Are there any mathematics or physics postgraduate courses (not taught courses) in the UK where you can continue a piece of research work you did whilst an undergrad? So you effectively do a project that maybe lasts a year(ish) which is productive but you would not do it for 3 years+ and receive a PhD?

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    At my US institution we submit volunteering forms to HR, obtain permission from a faculty member for supervision, and enroll in a zero credit-hour "Independent Study" course. In this way you'd receive no credit, no payment, but tangible documentation of research. Funding would be the primary issue. I should also note that this requires enrollment with the university as a non degree-seeking student. I would speak to an advisor in your department of interest.
    – CKM
    Dec 11, 2015 at 0:11
  • To second @Kimball's remark about the U.S. situation, there is often a "non-degree student" status that gives some sort of official status without requiring as much payment and without any promise of degree status enhancement. I have no idea about U.K., ... Dec 11, 2015 at 0:18

1 Answer 1


In the UK it is possible to apply for an MPhil (Masters of Philosophy) degree (which is essentially a mini-PhD) or alternatively an MRes (Masters by Research) degree which is generally shorter.

A caveat: the MPhil may be interpreted as a botched PhD as the degree is often awarded to PhD candidates who don't cut the mustard or drop out. Don't let that put you off though.

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