I always thought PhD as being the main post grad research path if you wanted to get funded and that Msc was the way to get yourself ready for a PhD. I recently became aware that not all master courses are taught and some are research based, so I am wondering whether it's normal to do a research Msc (as opposed to a taught one) and if so, are there any advantages to this over just going for a PhD?
Advantages of doing a research-based Masters (e.g an MRes) before the PhD:
- learn research skills
- explore your subject
- refine your research question
- get a big chunk of your literature review done in a structured setting
- work out if taking a PhD is really for you - whether you've got the aptitude and the interest