Shortly after graduating from Plymouth University’s BSc (Hons) Tourism Management degree in 2012, I was fortunate enough to win a partially-funded scholarship for part-time study on the ResM Travel Writing degree. The ResM provided a positive and safe academic research environment in which I had the freedom to explore my passion for travel writing and test various research questions under the guidance of an extremely supportive and generous supervisory team.
In terms of the programme’s division, it is important for me to stress the change of pace between the initial vocational component (case study module & practicum days), and then, the self-led research experience (thesis). Commencing with the former, the case study module provided a structured introduction to travel writing’s theory and history that was supported by multiple practicum days. Hosted by travel writing academics, practitioners and tourism specialists, these practicums spanned multiple subject areas including research methodologies, postgraduate writing practices, literary studies (e.g., place writing and nature writing), heritage and art interpretation, and self-employed consultancy in travel and tourism. They also involved visits to multiple tourist attractions including Sharpham Vineyard, Exeter Cathedral, the River Dart and the English Riviera. These practicums allowed me to learn from, and network with, industry professionals and academics alike, and forge relationships that have continued to flourish post-degree completion.
The self-led component of the degree allowed me to research independently and engage with the subject area as a reflective practitioner. In doing so I gained a greater understanding of the research paradigm, and its uses in my postgraduate thesis. This invaluable component provided me the freedom to pursue a relatively innovative research design, publish edited conference proceedings and build both a creative and theoretical writing portfolio.
To any prospective students considering postgraduate qualifications in travel writing, I urge you to move this ResM to the top of your list. It will afford you endless opportunities and provide a fruitful research environment that is tailored to your individual development as a travel writing researcher.