Anyone doing/plan on doing a postgrad in a literature/creative writing based subject?

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If so, what are your plans for the future with the degree? and why did you chose that specific uni and course? I would really like to do one but I only have a very vague idea of what I would like to do in the future.
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Hi, I'm planning on doing a masters in English Literature, with the hope of going onto a PhD and becoming a university lecturer and researcher. However, I imagine I will either take a year out this year or after my masters to work and save up, and am hoping to do that in something like publishing, editing, journalism, heritage, archives etc. This may sound a bit specific but to be honest I think that isn't often the case with people who are pursuing postgraduate study so I hope that my answer doesn't put you off. I would say though with the cost of postgraduate study nowadays, it is probably more so worth doing this if you have the funds to do so or, possibly more importantly, it will feed into, benefit or be necessary for your career aspirations.
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(Original post by Wildean99)
Hi, I'm planning on doing a masters in English Literature, with the hope of going onto a PhD and becoming a university lecturer and researcher. However, I imagine I will either take a year out this year or after my masters to work and save up, and am hoping to do that in something like publishing, editing, journalism, heritage, archives etc. This may sound a bit specific but to be honest I think that isn't often the case with people who are pursuing postgraduate study so I hope that my answer doesn't put you off. I would say though with the cost of postgraduate study nowadays, it is probably more so worth doing this if you have the funds to do so or, possibly more importantly, it will feed into, benefit or be necessary for your career aspirations.
Thanks for the reply! awh that's great you have plans and know what you're doing! I feel I need to hear other peoples own experiences and goals to figure out my own. I want to pursue writing creatively, which obv won't make me much money, which is why I also want to pursue a masters. This isn't the only reason, I just generally really want to do one and I really enjoy education and it might help me creatively and professionally if I also pursue something different (lecturer and researcher does sound good!), however, I constantly feel that I have to justify this to other people in my life.
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(Original post by word_boxed)
Thanks for the reply! awh that's great you have plans and know what you're doing! I feel I need to hear other peoples own experiences and goals to figure out my own. I want to pursue writing creatively, which obv won't make me much money, which is why I also want to pursue a masters. This isn't the only reason, I just generally really want to do one and I really enjoy education and it might help me creatively and professionally if I also pursue something different (lecturer and researcher does sound good!), however, I constantly feel that I have to justify this to other people in my life.
I understand what you mean about wanting to hear other people's experiences in order to make your mind up about your own - I think that collaboration can be really helpful for this, even if it reveals to you what you don't want to do, rather than do. From my experience, creative writing is an excellent passion to have, and whilst like you say it doesn't necessarily pay well, it is certainly worth pursuing. I think at a fundamental level, this is the criticism often ledged against those pursuing literary subjects that it won't pay well or even that it has no 'real' impact. I have found some solace in this because it shows that what people value that pursue these things aren't in it for the money, and there is something bigger driving them. This isn't something that fits within a capitalist system and so to me, it is a signifier of something going well in the sense that it works against a world that commodifies us and our time. I've had plenty of people say to me, what's the point of doing a Literature degree, it isn't going to pay well and there's no job at the end and I think that is in some ways why it is so important to do. Because it resists the idea that everything we do must revolve around money. It is a bit idealistic of me I know, but like you I really enjoy education and thing it is one of the most important things in life for all sorts of reasons. So I hope that you pursue your passions, in whatever way they manifest now and in the future!
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(Original post by Wildean99)
I understand what you mean about wanting to hear other people's experiences in order to make your mind up about your own - I think that collaboration can be really helpful for this, even if it reveals to you what you don't want to do, rather than do. From my experience, creative writing is an excellent passion to have, and whilst like you say it doesn't necessarily pay well, it is certainly worth pursuing. I think at a fundamental level, this is the criticism often ledged against those pursuing literary subjects that it won't pay well or even that it has no 'real' impact. I have found some solace in this because it shows that what people value that pursue these things aren't in it for the money, and there is something bigger driving them. This isn't something that fits within a capitalist system and so to me, it is a signifier of something going well in the sense that it works against a world that commodifies us and our time. I've had plenty of people say to me, what's the point of doing a Literature degree, it isn't going to pay well and there's no job at the end and I think that is in some ways why it is so important to do. Because it resists the idea that everything we do must revolve around money. It is a bit idealistic of me I know, but like you I really enjoy education and thing it is one of the most important things in life for all sorts of reasons. So I hope that you pursue your passions, in whatever way they manifest now and in the future!
yes exactly! sooo many people criticise my choice of degree, the recurring snide question is 'oh and what are you even able to do with that degree?', it's very frustrating. Yes I feel similarly, as much as I'd love a very well paying job, I'd also like to be happy, fulfilled and somewhat creatively free, which I think is another reason I want to do a masters, it'll (possibly) allow for me to pursue something (both in education and possibly career) that I'm passionate about away from writing. Do you plan on doing a taught masters or a research masters? I've been really struggling to decide this as I'm limited for options because at the moment I can only do it online/distance learning.
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(Original post by word_boxed)
yes exactly! sooo many people criticise my choice of degree, the recurring snide question is 'oh and what are you even able to do with that degree?', it's very frustrating. Yes I feel similarly, as much as I'd love a very well paying job, I'd also like to be happy, fulfilled and somewhat creatively free, which I think is another reason I want to do a masters, it'll (possibly) allow for me to pursue something (both in education and possibly career) that I'm passionate about away from writing. Do you plan on doing a taught masters or a research masters? I've been really struggling to decide this as I'm limited for options because at the moment I can only do it online/distance learning.
It's definitely a hard balance to get right in terms of what you're passionate about and how much money it will provide for you. I'm not someone with particularly expensive tastes and come from a relatively low-income background, so as long as I have an income that provides for the essentials, I think I will be happy. I have been alright on my loan amount at undergraduate and can't imagine my lifestyle changing too much after that. I'm also lucky to be in a long-term relationship with a partner who is more money-minded and doesn't need to depend on me for an income so have a bit more free reign in the sense that he can support me if needs be and doesn't need supporting (and neither does my family). So I'm in a very fortunate position in that sense and feel like I have some security to go out and do something that doesn't necessarily correlate with a job. That being said, I hope to carry on to do a PhD and become a university lecturer and so, in that sense, it is with a job in mind. But it is more to do with passion than an income, not least because it's not a particularly high-paying industry.

In terms of a masters, I want to do a taught programme for a couple of reasons. Firstly, as a result of the pandemic (and the strikes before that), I don't feel like I've had sufficient teaching to feel comfortable with doing research on my own. This also manifested in not getting the grade I hoped for in my dissertation, and so I want to hone in on my research skills with a bit more structure, so that I can be more prepared for PhD study. I also haven't refined my research interests enough yet to know precisely what I want to pursue and so wanted to do a taught course to refine this. I have broad interests in the sense that I know I want to research more into representations of the performance of age, gender (especially masculinity) and sexuality in Victorian literature, but have not narrowed down enough to write (or feel comfortable writing) a research proposal. There are also some areas, particularly Age Studies, that I was introduced to quite late in my undergraduate and so want to do some more work on that before working out specifically what I want to research within that. I imagine that we may have similarities and differences in these general areas of how we've been impacted by the pandemic and how refined our research interests are and so hopefully these experiences might help you to work out which would work for you. My general impression though, is that, if you have a project that you want to conduct research for then go for it. The courses tend to be cheaper and give you a good idea of what research is like at postgraduate level, especially in the case of doing a PhD afterwards. Otherwise, taught masters give you a lot of space for independent research (in both the dissertation component and with your modules), just with a bit more structure. Also, you will still have some group-based teaching through seminars and the like, which I would like to continue, whereas you may have this in a research programme but not to the same extent, if at all.
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(Original post by Wildean99)
It's definitely a hard balance to get right in terms of what you're passionate about and how much money it will provide for you. I'm not someone with particularly expensive tastes and come from a relatively low-income background, so as long as I have an income that provides for the essentials, I think I will be happy. I have been alright on my loan amount at undergraduate and can't imagine my lifestyle changing too much after that. I'm also lucky to be in a long-term relationship with a partner who is more money-minded and doesn't need to depend on me for an income so have a bit more free reign in the sense that he can support me if needs be and doesn't need supporting (and neither does my family). So I'm in a very fortunate position in that sense and feel like I have some security to go out and do something that doesn't necessarily correlate with a job. That being said, I hope to carry on to do a PhD and become a university lecturer and so, in that sense, it is with a job in mind. But it is more to do with passion than an income, not least because it's not a particularly high-paying industry.

In terms of a masters, I want to do a taught programme for a couple of reasons. Firstly, as a result of the pandemic (and the strikes before that), I don't feel like I've had sufficient teaching to feel comfortable with doing research on my own. This also manifested in not getting the grade I hoped for in my dissertation, and so I want to hone in on my research skills with a bit more structure, so that I can be more prepared for PhD study. I also haven't refined my research interests enough yet to know precisely what I want to pursue and so wanted to do a taught course to refine this. I have broad interests in the sense that I know I want to research more into representations of the performance of age, gender (especially masculinity) and sexuality in Victorian literature, but have not narrowed down enough to write (or feel comfortable writing) a research proposal. There are also some areas, particularly Age Studies, that I was introduced to quite late in my undergraduate and so want to do some more work on that before working out specifically what I want to research within that. I imagine that we may have similarities and differences in these general areas of how we've been impacted by the pandemic and how refined our research interests are and so hopefully these experiences might help you to work out which would work for you. My general impression though, is that, if you have a project that you want to conduct research for then go for it. The courses tend to be cheaper and give you a good idea of what research is like at postgraduate level, especially in the case of doing a PhD afterwards. Otherwise, taught masters give you a lot of space for independent research (in both the dissertation component and with your modules), just with a bit more structure. Also, you will still have some group-based teaching through seminars and the like, which I would like to continue, whereas you may have this in a research programme but not to the same extent, if at all.
Yes I'm in a similar situation, both very fortunate ones to be in I think. I'd have to take out a loan for a masters as I didn't for my undergrad, which is why I'm leaning towards a research masters as you already said, there cheaper. Yes I understand what you mean about the pandemics effect on your choice, I feel similarly, however, my undergrad degree didn't provide the best teaching, research opportunities and feedback so I'm pretty undecided. They are some interesting topics to consider for a masters, gender and sexuality are some that I would also like to research further. However, I don't have a specific research topic in mind right now which is why I'm also taking a year out in-between undergrad and masters. I was considering doing a creative writing taught (online) masters as that is one of the only literature/writing based ones available to me through online learning but I'm unsure if it's something I'd want to do. While I would like to be a writer, I would prefer to do a literature masters as I have always been under the impression that doing a literature degree would be better than creative writing one, but I'm very unsure about it, hopefully I figure it out in the next year.
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(Original post by word_boxed)
Yes I'm in a similar situation, both very fortunate ones to be in I think. I'd have to take out a loan for a masters as I didn't for my undergrad, which is why I'm leaning towards a research masters as you already said, there cheaper. Yes I understand what you mean about the pandemics effect on your choice, I feel similarly, however, my undergrad degree didn't provide the best teaching, research opportunities and feedback so I'm pretty undecided. They are some interesting topics to consider for a masters, gender and sexuality are some that I would also like to research further. However, I don't have a specific research topic in mind right now which is why I'm also taking a year out in-between undergrad and masters. I was considering doing a creative writing taught (online) masters as that is one of the only literature/writing based ones available to me through online learning but I'm unsure if it's something I'd want to do. While I would like to be a writer, I would prefer to do a literature masters as I have always been under the impression that doing a literature degree would be better than creative writing one, but I'm very unsure about it, hopefully I figure it out in the next year.
In terms of whether one or the other would be better, I'd say that there tends to be flexibility, even at masters level, with taking creative writing modules - Durham University, for instance, offers creative writing options for their taught masters students. So it doesn't necessarily need to be an either/or situation. I'd also say that whilst it's good to have time to think and reflect on what you want from your masters, I'd imagine that it is easier to refine your research interests whilst studying, rather than during a year off because you won't have access to the same sort of sources and also won't necessarily have the same amount of opportunities to study topics further beyond your own personal interests. So in that case, by all means take the year out to consider your options further, but it is also worth being practical and pragmatic in the sense that your research won't come from nowhere and is more likely to be inspired within a university setting, I'd imagine at least, and so that might push you more towards a taught programme - which of course isn't a bad thing but is worth keeping in mind nonetheless.
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(Original post by Wildean99)
In terms of whether one or the other would be better, I'd say that there tends to be flexibility, even at masters level, with taking creative writing modules - Durham University, for instance, offers creative writing options for their taught masters students. So it doesn't necessarily need to be an either/or situation. I'd also say that whilst it's good to have time to think and reflect on what you want from your masters, I'd imagine that it is easier to refine your research interests whilst studying, rather than during a year off because you won't have access to the same sort of sources and also won't necessarily have the same amount of opportunities to study topics further beyond your own personal interests. So in that case, by all means take the year out to consider your options further, but it is also worth being practical and pragmatic in the sense that your research won't come from nowhere and is more likely to be inspired within a university setting, I'd imagine at least, and so that might push you more towards a taught programme - which of course isn't a bad thing but is worth keeping in mind nonetheless.
Yes I see what you mean, honestly, I would definitely do a taught masters (online/distance learning) but that option isn't offered at many universities in these subjects, which is why my options are limited as I am currently unable to move away to another city to do it. The research masters has that option as you are pretty much on your own, which is why I mentioned the creative writing degree as it seems to be one of the only one available both taught while being online. The university I went to for my undergrad doesn't offer many courses and I'd really really prefer not to study there again as it wasn't the best experience and is widely considered to as a bad university.
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(Original post by word_boxed)
Yes I see what you mean, honestly, I would definitely do a taught masters (online/distance learning) but that option isn't offered at many universities in these subjects, which is why my options are limited as I am currently unable to move away to another city to do it. The research masters has that option as you are pretty much on your own, which is why I mentioned the creative writing degree as it seems to be one of the only one available both taught while being online. The university I went to for my undergrad doesn't offer many courses and I'd really really prefer not to study there again as it wasn't the best experience and is widely considered to as a bad university.
I am hopeful that there will be more online/distance learning courses in the future with the way that blended learning is going in most institutions after the pandemic. So in that case, taking a year out could be quite good for working out where might offer those sorts of courses, although, like you say, I imagine that will be most often a research rather than taught course. How many universities are there local to you that you could study at? I imagine that you've already considered them though, as well as ones of a commutable distance but just in case, I thought it could be worth mentioning.
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(Original post by Wildean99)
I am hopeful that there will be more online/distance learning courses in the future with the way that blended learning is going in most institutions after the pandemic. So in that case, taking a year out could be quite good for working out where might offer those sorts of courses, although, like you say, I imagine that will be most often a research rather than taught course. How many universities are there local to you that you could study at? I imagine that you've already considered them though, as well as ones of a commutable distance but just in case, I thought it could be worth mentioning.
yes I was hoping for that! I live in the highlands so not many, but I was hoping to go to the university fo Glasgow or Edinburgh (if I was lucky enough to get in). Do you think doing a research masters mostly because of its accessibility is a bad reason to do it ?
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(Original post by word_boxed)
yes I was hoping for that! I live in the highlands so not many, but I was hoping to go to the university fo Glasgow or Edinburgh (if I was lucky enough to get in). Do you think doing a research masters mostly because of its accessibility is a bad reason to do it ?
Those are both fantastic universities and they're definitely worth applying to so I think those will be good choices. In terms of the accessibility question, I think that it isn't a bad reason but I would say that, it is worth considering whether it is what you want to do, whether it is something that will benefit you and whether you're just doing it because the option of what you actually want to do is not currently available. Masters courses are so expensive and take a lot of time and effort, so it's worth making sure that it serves your interests, wants, needs and dare I say, career prospects. So in that sense, I think that if you come to the realisation that you really want to do a taught course but can't at the moment, it would probably be worth waiting until either something online becomes available to do from a distance, or until you can move to another location.
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(Original post by Wildean99)
Those are both fantastic universities and they're definitely worth applying to so I think those will be good choices. In terms of the accessibility question, I think that it isn't a bad reason but I would say that, it is worth considering whether it is what you want to do, whether it is something that will benefit you and whether you're just doing it because the option of what you actually want to do is not currently available. Masters courses are so expensive and take a lot of time and effort, so it's worth making sure that it serves your interests, wants, needs and dare I say, career prospects. So in that sense, I think that if you come to the realisation that you really want to do a taught course but can't at the moment, it would probably be worth waiting until either something online becomes available to do from a distance, or until you can move to another location.
yes I've heard that they are both great for literature degrees! yeah that is what is going through my mind constantly and making me hesitate. However, the main thing that is making me hesitate is that one of my lecturers at the university I just attended recommended to me that I don't pursue a research masters (which he is the lecturer of at this university) because he didn't think it'd be something I'd cope with, which is something I've been told a lot throughout my education so sometimes I just ignore it, but it does give me pause. Thanks for listening to me by the way, it's hard to find people in similar situations!
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(Original post by word_boxed)
yes I've heard that they are both great for literature degrees! yeah that is what is going through my mind constantly and making me hesitate. However, the main thing that is making me hesitate is that one of my lecturers at the university I just attended recommended to me that I don't pursue a research masters (which he is the lecturer of at this university) because he didn't think it'd be something I'd cope with, which is something I've been told a lot throughout my education so sometimes I just ignore it, but it does give me pause. Thanks for listening to me by the way, it's hard to find people in similar situations!
No problem at all - I'm happy to help! Also, I don't know what reason your lecturer said you wouldn't be able to cope with the course but I imagine that this is highly unlikely and you should do what you want to do and what you think will make you happy.
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(Original post by Wildean99)
No problem at all - I'm happy to help! Also, I don't know what reason your lecturer said you wouldn't be able to cope with the course but I imagine that this is highly unlikely and you should do what you want to do and what you think will make you happy.
well I really appreciate it! He didn't give a reason, but I had quite a bit of trouble in my 3rd year as I discovered (quite late) that I have dyslexia and I had a bit of a knock in confidence and did badly on a few assignments, it was eventually sorted out but it think that is what he is basing his opinions on. Though I have chosen to ignore his advice. I think I'll look more into the different masters I could apply for and consider what research I would pursue. Is there anywhere you'd hope to do your masters when you apply?
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(Original post by word_boxed)
well I really appreciate it! He didn't give a reason, but I had quite a bit of trouble in my 3rd year as I discovered (quite late) that I have dyslexia and I had a bit of a knock in confidence and did badly on a few assignments, it was eventually sorted out but it think that is what he is basing his opinions on. Though I have chosen to ignore his advice. I think I'll look more into the different masters I could apply for and consider what research I would pursue. Is there anywhere you'd hope to do your masters when you apply?
I'm sorry to hear that you had such a bad experience and that the staff weren't more supportive, I can imagine that it was a difficult time discovering that you have dyslexia quite late on. But if that is what his opinion was based on, then I think it would probably be best to ignore it - it sounds like you've got the right support now so that's all that matters. Best of luck with searching for research programmes! Funny you should ask about applying for a masters, I have actually applied to three places, two of which I got offers from and from one I'm on the waiting list. Essentially what happened recently though is that, having whittled down my choices to Durham University (where I have an offer) and the University of Oxford (where I am on the waiting list) and then Durham cut basically all of the modules that I am interested in, which complicated my choice a lot. On the other hand, the more I found out about Oxford when they released their modules for this year, the more I realised it fits my research interests perfectly. So, I'm hoping that I might get an offer this year, otherwise I'll probably take a year out, hopefully make some money to support my studies, defer my place at Durham (and hope that the modules change to something that fits my interests better) and re-apply to Oxford.
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(Original post by Wildean99)
I'm sorry to hear that you had such a bad experience and that the staff weren't more supportive, I can imagine that it was a difficult time discovering that you have dyslexia quite late on. But if that is what his opinion was based on, then I think it would probably be best to ignore it - it sounds like you've got the right support now so that's all that matters. Best of luck with searching for research programmes! Funny you should ask about applying for a masters, I have actually applied to three places, two of which I got offers from and from one I'm on the waiting list. Essentially what happened recently though is that, having whittled down my choices to Durham University (where I have an offer) and the University of Oxford (where I am on the waiting list) and then Durham cut basically all of the modules that I am interested in, which complicated my choice a lot. On the other hand, the more I found out about Oxford when they released their modules for this year, the more I realised it fits my research interests perfectly. So, I'm hoping that I might get an offer this year, otherwise I'll probably take a year out, hopefully make some money to support my studies, defer my place at Durham (and hope that the modules change to something that fits my interests better) and re-apply to Oxford.
Thanks! honestly it wasn't difficult finding out, I've always thought I was dyslexic but it was just the way it was handled by certain lecturers that made it difficult. Thank you! Awh congratulations on the offers and waiting list, that's really great! That's a shame they cut all the modules you liked, hopefully it's just because of covid or something. I hope you get an offer or that it all generally works out for you, both universities sound really great!
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Thanks! honestly it wasn't difficult finding out, I've always thought I was dyslexic but it was just the way it was handled by certain lecturers that made it difficult. Thank you! Awh congratulations on the offers and waiting list, that's really great! That's a shame they cut all the modules you liked, hopefully it's just because of covid or something. I hope you get an offer or that it all generally works out for you, both universities sound really great!
Ah I understand, that sounds like a hard situation to go through and its a shame that the staff didn't react to it better. Thank you for your congratulations, I think it may be partly to do with COVID-19, as well as just the staff for my specialism having other commitments meaning that their modules can't run.
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(Original post by Wildean99)
Ah I understand, that sounds like a hard situation to go through and its a shame that the staff didn't react to it better. Thank you for your congratulations, I think it may be partly to do with COVID-19, as well as just the staff for my specialism having other commitments meaning that their modules can't run.
thanks! oh okay that's a shame, hopefully they start them up again or you go to Oxford, I'm sure it'll all align for you!
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(Original post by word_boxed)
thanks! oh okay that's a shame, hopefully they start them up again or you go to Oxford, I'm sure it'll all align for you!
Thank you and best of luck to you too with whatever you decide to do!
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