MASTERPLAN Preparing for Postgraduate Study at LJMU
IN THIS ISSUE:
Postgraduates with a passion A great place to study, a great place to live The path to career success
MESSAGE FROM THE VICE CHANCELLOR We are delighted that you are considering joining us at Liverpool John Moores University. Liverpool is a global city of opportunity and a vibrant place to live and study. Joining us at LJMU, a leading modern civic university, you will benefit from an experience which combines world-class expertise and facilities with access to outstanding employment opportunities through our partnerships with employers from across the UK. Indeed, some 98% of our postgraduates are in employment or further study just six months after graduation. This edition of MasterPlan looks at the different reasons our students undertake postgraduate study and the impact it has on their futures. We talk to those whose passion for a particular topic has seen them progress from undergraduate to masters, and then doctoral-level study. We also talk to those for whom postgraduate study has furthered their careers, as well as students who have used it as a means to completely change the course of their future employment. And when it comes to settling into life in the great city of Liverpool, we hear from those who have travelled half way around the world to join us. Their stories are both inspirational and heart-warming and offer a real insight into postgraduate life at LJMU.
CONTENTS 2 Welcome to LJMU 4 LJMU news 6 Staff focus 8 The path to career success 10 Moving on up 12 Postgraduates with a passion 16 Starting afresh 20 A great place to study, a great place to live 24 Weâ€™re here for you (student support) 26 Taking you to where you want to be (career support) 29 A place in the city (accommodation) 30 Investing in your future (funding your studies)
LJMU postgraduate research students rated their supervision significantly above the sector average in the 2015 Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES). The University was rated: 95% for skills, 89% for contact, 90% for feedback and 84% for development needs. 2
Welcome to LJMU UNIVERSITY LIFE IN LIVERPOOL It is often said that Liverpool is a place you come to study and never want to leave and, according to our students, that couldn’t be more true.
So, you’ve chosen the right city but why choose John Moores? “I originally chose LJMU because they were always so helpful,” explains Primate Study student Isabelle Szott. “Being overseas I couldn’t attend any open days so all my communication with universities was by phone. Other universities didn’t go to the same lengths as LJMU to answer my questions and hence I felt that John Moores would give me the help I needed during my studies.”
“I love Liverpool,” says PhD researcher Robert Seaborne. “It is a great place to live and work. Indeed, one of the big positives about LJMU is that the University has adopted the feel of the city. It is like a family, you never feel out of place and that means you can maximise your potential.”
MReS student Laura Marks is equally complimentary: “Liverpool John Moores has given me a whole range of ‘money can’t buy’ opportunities and I would certainly not be where I am today without the staff here.”
So what makes our city such a hit with students? Well, for some it’s the outstanding cultural attractions, for others it’s the multi-cultural heritage and then there’s the thrilling nightlife. No matter what you like best about our city, you can be sure that you’ll feel very much at home here as soon as you arrive.
And it’s good to know that our graduates feel as happy with their choice at the end of their studies as they did at the beginning: “John Moores is a great University and I would definitely advise you to consider it,” says Project Management masters graduate Michael Rawsthorne. “If I had to do it over again, I couldn’t think of a single reason to go elsewhere.”
Khalid Hashim came to Liverpool from the University of Babylon. “I would absolutely recommend Liverpool as a place to study,” he says. “It is very easy to settle here and make friends.” Irish PhD student Lisa O’Halloran agrees: “I would wholeheartedly recommend Liverpool as a city to study. It is somewhere that I love to be and hope to stay.”
With an overall student satisfaction rate of 84%, LJMU was ranked in the top 25% of institutions for all Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PGTES) categories in 2015. We were particularly well rated for: contact time with staff, learner support, student representation, career development and learning resources.
For International Human Resources student Bianca Geiss it is “the combination of Liverpool’s manageable size, cultural attractions and range of things to do that makes it the perfect place to study.” And when it comes to being in the right place to kickstart your career, Architectural Engineering student Mohammed Shabuo is convinced that our city has it all: “Liverpool is a vibrant city with a diverse population and a growing economy so, for students looking to establish a professional career, this really is the right place to be.”
LJMU NEWS BRUSH UP YOUR SHAKESPEARE Earlier this year, LJMU celebrated the news that a brand new £19 million Shakespeare theatre is to be built in Merseyside by announcing that it will be validating a one-year postgraduate programme at the venue. Shakespeare North, a 350-seat replica Shakespearean theatre and education hub, is being built in Prescot near Liverpool. The theatre location was chosen as Prescot is the only town outside of London known to have had a freestanding, purpose-built indoor playhouse in the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras. It is even believed that Shakespeare himself performed in the town.
BUSINESS STUDIES MILANESE STYLE
The new theatre is set to open in 2019 and LJMU’s one-year postgraduate programme will focus on Shakespearean stagecraft, using the authentic setting of the new theatre to give its students a unique insight into the past.
LJMU is always on the lookout for opportunities to enhance its postgraduate learning experience and a newly formed collaboration with the University of Insubria’s Department of Economics is enabling Liverpool Business School postgraduates to get a real taste of international trade issues. International Practicum fosters a passion for international entrepreneurship by providing work experience in businesses with a strong global drive. It aims to help those keen to expand on the international stage and to strengthen relationships between industry and education providers. The exchange programme has previously operated with Universities in Russia and the Czech Republic but this is the first time the Milanese University has taken on a UK partner.
Artist’s impressions of the Shakespeare North Theatre which will house a 350-seat reproduction of the original Inigo Jones Cockpit-inCourt Theatre.
All International Business Management and Management students travelled to Milan this year for a fortnight’s work experience with two major Italian companies that wanted to break into the UK market. “It was fantastic not only to join a company which is really succeeding in its area of expertise but also to contribute, in some little way, to what they do,” explained Management student Duncan Heenan. “Learning to make timely decisions in real life situations provided great work experience.”
Images © Shakespeare North Trust and Helm Architecture.
MASTERPLAN WINNER A huge thank you to everyone who entered our ‘Feedback’ competition. Your comments were most useful and are being taken on board. The winner of the £50 Amazon Voucher was Sajama Nepali who joined LJMU in October from Nepal to study for a masters in Public Health Nutrition. “I never expected to win,” Sajama told us on her arrival in the UK, “but I am very much looking forward to spending my voucher.”
The University’s Research Café series kicked off the new academic year in the Faculty of Arts, Professional and Social Studies this October with a session featuring Facelab PhD researcher Kathryn Smith and Senior Lecturer in History and Politics, Katherine Harbord.
The first ever Graduate School Conference and networking event took place earlier this year, bringing together over 100 researchers from right across the University to network and share best practice.
Addressing a packed room, the two speakers broached the difficult subjects of representations of the face in death and modern methods of commemorating past tragedies. Giving a fascinating and international insight into their topics, the speakers were bombarded with questions at the end of their presentations.
“The conference came about in response to conversations with postgraduate researchers from across the University,” explained Dean of the Graduate School, Professor Julie Sheldon. “Many told me they would welcome more opportunities to connect with other postgraduate researchers in different areas.”
Audience member and new PhD student Victoria Brennan really enjoyed the event: “I think it’s important for postgraduate researchers to hear about research within fields you would not encounter on a daily basis as there are many examples of good practice that transcend all research disciplines. These events are at the heart of what it means to be a student at LJMU, whereby you are encouraged to share your achievements and seek feedback and guidance from likeminded people.”
As well as 40 poster presentations by newly registered researchers, there was the launch of the International Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition and plenty of time to mingle over lunch and coffee breaks. Sport and Biomechanics researcher Raihana Sharir was winner of the three minute thesis competition: “It was a nerve wracking but wonderful experience,” said Raihana. “My prize was a £500 travel grant. After the competition, many students came to ask more about my research. For me the 3MT was one of the best features of the conference as it gave researches the chance to get a brief, concise introduction to other students’ research.”
The café series is organised by LJMU Library Services. For details of forthcoming cafes, please contact Research Support Librarian, Katherine Stephan (K.D.Stephan@ljmu.ac.uk).
Following the success of the inaugural conference, the event is set to become an annual feature in the LJMU calendar.
WHEN TEACHING IS IN THE BLOOD
MasterPlan meets Matt McLain, LJMU’s award winning leader of secondary teacher training. Matt McLain has been busy recently winning a prestigious award and drafting content for the new GCSE and A Level qualifications. It may come as some surprise then that this leading light in the world of education once vowed never to become a teacher.
“My role involves teaching trainee teachers, going out to schools observing their training and working on programme development,” Matt explains. “I am also doing my PhD, looking at teacher modelling and how skills are demonstrated.” Early this year Matt travelled to London to the annual Design and Technology Association awards in London. These peer nominated awards saw Matt walking away with the Teacher Training Design and Technology award. “It was a real honour and great to have been nominated by those I work alongside,” he says. “My role at LJMU has enabled me to extend my professional network, engage with other teachers and gain a clear understanding of best practice in the field.”
Matt, from Cookstown in County Tyrone, originally moved to Liverpool to study Architecture. His choice of career, however, was somewhat removed from the family norm. “Teaching was a way of life for our family,” he smiles. “My dad was a lecturer and my aunts, two uncles and two cousins were teachers. Indeed, looking back through the generations, there were many educators.” Keen to plough his own furrow, however, Matt declared that he would not be following the family tradition. Teaching was not for him.
It is this best practice that LJMU passes onto its trainees through its range of PGCE and PGDE programmes. “We have a personal approach to teacher training,” says Matt. “We have high expectations in terms of engagement and expect students to think about research and incorporate it into their teaching.”
“I was in the last cohort to study at LJMU when it was a polytechnic,” explains Matt. “I graduated in Architectural Studies and had a great time here. The only problem was that, as I finished my studies, the building sector recession was just taking hold.”
So, what makes a good teacher? “Obviously you need passion,” he explains, “but that’s not enough. You need to want to share your knowledge with young people and that doesn’t mean dumbing down but breaking your knowledge into its component parts. Patience and resilience are key.”
Matt took a year out to work in an addiction rehabilitation centre. Within no time he was co-ordinating the education and training programmes available to the centre’s clients and slowly realising that he really enjoyed that aspect of the job.
“As a teacher you are part of a child’s journey into adulthood. Teaching is not about creating replicas of yourself, it is about creating the whole child and giving them a better understanding of the world around them. That said, if your students do decide to follow in your footsteps and specialise in your subject, that has to be a bonus.”
It seemed that family tradition was just too strong to resist and Matt decided to train as a teacher. On graduation, he worked for 11 years in two schools in the St Helens area as a Design and Technology Teacher, an Advanced Skills Teacher and Assistant Head of Year. He joined LJMU in 2009, working as a teacher educator and later became leader of the University’s secondary programmes.
Looking to the future, Matt plans to finish his PhD in the next two years. “I never want to lose the teaching element of what I do,” he says. “I do, however, want to get more involved in research and make a real impact on subject development and teaching in general.”
THE PATH TO CAREER SUCCESS In some cases postgraduate study is a pre-determined step on the journey towards a chosen career. You simply need a masters to achieve your dream. This long-term view enables you to plan effectively and be clear about where you want to be and how you are going to get there. It also, however, calls for hard work, determination and a certain tenacity of spirit. Here we follow LJMU’s Megan Inman on her path to career success.
ACHIEVING YOUR GOAL Wanting to be a Solicitor for as long as she can remember, Megan determinedly followed the path to fulfil her dream. Graduating with an honours degree in Law from LJMU and then going on to take her Legal Practice Course (LPC) at the University, she joined Weightmans LLP in 2012.
work for a commercial law firm. Following the scheme, I was fortunate enough to be offered a permanent Paralegal role.” Megan initially worked as a Paralegal in the healthcare team, providing assistance with the defence of clinical negligence claims, employer’s liability and public liability claims on behalf of the NHS Litigation Authority and member Trusts. “I was also offered further secondment opportunities at the North West Ambulance Service and Calderstones Partnership NHS Trust, in which I headed up the legal department and provided advice and training for the client on various topical legal issues,”
“I began my journey at Weightmans LLP in June 2012 when I took part in their competitive, sought after summer vacation scheme,” she explains. “There were two weeks of activities and assessments and, on completion, I knew I wanted to
she says. “This was a fantastic opportunity to enhance my legal experience which is essential if you want to obtain that elusive training contract.”
From the very start of her career, Megan’s dream was always to gain a training contract with Weightmans LLP, however, training and working for a top 45 law firm, she knew that competition would be fierce. With support from LJMU’s careers team and sheer hard work and dedication, Megan’s dream came true in 2014 when she was awarded her training contract and was one of the highest scoring UK candidates at Weightmans LLP. Megan commenced her training contract in September 2016.
Accepting an internal transfer to the commercial insurance team, Megan began to work with other patron clients at the firm. “My advice is to show flexibility and a willingness to adapt as much as possible in this industry,” she says. “It is vital not to ‘pigeon hole’ yourself at such an early stage in your career.” She later moved to the fast-paced motor team and gained invaluable experience of handling her own caseload.
“When I look back at the past five years I am so proud of how far I have come and what I have achieved,” smiles Megan. “There have been many exciting and, undeniably, challenging moments throughout my career to date. However, it is the dream and innate ambition which inevitably drives you to be where you want to be. I’m a great believer in the Japanese proverb: ‘Fall seven times, stand up eight’.
Not surprisingly, the hard work didn’t stop at Megan’s desk. A keen fundraiser, she became an active member of the Weightmans Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) committee. “I believe that everyone should contribute what they can, when they can, to those in need so choosing a law firm with similar values was really important to me,” she explains. “Weightmans are committed to driving CSR as much as possible to make a real difference.”
I can honestly say that postgraduate study at LJMU has taken me to where I want to be and given me the opportunity to pursue my dreams.”
MOVING ON UP With the increasing emphasis on qualifications in so many employment sectors, moving up the career ladder often calls for further study and that’s why so many people either take a career break to gain a postgraduate qualification or study part-time alongside employment. Here we meet two of the many LJMU Postgraduates who are moving on up the career ladder.
NURSING CAREER AMBITIONS Having taken the conventional nursing training route some 30 years ago, Catherine Gadd decided to study for her masters in Advanced Healthcare Practice (Clinical) following an inspiring conversation at work.
In terms of study highlights, it’s the staff that make the difference for Catherine: “With a really inspiring, credible team of lecturers, the teaching sessions go so quickly and you really do hang on your lecturer’s every word,” she says. “The standard of teaching has been consistently high. Staff speak so eloquently and convey the information in a manner which is really easy to take in. They are all very different but are so clinically credible, having a lot of experience and expertise.”
“I never intended taking a masters degree,” she explains. “I didn’t want to spend my time churning out paperwork, dissertations and theses that had no bearing on my daily life. However, a colleague told me about the Clinical Examination CPD module and I decided to give it a go.”
So would Catherine recommend postgraduate study at LJMU to others in her position? “Absolutely! For someone like myself with a practical background it is amazing. I have been taught systematic methods of doing things – methods that colleagues studying at other universities simply haven’t encountered,” she enthuses. “In essence my masters study has enabled me to think far more laterally about a world I thought I understood. I really can’t recommend it enough.”
Impressed by just how practical the module was, Catherine went on to complete a Diagnostics module. Northwest funding then became available and she was offered the opportunity to complete the full masters degree. Postgraduate study really wasn’t what Catherine was expecting: “It was so clinically focused and far more interesting,” she smiles. “Obviously you have to reach a set academic standard but the focus is on real, juicy, clinical knowledge that you can use in the workplace and that is just what I wanted.”
PRESCRIBING POSTGRADUATE STUDY Ben Hindley completed his Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Pharmacy in 2011 and now works at Aintree University Hospital. “I decided to study for my postgraduate diploma at LJMU because I am comfortable here, having transferred to the University in the first year of my undergraduate degree,” he explains. “LJMU is a much friendlier place than my original institution and I am much happier in Liverpool.” The structure of the programme suited Ben to a tee “I found LJMU very forward thinking in the way the course was organised,” he says. “There was a lot of support from staff and easy access to all the resources we needed. Feedback on assessments was personalised and generally very quick.” In terms of highlights, it was the feeling of community that made a difference to Ben: “Study weekends were the best part of the programme. The entire cohort of students came together enabling you to talk to others in the same situation.” And, when it comes to results, Ben has already seen the positive impact of postgraduate study on his career. “My diploma has definitely created opportunities for me personally,” he says. “I was able to apply for, and obtain, a more senior role within the department and I have also become a work-based tutor on the masters programme.”
POSTGRADUATES WITH A PASSION For some, postgraduate study is about losing yourself in a subject you love. It’s about revelling in the joy of a topic that really interests you. Whether it’s a subject that leads directly to a career or something a little more obscure, we meet LJMU’s postgraduates with a passion.
ORIENTAL AMBITIONS Anyone who has ever known PhD student Jen Lynch would not be surprised to see her devoting her time to research. The Arts School graduate has always loved reading and admits to going above and beyond with many school and university research projects. What may come as a surprise, however, is her choice of study topic: gender representation in Japanese art.
Jen honed her research skills on the MRes programme. “It not only taught me how to research, it also taught me how to be a researcher,” she explains. With her passion for research developing, Jen embarked on her PhD in September 2014, studying part-time alongside working in the Art School. “I have been lecturing on the History of Art undergraduate programme, marking first year work and working on UCAS days and applicant days,” she smiles. “The first undergraduates I taught have graduated this year and it is wonderful to see how they have developed.”
Growing up on the outskirts of Liverpool, Jen had little knowledge of things Oriental until, in her teens, a family member introduced her to anime. “From that moment I was hooked!” she says. “I was desperate to study aspects of Japanese Art at A Level but was told this was not possible.”
As for her own studies, Jen is now learning Japanese and hopes to visit the county as part of her studies. Long term she would like a career in academia and wants to keep researching and writing.
“In 2009 I embarked on an undergraduate degree in the History of Art and Museum Studies at LJMU and was delighted to discover that I could follow my interests as part of my course. I decided I wanted to continue my studies beyond first degree level and my entire third year was geared towards securing a place on the MRes.”
“John Moores has been everything I could have asked for and more,” she says. “I have been here for seven years now and have enjoyed every minute. The support is first class, the tutors are great and the students all want to make something of themselves. At LJMU you are a person not a number and that makes a real difference.”
ANIMAL ATTRACTION For as long as he can remember, Simon Stringer has been passionate about animals. As a child he was fascinated by wildlife, exploring the Lickey Hills with the family dog, as a teenager he was interested in ethical issues relating to animal welfare but as an adult he had to put his passion to one side and get out into the world of work.
to do a day’s hairdressing to fund his studies. “When I finished my degree I studied for an MRes at Harper Adams University, funded by the Woodland Trust,” he says. “What was becoming clear though was that I wanted to work with wild animals and was determined to learn from the best. When I heard about the Primate Behaviour and Conservation masters at LJMU I knew it was the course for me.”
By his late 20s Simon had a successful career working for Toni & Guy and Nicky Clarke as a colour technician. Very much at the top of his game, Simon had studied the science of hair colouring, training with all of the big names and earning himself a great reputation. One thing was missing though: happiness!
Drawn to the expertise of Professor Serge Wich and colleagues, Simon loved every minute of his masters at LJMU. “On the first day of my course I asked staff how soon I could apply for a PhD,” he laughs. “They must have thought I was a little over keen!”
“I can’t begin to tell you how stressful hairdressing was,” smiles Simon. “After 10 years in the industry I wasn’t enjoying myself, so one day I quit!”
Graduating in style with 94% in his dissertation module, Simon was successful in his PhD application and is about to travel to the Soutpansberg Mountains, South Africa for 18 months, studying the relative role of sympatric primates on seed dispersion and species composition. “I’ll be carrying out behavioural studies on the primates, collecting faecal samples and then sourcing seeds from the samples,” he explains. “I want to find out if the passage of the seeds through an animal’s gut makes them more or less viable for germination.”
Simon went to the Job Centre to ask about careers working with animals and realised that, if he wanted to follow his dream, he would have to go back to school. “Whilst visiting the Birmingham Nature Centre one day I saw a poster for a course at Pershore College leading to a National Award in Animal Behaviour,” he explains. “I knew I had to do it.”
So, looking back on his career to date, how does Simon feel knowing that his lifelong passion has taken him from the luxurious surroundings of a top end hair salon to the wilds of South Africa collecting primate droppings? “My happiness levels are through the roof!” he laughs. “Further education has changed my life. My future will be working with the animals I love and that’s simply because I followed my dream.”
A model student, Simon won the ‘Student of the Year’ award and went on to gain an HND. “It was at that point I had to decide whether to go back into work or continue my education,” he explains. “I decided to keep following my dream.” Simon took a degree in Conservation Biology at Plymouth University, travelling home to Birmingham every three weeks
STARTING AFRESH Traditionally, postgraduate study has been seen as a step towards a longed for career, a move towards an established goal. Increasingly, however, it is now also recognised as a career change tool, enabling those who have significant experience in one sector to change direction and follow a new path. Here we meet two LJMU postgraduates who left behind successful careers in one industry to start afresh in a different sector.
SCHOOL’S IN FOR DAVID With a successful career as a pharmacist under his belt and a bright future before him, David Lenagh decided on a career change that would take him firstly back to university and, ultimately, back to school.
Thanks to a user-friendly application process and plenty of guidance on funding and accommodation, David soon found himself moving to Liverpool to start the course. “For the first three or four weeks all teacher training students spend time together at the University getting a good grounding in the basics,” explains David. “It is a great opportunity to familiarise yourself with the University, the programme structure and, of course, get to know your fellow trainees.”
Having spent four years training to be a pharmacist and almost as long working as a pharmacist and later a pharmacy manager, 27 year-old David Lenagh announced to friends and family that he wanted to become a teacher. “My parents thought it was a strange decision as I had a good, solid job,” David explains, “but my experience of working with trainee pharmacy students made me realise that education was my passion.”
Teacher training students have a ‘home school’ and an alternative placement school. Each student is appointed a professional tutor to explain how the school operates as well as a personal, subject-based tutor.
A career in teaching beckoned but, keen to ensure his expectations were realistic, David organised some work experience in a local school. “I really enjoyed my time in the classroom,” he says. “It made me realise that, although teaching can be difficult at times, it is also massively rewarding.”
Students begin by observing lessons and then get involved in team teaching. They will then lead the first 10 to 15 minutes of a lesson and, eventually, take their first entire lesson. “As was the case in pharmacy, there comes a time when you know all you can about the process and you have to try it for yourself,” smiles David. “Obviously, taking your first class seems daunting but it is also very rewarding.”
Looking at various teacher training courses in his native Northern Ireland and beyond, David decided to study in England due to the additional job opportunities here. “I looked at all of the programmes available and realised that Liverpool and John Moores offered just what I wanted,” says David. “As a city, Liverpool has plenty going on but is not too big like, for example, London. And when it comes to qualifications, I was really drawn to the PGDE and the opportunity to gain masters- level credits.”
When David finishes his studies at LJMU he hopes to secure a teaching post in the Liverpool area and later, go on to complete his masters. “I think it will take me a couple of years in full-time teaching to establish exactly where I want to be,” he says, “but I can honestly say that the decision to change career was the right one for me. Seeing the children in my classes progress is ample recompense for any sacrifices I have had to make.”
LIFE CHANGING STUDY After 10 years working as a chef, Richard Webb made the brave decision to give up a well-paid job and go back into full time education. Six years on, and about to complete his PhD, life is very different for the 35 year-old.
Indeed, it was this research experience that inspired Richard to abandon his product development ambitions and investigate the possibility of further study. “I asked my lecturers how to go about applying for a PhD,” he says. “It was quite obvious that funding was going to be the issue so I decided to apply for a studentship which pays your fees and provides a salary.”
“I left school after my A-levels and worked as a chef for 10 years in various restaurants and hotels around the North West,” Richard explains. “I then decided to move into product development and for that I needed a degree.”
Richard gained a first in his undergraduate degree and, when a studentship opportunity came up at LJMU, he applied and was successful. Studying the use of insulin pumps in patients with type 1 diabetes, Richard’s PhD is a collaboration with the Royal Liverpool Hospital. “During my undergraduate degree I developed an interest in the effects of nutrition on the body,” he explains. “My focus changed from food to health.”
Richard looked at various universities but found that LJMU’s programmes and friendly approach hit just the right note for him. “Returning to education was nerve wracking to say the least,” he smiles. “I worried that I wouldn’t be clever enough, I would be the only mature student and I wouldn’t fit in.” Richard’s fears were very much unfounded, he excelled in his studies, met many other mature students and even won a number of awards.
With his PhD studies coming to a close, Richard wants to continue his research via post-doctoral studies. “It’s hard to take in the changes of the past six years,” he says. “Long term I would like to go into lecturing but, for the moment, I want to pursue my research and hopefully make a breakthrough that will really help others.”
“The course was excellent and there were lots of extra things to get involved with,” he enthuses. “I was lucky enough to have a three month work placement in Liverpool and also helped out on two research projects for PhD students.”
A GREAT PLACE TO STUDY, A GREAT PLACE TO LIVE As well as students from the Merseyside area and beyond, LJMU welcomes a host of international postgraduate students. For some, it’s a case of a year away from family and friends, for others, family relocate with them. Here MasterPlan meets two such students who are enjoying Liverpool life every bit as much as their studies.
A FAMILY AFFAIR Studying overseas can seem like a big step no matter what your age but, when you have a family to consider, a move to the UK can be a daunting prospect. For Malaysian PhD student Bahrom Mohd Isa, however, the move to Liverpool and John Moores University has been everything he could have wished for and more – not only for himself but also for his wife and two young children.
with a great mix of traditional and modern architecture. The people are lovely and there is always so much to do.” Sons Farrel, aged 8, and Fierasz, aged 7, are already feeling very much at home in the UK. “They couldn’t speak a word of English when they arrived but their schools have been amazing, their teachers really patient and kind and they came so far in just a month,” says the proud dad. “They are always asking me how to say things in English and are really keen to learn. This grounding will really serve them well for the future.”
“I decided to come to the UK, having been awarded four years’ funding by the Malaysian Government to undertake a PhD on special educational needs,” explains Bahrom. “I have a wife and two young children and I wanted them to be part of the experience so we decided to move as a family.”
And it isn’t just language skills that the boys have benefited from. “They have so many new friends to play with – we can’t believe it,” enthuses Bahrom. “There’s even been mention of a girlfriend or two!”
Bahrom travelled alone to the UK for the start of his studies. “I stayed with a friend whilst I settled in,” he says. “The University support services were great, helping me with all of the basics such as bank accounts and paperwork.”
So life is looking good for Bahrom and his family. “We will go back to Malaysia for a holiday and our family may come to visit us in Liverpool,” he says. “My parents are looking after our house whilst we are away so we know that everything is OK at home.”
Within no time, Bahrom started looking for accommodation. “Although the University services are great, we needed something a little different so I did a lot of google searches and a lot of walking,” he smiles. “I soon found exactly what I was looking for and signed the rental agreement.”
As for life in the UK, there’s never a dull moment. “We go shopping in Liverpool One, spend lots of time in the museums and get out and about to places like Formby – the boys love the red squirrels,” smiles Bahrom.
Bahrom’s family made the move to Liverpool early in 2015. His wife and sons found the weather somewhat of a challenge at first. “Perhaps winter wasn’t the right time to move,” he laughs. “It took them a few weeks to acclimatise.”
So would Bahrom recommend relocating with family to study. “Absolutely,” he says. “It is such an amazing thing for the boys to experience life in Europe at such an early age. We made the right decision when we moved to Liverpool. It is now our second home.”
In terms of the city, however, Liverpool was a massive hit from day one. “We all love it,” says Bahrom. “It is a beautiful city
GOING IT ALONE Having studied TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) at both undergraduate and postgraduate level in her native Malaysia, Sha Mohd Shafee set out on a career in teacher education. When the opportunity arose to take her own education to the next level, however, she jumped at the chance.
of university life. I have been given a great opportunity and am determined to make the most of it.” Indeed, Sha is enjoying her down time as much as her studies. “Before Christmas last year my supervisor told me that he hoped I wouldn’t feel sad or isolated over the holidays as everything would shut down,” she smiles. “A group of us had already arranged to travel through Italy, France and Spain over the two weeks – we had no intention of feeling sad!”
“When I arrived in Liverpool my supervisor asked me what I knew about the city,” she laughs. “I said I knew about the football teams, nothing else.” Where many would have been horrified at the thought of studying in a city they knew little about, Sha has thrown herself into Liverpool life. “When you come to a new place you want to belong to a crowd and so the first few months are all about finding that group of people who make you happy. Go to whatever meetings you can, take part in social events and make the effort to talk to people. As my specialism is English I use every opportunity I can to improve my language skills.”
Sha is full of praise for her supervisor and other departmental staff. “John Moores is very accommodating to students,” she says. “Student support is the driving force of the University, it empowers you and enables you to do your best. That level of support is just not available in Malaysia and has come as a very nice surprise.” As to the future, Sha has a trip back to Malaysia planned for data collection purposes and is expecting a visit from the elder of her two brothers. “Even my younger brother is keen to come out and see me,” she smiles. “He is only 11 and keeps telling me he needs to come to Liverpool as Malaysia is just too hot for him!” Who knows? Maybe one day he will study at LJMU too!
On arrival in the UK, Sha moved into University accommodation and found this very useful in terms of making friends and adjusting to the different way of life. “I also booked the airport meet and greet service so I didn’t have any worries about transport into the city,” she explains. Unfortunately, however, navigation hasn’t always been so easy. “On one occasion I was lost for an hour looking for the library,” she smiles. “It seemed a big deal at the time but I soon realised that in situations like that there’s no need to panic, you just ask for help. Everyone is really friendly in Liverpool. As an overseas student you need to familiarise yourself with your surroundings. It just takes a little time.” So what does Sha think of Liverpool. “When I send my friends in Malaysia photographs of the city on the way to lectures they ask if I am on holiday,” she laughs. “I come from Kuala Lumpur and Liverpool is very different. It is great to be able to walk everywhere, there is much less traffic than I am used to. In fact, if I had to describe the city in one word I would say it is a very calm place.” Despite all her good experiences, Sha is keen to stress that home sickness is an unavoidable factor of studying abroad. “As much as I love it here I do, of course, miss my friends, family and home,” she admits. “I deal with it by talking to them as often as I can and enjoying all aspects
WE’RE HERE FOR YOU HOW OUR STUDENT SUPPORT MAKES US DIFFERENT If there’s one thing that our students really appreciate at LJMU, it’s the support they receive from academic and pastoral services staff. “In my opinion the support on offer is one of the main benefits of studying at LJMU,” explains PhD student Stephen Smith. “You are always welcome to speak to your tutors or email them for assistance if you can’t see them face-to-face. Tutors are very well connected and this can be a real benefit.”
“LJMU staff are ambitious and keen to push the university forward but they are never so academically driven as to forget the needs of the students who study here,” says International Events Management student Alysha Martin.
“There’s always someone to turn to,” explains International Public Health student Shraddha Manandhar. “Having a personal tutor is a key benefit.”
“I would advise anyone thinking of coming to LJMU for masters level study to take that leap into the unknown,” assures Sue Barry who is studying Human Resource Management. “Once you are here you will be fully supported and will meet lots of other people in the same position.”
HOW WE CAN HELP
Whether you are joining LJMU as a new student or have studied here as an undergraduate, you will have access to a wealth of support services. You’ll find details of the main services below but, if you are not quite sure what support you need, either email email@example.com or call in and see us at the Aquinas Building on Mount Pleasant.
LJMU’s dedicated international team is there to support overseas students from the moment you decide to study with us. As well as letting you know all about LJMU before you come to Liverpool, the team provides a ‘meet and greet’ service when you arrive in the UK and will help with issues such as setting up a UK bank account and an email address, registering with the police and setting your immigration status to ‘student’.
• Accommodation As well as the services of our central accommodation team who deal with queries and arrangements pre-arrival, Student Advice and Wellbeing can help you with any issues you may have with University accommodation once you settle in, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact our private sector housing adviser based at Liverpool Student Housing, email: email@example.com
To find out more about what the international team can do for you, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Counselling and Mental Wellbeing Talking therapy appointments are available Monday to Friday throughout the year and there is also a daily drop in session, contact: email@example.com
When you begin your studies at LJMU you may find you need help with certain academic topics. Our study skills classes provide valuable support for students at all levels.
• Disability Support If you have a disability and require extra support during your studies, please inform Student Advice and Wellbeing as soon as possible, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We offer a wide range of generic training sessions as well as specific support for international and postgraduate students. Details of sessions are sent out weekly via email. Bespoke sessions are also available subject to demand.
• Finance Whether you need information on scholarships, loans or bursaries or some help budgeting, our Finance Advisers have the answers you need, email: email@example.com
LIBRARY SUPPORT LJMU has three libraries: the Aldham Robarts library at the Mount Pleasant Campus, the Avril Robarts library in the City Centre and the IM Marsh library. A hub for all front-line student services, our libraries are the place to: register and enrol, hand in your coursework, pay fees and get guidance on anything related to the student experience.
• International Student Support For one-to-one and group sessions on topics such as visa applications or cultural issues contact: firstname.lastname@example.org • Study Support If you need to develop additional skills to complement your studies, our study support team can help with topics such as academic writing, referencing, maths support and English for academic purposes. For more information email: email@example.com or see our Academic Support section.
LIVERPOOL STUDENTS UNION Liverpool SU represents all LJMU students. Run by elected student officers, LSU prides itself on being an entirely student-led organisation, working solely to improve your University experience. To find out more, visit www.liverpoolsu.com
TAKING YOU TO WHERE YOU WANT TO BE SO WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT FROM US IN TERMS OF CAREER SUPPORT?
Did you know that an impressive 98%* of LJMU taught postgraduates are in work or further study six months after graduation? One of the reasons we can boast such great statistics is the excellent careers support available to each and every LJMU student. We have a wide range of initiatives to help you get to where you want to be, ranging from ‘Going Global’ – for those who want to work overseas – to the highly praised, employer-endorsed ‘World of Work’ certificate which is the only award of its kind.
We work hard to ensure that career support is as accessible as possible so, for example, we have Career Zones in our main buildings, offer workshops and classes at times to suit you and even arrange webinars for you to access remotely. Highlights of our service include: • The MyJobsandPlacements website (ljmu.prospects.ac.uk/) where you can search for jobs, placements, internships and voluntary work
“As a university, LJMU will give you that edge in industry, whilst masters level study will enable you to develop skills that are very important in the professional environment, preparing you to start your career.”
• Career insight guides specifically for your subject area – see www2.ljmu.ac.uk/worldofwork • A dedicated careers adviser for your Faculty • An expert CV and application checking service – call 0151 231 8099 • Regular careers events and employer days – see worldofwork.ljmu.ac.uk/events
Mohammed Shabuo, Architectural Engineering
• Workshops and webinars on CVs, application forms, interviews, psychometric tests etc – see worldofwork.ljmu.ac.uk/events • The employer-endorsed ‘World of Work’ skills certificate • One-to-one careers advice and guidance from expert employability advisers and career advisers – call 0151 231 8099 (option 1) • Mock interviews to perfect your technique and build your confidence – call 0151 231 8099 *HESA data 2015
“The University is very good at preparing you for work and further study. We have had lots of career talks from alumni demonstrating the opportunities available to us. These have often been in areas we hadn’t previously considered.”
“My masters 100% set me up for what I am doing now and, looking back, postgraduate study was one of the best decisions I have ever made.” PhD student Robert Seaborne
Clare Austin, Health Psychology
“Staff are there to help you every step of the way – be that with exam preparation, mock interviews or writing your CV. Tutors encourage you to attend networking events organised by the university. They are also happy to put you in touch with their industry contacts for help and advice. I absolutely love it at LJMU and, if I could, I would study here forever.” Abbie Rooney, News Journalism
“The support on the course has been first class and lecturers are always available to talk to. The Career Zones are also really useful and I have worked with the careers team on my CV. They have helped me to improve it so that employers reading it now know a lot more about me a lot sooner.” Nick Symonds, Engineering
“There is no doubt that my masters degree from LJMU will give me better opportunities in the workplace and I have already recommended the University to all my friends.”
“My studies at LJMU and the help I have received from the careers team have given me the confidence to go out and work in industry, applying the knowledge and skills I have gained at LJMU. Liverpool really has been a wonderful experience for me.”
Shraddha Manandhar, International Public Health
Omer Chiyoyo Kamwena, Electrical Power and Control Engineering
A PLACE IN THE CITY PRIVATE ACCOMMODATION
If you are moving to Liverpool to study, you’ll be delighted to hear that all new students are guaranteed a room in University-endorsed accommodation, no matter what your level of study. And what’s more, if you prefer privately owned accommodation, we can help with that too!
Liverpool Student Homes (LSH) www.liverpoolstudenthomes.org/ is the official provider of private accommodation for LJMU, the University of Liverpool and Liverpool Hope University.
UNIVERSITY ENDORSED ACCOMMODATION
LSH has the city’s largest choice of student flats, houses and rooms with over 16,000 bed spaces. It offers protection against poor housing conditions and also provides impartial expert housing advice when required. All landlords who register properties with LSH must meet agreed safety criteria and manage their property subject to set guidelines. In essence, if you want private accommodation with complete peace of mind, LSH is the choice for you.
Opt for University-endorsed accommodation and we’ll give you the option to live with other postgraduate students and/or mature undergraduates.
For more information call LSH on 0151 794 3296 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To book your university accommodation: 1. Explore the accommodation options: ljmu.ac.uk/discover/ your-student-experience/accommodation 2. On accepting an offer from LJMU, submit your online accommodation request. The sooner you send a request, the more choice you will have 3. Your accommodation manager will contact you by email within 10 days. Follow the instructions provided and make the initial payment to finalise your booking For further help or advice, please call: +44 (0)151 231 4166 or email: email@example.com
NOT SURE WHICH ROUTE TO TAKE? If you are completely new to the city and are not sure which accommodation type to choose, why not book into a hotel or a hostel for a couple of nights and visit the different options before making your decision?
INVESTING IN YOUR FUTURE Before you embark on your postgraduate studies, you need to think about how you are going to fund the next stage of your education. The great news is that financial support is available for postgraduate study in many guises and our student advice team are on hand to guide you through the options. You can contact our funding specialists at firstname.lastname@example.org but, in the meantime, here’s a brief outline of the options open to you: • Postgraduate Masters Loans Students from England or the EU attending eligible full and part-time masters courses can apply for government loans of up to £10,000. Further information and details of eligibility are available at ljmu.ac.uk/postgraduate-funding • Professional and Career Development Loans This government initiative features a commercial loan of up to £10,000 provided by a high street bank but underwritten by the government so you don’t have to make repayments whilst you are studying. You will, however, need to start repaying your loan a month after finishing your course. Go to gov.uk/career-development-loans for details • Postgraduate Scholarships Go to ljmu.ac.uk for details of postgraduate scholarships • Postgraduate International Scholarships LJMU offers a series of scholarships for international applicants on taught masters programmes and research degrees. These scholarships take the form of fee waivers. For full eligibility criteria and details of how to apply, go to: ljmu.ac.uk/international
DID YOU KNOW? • If you have an undergraduate degree from LJMU you can receive a 20% reduction on postgraduate tuition fees (eligibility criteria apply)
• Teacher Training Teacher training is funded like undergraduate study via government loans and grants. There are also bursaries depending on your degree classification and subject. See gov.uk/teacher-training-funding for more details. Funding applications open at the end of February
• Funding is also available from research councils, charities and trusts • The University has a Student Support Fund for those facing unexpected hardship and those with caring responsibilities
• NHS Courses
• Equipment and support is available for those with an ongoing disability or learning difficulty, email: email@example.com for further information
You can apply for a bursary for some masters level NHS Courses. The funding cycle opens in April for September starters. See the NHS Business Services Authority website (nhsbsa.nhs.uk/students) for more details
• If you are a full-time student with a child or adult dependant, you may qualify for extra financial support
CONTACT DETAILS FACULTIES
Faculty of Arts, Professional and Social Studies firstname.lastname@example.org
Faculty of Science
Faculty of Education, Health and Community (education admissions)
Liverpool Student Homes
Faculty of Education, Health and Community (health admissions) email@example.com
Student support firstname.lastname@example.org
Faculty of Engineering and Technology email@example.com
The Graduate School (contact form) www.ljmu.ac.uk/forms/enquiry
Visit ljmu.ac.uk or connect with us on Twitter @LJMU
Preparing for postgraduate study at LJMU