Kat Smith – MA by Research Classics and Ancient History

MA by Research Classics and Ancient History student Kat Smith has returned for postgraduate study after completing her undegraduate degree. We found out more about her experience as a postgraduate researcher within the Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology. 

kat-smithWhy did you choose to study your course in Classics and Ancient History?

During my undergraduate degree I discovered a passion for burial archaeology, especially prehistoric burials. The portion of my undergraduate degree that I enjoyed the most were research projects, so I saw this degree path as a great way to continue doing what I love whilst expanding my horizons by taking on a project in a topic that was largely unfamiliar.

Why did you choose to undertake research at the University of Birmingham?

I did my undergraduate in Archaeology and Ancient History at University of Birmingham so already knew and have a good relationship with my supervisory team. We worked together to design my project and I know I have the support of experts to help me produce high-quality work.

What are the best things about your course?

I have found it really satisfying to deepen my knowledge base about something I find genuinely fascinating. I have also really enjoyed opportunities to share and discuss my work with peers in my field, especially when they share my enthusiasm!

I am lucky enough to have a good relationship with my supervisors which has really enhanced my experience as I know I can trust them to support me and lend help when needed.

What is life like as a researcher at the University of Birmingham?

Research work can be quite busy as there is always a lot to do so I find that taking time to pursue other hobbies and interests is important. There are loads of opportunities to meet people and try something new through the various societies available at University of Birmingham. I joined one of the University sports teams through which I have met some of my closest friends.

What support have you received outside of your PhD?

This past year has been quite different as covid restrictions have prevented us from meeting many of our peers. However, I signed up for a student mentor and have found great support in navigating life as a post-graduate researcher through their advice and friendship. It can be stressful at times but there is so much support and advice available through student welfare, your supervisory team, and the graduate school which I have found invaluable in adjusting to life as a post-graduate researcher.

Outside of your research, what experience have you gained and how will it help you in the future?

I would like to have a career in archaeology so, since I have been studying archaeology, I have been applying for field work experience so that I have practical as well as research skills. Through these opportunities I have worked on a range of projects in different countries and time periods. The skills gained through these projects and my research degree lays an excellent foundation for future research projects and employment in archaeology.

Find out more about our MA by Research Classics and Ancient History programme over on our course pages.