Our PhD student, Rista, tells us about her experiences of studying a PhD as an international student and how she’s funded studying abroad. She also shares how UWE Bristol are supporting her career aspirations in academia through her postgraduate research study. Read more about Rista’s story.
Our PhD student, Anna, tells us how she pursued her passion for community-led housing and social change through postgraduate research study. Anna shares how she gained funding for her PhD and how UWE Bristol have supported her as a mature student. Read more about Anna’s story.
By Brodie, BSc(Hons) Biological Sciences and MSc Public Health alum.
Our alum, Brodie, tells us about her new role working at Public Health England, where she provides epidemiological support in the fight against COVID-19. She shares how studying at UWE Bristol has helped her find career success in the public health sector. Keep reading to find out more about Brodie’s story.
Our MSc Marketing student, Maddison, tells us what it’s like to study a postgraduate degree at UWE Bristol. She shares her experiences of studying part-time, as well as how she’s managed to juggle her studies with her job.
UWE Bristol alum, Lamare, tell us about progressing from undergraduate to postgraduate studies at UWE Bristol. He shares the benefits of continuing / staying at uni to study a master’s degree, as well as his experiences of pursuing further study.
UWE Bristol alum, Krystina, tells us about her career in aerospace engineering. She shares her experience of studying engineering at UWE Bristol and the best bits of her degree. In this post, Krystina also shares her advice to other women who want to get into engineering.
Deciding on what to do and whether to do postgraduate study can be difficult for anyone. It’s a big step. To provide some perspective on postgraduate courses, I am writing my experience of this and hopefully will give you some help and ideas about what you could do for your postgraduate study.
Before I came to UWE Bristol I would have described myself as shy and lacking in confidence. I was also sceptical about going to university as very few of my friends were going and I would have been the first of my family to attend. Despite this however I soon flourished at UWE Bristol, finding the more mature education environment the perfect space to grow.
Having focussed on Science as my passion, particularly Chemistry and its application, I knew that if I were to go to university this is what I wanted to study. It wasn’t until an open day at UWE Bristol however that I saw my first working laboratory. It was this that sparked my decision to apply to UWE Bristol and begin my journey into Higher Education.
It has made me a more confident, disciplined and capable person, ready to push and challenge myself in all aspects of life.
I started with a foundation course in Science as this allowed me to enrol on the university’s Forensic Science course. Once I began my undergraduate course I found the staff extremely passionate and experienced in their field which was reflected in the course modules and content. I decided to focus on the Chemistry pathway and regularly received top marks for my assessments, securing a place on the Dean’s List in Years 1 and 2 and eventually graduating my undergraduate degree with a first class honours.
Because my confidence grew in my academic life I started to find confidence outside of lab as well. In my first year at UWE Bristol I wasn’t able to secure halls and keen not to miss out, I soon joined the Archery Club. Here I made new friends and in my second year I became president of the club and Equipment and Safety Officer, something I am extremely proud of.
I am now working towards my Masters in Research in Synthetic Medicinal Chemistry and I could not have predicted how much I would gain from my degree and time at university. It has made me a more confident, disciplined and capable person, ready to push and challenge myself in all aspects of life.
So, you’re considering doing a postgraduate degree. That’s
great! Postgraduate degrees are an awesome opportunity, and I should know – I’m
currently doing one! I’m studying for an MRes in Social Science, and am loving
it. This blog post will hopefully provide a little insight into what doing an
MRes is like, how I got here and what a master’s degree can do for you.
When I decided that I might want to do a master’s degree, I was feeling a little bit stuck. I had graduated with an undergraduate degree almost exactly a year prior, and since then, I had had a string of temporary jobs, followed by a permanent office job which I definitely did not enjoy. I missed university, and the freedom I had as a student; I missed learning every day and actually using my brain. So, I started looking for master’s options, and talking to friends and family to ask for advice. After a few days of searching, I found the MRes in Social Science and fell in love with the description and the course layout. I knew it was exactly what I was looking for.
As soon as I started the course, all my fears and concerns disappeared: it felt like riding a bike or putting on a favourite cosy jumper.
I realised that I loved education and academia. Even through the intense workdays, or the moments where I feel overwhelmed with all that there is left to do, I know that I am doing something that I love and once that work is done, I truly feel proud of it. I have wonderful supervisors who ensure that I am supported throughout my course and other incredible members of staff who are clearly passionate about the subjects which they teach. Put simply: it feels good to be back.
So, what can a postgraduate degree do for you? Well, in my
experience, the biggest benefit has been an increase in confidence. A year ago,
if you had told me I had the ability to do a master’s degree, I would never
have believed you. Yet, here I am, doing it! I’ve presented my work at
conferences, I’ve carried out in-depth interviews with participants, and I’ve
got stuck into my project module. Friends and family have noticed my increased
confidence too, so it’s not just me.
Postgraduate study also gives you an opportunity to really delve into a topic. I haven’t even finished my final project yet, but I have learned so much, and with such depth. Unlike undergraduate study, where you usually have to do a little bit of everything, postgraduate courses allow you to pick a subject, and then fully immerse yourself in it; digging out the facts and finding new sources.
Every day, I learn something new about my topic, and I feel as though I am becoming more and more of an expert each time I do.
Undertaking postgraduate study is a big decision and commitment, so make sure that you think it over properly. But if you’ve read any of this blog and thought “that sounds like something that would suit me”, or words to that effect, I would definitely recommend a postgraduate course for you. Believe in yourself and give it a go. If I can do it, so can you!
Money can be scary. Some days, I look at my bank account and wonder where it all went. But it doesn’t need to be a scary prospect. There are things you can do and people you can speak with to make sure that you have the money to support you alongside your postgraduate study and help you to manage it well. So, don’t panic, I am here to point you in the right direction!
Fear can sometimes lead to avoidance, which means you could be missing out on help, funding or great tips and tricks to make your money go further.
Firstly, and quite possibly most importantly, there’s student finance options. Student Finance England (SFE) is probably where you went to get your undergraduate student loans, and it’s where you are going to need to go again for postgraduate. If you’ve used SFE before, your login is the same, but if not, you will need to create an account. Once you’re in, you just need to complete a few forms and then you are done! SFE will check all of your info, and then let you know how much money you are entitled to. But there is one crucial difference from the undergraduate loans: your tuition loan is paid to YOU, not to UWE, so remember to bear that in mind when you are budgeting!
Another option for funding is getting some paid work alongside your studies. There are plenty of options here: everything from retail to working for UWE (like yours truly). The great thing about postgraduate study is that the courses are more flexible – so much of a postgraduate course is self-directed study. This makes it easier to fit a job around your studies. Not only can you earn money for this work, but you can also gain valuable skills, especially if you can find a part-time role in your field of study! Two birds, one stone!
Last but not least there is also a plethora of options provided by UWE, such as the summer fund, which can provide some additional funding over the summer break and the emergency fund, which can provided when something unexpected happens (for example, I used it when I knocked my laptop off of my desk and smashed it!).
Budgeting is your friend!
So, you’ve got your money sourced, now what do you do with it? Budgeting is your friend! It doesn’t have to be fancy or formal or even all that detailed, but it really is useful to have one. Personally, I have mine on an Excel spreadsheet – I find it easier to edit and it does the maths for me, which is good because my maths skills are severely lacking – but you can do it however works best for you. Play around and experiment to see what suits your style best.
One of the biggest expenses in this world is food. It’s necessary, so it can seem like there’s no way to reduce that bill. But fear not! There are some really simple ways to cut down on that expense! First and foremost, branded foods are not always the best out there, so give the supermarket own brand options a shot and you might be surprised at both the taste and the savings. Secondly, keep an eye out for the reduced to clear sections in the major supermarkets. They tend to reduce the foods that are going to be ‘out-of-date’ soon at about 8pm every day, and most of these are absolutely fine to eat a few days after that date AND most of them can be frozen and eaten at a much later date. I’ve managed to grab pizzas, cakes, bread, vegetables, cheese and so much more for pennies using this method. Don’t be afraid to dive on in and grab what you need!
Alright! I think that’s all of my tips for managing your money as a postgraduate student. My last words of advice would be this: don’t be scared about money and funding. Fear can sometimes lead to avoidance, which means you could be missing out on help, funding, or great tips and tricks to make your money go further. So, take a deep breath, grab some chocolate (or other treat) and dive in! Good luck!