Case study

Rachael Pope — MA Linguistics student

UCL - University College London

Rachael always wanted to study at postgraduate level and says the benefits of taking the MA Linguistics course at University College London (UCL) have been immeasurable

Why did you choose this institution and course?

I always wanted to take a postgraduate qualification and once I completed my undergraduate degree in classics I travelled for a few months before working full time for two years. I already had some experience of UCL's teaching style as I had taken an optional module here during my undergraduate degree at King's College London, so that part of the research process had already been done. After looking into the different postgraduate linguistics courses available, I decided to commence my MA Linguistics at UCL due to the faculty's reputation and the theoretical focus of the course.

What does the course involve?

The MA Linguistics is a conversion course, so it is made up of mainly compulsory modules with one optional module available in the second term. The first term is vital as it is an opportunity to familiarise yourself with the new subject matter and teaching staff, and it allows some time to make an informed decision on your optional module in the second term.

There is also the possibility to audit different modules throughout the course so you are always afforded the opportunity to pursue areas of interest. As with everything, there is a requirement for good time management skills and a realistic outlook of your workload, but the staff are very supportive, academically and pastorally. There is always somewhere to turn if you are struggling or in doubt.

What are your plans for after graduation?

The careers service at UCL get in touch with all postgraduate students a few months before the course starts with great tips on how to plan for your future, whether that is the job market or further study. I found this really helpful and this pre-course contact involved an online course with videos and key information sheets.

After completing the online course, I arranged an appointment with the careers service within my first few weeks in order to get some guidance. Throughout the MA there are also talks organised by the faculty regarding careers, CV workshops and information on PhDs such as the application process and what to consider when making the decision to take one. When I decided to continue with further postgraduate study I felt well informed and I already know that I have made the right decision.

What advice would you give to those considering the course?

I would advise you to understand that while there is a substantial time commitment, the benefits are immeasurable. I would also say that these time commitments should not deter you from participating in the wider UCL community. I was able to volunteer and undertake a project within the Faculty of Brain Sciences as the postgraduate student lead, and with adequate time management it was possible to do so with no impact on my course. In the long run everything worked together in preparing me for my next steps once this course is complete.

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