I heard that it is possible to start a PhD without Master degree in the UK, i.e. to start a PhD after a Bachelor degree (3 years).

Is it really possible? What are the conditions?

Is there any other countries which allow this?

  • I think it would be quite unusual, if it does happen. A bit of context would help. For example, what subject? Is this something you are considering doing or are you just curious about it as a hypothetical question?
    – Person
    Feb 11, 2022 at 23:59
  • It will depend on the university. And the conditions surrounding. And who gives you a reference. I know of a person who got into the PhD program at Cambridge with no undergrad degree, based on Einstein supporting him. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Moffat_(physicist) But it's not the way to bet. :^)
    – Dan
    Feb 12, 2022 at 4:26
  • 1
    Other countries - yes. Most obviously, the US, but apparently Germany also allows that academia.stackexchange.com/questions/176908/…. Also see the answer for the UK there for the reasons behind most PhD applicants actually holding MSc while only BSc is formally required.
    – Lodinn
    Feb 12, 2022 at 9:28
  • Have you checked the entry requirements for any PhD programs before asking this question here? Sorry for issuing the close vote. At least I upvoted you.
    – Nik
    Feb 15, 2022 at 7:16
  • I’m voting to close this question because it doesn't seem the OP did any research before asking this question. I will vote to reopen if I'm wrong.
    – Nik
    Feb 15, 2022 at 7:21

1 Answer 1


A masters degree is rarely a formal requirement for entry to a PhD in any British university. However, depending on the university, the course and the year, students without master's degrees may find themselves at a competitive disadvantage when they are competing for scarce PhD places.

I went straight from my 3 year undergrad into a PhD in genetics. At that time (15 years ago), it would have been unusual to have an MSc in biology before doing a PhD. MSc were regarded as either professional training or for people who didn't do well enough at undergraduate. The situation has been changing however. Seven years ago, when I started as faculty, the of first three PhD students I supervised two had come straight from 3 year undergraduate degrees, and one had a masters degree (actaully, a 4 year undergrad with integrated masters). I think this year 7 of the 10 successful candidate for our PhD program had masters degrees.

Thats just biology, the story is different in other subjects. For example, even 15 years ago, a Masters degree was functionally necessary for a PhD in archology (even if not formally required).

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