Spotlight on Cultural History MA
Read what Lois has to say about her postgraduate experience at the University of Liverpool.
Why did you choose undergraduate/postgraduate study at the University of Liverpool?
I did my Undergraduate degree in History at the University of Liverpool and I just naturally decided to continue my studies here because I love living in Liverpool and I am very familiar with the University campus. During my Undergraduate degree, I enjoyed being a part of the history department as well as being an active member of the Guild as I was a member of the Meditation society, the Baking society and of course the History society. I was also lucky enough to have the experience of studying abroad during my second year of my Undergraduate degree at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. The vast opportunities that the University offers is what attracted me to study here in the first place, which I feel I have truly taken advantage of, academically and through extra curricular activities.
What’s the best thing about studying in your department?
The History department here at the University of Liverpool offers a range of different modules ranging from Irish Vikings to the history of Chinese medicine. By studying the broad topics available, you will become more familiar with concepts about race, gender, religion, politics and anything else you might be interested in, as we are encouraged to explore our interests, especially during research projects like the dissertation at the end of the course. During my Masters degree, the history department has also allowed me to take modules from other departments such as English & Communications and the Sociology departments, which has been great to look at my dissertation topic from a different standpoint. This also shows how well the University as a whole can work together to expand the opportunities available to students. The History Society has also been great fun as they host regular guest speaker events, Summer and Winter Balls as well as travelling opportunities, for example; during my first year of Undergraduate study we went to Amsterdam and in my third year we went to Berlin as a society.
How do the facilities in the University help you with your studies?
Having two libraries on campus that are open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week is fantastic, and both are spacious with different types of rooms; some silent study areas, some group work rooms as well as computer rooms. The Sydney Jones library located on South campus is where I will normally get my books, as it is the library for the arts, humanities, law and social and environmental studies. The Harold Cohen library, located on North Campus is the library for science, engineering, medical, dental and veterinary sciences. Every student can use both libraries to work in; I am in fact writing this at the Harold Cohen library right now!
What kind of support do you get from tutors?
I can honestly say that the staff I have worked with in the History department are all friendly, helpful and dedicated to helping students achieve the very best during their studies. Each student will be assigned an Academic Advisor during their time at the University, who will be their first point of contact if they have any problems with their course or any personal issues. The tutors have an open door policy during their office hours every week and will normally reply to emails efficiently.
What do you enjoy most about the whole experience?
Academically I have been able to develop deeper theoretical skills in relation to different historical approaches that have interested me such as social history, gender history and even environmental history. I will also engage with oral history for my postgraduate dissertation this year which has also made me think about ethics in research projects and has given me an opportunity to develop my own family history in my studies. Outside of academia I have joined the Ellipsis Magazine and the First Aid Society during my year as an MA student and have become a volunteer for Macmillan as well as being a First Aider for St John Ambulance.
How do you believe undertaking undergraduate/postgraduate study will help your career prospects?
You will most likely hear people during open days’ talking about “transferable skills” and you might think (like I did), “what are these people going on about?!”. After being at University for almost four years, I can tell you that these skills are real and are actually quite vital for you to succeed during your time at University and in life outside academia. There is a purpose to every assignment we do here in the department, from analytical, precise writing to boosting confidence by doing group work and presentations.
What advice would you give to anybody considering undergraduate/postgraduate study?
A Masters degree is essential to anyone thinking about PhD research however I feel like continuing to postgraduate study can benefit anyone who has really enjoyed their Undergraduate degree and who wants to expand their skills in the same department or learn different skills in another department. I would say to any student whether Undergraduate or Postgraduate that of course the academic side of University life is really important, however you definitely should also make the most of the Guild’s services and the many societies involved in the Student Union. The career service has workshops on how to write CV’s, develop interviewing skills and they can offer part-time job opportunities and internships. You should also look into opportunities in the city itself as well as outside of Liverpool, whether this is with the Study Abroad team or volunteering with different charities in the UK. Most importantly I would say enjoy your time exploring Liverpool, meeting new people and grab every opportunity with both hands to make the most of your University experience, you will not regret it!
To find out more about Cultural History MA click here