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AlunWhat did you do before your MA?

In 2009 I completed a BA in Russian and Politics at the University of Sheffield and spent a year in work. I then came back to the university to begin an MA in Modern History in September 2010.

How did you manage the jump from UG study to MA?

I planned to pursue a PhD back in the Russian department on finishing my MA, and I was nervous about that and about returning to academic study more generally. After just a year in work, I already felt that I had completely forgotten how to manage my time independently and approach tasks outside of a working environment. But modules in the History department at Sheffield were accessible as well as comprehensive and challenging. I definitely felt a satisfying jump upwards from undergraduate study in terms of the difficulty of the assessments, but thanks to supportive and approachable staff and excellent course materials I never felt overwhelmed.

How did the Department help you adjust to new types of study?

As I had not studied history before but as my proposed PhD topic was historical, it was vitally important that my MA studies introduced me to a new discipline and prepared me for further research. The History department definitely did this. As well as familiarising me with some of the major issues and debates within the subject, the MA also provided me and other students with really useful information on applying for PhD courses and for all-important funding. The department even offered a module for students hoping to submit PhD applications which helped me enormously. So as well as learning about history, I learned about the academic process more generally.

What are you doing today?

I am now in the second year of my PhD, and am confident that my History MA helped me secure a place in the Russian department, take advantage of funding opportunities and make an assured start on a new career path.