Case study provided by Kerrianne Maloney, MA Theology student at University of Chester.
UG Degree: BA (Hons) Theology and Religious Studies with English Literature (2013-16)
PG Degree: MA Theology
What did you gain from studying at the University of Chester?
Studying at UoC was more than just a degree; for me it was an opportunity. I spent a lot of extra-curricular time getting involved in societies, and my departments – whether that was through helping out at open days or getting involved in a play held by the English department or the infamous Hollywood at Hollybank (the film night held by TRS). Typically, you only get to do your undergraduate once so I wanted to make the most of it!
What does your current course involve?
My current postgraduate course has around 2-3 hours contact time a week, with the rest of my week made up of academic talks held by departments at the university, and many visits to the library! In different terms I might have more contact with lecturers via tutorials to discuss my research and upcoming essays. I also have a conference next term, and my dissertation following that – it’s a very busy but fulfilling year.
How did you get onto your course?
I had to write a personal statement and then apply directly to each institution along with academic references and examples of my written work. Luckily, at the time of my application, student finance brought in Postgraduate Loans, so I was able to apply for funding through that to secure my tuition.
Why did you choose postgraduate study?
I want to continue in postgraduate study onto doctorate level with my eye on a career in research and lecturing at a university, so a Master’s degree was a necessary step for me. That being said, my Master’s is more than just a rung on the career ladder – the freedom and flexibility to engage in the academic field in my own way is where my passion lies.
What are the top 5 transferable skills that you are using on your course?
Time management and pro-activeness are definitely the top two transferable skills I use every day. With postgraduate study you’re entirely independent. No one reminds you about essays coming up, or that crucial funding deadline. It’s up to you to organise your schedule and keep up to date with modules and assessments, as well as seeking out new opportunities like conferences, calls for papers and funding. Next, probably comes writing and reading skills – I’m sure I never learnt to read properly until postgraduate study! With the amount of literature I use each week, whether pre-reading for seminars or finding that crucial primary source for research, it was crucial for me to learn how to effectively skim read to detect whether it was worth reading text in further detail. The final skill for me would be problem solving. Again it comes from the independence aspect to postgraduate study, but I often find myself stuck on the crux of an argument which I just have to find a way around by seeking the solution – queue the stack of fifty library books!
What did you participate in during your time at University of Chester?
- Part-time work
- Enhance Your Employability (EYE) Training
- Work Based Learning Module
How did these activities enhance your career?
Without a doubt the work based learning module enhanced my career. I spent my time at King’s College, London with Professor Paul Joyce as a research assistant. It was during this time that I came face to face with my dream career and the ‘inside track’ as it were. This provided me with the opportunity to find out exactly how to get to where I wanted to be and receive advice from those who’ve already made it. I’ve also been fortunate enough to find part-time work to supplement my finances during both my undergraduate and postgraduate study. With each new job came a trip to Careers and Employability to get advice on my CV and cover letters! Without that help, I’m certain the job hunt wouldn’t have been as successful as it was.
How has the Careers & Employability service helped you prepare for your future?
I visited Careers & Employability before and during the application process for my Master’s. They were brilliant, providing advice and help with my personal statement.
Do you have any advice for current students?
Take advantage of the support departments at the university. I never took the chance to speak to Careers until my second and third year! I had a lot more free time in first year, so I wish I’d taken up the opportunity to get involved and attend development week sessions then!
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