I have an undergraduate degree, and I do some of independent research on my own, so I was thinking if universities have some kind of offer where I can use it, and I mean in exchange for my research I'll get the master degree without following the course, or anything that looks like that, any resources or references where I can look ?

  • 14
    It may depend on the field, but I think it's very unlikely that any reputable university routinely offers such a thing. Feb 9, 2014 at 21:46
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    "(...) I'll get the master degree without following the course, or anything that looks like that (...)" I wouldn't hold my breath.
    – xLeitix
    Feb 9, 2014 at 22:13
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    You're essentially asking for a degree without doing any work Jan 27, 2015 at 22:28
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    If you are capable of doing independent research on your own, why bother with a master's degree? Go ahead and start publishing. If you are in industry and capable of publishing papers on your own, I would think that would look more impressive than a master's degree. However, if you want to get into academia you would likely have to conform to the usual requirements (i.e. a traditional master's and PhD)
    – haff
    Jun 24, 2017 at 1:05
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    There are some cases I heard of (mostly universities in Japan), when respectable institution accepted independent research for PhD, however I heard tons of predatory business pretend to offer the same. So I would be very careful in your case, and also wouldjoin @haff and ask myself why I need this degree in the first place.
    – Greg
    Jun 24, 2017 at 4:04

3 Answers 3


There is the possiblitity to get a research-oriented Master, which is the thing closest to what you asked for. Here is the link to one example course that I found during a quick search:


You didn't state which field of study you are interested in and in which area of the world, so this is probably not precisely what you are looking for. However, as Nate Eldredge already wrote, you can't expect to spend only a single day at your Master's University. They will want to make sure that you meet their standards, and typically, this involves at least a moderate course load for a Master's degree. Also, the degree of independence in research that you are asking for is probably not the same than the one that you get there.


Well, not exactly a Master but a PhD. In Norway, there's an option at University of Oslo called "Dr.Philos. degree" which may be awarded to academics who have qualified for a doctoral degree on their own, without formal supervision. Such candidates have no formal affiliation to the University of Oslo until their application for the doctoral examination has been approved and shall be an independent scientific work. It shall contribute to the development of new scientific knowledge and must be of sufficiently high quality to merit publication as part of the scientific literature in the field.

Source: http://www.uio.no/english/research/phd/drphilos/


In Canada, many Master's programs are research based, and in general act as miniature PhDs. In addition, they are also often funded. There is usually a course requirement, but at least your second year will be primarily research.

So while this isn't exactly what you're looking for, if you're wanting to do research, get paid for it, and get a Master's degree, you might consider a Canadian Master's program.

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