Returning to PhD study after a break…

…by Richard / from Northern Ireland / studying English Literature / 3rd year PhD

Richard landscape

I arrived at the University of Edinburgh via a rather unusual route in that, when I left school, I did a degree in Mathematics and then worked in finance for ten years. After deciding to try something a bit different, I completed a part-time undergraduate degree in English Literature with the Open University, and then made a visit to the English Literature department at the University of Edinburgh to explore their Masters options. I was immediately impressed by what I saw: friendly staff who took the time to answer my questions, a fantastic new building at 50 George Square, and a great range of courses to choose from. I applied for a Taught Masters in US Literature and enjoyed my year studying at Edinburgh so much that I then applied for a PhD in English Literature.

There are many excellent reasons for choosing to study at Edinburgh. I have a wonderful supervisor who takes a genuine interest in my work and general well-being. I study alongside lots of brilliant and interesting people from all over the world. I have been able to able to take advantage of a wide range of opportunities for postgraduate students at Edinburgh, such as weekly seminars, work-in-progress talks, and academic development workshops. There are also fantastic opportunities to help organise special one-off events: in 2017 I helped organise an international two-day Literature and Philosophy conference, and in 2018 I was part of the team behind the News From Home film festival at the university.

In addition to all the benefits of studying at one of the best universities in the world, there is the bonus of living in one of the best cities in the world. In a study commissioned by the Royal Mail and published in 2018, Edinburgh was rated as the UK’s most attractive city. And it’s not hard to see why. There is the architectural and historical splendour of the Royal Mile, from the Scottish Parliament to St. Giles’ Cathedral, culminating, of course, in Edinburgh Castle. There is the city’s vibrant cultural life embodied by the world-famous Edinburgh Festival, but also on offer all year round at venues such as the Lyceum Theatre, Usher Hall, and the Scottish National Galleries. And there is the opportunity to escape into the green space that makes up over a quarter of the city – a perfect excuse to take a break from all that study!

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