What Is an MSt Master’s Degree?

Thinking of applying for a Master’s degree? An MSt (Master of Studies) course can be a great way of enhancing your knowledge, developing your research skills, and preparing for your chosen career path. This guide explains what an MSt Master’s degree is, which universities offer this type of degree, what the entry requirements are for MSt courses, and how to apply for an MSt.

The Profs have helped many students get into Oxford, Cambridge and St Andrews to study MSt Master’s degrees. In fact, more than 90% of students we work with get into their first or second-choice university. Speak to a member of our team today to find out how we can help.

What is an MSt degree?

A Master of Studies (MSt) degree is a type of Master’s programme offered by the top three universities in the UK: Oxford, Cambridge and St Andrews. MSt Master’s degrees can be full or part-time degrees (usually 1 or 2 years long) and include various taught and research-focused content depending on the university. Generally, MSt courses are more research-heavy than other Master’s degrees and often require applicants to submit a research proposal as part of the application process. They are academically rigorous programmes and are considered an equivalent qualification to other Master’s qualifications, including MSc (Master of Science) and MPhil (Master of Philosophy) degrees, among others.

Which universities offer MSt Masters?

There are three universities in the UK that offer MSt degree courses. These are:

  • University of Oxford – offers part-time MSt degrees in Historical Studies, History of Design, Literature and Arts, Practical Ethics, and Psychodynamic Practice​. It also offers full-time MSts in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, English, History, Music, Philosophical Theology, and other subject areas.
  • The University of Cambridge – offers part-time MSt degrees in History, Creative Writing, International Relations, Entrepreneurship, Construction Engineering, Real Estate, and other subject areas.
  • University of St Andrews – offers full and part-time MSt research (MSt (Res)) degrees in History, Art History, Geography, Languages, Classics, Divinity, English, and other subject areas.

What are the MSt entry requirements?

Most MSt Master’s degrees require applicants to have an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject area. The entry requirement for MSt courses at Oxford, Cambridge and St Andrews is typically a first or strong upper second-class (2:1) honours degree from a UK university, or an international equivalent. This typically equates to a minimum GPA of around 3.75. A Master’s degree, though not an explicit entry requirement, can also help you to stand out when applying to particularly competitive MSt courses.

In some cases, you may be able to apply for an MSt programme without a degree, so long as you can demonstrate that you have suitable experience and meet other requirements for the course. For example, Cambridge clearly states that there is a provision to accept non-standard applicants who do not satisfy the standard academic criterion as long as they can ‘produce evidence of relevant and equivalent experience and their suitability for the course’.

If you are applying from outside the UK and/or have not studied in English before, you will also need to meet the English language requirements for your chosen course. This will require taking a recognised English language proficiency test such as the IELTS or TOEFL. The specific score you need in that test will depend on your chosen course. For example, Cambridge’s MSt History course requires applicants to score 7.5 (with a minimum of 7.0 in each individual component) in the IELTS or 110 (with no element below 25) in the TOEFL. Always check the requirements of your course on the relevant course page before applying.

How to apply for an MSt

The application process for Master of Studies (MSt) courses is largely the same as for other Master’s degree courses. You will need to apply directly to your chosen university via their own applicant portal, and follow the instructions provided. Your application will typically include submitting a CV, a transcript of your previous qualification/s, a statement of purpose, additional written work (such as writing samples), and up to three referees who can provide academic and/or professional references.

Depending on the specific course you’re applying for and its proportion of taught versus research-focused elements, you may also be required to submit a research proposal detailing the specific subject area/questions you are interested in researching during your MSt. Many courses also interview shortlisted candidates as part of the admissions process.
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What is an MSt degree at Oxford?

Master of Studies (MSt) programmes at Oxford vary from course to course. Oxford offers both part-time and full-time MSt degrees and each course has a different proportion of taught versus research-focused content. Most Oxford MSt courses require applicants to hold a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours in any subject to qualify for entry.

What is an MSt degree at Cambridge?

All Master of Studies (MSt) programmes at Cambridge are offered on a part-time basis. They are specifically designed as part-time programmes so that they are flexible and accessible to working professionals. Cambridge MSt degrees are academically rigorous programmes that typically last for 2 years and combine both research and taught elements. Most Cambridge Mst courses require applicants to hold a 2:1 undergraduate degree with honours to qualify for entry.

What is an MSt degree at St Andrews?

Master of Studies by Research (MSt (Res)) programmes at St Andrews are full-time, research-based Masters degrees. They all involve undertaking an independent research project and writing a dissertation/thesis. St Andrews MSt degrees typically require applicants to have a first-class undergraduate degree in a relevant subject area to qualify for entry.

Is an MSt degree worth it?

An MSt, like any Master’s degree, can be a great way of developing your knowledge of a particular subject area or preparing you for a specific profession. MSt degrees are also only offered by the UK’s top universities and are widely recognised and respected by employers and other universities.

Furthermore, MSt students are often not required to live in the residences of their chosen university and there is more flexibility when it comes to studying remotely and on a part-time basis. This makes MSt programmes a great option for working professionals as well as anyone who requires greater flexibility while gaining a postgraduate qualification.

How much is an MSt at Oxford?

Fees for part-time MSt courses at Oxford (1-2 years) range from £5,925-£8,210 per year, while fees for full-time MSt courses at Oxford (1 year) range from £13,550-£29,100 per year. These fees are the same for both UK and international applicants. Oxford estimates that living costs for all courses will be between £15,480-£22,080 per year. All students are expected to self-fund their studies unless they can secure funding and/or a scholarship with the university. Each course has its own funding opportunities and scholarships, so make sure you check on the Oxford fees and funding search for more information.

What is the difference between an MSt vs MSc?

There are several differences between an MSt and an MSc degree. Firstly, an MSt is a Master of Studies and can be in any discipline, from Humanities to Arts to Sciences. In contrast, an MSc is a Master of Sciences and tends to be in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subject or a more technical Social Science (such as Business or Marketing).

Additionally, MSc programmes are offered by most UK universities, however, MSt programmes are unique to Oxford, Cambridge, and St Andrews. Cambridge also only offers MSt courses on a part-time basis, as the programmes are designed to be taken by working professionals to develop both their academic and professional skills.

Is an MSt the same as a Masters?

Yes, an MSt (Master of Studies) is a type of Master’s degree and is in many cases comparable to an MRes (Master of Research), MSc (Master of Science) and other Master’s qualifications. MSt programmes are, however, only offered by Oxford, Cambridge and St Andrews rather than by all universities.

Who can do an MSt?

In most cases, you can apply for an MSt if you have an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject. You will typically need a first or strong upper second class (2:1) honours degree from a UK university (or an international equivalent) which roughly equates to a minimum GPA of around 3.75. You can apply for an MSt in the final year of your undergraduate degree or later in life, as long as you can demonstrate a solid interest in your subject area and the ability (or potential) to research and study independently.