University of Pretoria master’s student Michael Barnes’ dissertation was automatically converted into a PhD.
Barnes, who works as a full-time meteorologist at the SA Weather Service, said he was shocked when his master’s work earned him a higher qualification.
He is based in Cape Town and says he has to become accustomed to being called Dr Barnes.
When University of Pretoria (UP) master’s student Michael Barnes submitted his dissertation, he had no idea that he would end up with a PhD degree instead.
So brilliant was Barnes’ dissertation, that it was automatically converted into a PhD and earned praise from an examiner at the University of Oxford in the UK.
Barnes, a meteorologist at the SA Weather Service in Cape Town, graduated in September. He said he was shocked when his master’s thesis was converted into a PhD.
“I couldn’t believe it. Imagine preparing work for your master’s and [you] end up with a title of doctor at graduation? My [academic] supervisors said they were flattered by my work. They were quite happy.”
His thesis focused on atmospheric dynamics.
Barnes said he already had published papers in renowned journals by the time he submitted his dissertation – one of the reasons why he earned a PhD.
Regarding his future career plans, Barnes said he would see if any opportunities would arise.
“Work is good here in Cape Town. I wasn’t expecting a doctorate. So at this point, I am not about what lies ahead in my career. I will look into opportunities should they present themselves in the future.”.
When he is not busy with his work, Barnes enjoys playing golf and spending time with his family.