Name: Felicity Maxwell
Course and Year: MA in Medieval Studies
Tell us a little about yourself
Iíve always loved reading and been fascinated by the values prevalent at different times in history and how they come out in literature. I really enjoyed my BA in English, but I wanted to do an MA in medieval studies to try to see this period from other angles as well as through literature, partly in order to help me decide whether to go on to do a PhD in English or in something more interdisciplinary.
Why did you decide to study at Leeds?
A professor and some post-graduate friends back home told me about the annual International Medieval Congress put on by the Institute for Medieval Studies here at the University of Leeds, and I figured if the department can put on one of the largest and most prestigious medieval conferences in the world, it’s probably doing something right and it would be worth looking into its MA course.
How did you find out about scholarship funding at the University of Leeds?
Once I’d read through all the details about the course on the departmental part of the University website and decided it would be well worth applying for, I went on to the funding pages of the University website and read them carefully as well. Also, the day after I submitted the online part of the course application, the secretary in my department sent me a really nice email about the paperwork I’d need to send and the two scholarships I could apply for
What was the key decision which made you choose the University of Leeds?
The two biggest factors in my decision to apply to Leeds were my department’s international reputation and that the University offers international non-research post-graduate students a chance of getting some funding. I’d looked into similar taught MA courses at other universities, but they didn’t have any scholarships at all for non-research students.
What do you like about your School?
I like that it’s small and friendly, so no one is just a student number. Even though we come from different disciplinary backgrounds and have a wide range of specializations, there’s still a strong community spirit — largely the result of post-grads working and drinking copious amounts of tea together in a shared study/common room.
What do you like about Leeds?
I like Leed's Victorian architecture, which ranges from grandiose public buildings to small stone cottages. The inescapable red brick back-to-backs and dry-stone walls can be a bit grim though. Still, I wander through different areas to gawk at the buildings whenever I can. We just don’t have these sorts of things back home!
What do you think about the training and development opportunities at Leeds?
I don’t know about training and development at Leeds in general, though I’ve seen a steady stream of job fairs moving in and out of the Parkinson Building all year. What I do know is that the MA in Medieval Studies includes three modules specifically aimed at giving us the foundational language and research skills we’d need to go on to PhD work; I think that’s the main strength of the course.
How do you find postgraduate study?
It’s a good challenge, but not harder than I thought it would be. Of course it helps that English is my first language! Also, this has been my seventh consecutive year of university study, so I was already used to working long and hard. The only thing I’ve found unexpectedly difficult is understanding the marking scheme here, which has no relation to percentages, though it looks disturbingly like it does. I’ve now given up on trying to figure out the Canadian equivalent of my essay marks here but have developed a sense of what’s generally considered a good mark in the UK. Now hopefully Canadian graduate schools looking at my Leeds transcript will know that I’ve done better than it might appear!
What are your future plans?
To go home for a year to work and to apply for PhD programmes in Canada and the UK and, yes, for more scholarships!