It is a great place to feel welcome and at home while earning a degree with a great education.

Piano with scholarship winner
Zachary Brandt
MA Psychology of Music,
Winner of a Postgraduate Taught Merit Scholarship
Zachary was awarded a Postgraduate Taught Merit Scholarship to study MA Psychology of Music with Dr. Renee Timmers. Zachary talks about his experience living in the city of Sheffield and how the course has been able to combine his interests in both neuroscience and music.
  1. How did you first hear about your scholarship?

I received an email congratulating me on being awarded the scholarship. I immediately informed all my loved ones and began the process of accepting the award.

  1. How did you feel when you heard that you were successful in being awarded the scholarship?

Elated and surprised. Obviously, I applied for as many funding opportunities as possible, but didn’t really expect to be awarded anything. I already knew that Sheffield was the place for me, but to be awarded a scholarship really cemented the fact that I made the right choice. I truly wanted to be here, and this scholarship shows that the University wants me here too, knowing this, I will be able to study more successfully and contribute to this university in a more impactful way.

  1. What made you choose to study at Sheffield and your course?

I studied music and neuroscience as an undergrad. I frequently worried about having to choose between my two passions, and more than anything I wanted to be able to use music to help people. I consider myself very lucky, because I did find a way to marry my two loves of music and neuroscience. Music psychology is an up-and-coming field that is perfect for me. Back home in the U.S., there are a handful of graduate programmes, but they are generally focused on education. I am more interested in the research side and figuring out exactly how music can be used to help people and how to take better advantage of it. The University of Sheffield really fit that bill. As soon as I discovered the programme, I knew it was right for me.

  1. How did you research the University to find out about studying in Sheffield?

I joined the Society for Music Perception and Cognition during the junior year of my undergrad. Its website had a wonderful resource that consisted of a Google map of the entire world with pins placed where there were graduate programmes in music psychology, quite perfect for me really. There were a couple of pins in England and the first one I saw was in Sheffield. The pin took me to the programmes website and gave me information about the course head, Dr. Renee Timmers. I read her publishing’s and quickly realised that I wanted to be part of this research community and contribute my own writings to the cause of using music psychology for the benefit of others.

  1. What was your initial impression of Sheffield and the University when you first arrived?

The first thing I noticed was the weather and the second thing was how green everything was. It can get quite cloudy and it rains more often than it does back home, but I have quickly grown accustomed to it. Honestly, I think the weather actually adds to the sense of community here, since people can huddle together in pubs and defeat the outdoor elements together. I have never lived in a city before, so I was nervous about how rowdy and fast-paced everything might be, but I quickly realised that Sheffield could be better described as a really big town. Sure, there are a lot more people than I am used to, but you see the same people around everywhere, making it seem much more like a community. Sheffield is a great place for a student to feel at home.

  1. What are the highlights of your experience in Sheffield so far?

My first week in Sheffield was the international orientation week. Obviously, I was nervous because it was my first time on my own in a foreign country. Thankfully, my worries were extinguished by the support of the staff and other international students. Back home, pub culture is not really prevalent, so I didn’t know what to expect here. I think my number one highlight so far has to be the experiences I have had in pubs, where all I have to do is walk up to a table and introduce myself. Every single time, the group is welcoming and encouraging. What follows is a myriad of conversation about people’s cultures, what they are studying, what they are interested in etc. the conversations could last forever. I quickly went from feeling anxious to feeling at home here in Sheffield.

  1. What would you say to a student considering studying at The University of Sheffield?

Do it! Of course, I cannot speak for everyone, but I am loving it. Furthermore, everyone I know here seems to love it too. I consider myself to be quite introverted and a homebody. I was very anxious to leave my home for the first time and adjust to a completely new culture, but the community has truly been so helpful and welcoming that my worries have disappeared. So, for anyone like me who is nervous about adjusting to studying in a new place, I can assure you that this is a great place to feel welcome and at home while earning a degree with a great education.

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