Case study

Masters student — Cory McDade

Cory embarked on an MA in Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy at The University of Bedfordshire straight after his undergraduate degree at the same institution

What undergraduate degree did you study and where?

Sport and Physical Education BA Hons at the University of Bedfordshire.

Why did you decide to pursue a postgraduate course?

I decided to complete a postgraduate course to extend my knowledge further in the sports education field and enhance my skills to better my opportunities in the future.

What was the application process like?

The application process was simple. After discussing the course with lecturers to ensure it was the right one for me, I completed the enrolment form and attended an induction day.

Why did you choose this postgraduate course and institution?

I chose to complete the course at the University of Bedfordshire as I had a good experience in my undergraduate study. The campus has good resources for sports.

How are you funding your postgraduate study?

I receive a loan from Student Finance and also work a part-time job alongside my studies. 

What is the course teaching you that your first degree did not?

I have learned about sports pedagogy in more depth and have widened my understanding of what is entailed when teaching PE and the fundamental aspects needed in the sports pedagogy field.

Tell us more about the course

The course has five units, four of which are 30 credits and then 60 credits for the dissertation. The units cover research methods in sport, sport pedagogy and policy and include theory in action, advanced pedagogy, occupational socialisation: critical perspectives on PETE and physical education and sport pedagogy dissertation.

The content is delivered at university in lectures and practical sessions, with four hours of contact time where we engage in group discussions and presentations on the units in depth with lecturers. We also have one hour of practical learning in the sports hall where we immerse into the theory and practice taught in the lectures so that we have a practical understanding of what we are being taught.

How is the course assessed?

The course is assessed through assignments and presentations delivered to our lecturers. The assessments involve a lot of research and in depth reading. However, we are briefed well at the beginning of the units on what the assignments need to include, which helps as a guide to completing them.

I have coped by completing work following the structures suggested by lecturers and by allowing time to proof-read and check over my work. I always try to ensure I allow myself time to discuss ideas with lecturers where possible and receive feedback on initial pieces to improve on them before submission.

How does postgraduate life differ to undergraduate?

Postgraduate life requires more personal discipline to maintain and keep up with the workload, as assessments require more written work in larger tasks compared to smaller tasks in an undergraduate degree.

There are more presentations to showcase your understanding in postgraduate study. The postgraduate course also requires more independent study compared to undergraduate, which has more contact time in university sessions.

How many hours outside of class do you put in?

For every hour in university sessions we should do approximately 8 to 10 hours of further independent study, where we should engage with reading materials to further our knowledge on the area being taught.

I usually complete independent study the day after the contact sessions so that ideas and learning are fresh in my mind and I can recall and build on discussions from those sessions. I often complete a few hours of work from home and then go to the library where I can access further material.

What do you hope to do when you graduate?

I hope to apply my sports pedagogical knowledge within the sports field. My final goal is to own my own sports coaching company where I can utilise my learning to engage and educate young people with sports to develop their sports skills and understanding.

What tips would you give to others choosing a Masters degree?

Contact the staff that work on the course and ensure that you have looked around the university you plan to study at and are happy with the learning resources available, such as the library.

Research the course and assessments involved in achieving the degree and make sure that the course is in a subject that interests you.

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