Thomas Holliday

"After the initial buzz from completing my undergraduate degree, I was very excited to continue my studies. I’d really enjoyed writing my dissertation and received a good mark for it. I wanted to follow up on this, which is why an MRes seemed great. I’ve been able to take my favourite part of my undergraduate degree, the research dissertation, and make it the main focus of my masters degree. I hope to gain from it a developed set of skills in research which could help me towards taking a PhD in the future.

The MRes programme is designed in such a way that I’m constantly busy with something which reflects my current research interests, so the increased workload from undergraduate study never feels like too much of a hassle. 

I began the year with the research in English methods module which was a great opportunity to read and think critically around a whole range of texts, whilst taking part in discussion that helped apply the concepts to world events and commonly held beliefs. It helped me to think about possible modes of analysis I could apply to literary texts when coming to write my research project. 

The MRes allows freedom of research, yet there’s so much support readily available that I've managed, on the whole, to keep focused on my research and arguments. My supervisors have been on hand with any queries I’ve had, and they have provided me with a wealth of critical materials to push my research to postgraduate level. This supervision, coupled with the dedicated research modules, has been a great help in keeping me focused and thinking about every possible angle of my research.

At the beginning of the programme I was struggling to place my ideas into a cogent argument, but I’ve learnt better how to do that now. As the MRes is centred almost singularly on the research project, I feel that this will be my biggest achievement!

The programme has given me an overview of general practice in research, how to give presentations and importantly, how to become a self-motivated worker. These are all skills that would prepare me for a PhD, and are transferable to other career paths too.

More than anything, you need to be really passionate and sure about your research interests to do an MRes. Taking on a research project is extremely exciting; you can focus purely on what interests you.

In the future, I’d like to do a PhD. If this does not come to fruition, I’m sure that I will always have the dedication to read around and think critically about topics which interest me. The skills I have learnt are not just applicable to academia, but have informed my wider outlook and ideas."