Meg - PhD in Classics
A great experience as a Masters student convinced Meg to continue her studies with a PhD in Classics.
Why did you choose the University of Edinburgh?
I initially came as a taught Masters student as I was drawn to the diversity of the department and courses on offer. I decided to continue as a PhD student as I had made valuable contacts at the university both with fellow students and staff and knew that I would enjoy undertaking my research here. The university also offered a wide range of support both with funding and skills development resources. The city certainly played a role in my initial interest as it is a great place to live and well-connected to places I would need to travel for my research.
What attracted you to this programme in particular?
As I had worked with my current supervisors before, I knew that I would be well-guided as well as receive a good level of independence in my research. This has allowed me to continue with my studies in a very supportive environment without feeling undue pressure to follow a strict framework or expectation. As the department also offers and promotes interdisciplinary learning and research, I feel I am well-placed to follow my current research question which requires a diverse range of skills and approaches.
What are you enjoying most about your time here?
The structure of the graduate experience here has been very welcoming and supportive. There is a great emphasis on developing yourself beyond the thesis and acquiring skills that will stand you in good stead in the future, regardless of choosing to remain in academia or not. I have also had good experiences at other institutions through workshops and conferences which have made me feel more connected to a network as opposed to continuing my research in relative isolation which I believe defeats the purpose of the doctoral experience. This has opened my eyes to the number of possibilities that may await me once I have completed my degree, not only in the UK but also internationally.
What are your plans for the future?
For the most part I will be focussing on my thesis and developing my academic profile. With regards to career aspirations, I am not completely fixed on a specific outcome. Beyond the PhD I hope to take up a post-doctoral position somewhere but beyond this relatively short term plan I have a couple of non-academic options which I may like to pursue. I believe the PhD process certainly does not limit one to an academic career path but instead enhances certain adaptable skills, be it in research, communication, or inter-personal relations. These are definitely necessary for any path that one might choose in the future.
If you could offer any advice to new or current students what would it be?
I think something that has been one of the most beneficial experiences is not limiting myself to a narrow field of enquiry. By auditing a wide variety of courses on offer, although not seemingly central to my research, I have learned things that have certainly had bearing on my research question and have informed me about different approaches. This has allowed me to take my thesis in unique directions, something that would not have been possible if I had stayed within my own field of reference and in fact department. Postgraduate study is not only about subject matter and content but also thought processes and methods which can be adapted to suit any approach. I would therefore definitely suggest taking short courses, auditing classes, and going to conferences and seminars as a way of broadening your experiences, making valuable contacts, and developing networks. You never know what will be relevant in the future, not necessarily for you current research but also your career.