[lit-ideas] Re: Philosophical dissertations (for the DPhil Oxon) -- on Grice & Popper: an index

  • From: Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 2 May 2014 20:37:58 +0100 (BST)

What Robert posts amounts to this: if you go to Oxbridge you get a free M.A. 
for your B.A.

My sister, who went to Cambridge, once explained to me, that though this might 
seem like an undeserved something-for-nothing, it was fair compensation for all 
the self-directed learning involved in getting your B.A.


On Friday, 2 May 2014, 20:27, Robert Paul <rpaul@xxxxxxxx> wrote:
JL writes


Granted, McEvoy's reference does not apply strictly to 'DPhil', since there
 are other ways of getting a 'first class' degree: MA and BPhil, and it may
be a  first class MA or even BA that McEvoy's commentary can apply, too!


*As far as I know, there's no such thing as a 'first class' MA or a 'first 
class' DPhil (any more than there's such a thing as a 'first class' PhD. As my 
former supervisor at a fairly well-known university located at the end of a 
lake, once said, 'To get an Oxford MA, all one has to do is get an Oxford BA, 
and pay a sum of money.' This was Frank Sibley, of happy memory, who had done 
just—and no more than that—but was a full professor at the institution in 

*In the US, an MA is 'earned' through course work, and a dissertation. Now, 
though few US universities offer it in the humanities except, in some cases, 
'on the way to' a PhD, and even so, do not accept applications from those who 
want only an MA or MS. It may be that the MA or MS is useful in some 
fields—'counseling'—but it will no longer get you anywhere in philosophy or in 
linguistics e.g. (I'm not sure if Kripke has anything more than a BA, and he 
may not even have that.)


Wikipedia says  
'In the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Dublin, Bachelors of Arts of 
these universities are promoted to the degree of Master of Arts or Master in 
Arts (MA) on application after six or seven years' seniority as members of the 
university (including years as an undergraduate).
'There is no examination or study required for the degree beyond those required 
for the BA. This practice differs from that in most other universities 
worldwide, for whom the degree reflects further postgraduate study or 
achievement, and these degrees are sometimes referred to as the Oxbridge MA and 
Dublin or Trinity MA to differentiate them.[1]The Oxbridge MA is based on the 
system of academic rank rather than on one of academic qualifications. Once 
incepted/promoted to MA, the holder no longer wears the academicals or uses the 
post-nominals pertaining to a Bachelor of Arts as they are no longer of that 
rank, thus the Master of Arts is not a separate degree given in addition to the 
Bachelor of Arts but is basically a conversion of one degree to another.

* 'All three universities have other masters' degrees that require further 
study and examination, but these have other titles, such as Master of Letters 
(MLitt), Master of Philosophy (MPhil), Master of Studies (MSt), Master of 
Engineering(MEng) and Master of Science (MSc).'


Donal knows all about this stuff, but Oxbridge rules and regulations are not 
always transparent to the layperson.

Robert Paul

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