There is so much freedom to be able to pursue the topics that you are genuinely interested in
Why did you decide to do a Masters, and why at the University of Sheffield?
I did my undergraduate degree at the University of Sheffield in International Relations and Politics and I really enjoyed it. I got into political economy type issues much more towards the end of my degree, so I wanted to take that further and that’s why I chose to carry on and do the MA [in Global Political Economy] here as well.
I always had in the back of my head that going into a career in academia might be a potential option for me, but I especially loved the department at Sheffield; the support that you get and the way that the staff engage with you as students is very much like you’re interacted with as equals and you’re always encouraged to become part of a community of scholars, much more so in the MA as well.
I also had a few friends staying around in the city and I love Sheffield, so all of those factors came into it too. But ultimately, it was because I’d found what I was interested in and I really wanted to learn more about it.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of going into postgraduate study?
I would say do what’s right for you. Some people are so much happier to go into a job after they’ve been studying which is completely understandable, but for me, it was another year that was genuinely invaluable to me to develop as a potential scholar and as a person.
The support that you get and the way that the staff engage with you as students is very much like you’re interacted with as equals and you’re always encouraged to become part of a community of scholars.
Global Political Economy MA graduate
I feel like I chose a subject that was so salient, so important and always changing and so interesting and also when you do postgraduate study you’re in a smaller cohort so you get to know people better.
I made a really, really strong group of friends and I just had the best year, so if you’re thinking about it at all I would just say go for it because I got so much out of it in terms of both professional development, personal development and I just made loads of friends and just had a great time really. So, yes, I would really recommend it!
What are your plans now that you’ve graduated?
I’m currently working at the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) in the ICOSS building which I got through interactions with some people that I worked with on the MA, and the academics knew I was looking for work and they needed some research assistants.
So now I’m doing that, doing some research of my own, I’ve been doing some admin stuff and research assistant stuff so that’s great and I’m also applying for a PhD; I’ve been accepted into the department and I’m now applying for funding so that’s the next step; if I get the funding then hopefully I’ll be starting my 1+3 PhD programme in September.
What’s been the highlight of your time here as a postgraduate student?
I think the best thing about the MA was getting so much freedom to be able to pursue the topics that you as an individual are genuinely interested in.
When you do undergraduate study, it’s often quite prescriptive in that you have to revise certain things for an exam and they ask you certain questions, there’s a certain set list of questions that you have to choose from in order to write an essay whereas with the MA there are no set questions, there are no exams, everything you write you’re writing because you’re genuinely interested in that topic.
The courses are set up in a way that means that they’re broad enough that you can always find something that you’re passionate about and you’ll usually be able to fit it in, so for me it’s been finding out what I’m interested in and really being able to pursue that with intellectual, creative and personal freedom, in a way that I want to approach it and never being told what I have to do and how, but always having support wherever I need it, so that would be the highlight for me!
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