expect to encounter a more seminar-style approach in many univiersities across the UK and Ireland. 

The multi-tiered university structure of institutions like Oxford and Cambridge:

  1. The University – the overall governing body
  2. The College – Academic and social care of students; tutors and faculty live and work within the colleges; college selection is usually determined by a) the faculty working there in discipline relevant to your own and b) the demographic of the student population
  3. The Faculty and Sub-Faculty – the departmental structure made up of discipline specific teaching faculty

Degree Structures

  • MSt. or MSc. (Masters of Studies) – One year master’s course with exams and/or thesis in addition to course-work in a nine-month period (some may be longer). Relatively new additional to the degree granting system in the UK largely seen as accommodating international students transitioning into higher degree programs
  • M.Phil. (Masters of Philosophy) – Two year master’s course suited to disciplines requiring extensive field-work, thesis research, etc.
  • D.Phil. (Doctorate of Philosophy) – Two-four year doctoral course following two years of  masters level work. This is the terminal equivalent to the Ph.D.

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