I decided to pursue a postgraduate degree because I wanted to develop on the knowledge and skills I had gained at undergraduate to a higher level. Mainly, I wanted to develop my research skills to a higher level and specialise in Nineteenth Century History which the MA Nineteenth Century Studies degree at Edge Hill University allowed me to do.
The application process was really easy. I applied directly through Edge Hill’s website, so it was easier than having to go through a secondary website like UCAS. I just filled out my personal details, provided a short personal statement and filled out reference details. I submitted it and heard back really quickly that I had been accepted.
The MA Nineteenth Century Studies degree course combines History and English Literature to study the Nineteenth Century. We studied the new Romantic movements, a decade-by-decade approach to the Victorians, and the history of Victorian entertainment.
All the assignments are up to you to decide the topic, so you can really tailor the degree to your own research interests. For example, I wrote an essay on my ancestor who was a Victorian Music Hall performer.
You can make it as history-based or literary-based as you like. I have found combining both approaches makes for a more enjoyable time, as you can learn how to use new sources in different way to strength your argument. The core Research Skills module gets everyone up to speed on areas they may not have covered previously, and everyone is happy to help other people.
There is much freer rein to create your own research questions with a postgraduate degree. The lecturers are always there to support and guide us in this. There was much more flexibility within the week to plan your coursework and any other commitments, however, there was more reading (full novels in some cases, audiobooks help for that) so there was a lot of time commitment to preparing for the seminars.
I am starting a PhD after I graduate, focusing on the entertainment and friendship in the late-nineteenth century. I am not only using the knowledge I have learnt on the MA to start my PhD, but I am also using the core skills it has taught me about research, organisation, time management and more to successfully continue my academic career.
My advice to anyone considering postgraduate study would be to chat to the lecturers who will be teaching you and make sure the course is right for you. Ask them lots of questions about how you will learn, what you will learn, how you will be assessed and so on. They will be able to give you an overview of the course and what you will be doing. A Master’s is a big commitment, so it is important you love the subject you want to study at postgraduate level and that the course offers you need.