Nancy Beacham - MA Modern British Studies

MA Modern British Studies student Nancy Beacham says that she felt like a 'member of a community' on her course. We find out more about her experience as a postgraduate student at the University of Birmingham.

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Why did you choose MA Modern British Studies at the University of Birmingham?

“When looking for MA courses, I wanted one that offered the freedom of exploring different topics and time periods across history which is what I found with Modern British Studies. I was able to choose modules covering periods from early modern Europe to modern-day Britain, allowing me to study the sexual revolution of the 1960s in the same week as studying beliefs surrounding fairies, ghosts and witches in early modern Britain. Also, typically I find studying historical theory and methodology difficult to crack so having a whole module dedicated to that focus was really helpful.”

What has been the highlight of your course?

“I definitely think writing my dissertation has been one of my favourite aspects of this course; I love my topic and I chose it through a crossover of inspiration from various modules I undertook. I had amazing support from archivists and librarians from the main library and the Cadbury Research Library who facilitated my study and the frequent dissertation meetings with my supervisors offered constant help and feedback throughout the experience.”

What have you learnt from your programme?

“Undertaking academic study alongside participating in internships was a really helpful experience in balancing multiple responsibilities, setting the pace for future career opportunities. This course experience helped me develop skills in critical thinking, prioritisation and inter-personal skills as I made presentations, visited archives and participated in a team internship.”

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

“I was fortunate enough to have a mix of online and in-person seminars which gave me the opportunity to meet my course mates as well as get a feel for the campus which had a real buzz about it. I have felt really supported by my lecturers, supervisors and all the staff on campus who helped me with any problem I had. I was assisted from start to finish, especially through the weekly meetings I had with my tutor and fellow course mates. I really felt like I was a member of a community.”

What have you enjoyed most about living and studying in Birmingham?

“I really enjoyed my time studying at the University of Birmingham as even though it was in the middle of an unprecedented time, I never felt alone or unsupported. If I had any questions about assessments, difficult texts or future career plans I always had someone to ask for help.

“The interconnectivity of the academic schools meant that some modules were accessible to students across different courses. I was able to join an English Literature module alongside my History modules which I believe gave me a well-rounded experience in academia.”

How has your course and your time studying at Birmingham prepared you for your future career?

“The career support and employability guidance offered by both lecturers and the Careers Network has been incredible! I have had access to courses to improve my employability, I participated in the Postgraduate Professional Development Award, and I’ve gained placements in a couple internships which have provided me with great experience ultimately helping me to recently gain a job.

“When we first started the module 'New Directions in Modern British Studies' we were asked to come up with ideas of what kind of exhibitions we would make to place in a Museum of Britain, and it made me think that I would like to get involved museum curation and the cultural and heritage sector. I love history and would love to work along the bridge between academia and the heritage sector, which I believe has been made more obtainable through this course.

“The Careers Network provided online seminars and talks by various companies to attend alongside the course seminars and lectures which showed a window into the career options out in the world of work that use the transferable skills from MA courses to apply to all kinds of sectors.”

Find out more about the MA Modern British Studies programme over on our course pages.