Reviews

How to manage your postgraduate course

This book is aimed at students who are new to postgraduate studies, whether they have just completed an undergraduate degree or have been in the workplace. It also attempts to address the whole range of postgraduate study, from a predominantly taught Masters course to a predominantly research-based doctorate. The author justifies this by noting that virtually all postgraduates will experience some research and some taught courses.

Helpfully, the author considers what is involved in choosing a postgraduate course before giving guidance on how to be successful once it starts. Useful advice includes applying even if you do not feel you satisfy the published entry requirements since universities can be quite flexible if you explain your background and circumstances. It is suggested that prospective students apply for funding regardless of whether or not they feel they will be successful. The danger of being put off if the assessment involves some element of examinations is explored, and the author suggests looking beyond this and gives practical advice on how the fear can be minimised.

The fourth chapter is concerned with the development of transferable skills at postgraduate level. The section on reading productively covers not only books but also other works such as extracts, articles and conference proceedings. The need to quote sources is stressed, in order to

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Helpfully, the author considers what is involved in choosing a postgraduate course before giving guidance on how to be successful once it starts. Useful advice includes applying even if you do not feel you satisfy the published entry requirements since universities can be quite flexible if you explain your background and circumstances. It is suggested that prospective students apply for funding regardless of whether or not they feel they will be successful. The danger of being put off if the assessment involves some element of examinations is explored, and the author suggests looking beyond this and gives practical advice on how the fear can be minimised.

The fourth chapter is concerned with the development of transferable skills at postgraduate level. The section on reading productively covers not only books but also other works such as extracts, articles and conference proceedings. The need to quote sources is stressed, in order to avoid the danger of unintentionally committing plagiarism. A useful section on articulating ideas divides these into received, discussion, initial research, developed and irrelevant ideas which give the reader a new perspective on this topic.

One of the most useful chapters deals with what do when things go wrong. A variety of scenarios is covered, including what to do if you are running out of time or you are disillusioned with your course. Practical measures suggested in the latter case are to identify the specific difficulty, to be proactive about your situation, and to approach your supervisor.

In conclusion, this book will be a useful introduction to anyone who is considering or who has embarked on postgraduate study. It is likely to be of most use when there is a reasonable balance of the taught and research elements as the material on either of these topics is likely to be of less use if they are only a minor component of the study programme.

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