What is postgraduate study really like?

Unlike some people in the final year of their undergraduate degree, I was sure I wanted to do a masters degree. As soon as I was able to, I applied to the University of York. I was completely sure which course I wanted to do and that York was 100% the right university for me.

Unlike most things, I didn’t overthink it too much. I just thought of it as another year of my degree (sort of). Don’t get me wrong, I understood that the work would be more difficult and that the expectations would be much higher. But I thought that would be about it.

Contact hours

Obviously, each course and university is different so I can only talk from my own experience. Before I started, I asked friends about their experiences of a masters degree and they all said they were in about 1-2 days a week. I thought that was ideal as I could get a part-time job alongside my studies. I even calculated how much I would roughly be earning each week haha. Let’s just say I was in for a bit of a shock.

I was a Sociology undergraduate at another university and I was usually in 2 days a week, 3 at the most. This was usually only for an hour and a half. Obviously, we had work to do at home and all of the usual reading and research. When I got to York I was quite shocked. At first, I was in uni 4 days a week which felt like a lot, and eventually, it was then 5 days a week. I started to feel exhausted but I was finally getting into a routine, which felt nice.

I started out on the MSc Social Media and Interactive Technologies course but ended up transferring to MSc Human-Centred Interactive Technologies (a story for another day). Originally I was doing 3 modules in my first semester and I am now doing 2. There was a LOT of reading in each module and the structure was completely different from my last degree.

Now, what I’m saying might sound a little bit negative but it actually works out really well. I love being in each day as it motivates me to completely dedicate my day entirely to university work.

Seminar structure

What is postgraduate study really like?

Compared to what I am used to, the structure of seminars is also a little different. At my last university, we would just read the set reading and discuss it in class. On this course, we do the reading and then we take turns to present it to the class. Daunting, I know. BUT, this honestly helps you build the confidence to present in front of people. And it actually helps me properly digest and process the information from the text opposed to just reading it and then never thinking about it ever again.

I find I have much less free time doing my masters compared to when I was an undergraduate but I don’t necessarily think that it’s a bad thing. I am really enjoying my degree and being at the University of York makes a huge difference. Now, I am not just saying that because I’m biased – I feel as though my lecturers genuinely care and want me to do well. There’s more structure to the course compared to what I’m used to and I really do love that!

Soph x

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I’m Sophie, I am 21 years old and a postgraduate student studying MSc Human-Centered Interactive Technologies. I am originally from near Manchester but have spent a lot of time in York and hope that it is my permanent future home.

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