Planning your year
While teaching takes place only in terms 1 and 2, you will be required to submit work for assessment at various times throughout the entire year. In order to keep on top of things, you will need to plan your year carefully. The best way is to construct your own personal year planner, noting not only deadlines, which are spaced throughout the year, but also blocks of time when you will be able to write your essays. It is each student’s responsibility to construct his or her personalised year planner. If you have questions or would like help, contact the MA Convenor, your personal tutor or the Postgraduate Programmes Officer. Students who plan their time wisely routinely perform better on the MA than those who don’t.
Choosing your essay topic
Choosing a topic for your essay is extremely important. Early planning is vital and will help you pace their work throughout the year. You must discuss your ideas for an essay topic carefully with your tutor well in advance of the deadline.
Tutors keep office hours during term time, and you should feel free to approach your tutor during these times, or at an alternative mutually agreed time. You’ll find a tutor’s office hours posted outside their door and also on their page on the Department’s website. Bear in mind that members of staff may be on leave in the term(s) when they are not teaching their MA module: e.g. your tutor in term 1 may not be around in term 2 as you begin to write your term 1 essay. So, when you plan your year, check your tutor’s availability. Also bear in mind that tutors will not generally be available during vacations; however, they may agree to consultations by arrangement. If you need to consult your tutors outside of term time, you may email them to arrange an appointment. However, please be aware that many tutors are not easily contactable between terms, since this time is nearly always devoted to research. When contacting a tutor by email you should not expect an instant response. Most tutors will aim to reply to emails within two days but will not respond at evenings or weekends.
The department offers essay-writing assistance (in terms of structure and argument, but not English usage) through its Royal Literary Fund fellows, who will read draft essays and offer advice. Contact the Royal Literary Fellows to book an appointment.
The University offers several sources of support for home and international MA students who are looking for help with academic writing, and specific support is available for international students seeking to improve their English-language facility.
- The Academic Writing Programme - Masters academic writing is the first step into research writing. Your writing should be able to demonstrate not only your ability to analyse, critically engage with material and develop complex arguments, but also aspects of originality. Visit the websit to see all the courses available and pick the ones that suit you best.
- The Masters Skills Programme offers academic writing workshops alongside a range of events and online resources.
- International students can take advantage of the in-sessional English-language classes offered by the Centre for Applied Linguistics (CAL).
- The Language Centre provides language-learning opportunities for undergraduate and postgraduate students, University staff, and members of the public. There are several ways you can learn languages with the Centre. You can take a language as part of your degree, as an extra course of study, through a language proficiency test or by taking a shorter summer course.