Should I really do an MRes?

It’s again the time of the year where the CDT welcomes applications from those passionate about fluids that often find themselves fascinated with milk mixing with tea (ok, maybe that’s just me).

In this post I would like to address the concern that some people might have about spending one year doing an MRes when they might have already done a Master’s degree, by talking a bit about my own and my colleagues experiences.

First of all, most of the people I know in the CDT already had Master degrees, including me (and I studied in Portugal so it was a two-year Master’s!). I’m on my last year now (oh dear, need to find a job!) and looking back I’m so happy that we had that first year.

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One of the reasons for that is that I was not too sure about what I wanted to do! I studied Aerospace Engineering and if I had to pick a project immediately after my Master’s I would have picked something I was relatively familiar with. For me, what makes this course so excellent is that we get exposed to many different departments, from Bioengineering to Mathematics, which creates many interesting opportunities. Since we are able to do an MRes project I decided to pick something a bit outside my comfort zone and picked a project in Mathematics. The worst thing that could happen is that I wouldn’t enjoy it/not be very good at it, but at least wouldn’t spend three years doing it. In my case it was awesome and I continued it for my PhD, and as far as I remembered all my colleagues(/ best friends forever) all enjoyed their projects though half of them picked something different for their PhDs.

It’s just really an amazing opportunity to try something you wouldn’t normally do and not commit for too long. As for the courses offered they cover a very big range. Examples of group projects in my year included thermoacoustic instabilities (we actually took a pipe and a flame to the presentation!), sediment transport, drug delivery in the eye, tidal turbines, mantle convection, etc. For experiments we studied atherosclerosis formation in the carotid (we had a compliant model where we would inject dye and observe the flow characteristics), we also studied water waves in a flume, determined the vortex shedding frequency in the flow past a cylinder, and for the win, we got to do experiments with the supersonic wind-tunnel! Another reason why it’s a great idea to do the MRes is that it helps people from different backgrounds leveling up their knowledge so in the end anyone can pretty much pick any project. It’s an extremely intensive year, and (in my opinion) it’s definitely worth it. Especially because it prepares you so well to start a PhD (three years is not a lot of time and goes by so quickly, you want to start as well prepared as possible!)

A final comment on funding, though obviously that will depend on your home/overseas status, and Clodagh (our lovely administrator) is the person to answer your questions. If you are offered funding for one year don’t discard this possibility immediately because once you are here a) you will meet a lot of potential supervisors during the first year that might be able to fund you for the next three years of PhD, b) there are a lot of links with industry where the rules of funding are not as strict, c) even you if are unable to continue your PhD at Imperial, having a degree from here surely will not harm your chances of finding a position elsewhere.

I hope I convinced you that the MRes is a great opportunity rather than a waste of a year, which by the way, is not a long time, and is especially worth it if you are unsure about what to do next. I hope to see you soon around campus during interviews! (and yes, I’m re-watching friends)




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