Are you contemplating postdoctoral study and considering your funding options? If so, you might be interested in attending some of the events planned for Fellowship MAY!
Fellowship Day began as an event in the School of Medicine and Dentistry more than a decade ago, and invited representatives from the major Research Councils, Charities and Trusts to come and speak about funding opportunities available for postdocs and early-career researchers.
This year’s event will change slightly in that it will be a series of talks, seminars and funding-related workshops taking place at Mile End, Whitechapel and Charterhouse Square campuses, running from 8-19 May 2017. The schedule for Fellowship MAY! is available below.
To book on to these sessions, visit our bookings page cpdbookings.qmul.ac.uk, login and search for ‘FM‘ in the course code field. This will list all Fellowship MAY! workshops. If you don’t yet have a cpdbookings account, you can register here.
My name is Natasha and I am currently undertaking MA History – Medieval and Renaissance pathway at QMUL; I also took my BA in Medieval History at QMUL. Additionally, I work part-time for Careers & Enterprise as an Employer Engagement Assistant. Below are my thoughts on working and studying part-time.
Balancing work & studies
After some deliberating, I decided to study for my Master’s degree part-time. I knew that I had to find a way to support myself financially, particularly if I wanted to stay living in London; but I knew that studying full-time and working part-time wasn’t the best idea. I did not see any point in rushing through my studies and not giving it my all as working would inevitably be an obstacle – and even now, balancing work and studies is difficult. It is very important to plan your time wisely: make sure that on the days that you aren’t working, you have a study plan for what you want – and need – to achieve on those days when you are focusing solely on your Master’s. Sometimes this isn’t easy, particularly if you cannot find the motivation, or you have a day where you turn up no results – but persevere and take the time to re-charge your batteries, it is certainly easy to over-do things.
Which leads me nicely to the challenges. Trust me when I tell you that your work/life balance will take a real dip. When I am not working, I use my ‘free’ time to study, and this means that I find it hard to stay in contact and socialise with friends and family. This really is something to be aware of as you, as well as them, will feel isolated. But, by planning your time effectively, it is entirely possible to give yourself a few hours off to let your hair down – and this is essential, particularly for your own well-being.
Emily Hogg, Application Adviser
- Read the university’s requirements: unlike UCAS applications for undergraduate degrees, there is not a centralised system or universal application procedure for Masters courses. Instead each university has its own requirements, and these might be slightly different. Some courses will ask you to answer specific questions; others might specify a word limit. Make sure that you know what each course requires, and you follow the correct guidelines.
- Don’t simply reuse your undergraduate personal statement: after two, three or four years of an undergraduate degree, you should have learnt new things, acquired a different perspective and be able to articulate your goals and ambitions in a different way than you did when you were at school or college and applied for your first degree. For this reason, it’s more effective to start a new statement than simply try to update your old one.
- Explain why you want to study the course: in your personal statement, you should explain your motivation for undertaking this particular course of study. Admissions tutors want to know that you are committed and enthusiastic about studying for the Masters, and that you have a detailed and realistic understanding of what the course will cover.
- Show how the course fits into your wider goals: a good way of showing your motivation is to explain how the Masters will fit into your broader ambitions. Will it provide you with knowledge or skills you will use in your career? Will it allow you to pursue an intellectual interest you care deeply about? Will it build on the knowledge you gained in your undergraduate degree? What are your long-term goals and how does the Masters fit in?
Part 1: How to find a job in industry
Dr Tracy Bussoli, Careers Consultant
If you’re thinking of finding a job in industry, you’ll need to be persistent and resilient as it may take time. As there isn’t always a straightforward way to find positions, here are my top tips on finding work in industry:
Explore all industry sectors and roles
Look at the range of functions and roles within pharmaceuticals, biotechnology companies and contract research organisations. See below for a list of:
Research and Development is the typical area that attracts PhDs and Postdocs; within this falls drug discovery, preclinical, clinical research and process development. Drug discovery and preclinical research jobs are the typical jobs for PhDs and Postdocs; job titles within this area usually contain the word ‘scientist’.
Other roles include business development managers, regulatory affairs specialists, medical scientific liaison (MSL) specialists, medical writers and life science consultants.
Joe Cronin, Application Adviser
In part 1 I outlined some things to consider when thinking about a PhD in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Today I’m going to focus on how to deal with the application process itself.
Your research proposal is just that – a proposal. For almost all applications to PhD programmes (and undoubtedly if you’re applying for a funded position), you will be expected to write a research proposal. This can be a daunting prospect for those who ‘only’ have a Master’s degree and now have to consider how they would plan three years of research. But remember that whoever looks at your proposal is also going to be aware of this. Research proposals are simply a means to show that you are capable of conducting a long-term research project. They are not rigid plans that you have to stick to (and few people do anyway). With that said, it does pay to do some research for your proposal, if only to make sure that you have some knowledge about the topic you’re proposing to study (if it’s related to your Master’s thesis then this is less of a concern), and, in particular, to make sure that no one else has done your project already. However, you don’t have to show a comprehensive knowledge of your topic, nor do you have to know what the findings of your research will be. After all, you haven’t started it yet!
Make sure you have access to a library. When writing your research proposal, it’s a good idea to make sure that you can access a decent amount of scholarly material relating to
Joe Cronin, Application Adviser
There are currently more PhD scholarships available in Humanities and Social Science subjects in the UK than at any point in recent history. While this is undoubtedly a blessing for anyone considering embarking on doctoral study in these areas, there are some factors to bear in mind:
It’s more worthwhile than ever to try to find funding. Some students are in the fortunate position of being able to fund their own doctoral research (in 2016/17, annual fees for full-time research courses at QMUL will be £4,121 for home students, and £13,400 for overseas students). However, with the range of funding now available, try to find a suitable scholarship – even if you don’t feel your academic credentials are ‘exemplary’. Most PhD studentships will cover not only your course fees, but will also provide a maintenance allowance. Even if you are able to cover these costs yourself, a scholarship also adds prestige to your work (someone is actually paying you to study!) and will bolster your CV when it comes to applying for future positions. You can find plenty of PhD scholarships advertised on jobs.ac.uk (scroll to the bottom and click on ‘PhD’ in the
Gemma Garrett, Careers Consultant
In the final part of this series, read on to hear more from our Broaden your horizons event last week, as part of QMULGradFest.
Andrew Hines, a third year SLLF postgraduate, spoke passionately about his teaching experience with The Brilliant Club, a charity that exists to widen access to highly-selective universities for school pupils from under-represented groups. The organisation employs PhD students and postdoc’s from all disciplines to teach. Andrew’s role involves tutoring small groups of bright secondary school children from low economic backgrounds for two hour sessions at time. The experience enabled him to hone his communication skills by talking about his often niche and complex area of research in ways that could be understood by young, non-specialist audiences. Andrew gained an insight into what it’s like to teach to school pupils and developed his tutoring skills, whilst also earning some extra cash (all the positions are paid). As well as giving him an outlet from his PhD, Andrew’s involvement means he can now “sum up his PhD in three lines” – a valuable skill whatever his next career move.