Case study

Masters student — Katherine

Katherine is enjoying the opportunity to focus on an area of English literature that she's particularly interested in. Find out how studying for a Masters will help her future career

How did you get a place on your course?

After graduating with a Bachelors degree in English from the University of the West of England, I applied for a Masters degree in English literature at the University of Bristol through their university application system.

How relevant is your degree?

My BA in English is very relevant, as it gave me a good understanding of literary theories and introduced me to a broad range of literature. This has helped me contextualise a lot of what I'm encountering on my Masters course.

Throughout my undergraduate studies I developed confidence in my skills, which has prepared me for the intensity of postgraduate study.

What's a typical day like?

The course is intensive in terms of the workload and the amount of reading that is set. This term, I only have two seminars a week, but I also have the opportunity to attend undergraduate lectures that interest me, and the English department often hosts evening lectures by guest speakers.

What do you enjoy about your postgraduate course?

This course is giving me the opportunity to focus on a period of literature I am especially interested in, which is very exciting for me.

What are the challenges?

Time management has been the biggest challenge for me - there's a lot of reading to do in preparation for seminars, which is sometimes difficult to manage alongside assignments and other commitments. My next three deadlines are set close together, so I have to start working on those assignments well in advance.

Also, I have had to change how I approach my studies because my Masters course is structured very differently from my Bachelors course, which has been a challenge for me to adjust to.

What are your top tips for choosing a Masters degree?

The intensity of the course is made worthwhile by having a genuine passion for your discipline, so finding a programme that allows you to pursue that passion is crucial.

Additionally, making sure that the university culture is a good fit for you is important, so attending open days and other such events hosted by universities is a good idea.

How essential is what you're studying to getting your chosen job?

My degree has allowed me to develop a lot of transferable skills, so it is essential in the sense that it has strengthened the skills I intend to use in my career.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

I hope to have found a career that is fulfilling and allows me to utilise the skills I've developed over the course of my studies. I am interested in pursuing a PhD, although I'm also considering a career in copywriting.

What's your advice to others wanting to study at postgraduate level?

I would advise you to use your time during your undergraduate degree to think about what interests you and what you might want to concentrate on in your postgraduate studies.

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