Why I chose to stay at Sheffield for my MA

Postgraduate student, Patrick Connolly, did his BA in Philosophy at Sheffield and chose to stay on to study for his MA in Philosophy.Photo of MA student Patrick Connolly

Why did you stay at Sheffield?

The main reason is that the Department is excellent. The environment here is really good, it’s really friendly. The staff are all really approachable. You can go to them to discuss things and not feel like it’s unwelcome, which for a student is very encouraging. You feel like you’re developing. I’ve had an excellent experience and I just wanted to continue here in Sheffield.

Why are you doing an MA?

During my BA I realized how much I enjoyed the subject, so I knew from an early stage that I wanted to continue pursuing the curiosities of Philosophy for as long as I could. It’s such an interesting subject and I’m keen to get deeper into it and so an MA was the natural next step for me.

What’s the focus of your MA?

My main interests are Philosophy of Language and metaphysics. I’m mostly working on pragmatics and semantics.

What’s it like being a postgraduate in the Department of Philosophy?

There’s a great postgraduate community. In the first week we had some drinks and went out for a meal to get to know each other. Everyone’s really into their subject so you can have some really interesting discussions. There’s a lot of intellectual independence; you can very much pick what you want focus on.

How have you found the first few months in particular?

There’s a great postgraduate community here. In the first week we went out to get to know each other. Everyone’s really into their subject so you can have some really interesting discussions.

Patrick connolly, MA Philosophy student

There’s a definite step up in terms of workload from the BA, and a lot at the beginning is balancing your time because there is so much to do. But I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of it and I feel that I’ve managed to strike a nice balance.

What’s your highlight of studying in Sheffield?

I’m struggling to think of just one highlight. I was one of the organisers of the undergraduate philosophy conference last year and that was great. It was a two day event and we had 52 entrants and had to sort through all the entries. We had delegates from Portugal, Columbia, Germany, from all over the world! We shortlisted these and got academic advice on the papers. It was a great experience.

What support do you receive?

Staff tend to be very generous with their time, which is good because I have a bad habit of turning up at offices every now and then thinking my questions will be taken care of in two minutes, but it often turns into a discussion. There’s usually really great feedback on drafts of essays too, so that kind of support is always there. I’ve never been stuck for support here.

What additional opportunities are there in the department?Photo of MA student Patrick Connolly studying

There are a lot of reading groups to get involved with. I’m helping to start one at the moment on Philosophy of Language with a PhD student. There’s also Philosophy in the City, which is a great student-led project. Outside of Philosophy there’s also the Modern Languages Teaching Centre where I took German classes. I even ended up doing a summer course in Berlin.

What are your plans for after your MA?

I’ve accepted an offer of funding to do a PhD here at Sheffield that will develop further some of the work I've been doing during my MA. Its primarily on the philosophy of language and I'll be starting that in October.

Can you describe the department in 3 words?

Encouraging, energetic and varied – there’s so much going on.

Tags: masters, philosophy, postgraduate, further study