I am a first year Biochemist but I am sick and tired of being told to wait and that will be covered in Level 5 (2nd Year) or Level 6 (3rd Year).

I have a couple of areas of research that I would love to go into and feel that I would not be held back by a lack of education.

Is there anyway to get onto a PhD or MSc at all without the undergrad as I fell that by the time I am in my 3rd year I will have gave up with the whole of science.

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    There is a way but it is not routine. Are you exceptional? – Jacob Murray Wakem Apr 5 '17 at 1:23
  • I would say that I am dedicated and unique and definitly could pull it off but no one takes me serious, it is always just focus on the current teaching. I think of hundreds of projects on a daily basis and could back them up – S. Baybutt Apr 5 '17 at 1:30
  • Oh I believe you. I was the same way out of high school. If you have enough time you can kind of do both at the same time. At least this works in math because one student can spend a fraction the amount of time of another student depending on ability. This leaves enough time for Masters level courses or independent study. – Jacob Murray Wakem Apr 5 '17 at 1:39
  • Are you in the UK? I feel like nipping into the Profs office and just explaining and seeing or would I need to write a letter of application highlighting why they should accept me? – S. Baybutt Apr 5 '17 at 1:41
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    I'd argue that it is worth to look at from another perspective: Look you will have a lot of free time in the first couple of years. Use that time to study the pieces you want, without depending on what the course does. If you can use 25% of your effort/time to pass the first years and then use 75% to study by yourself then you will do brilliantly. After the MSc you need to do it by yourself anyway so you will have a lot of experience in it by then. A better deal than spending 50% of your time arguing with administration. TL;DR Just do it, do the research by yourself. – grochmal Apr 5 '17 at 1:53

No, it is not possible. Your feeling that you "would not be held back by a lack of education" is inaccurate, and graduate programs will know that. They have plenty of qualified applicants who have more experience and background than you do; they have no reason to admit you.

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  • Many people are able to pick things up as they go along and can go a lot faster than other people. But admissions committees are loath to rely on this except when the student is demonstrably brilliant, which is a very high bar. – Jacob Murray Wakem Apr 9 '17 at 1:05

Isn't this very much a case of the academic grass being greener? You don't like how your bachelor's has so far turned out and you would much rather jump the gun and get involved in an area which seems more appealing but which you haven't begun research in yet?

If you are in your first year, it's very common for students to feel disillusioned with their courses. This is why there is so much doubt, soul-searching and drop-outs among first years. I know in my own case, my BA was not what I expected it to be and I considered leaving but I stuck with it and graduated. If this is how your bachelor's has turned out, what makes you think a master's would be different?

I would advise the same for you - stick with it. Remember that you are studying a discipline, not one cherrypicked aspect of it, and your love should be for that discipline as a whole rather than those parts that seem more illustrious. Of course there are parts of any course which we favour more as researchers, but part of the academic ethic includes working through those, since you never know when they may prove useful.

I would caution against going to your professor. I don't think it will be looked on in a favourable light unless you are extremely bright and different to other students. And even if you were, there's little reason for them to make a special difference for you, unless you can put forward an extremely compelling case.

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    +1 for "you never know when they may prove useful". A bachelors is designed to build strong foundations in your subject. Skipping straight to a PhD might lead to a very shaky structure indeed. – astronat Apr 5 '17 at 9:56

You definitely don't lack confidence, can't judge about knowledge.

It is possible to skip and go straight into PhD, but it is hard and I don't see the point.

If it is all too easy, it shouldn't take that much time and that should leave you free time to pursue independent research projects. Researchers are always happy to take on free workforce, especially if it is good. You can have a few papers by the time your graduate and then you can go into any school for PhD. I know a person in my field who had like 15 papers and hundreds of citations before he graduated.

If you think undergraduate courses are boring compared to real research, think again.

If you think you're wasting your time, because you think you can get PhD earlier, think again. In fact, you want to stay in PhD program as long as you need to become really independent. Many people push their PhD through before they are ready and by the time they are for truly independent research, the "up to 3 years after PhD" postdocs are all gone.

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  • Sometimes things are INTELLECTUALY easy but require a lot of work, attendance, conformity, etc. Universities also have a tendency to apply students to menial work towards the ends of the university. – Jacob Murray Wakem Apr 5 '17 at 3:29

Yes. There are many examples (in math) that this can be done in some countries. Here is one example: Artur Avila. Note that he had to finish his undergraduate degree concurrently with his PhD so that his degree would have legal value.

However, it was not his iniciative. He first caught attention of some professor (while still in high school), where he proved that he had an exceptional talent. So the best thing you can do is look for a mentor and star doing research. Being formally an undergraduate or a PhD student should make little difference.

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Ideally, one does research with a professor/advisor as an undergrad - either directly or through connections to other research groups - and learns how to research in the process. If you think you can compete against many people with an exceptional Masters thesis and solid research experience, then go for it.

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