Student profiles

Student Profiles

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Some of our English MA students at their graduation, January 2016
MA in English Language and Linguistics

Amy Parsons: MA Modern Literature Graduate

Amy

MA in Modern Literature

The Modern Literature MA was a great way of consolidating everything I had gained from my undergraduate degree, and I greatly enjoyed spending the extra year studying at Leicester. Post-graduate study was a lot more relaxed and I loved the social atmosphere of the seminars, allowing more time for open discussion and a freer exploration of ideas.

The staff were all really supportive throughout the taught modules and independent study, making the year fun as well as rewarding. I was especially proud to remain a part of the School of English at Leicester, and the outstanding learning environment it offers.

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MA in Modern LiteratureMatthew

MA in Modern Literature

My MA in Modern Literature was extremely valuable to me for several reasons. It allowed me to enhance the critical and analytical skills I had developed at undergraduate level; I was able to consolidate my knowledge of authors and topics I was already interested in, as well as study less familiar areas of modern and contemporary literature. These opportunities almost always proved exciting and illuminating, particularly in the case of works such as Jackie Kay's Trumpet and Graham Rawle's ingenious graphic novel Woman's World, both set texts on Dr. Emma Parker's Literature and Gender module.

As a year-long taught course, the MA is necessarily compact, but also eclectic and thorough. The core and optional modules cover a broad range of topics and periods, from Women's Travel Writing to Literature and Exile, and Writing Prose Fiction. This variety helpfully encourages students to make connections between apparently disparate areas, and enables them to gain a broader sense of the direction(s) literature took during the 20th century and beyond. The course also, however, emphasises depth of knowledge. The compulsory dissertation, undertaken over the summer months, for a mid-September deadline, allows you to pursue an extended research project under expert supervision and acquire genuine expertise on a particular subject. For me, as for many of my peers, it was the most stimulating and rewarding part of the MA, and the timely culmination of a rigorous, but well-balanced and well-structured programme of study.

Since finishing the course in September 2014, I have started working as a Teaching Assistant at a local primary school, with a view to applying for a PGCE (teacher qualification) in the near future. I am also considering returning to academia at some point to study for a PhD.

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MA in Victorian Studies

Mona

MA in Victorian Studies

The year I spent in Leicester doing my MA in Victorian Studies was a great experience that rekindled my interest in English literature. The programme has offered me a comprehensive overview of the social and political life of the era, which has been very beneficial in providing a better understanding of the literary texts. Getting the chance to reread and discuss in depth the works of one of my favourite writers in ‘The Brontës’ module was an immense pleasure. Under the supervision of my supportive tutors, I have gained skills in researching and writing. I can definitely notice the difference in myself between who I was as a literature student when I first started and now’.

Mona is now a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Dammam - Saudi Arabia.

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Katie Bell

Katie

MA in Victorian Studies

I knew that I wanted to pursue a MA degree after I finished my English BA in 2007.  However, in the United States, MA degrees seemed to me to be very broad, general study degrees and I felt as if I had already done this with the five years I spent in my undergraduate studies at Georgia State.  I wanted a MA program that would use what I had invested time in previously, but would focus on an aspect of study that I was keenly interested in.  That frustration is what pushed me to broaden the scope of my search for a graduate school, and I then came across the University of Leicester.  What attracted me to the University was the vast array of option modules one could choose from to form their own personalized MA experience.  

As an English student, I of course gravitated to choose the modules based on literature and had some slight anxiety about the more historical modules.  However, after taking the Victorian Society core module my first term with Dr. Moore, I became more comfortable with history modules because I saw that the professors at Leicester encouraged all of the students, whatever their undergraduate background may have been, to interact with the material.  

From this positive experience with the first history core module, I then felt encouraged to proceed with the option module, "Vices and Virtues: misbehaving and behaving in Victorian society" for my second term. I thoroughly enjoyed writing my end of term paper for this module as I decided to pursue researching circus freaks of the Victorian era.  I never thought that I would be as comfortable writing historical papers as I am now and I don't feel that I would have this level of understanding of cultural history if I had attended any other program.

The professors at Leicester have always been willing to make time for their students outside of the classroom and ensure that we are interacting with the materials and understanding the concepts of the lectures.  I have been accepted by the University to pursue PhD work in the English department next year and I feel that this is largely due to the way in which the Victorian Studies department has helped me to hone my writing and researching skills in an array of disciplines, not just English Literature.

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Lisa MA

Lisa

MA in Victorian Studies

The city of Leicester, with its Victorian legacy, seemed to me like the perfect place to learn about the literary and cultural history of the nineteenth century. Home to both the longest established Victorian Studies Centre in Britain and a supportive network of friendly academics, the University offers vast insight into the latest strands of nineteenth-century scholarship.

The MA itself is largely interdisciplinary based: students are encouraged to examine the Victorian period from a variety of perspectives – be it literary, historical, artistic or political. The equally weighted mix of core and optional modules ensures that students are equipped with relevant contextual information, but also provided with extensive freedom to pursue their own academic interests as well. As part of my own MA, I was able to interrogate Charles Dickens’s thoughts on Britain’s industrial inferno, cross-examine the evolutionary dogma which swamped Victorian terrain, and examine the clinical onset of eating disorders in relation to gender patterns of female inferiority. I found the seminars and assessment tasks for the core modules equally exhilarating, and, with the help and support of the department, went on to publish my second semester essay on Christina Rossetti and consumerism. Completing the MA in Victorian Studies undoubtedly made me realise just how inexhaustibly beguiling Victorian culture is. I am now in the second year of my Victorian based PhD, and an avid enthusiast of Leicester’s Victorian Studies Centre, its staff, and all that they do.

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Francesca

Francesca

MA in English Studies

I have thoroughly enjoyed my year on the MA English Studies course at the University of Leicester.  Studying the core ‘Bibliography and Research Methods’ and ‘Editing and Textual Cultures’ modules enabled me to develop my research skills and offered a useful insight into topics that I had not encountered during my undergraduate degree, such as theories of textual editing and material culture.  With a wide range of interesting option modules available, it was hard to pick just two to study!  I chose Dr North’s module on ‘The Brontës’, which culminated with a memorable class trip to the Brontë Parsonage in Haworth, and Professor Dawson’s ‘Evolution and Entropy’ module, which introduced me to the fascinating links between literature and science in the Victorian period.  The highlight of my MA was writing my dissertation under the expert guidance of my supervisor, Dr Graham.  It was extremely rewarding to have the time to research my topic in depth and, with Dr Graham’s help, develop my ideas into a polished piece of writing.

Everyone in the School of English – from the lecturers to the staff in the English Office – is tremendously supportive and there is always someone to help if you get stuck or need advice.  There is also a strong postgraduate community based around SPELL (the Society for Postgraduates in English Language and Literature), so it’s easy to meet other students and make friends, even if you didn’t study at Leicester for your undergraduate degree.

If you want to deepen your knowledge of English Literature in a friendly department in a world-class university, I would wholeheartedly recommend the MA in English Studies at Leicester.

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