Minister backs unpopular degree

日期:2019-03-02 10:20:12 作者:赖修 阅读:

William Waldegrave is pressing ahead with his plan to introduce a new masters degree which postgraduate students would take before starting a PhD. When the plan was first announced in the White Paper on science last May, it met with widespread criticism. The Science and Engineering Research council warns that it will reduce the number of doctoral students by a third. Last week, the science minister issued a new consultation paper on the proposal, which envisages adding a year to the time PhD students spend at university. At present, students are expected to take three years to gain their first degree and a further three years for a PhD. Waldegrave wants to add a one-year Master of Research degree in between these two. The funding for the extra year of study would come from the budgets of Britain’s research councils. Because the councils are not receiving extra funds, they would have to train a smaller number of students. Joe Vinen, chairman of the Royal Society’s working group examining the proposals, says he believes the cutbacks would be ‘unwise’. ‘Many of us are very concerned,’ he says. ‘We feel the arguments for reducing the number of PhDs are not sound.’ The consultation paper makes it clear that Waldegrave intends to introduce the new degree for all subjects, leaving less scope for some disciplines to opt out of the new arrangements than had been previously suggested. But, students taking existing four-year undergraduate courses, such as the MPhys now offered by some physics departments,