Signup date: 07 Jun 2008 at 12:40pm
Last login: 25 Feb 2010 at 8:16pm
Post count: 66
My Masters definitely felt a lot harder than my undergraduate - I got a first for my undergraduate degree with a moderate amount of hard work, but I felt like I had to work more than twice as hard to get the same high results on my Masters. On the other hand, it may have just felt like I was working harder because there is so much more work to fit into a year-long Masters course than there is in a typical undergraduate year :)
I just completed a full-time English MA and my first deadlines were also in February - I think what you need to think about is how long each piece of work is going to take you to write, and how close the deadlines are to one another. It may seem like you have a lot of time, but it took me about 7-8 weeks to write each essay (that's including all the reading, research, and writing), so I would say that you do need to start working on these asap, especially if your essay deadlines are close together. Also, if you want to submit drafts to your tutors, they usually want to receive those a few weeks before the deadline in order to have time to give you feedback - I know many people on my course had to get their draft essays written and submitted over Christmas in order for the tutor to have time to look at them. Obviously, because I was doing an English MA there was a lot of reading to be done - the reading may not be as heavy for your subject.
My advice would just be to make sure you plan your time and work out how long it's going to take you to complete things - whatever you do, don't leave things to the last minute. The best thing you can probably do is to start thinking about what your essay titles are going to be, and then consult with your tutor about what kinds of things you should start reading based on your topic, and go from there.
Just got my results for my MA in English Literature and I got a Distinction :)
I'm really pleased, but it was a real struggle at times, the workload was crazy and I had a lot of doubts about my own abilities along the way. However, there were lots of people on this forum who supported me and gave me good advice and I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for all their help and words of encouragement, and to wish everyone who's still studying all the best of luck with their work :)
Thanks guys :)
I'm not doing a PhD, but I recently finished writing up for my Masters and I worked pretty much like you, all day every day, not seeing anybody, and I really did start to go a bit stir-crazy, to the point where going to the supermarket to buy bread and milk seemed like a fun day out lol ;)
I can really empathise with what you're going through, and the way that I motivated myself was by thinking about how six months (I was about halfway through my course) was not a great deal of time in the grand scheme of things, i.e. the rest of my life, and I imagined that if I could just get through those six months, I'd be in such a better place and I'd be able to go and achieve anything that I wanted.
I also tried to view each day as an individual achievement, and each day I would tell myself that I was going to do my best that day, and I set myself targets to achieve and things like that, and I set myself a fixed routine of work that became so ingrained that it was just a habit, and I knew that if I just continued to do the work each day, I would eventually come to the end, which was a positive thought. I just had get on with it and do the time, and I knew if I just did that then at some point it would be over, and I guess that's what kept me going - that and the thought that six months of your life isn't really that much to sacrifice in order to achieve your dreams :)
Hope that helps a little, good luck with your work :)
Glad to hear that your supervisor finally gave you some feedback - I managed to meet with my supervisor eventually too and she told me basically what yours has told you, that my dissertation was good and that I should be proud of it - there were no major changes to make, and like you, I'd completed most of it without much supervision. My supervisor actually told me that she had been unclear as to what my project was actually about until I finally gave her the first draft of it about a month ago! (This is my fault though - I am very poor at articulating my ideas in person as opposed to on paper).
Also like you, I'm on track for a distinction and my supervisor knows what high expectations I have of myself, so I don't think she would have praised my dissertation as much as she did if she didn't think it was also worthy of a distinction - because of this, I'm feeling fairly confident about getting my final grade in October. Does your supervisor also know that you are aiming for an overall distinction? I think it's reasonable to say this to him and ask on this basis if there is anything you can do to improve the dissertation further - this is what I did with my undergraduate supervisor, as I wanted to make sure that we both knew what standard of work I was aiming for so that she could advise me accordingly.
I'm sure you have nothing to worry about - as long as you know that you've done your best, that's the main thing. Good luck - let us know how it goes!
Hoping for some advice - I've just come to the end of my English literature Masters and am wondering whether to pursue a creative writing PhD. My undergraduate degree was in English/creative writing and as a career I've been looking at the possibility of writing and also lecturing in creative writing. However, I know a PhD in creative writing is no guarantee that I would achieve this, as publications are more important - I could therefore just get another job and write in my spare time, and then if successfully published I could return to teach creative writing in universities without a PhD.
However, I feel that doing a creative writing PhD would be rewarding, would allow me to write solidly for three years and publish as much as possible, and gain valuable contacts and teaching experience. The risk is that I fail to publish and come out with a PhD which doesn't offer me many job prospects - I've heard that having a creative writing PhD alone is unlikely to lead to a lecturing position. This plan also depends upon me securing funding, but I have a first class honours and may get a distinction for my Masters, so I would be eligible for this.
The alternative I am considering is to retrain as an academic librarian and thus obtain a back-up career and more secure income, while still attempting to write in order to possibly re-enter academia as a published author who lectures. The downside is that although I find librarianship interesting, it is not my real dream, which is to write and be part of a writing community. It would also mean taking another postgraduate qualification and having to fork out excessive amounts for tuition fees because of ELQs, although there are ways round this with career development loans and so forth.
Basically, I can follow my heart, take the high risk strategy and do a PhD, risk coming out with nothing and having to retrain anyway as I'm not sure what other jobs are available to someone with a creative writing PhD, or, follow my head, become a librarian, write in my spare time and hope to be successful, but perhaps regret leaving academia behind. I've been told that I could take an English literature PhD instead, but this really isn't what I want to do as I want to study literature within the context of creative writing and produce my own creative work.
Can anyone offer me any advice?
I have thought that she might be sick, and I do try to give people the benefit of the doubt, but my experience of MA supervision on this course so far has tested my patience. I had another supervisor who promised to look at work of mine before he left for vacation, but I emailled him the work and he never got back to me at all. Likewise when I've emailled my main supervisor, it's taken her weeks and weeks to respond, and plus, as I said, other emails I've sent to her have got misplaced, which is why all I wanted was her to say that she'd received my complete draft, just so I can relax knowing she's got it.
Plus it irritates me that I sent her work at the start of July, she didn't respond for three weeks, and then only to set up a meeting, in another two weeks, which never happened, because she rang me a couple of hours before to say the work I had done thus far was fine, and to keep writing, which is all well and good, but it isn't exactly constructive criticism. The point is, though, why wait 5 weeks to tell me my work is 'fine'? I strongly suspect it's because she didn't even read the work until the day before our meeting - and what if it hadn't been fine??
Anyway, I'm just stressed, as you can tell, so apologies.
I just need to vent, really. I'm at the stage where I've written the first complete draft of my MA dissertation and I emailled it to my supervisor two days ago, with an explicit request to email me as soon as she got it, to let me know it'd been received. This is because 1) an email went awol in the past, and 2) because she's not that great about emailling me back.
I received no reply yesterday, so emailled her a very 'sorry about this, but...' email, just to reiterate that I was worried and could she just confirm she'd received my email. Today, end of play, still no reply. I know that she won't get back to me over the weekend, so now I have to wait to see if I get a reply on Monday, and I am very frustrated now, because ideally I need her to have read it and got back to me for a meeting early next week, because I need to get the whole thing bound and finished by August 27th, so I am going to have very little time to make corrections of there are any.
I'm sitting twiddling my thumbs right now when I'd much rather be working, but I literally can't do anything until she gets back to me, and I don't know when that will be because she seems to find it impossible to acknowledge a simple email! I know for a fact that she is at her desk, every day, because she told me she would me - so why no response? Is she doing this deliberately to wind me up, or does she just not *care* that my deadline is in just over a week's time and she's given me no real feedback up to this point, other than to tell me that what I've written is basically fine?
I don't know what else to do if she doesn't get back to me very soon, I'm really fed up with this as I am completely in limbo at the moment, with very little time left on the course. Is MA supervision supposed to be like this??
I was in your situation about a week ago - my MA deadline is 1st September, and I'd sent my first chapter to my main supervisor at the start of July, and also to my second supervisor who had agreed to help me with this one chapter before he went on holiday at the end of July. Anyway, my first supervisor initially emailled me to say she was looking forward to reading it - I then had to wait three weeks for another email, which was only to say that we should have a meeting, in *another* two weeks time. I'd also sent her my second chapter draft by now, but the first meeting for feedback wasn't going to be until literally a few weeks before the deadline by this point, which was worrying in case my work needed a major overhaul. As for my second supervisor - he never got back to me at all and is now presumably on holiday.
I sent a concerned email regarding this to my main supervisor but didn't receive a response - I was also still waiting for her to get back to me regarding what time we were supposed to meet, even though she had proposed the meeting two weeks ago. The day before the meeting, I finally got a response to say she'd been on holiday (hadn't told me she was going) and not to worry, we were meeting as planned the next day. However, we never did actually meet, because she rang me a couple of hours before the meeting to say that everything was fine with what I had written, and to just keep going with it and not to worry about coming in to see her.
On the one hand, this is good news. On the other, it makes me think that she hadn't actually read the chapters at all until just before the meeting, otherwise she could have told me this weeks ago - which again makes me think, what if the chapters hadn't been fine and had needed substantial re-writing? There wouldn't have been much time to do it!
Regarding your current situation - I don't know if this is normal for MA supervision, but it does seem like I've had a similar experience (and I am less than impressed with it). If I was in your situation, I would just schedule a meeting to see him asap and explain that you need some feedback - otherwise you might end up in my situation, where he forgets to get back to you at all :-/
Hi all - this is quite a specific question, so not sure if anyone will be able to help me, but thought I would give it a go. I've been toying with the idea of taking a postgrad qualification in library and information management, as I know this is required to become a qualified librarian etc. However, I (hopefully) will already have an English lit masters by the time I decide to take one of these courses, and I'd really like to avoid having to do another one, so I've been looking instead at the PgDip library courses that are are offered by some Universities.
What I wanted to know was whether there was any difference between the Masters and the PgDip in terms of employment prospects, i.e. if I went for the PgDip, would this still qualify me as a librarian, or would some employers require the full Masters? I can't seem to find this information anywhere, but I know that the only reason I would take one of this postgrad library courses would be to get a vocational qualification, I wouldn't be interested in doing research so I don't think the Masters would benefit me. However, I'd need to know that the PgDip would put me on equal grounding from an employment perspective with someone else who had done the full Masters, if that makes sense. Could anyone offer any advice?
I just managed to procrastinate away an entire hour reading this thread - argh lol :)
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