What is a Research Degree?
In a research degree (Research Masters or PhD) the primary mode of learning is self-learning. There is no formal course work. The student is responsible for carrying out the required work, to the appropriate standard, within the appropriate timeframe. A supervisor is appointed by the Institute to guide the student in developing and carrying out the project. An added advantage of this learning mode, beyond achieving Level 9 or 10 knowledge and skills, is that the student develops and proves their ability to work alone, or in groups, to take responsibility for leading and initiating work, and to self-evaluate and manage their own academic and professional development. These skills are valued highly in the workplace.
What are the main differences between Taught and Research Degrees?
The main difference between taught and research degrees is that the student is involved in the design of the study programme from the outset. Each research project is unique, and involves a specific research question, which the project is designed to answer in a structured way. The research question may come from a supervisor, who has an existing research programme and team, and is developing the area further, or it may come from a student that wants to research a particular topic. In either case, before applying to register, the student and supervisor work together to develop a project plan that is built around an appropriate question, has an appropriate plan of work required to answer the question, and has an appropriate schedule within which to achieve the particular degree (a Masters is typically two years, a PhD is typically 4 years).