Difference Between MPhil and MSc

Main Difference – MPhil vs MSc

It is important to learn the difference between MPhil and MSc in order to make an informed choice about your postgraduate education. MSc or Master of Science is a master’s degree in mathematical and scientific subjects. An MPhil or Master of Philosophy is an advanced postgraduate research degree that is only second to a Ph.D. The main difference between MPhil and MSc is that MPhil is a research degree whereas MSc can be either a research-based or course-based degree.

What is an MPhil

MPhil stands for Master of Philosophy. It is an advanced postgraduate research degree and can be considered as a second master’s degree that stands between a taught Master’s and a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy). MPhil is less advanced and shorter in duration than a Ph.D. The MPhil dissertation is also normally shorter than the Ph.D. thesis. MPhil can be a preliminary phase for the Ph.D. where it is necessary to learn the basics of research and acquire new techniques.

An MPhil can be obtained through several paths. It can be obtained as a qualification in its own right or sometimes as an exit qualification. For example, M.Phil is not awarded in many American universities. But some universities award the MPhil degree to Ph.D. candidates who have successfully completed their coursework and examination prior to the completion and defense of their dissertation. On the contrary, many Australian universities offer MPhils as a separate research degree. In the UK, it is common for the students to register first for an MPhil degree, then upgrade to a Ph.D. after the successful completion of the first or second year(s).Difference Between MPhil and MSc

What is an MSc

An MSc or Master of Science Degree is a master’s degree in mathematical and scientific subjects. Subjects such as Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Physics, Mathematics, Information Science, Accounting, Marketing, Finance, etc. can be studied in an MSc. A Bachelor’s degree in the relevant subject is typically a prerequisite to enroll in an MSc. An MSc focuses on both theoretical and practical aspects of a subject. Many MSc degrees require a submission of a thesis at the end of the course.

There are basically two types of master’s degrees: course-based master’s degrees and research-based master’s degrees. A course-based or taught master’s degree are based on structured course modules and are taught through lectures, seminars, etc. Research-based master’s degrees involve the students conducting their own research. A taught MSc is considered to be less advanced than an MPhil.Main Difference - MPhil vs MSc

Difference Between MPhil and MSc


MPhil is an advanced postgraduate research degree.

MSc is a master’s degree in mathematical and scientific subjects.


MPhil stands for Master of Philosophy.

MSc stands for Master of Science.


MPhil is the most advanced research degree before Ph.D.

MSc is the first postgraduate degree.


MPhil is a research degree.

MSc degrees can be either course based or research based.Difference Between MPhil and MSc

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