Blog by Diana Saltykova
As a part of Erasmus Mundus MITRA Master’s program, I spent one semester of my post-graduate studies at UCC. More precisely, I participated in the Master’s program in Contemporary Migration and Diaspora Studies offered by the Geography Department. It was my first time in Ireland and I have been really excited for my experience of studying in Cork.
I took three courses at the Geography department and I have been very satisfied with the quality of education I received. The lecturers were well-prepared and distributed readings materials in advance, so that we could base ourselves on these readings while discussing the topics in class. I have particularly enjoyed meeting the guest speakers who came from different governmental and non-governmental organizations in the area of migration. First, guest speakers helped us relate theoretical readings and investigations to real-world examples and situations. Secondly, through guest lecturers we were introduced to the job market for graduates. In addition, I obtained a thorough understanding of social science research methodologies. Each lecturer presented his or her own experience in researching as well as suggested important readings on the topic.
Overall, I am grateful to Dr. Liam Coakley for organizing the program and accommodating to our needs. It is also worth mentioning that the university campus itself was great: it offered a great library facility and a spacious student center. Thus, I highly recommend the Contemporary Migration and Diaspora Studies to anyone interested in working in migration field.
Research students should not miss out on a great series of PhD workshops on February 5th and 6th.
1. Secrets of Highly Successful Research Students
Dr Liam Marnane, Thursday, 5 February 2015 from 09:30 to 12:30
Full details and registration is available here
This workshop describes the key habits that research and experience with thousands of students indicate will make a difference to how quickly and easily you complete your PhD. Just as importantly, these habits can greatly reduce the stress and increase the pleasure involved in completing a PhD.
2. PhD Workshop: Turbocharge your writing
Dr Liam Marnane,Thursday, 5 February 2015 from 13:30 to 16:30
Full details and registration is available here
Would you like to know the secret to high output, low stress scholarly writing? In academia it is often assumed that writing comes naturally. However, an overwhelming body of research shows that there are very clear and practical strategies that can greatly increase your writing productivity.
3. PhD Workshop: Defeating Self-Sabotage
Dr Liam Marnane, Friday, 6 February 2015 from 09:30 to 12:30
Full details and registration is available here
Do you find that despite your best efforts to ‘work on your thesis’ or get your research output going it just doesn’t seem to be happening? Does there always seem to be something more urgent, interesting or important to do? Perhaps you are self-sabotaging.
Some good advice from UCC PhD student Krishnakumar Chullipalliyalil
- It is often only at the end of your PhD that you truly learn how to do a PhD ! Don’t panic, that is the way it is. Count each encounter as an experience.
- Not each negative result that you obtain is a waste. A result is still a result. Often we neglect taking some data or avoid taking data just because we think it will not be worth it. Don’t get disappointed when you obtain a negative result, because that is the only way you can learn.
- Don’t wait for things to happen, make them happen. Often you will wait for your supervisor/mentor to advise you on every next step. If you are confident enough, move forward, take a decision and see it through to the end. This will impress your supervisor.
- Have fun while you work. Take breaks, go on holidays, enjoy the beauty of your surroundings. Do something different everyday, like taking an alternative route on your way back home after work.
- Don’t over do it. Often you get unfocussed, and might end up losing lots of time if you try too hard. Always know what your goal is and work towards that. Remember your PhD should be done within a limited time frame.
- Your PhD is ultimately your responsibility , no matter how helpful your mentor/supervisor is. So even if you feel like your in no mans land without a helping hand, look for that one loop hole which will get you through, it exists just really look for it.
Two students who recently completed a Master’s in Government at UCC, offer their opinion.
My experience at UCC was an enriching one from beginning to end. Not only does it offer an excellent academic experience, it also gives students direct and constant access to experts in the field of government and public policy. The Masters of Business Science at UCC is an excellent program for anyone looking for an immersed educational experience at a welcoming academic institution.
(Kanan Kothari, MBS Government 2014)
I am delighted to have recently completed my MBS in Governance at UCC with first class honours. I commenced the course as a part-time student in 2012 not having studied for over 20 years. Whilst I found it initially daunting, the programme head and team were very supportive and open in all modules. The coursework is busy with lots of assignments and essays, but very topical and interesting. I was introduced to topics in political science that I had never previously studied and which have sparked new interests for me. In my own work role within policy making and regulation, it has given me a broader and fresher perspective, and enabled me to develop research skills and structure in presenting my work. Overall, it was both challenging and busy, but also certainly a very rewarding learning experience. I feel a great sense of achievement having completed it.
(Marie Gould, MBS Government 2014)
For more student perspectives click here.
Marika Bella du Toit from South Africa
MA in Irish Studies: Identities and Representations, 2013-2014
The lecturers on the MA in Irish Studies are great. They’re experts in their fields and everyone is very accommodating and open to helping you with research and answering your questions. They go to a lot of trouble with the seminars and field trips and they’re a great bunch of people. They go out of their way to make you feel comfortable and help you learn as much as you possibly can.
The study tours were a really great part of the experience. We weren’t sure what to expect but it was more than you could ever want. You really see how all of these abstract concepts and ideas that you’ve been reading about are expressed in the landscape. It’s absolutely fantastic. You get to go to parts of Ireland that you might not see otherwise and you learn so much of the history and the culture of the area. It gives a strong visual element to the entire programme, which is great.
The most important skill I have learned on the course is how to integrate different ideas from different fields. That’s been wonderful. Coming from a strictly literary background I wasn’t always aware of the role of history, of material culture, of sociology. And now, when I see how everything integrates I have a far better understanding of the process of culture and identity formation.
I think Cork city is brilliant. It doesn’t feel as much like a big bustling city as one might think, which I personally think is great. Everything is close enough that you can walk. It’s very friendly towards students and very much student-orientated. There’s always something going on – a lot of cultural activities – and the university is at the centre of much of it. Cork people are very interesting and the city is very friendly and embracing towards new people.
I would definitely recommend this course. I think anybody who is interested in Irish Studies should really think about doing it because it gives you perspectives that you probably never have encountered before. The interdisciplinary character of the course provides you with entirely new ways of thinking about Irish Studies and Irish culture.
Catriona Keane – Graduate in MA in Women’s Studies / PhD in Applied Social Studies and Women’s Studies
In 2014, I graduated with an MA in Women’s Studies. I originally chose this MA course as I was interested in the topics of gender, feminism and issues affecting women in society and wanted to explore these areas in more detail. However, what I learned and took away from the course exceeded all of my expectations. The broad, interdisciplinary aspect of the course was one which I really enjoyed. Looking at feminist theory and issues affecting women in society from a variety of different perspectives such as sociology, philosophy, law, and film theory etc. gave me the opportunity to think critically and independently about these issues. Through class based discussions and a passionate, knowledgeable teaching team, we examined and questioned constructions of gender and women’s role and position in society, not only in an Irish context but on an international scale. For me, this sense of questioning was one which made my experience of the course a very enjoyable one and raised my awareness of the issues women face around the world. This course introduced me to a wide variety of thought – provoking topics; including historical, literary and contemporary feminist debates such as prostitution and abortion for example. Guest speakers throughout the year exposed me to topics which were not on the curriculum and a class trip to Dublin was organised at the end of the second semester which included meeting with a member of the National Women’s Council of Ireland. This was a great learning experience as it highlighted to me the many ways feminist theory can be put into practice to improve the lives of women internationally.
Throughout the MA course I also learned many transferable practical and academic skills such as how to effectively manage my time and self – directed learning. The final thesis was a great opportunity to put all of these skills and knowledge into practice, in particular the feminist research skills which I had learned throughout the programme. Although the idea of the thesis was daunting at first, the freedom to choose a topic which you are passionate about and the continued support and guidance of my supervisors made it an extremely positive experience. Since finishing the MA I have gone on to start an interdisciplinary PhD on Female Genital Mutilation, the same topic as my MA thesis, with the School of Applied Social Studies and Women’s Studies. The MA in Women’s Studies was a great stepping stone to pursuing a PhD. UCC for me has always been a college with a strong postgraduate community and provides a great range of resources to all of its students. I would strongly recommend this course to anybody who would like to gain a better insight and understanding of feminism and learn more about the issues affecting women around the world.
A SEASON OF READINGS:
UCC School of English in collaboration with the Munster Literature Centre and UCC Library will be hosting a series of readings and lectures this semester, which will include the 2014 Frank O’Connor Prize International Short Story Award winner, Colin Barrett, and Orange Prize-winning novelist Zadie Smith.
VENUE and TIME: The readings will take place at 6pm in the Learning Zone of the Boole Library, unless otherwise stated.
Friday, January 16:
Colin Barrett, Frank O’Connor and Guardian First Book award-winner
Monday, February 16:
Orange Prize-winner Zadie Smith and poet/novelist Nick Laird [venue to be announced]
Tuesday, March 10:
Matthew Hollis, poet and biographer of Edward Thomas
Thursday, April 9:
E.M Forster Award-winning poet, Robin Robertson
Monday, May 25:
Reading in the Digital Age – a lecture by Jerome McGann (University of Virginia)