Richard obtained his undergraduate degree in theology from Canterbury Christ Church University and went on to study a Masters degree at the same institution. He was granted a scholarship to help fund this further study
As with the majority of undergraduate programmes, my first degree in theology was introductory and very broad. I studied modules such as Christian Origins and Introduction to Ethics at this level but I was especially keen to specialise in specific areas of theology, which is not possible at undergraduate level. I felt that could make a valuable contribution to scholarly literature on this subject. For these reasons, I knew I wanted to progress to postgraduate study.
My course tutors were extremely supportive in my decision to study for an MPhil. They advised me on where to search for postgraduate funding and put me forward for a Canterbury Christ Church University scholarship, which I was awarded. This funding is a great help to my situation. Because of their support, and my familiarity with the institution and the surrounding area, the university was the logical choice for my further study.
There are many benefits to my postgraduate studies. I am continuing to read a subject I enjoy and am committed to my research. I feel secure in my chosen course of study, and obviously this has been helped largely by my funding scholarship, which allows me to concentrate on my research without the added pressure of worrying about my finances.
I also have a clear idea of what I want to do once I finish my studies: I would like to become ordained and intend to continue making a contribution to literature on theological themes.
There are disadvantages in choosing this route, rather than going straight into a job role after your first degree. The research time involved with my postgraduate course is incredibly demanding and I often spend large parts of the day on my own, reading and creating arguments for my thesis. While this is stimulating, it can also be very isolating.
If you choose to go into postgraduate study, ensure that you make time for socialising and activities that are separate from your studies, as it is easy to become absorbed in your research.
My advice to others would be to think carefully about why you are choosing further study and the career you intend to use it for. Start to research funding opportunities as soon as possible, and seek advice and support from course tutors and other university staff - they are there to help you.
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