Ancient History MA
It really did feel like we were being trained to be analytical thinkers and scholars.
What have you been doing since leaving Kent?
Since obtaining my postgraduate degree I have been working ‘on the other side’ of university life, so to speak, as a Digital Learning Co-ordinator in a major business school. It’s absolutely fascinating to see what building a degree looks like and all the work that goes on behind the scenes.
Why does your new career excite you?
This is an extremely opportune time to be working in the field of Digital Learning; it’s obviously a major growth industry nowadays. At my institution we are expecting our largest ever intake of online-only students for our digital MSc in Global Finance; I’m really lucky to be a part of this industry.
How has your MA at Kent helped you to move into your career and acquire the skills needed for it?
My MA at Kent was blended learning really, so it was a fantastic preparation for the career I’m now working in where I co-ordinate and manage blended learning for students. At Kent I studied in the classroom in Canterbury and Rome*, but also studied online and used online resources through our course page on Moodle and all the digital resources and e-books in the university library.
During my MA at Kent I was also elected social officer for my postgraduate year, i.e. organising social events and planning how we would spend our social budget. So my MA really helped me gain the skills in events management that I’m using now. Being Social Officer also helped me to see what students want to get from a postgraduate degree and that’s been obviously super helpful now I’m working with and for postgraduates now.
What were the best things about your MA?
Obviously being able to spend so much time in Rome* on-site was a huge highlight! I had already done an undergraduate degree in Classical and Archaeological studies at Kent, so as well as getting a discount on my fees I also felt more confident with the material, knew the campus, knew the lectures, and generally had a really smooth transition into MA study here.
It’s just incredible to actually be there, standing in the Roman Forum* while you’re having a lecture about the space; being surrounded by professional archaeologists in the faculty who have actually done work on site was a big plus.
The range of modules was great. In addition to studying things like the archaeology of Republican and Imperial Rome and to learning about research skills and how to develop my own original research proposal, I was able to take a module in Museum Studies too which was absolutely fascinating.
I formed new friendships during my MA at Kent which have become truly friends for life. Many of us are still in touch and we got so close working and living together after meeting in Week 1 of our Research Skills course!
The lectures (and the lecturers) are just amazing. The Research Skills module gave me new topics every week that I’d never done before, like working with ancient inscriptions or interpreting the messaging and propaganda on Roman coins, all intended to make me a better-trained researcher. It really did feel like we were being trained to be analytical thinkers and scholars who can say something original about what we’re interested in.
The Student Support services were also brilliant. In my opinion people really don’t use them enough but the staff working in Student Support are so helpful, kind, and supportive. I’d definitely encourage anyone studying at Kent to take advantage of them, because they’re a really important resource that can make your life so so much easier.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of applying for an MA?
Put 100% into it! The year will go quickly: the time really does fly. There is so much to do, so many different types of course and modules to take and lots of new friends and lecturers to get to know – it goes by so quickly, so give it your all from the get-go.
Work hard on the dissertation. I wrote my dissertation on the unknown plots and conspiracies against the life of the first Roman emperor, Augustus. The evidence for these conspiracies against his new regime is really hard to come by. But I was so proud of my dissertation by the end: I got a Distinction on it and it really is one of the proudest achievements of my life to have worked closely with a professional scholar and to have produced a piece of work like that.
You will come to a point where you’re not really sure if you’re capable of doing it—the dissertation, I mean—but you have to work through that self-doubt. Your supervisor, a practising academic and specialist in your subject, will really motivate you to keep going and help you to create new knowledge. That’s so exciting.
*This course is not currently offered with a term in Rome and is available at Canterbury campus. See Ancient History - MA