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MASTERPLAN Preparing for Postgraduate Study at LJMU


Postgraduate passions Making a difference Living the dream Leaving for Liverpool

CONTENTS 2 4 5 8 10 11 12 14 15 16 18 19 20 22 24 25 26 28 29 30 31

Welcome to LJMU Domingo’s Liverpool home LJMU news Kyle beefs up his studies Fashioning career success Putting the heart in art How masters helped me through Shining a light in the darkness A fight worth fighting The one that almost got away When dreams really do come true Paperback writer Cardiology to couplets It’s a 10 from Jenne Taming the globetrotter Support when you need it We’re here for you Taking you to where you want to be Building for her future Funding your studies Finding a place to live

MESSAGE FROM THE VICE CHANCELLOR We are delighted to be able to tell you more about the fantastic postgraduate experience on offer at Liverpool John Moores University. Liverpool is a global city of opportunity and a vibrant place to live and work. As a pioneering modern civic university, LJMU combines world-class expertise and facilities with access to outstanding employment opportunities through partnerships with key employers across the UK and beyond. This edition of MasterPlan looks at the different experiences of our postgraduate students and the amazing journeys that brought them to LJMU. It considers how postgraduate study has helped them to fulfil their dreams and examines personal growth, strength of character and the key role LJMU has played in making our postgraduates who they are today.

LJMU postgraduate research students rated their supervision significantly above the sector average in the latest Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES). The University was rated: 95% for skills, 89% for contact, 90% for feedback and 84% for development needs.

These inspirational and heart-warming stories demonstrate the power of education and the incredible experiences that await you in the wonderful city of Liverpool.


Welcome to LJMU A PLACE TO CALL HOME Ask any of our students and they’ll tell you that Liverpool is magical – the kind of place where you feel at home right away and, inevitably, want to stay. Indeed, if you don’t already live in Liverpool, this city is sure to become your second home.

Hamda Mamood who previously studied in China agrees: “You should not hesitate to choose LJMU for postgraduate study. It is a really good institute with highly skilled tutors who can enhance your existing knowledge.” “LJMU has good, innovative courses and my personal tutor and academic support group are always there to help whenever I need them,” says Health Psychology student Esther Gabriel. “Postgraduate study is exactly what I was expecting: challenging, satisfying and fulfilling.”

“Liverpool is a city of students, a beautiful place with a rich history,” says International Journalism student Kiran Javaid. “It is peaceful and calm yet, at the same time, there is always something happening, catering for all interests. I love to walk around the docks, shop in the city centre and try out all of the great independent restaurants on Bold Street.”

And when it comes to immersing yourself in the local culture alongside your studies, Indonesian Marine and Offshore Engineering student Elsa Rizkita Kencana sums it up perfectly: “I’d say studying to be a Scouser is almost as enjoyable as my University work,” she smiles.

“There is always something to do and see here and the different experiences on offer make you grow as a person,” agrees fellow International Journalism student Deena Melamel. Football fan and Mechanical Engineering student Abdo Habib considers the city the perfect place for him: “Liverpool is a wonderful place,” he says. “The people are really very friendly and that makes it so easy to move here.”

With an overall student satisfaction rate of 87%, LJMU was ranked in the top 25% of institutions for all Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) categories in 2016. We were particularly well rated for: student representation, promptness of feedback and timetabling.

So, you’ve certainly chosen the right city but is John Moores the right university? Abdo explains: “There is excellent support from lecturers during the working day and beyond. The important thing about the support here is that staff don’t tell you the answers, they tell you how to find the answers and how to increase your knowledge so you can find solutions. You’ll not find anywhere better than LJMU – the support here is the best.”


DOMINGO’S LIVERPOOL HOME Domingo Leal Perez first visited Liverpool in 2009 as an Erasmus student studying Business Management in Seville, Spain. Fast forward eight years and it looks like the city might have cast its spell on the Business School student as he is now studying for his masters here. “Liverpool is the city I love and the place I feel most passionate about outside of Spain,” says Domingo. “I originally came here because I wanted to go outside of my comfort zone but now I feel very much at home in the city.” The Digital Marketing student is such an advocate of Liverpool that some years ago he persuaded his brother, who is also in the UK, to move to the city. “I told him how amazing Liverpool was and how he needed to be here,” smiles Domingo. “He now works as a dentist in the city and is very glad he made the move.” Keen to ‘give back’ to the city he now calls home, Domingo has taught Spanish here for several years and gets involved in as many education and community projects as he can. Long term he wants to start his own marketing business, promoting organisational cooperation. “I want to have branches in Seville and Liverpool and develop them together,” he says. “Liverpool is a great place to grow a business and LJMU has made me the person I am today. I know for sure I will always have a base here.”


LJMU NEWS OUR MONEY’S ON OLIVIA Liverpool-born LJMU student Olivia Stanton has been awarded £1,000 as part of the CISI Education Trust Award. The Financial Management MSc student achieved the highest grade for the equity investment presentation in a competition run by The Chartered Institute for Investments and Securities (CISI).


The award aims to encourage promising students to enter the field of wealth management. Financial Management programme leader Karl Roberts explains more: “Our students had to work as a Chartered Wealth Manager in an equity trading game provided through the London Stock Exchange website. This involved a 10-week trading period where they could invest either on the Official Market or the Alternative Investment Market.”

Did you hear the one about the PhD researcher and the comedy night? Well, thanks to drama lecturer Dr Tim Miles, it’s got a great punchline. Dr Miles introduced Bright Club to LJMU in February when he brought together four researchers to do a 10 minute comedy stand-up routine based on their research.

At the end of the training, students gave a 30-minute presentation explaining the rationale for their investments, incorporating empirical research and explaining the resultant equity movements. Olivia’s presentation was well structured, well informed and communicated in a professional manner.

“Bright Club is a comedy night with a difference,” explains Tim. “It aims to attract an audience that would not normally attend an academic public lecture, by creating the entertaining atmosphere of a comedy club.”

“My maths A-Level got me interested in numbers and finance,” explained Olivia. “I have followed the markets since then. Although I lost money on my portfolio, thanks to uncertainties in one particular GSK fund during the US election, my analysis, rationale and market research earned me a high mark for my assignment.”

Stand-up poet and PhD student Kate Fox was compère for the night and professional comedian Kate Smurthwaite was headline act. Taking to the stage for LJMU were researchers Fyaz Ismail, Elaine Aspinwall-Roberts, Joe Moran and Tim himself, as well as graduate Sonja Doubleday who performs her clown act – Cheekykita, nationwide, to great critical acclaim. “Bright Club aims to raise public awareness of research, to give researchers an opportunity for public engagement and to help them develop their media and public profiles,” says Tim. “I was involved in founding Surrey Bright Club, and have performed at Bright Clubs for Surrey and Loughborough Universities and for UCL.”

Olivia will now attend a CISI interview day with eight other students from around the country, where a panel will decide who will receive the postgraduate award for 2016-17.

With a professional background in comedy and comedy clubs, Tim was very much in his element at this inaugural event. He hopes to keep the laughs coming with further Bright Club events in the future. “It was a great evening and a great start to Bright Club Liverpool,” says Tim. “It highlighted the excellent research carried out at LJMU and gave our researchers some valuable presenting experience.”


FAMELAB RETURNS TO LJMU From biomimicry and nanomedicine to self-healing concrete, psychedelic drugs and dinosaur teeth, masters students from around the north west explored all aspects of science and technology when the FameLab regional heats came to LJMU this January.

All speakers were praised for their enthusiasm, planning and ability to field some pretty difficult questions from the judges. Winner on the day was Edge Hill student Hazel Smith-Bunday with her exploration of the uterus. At 38 weeks pregnant, Hazel was able to relate her presentation to her own experience and came equipped with two balloons demonstrating the organ’s amazing ability to expand!

FameLab is a national science and technology communication competition looking for the next generation of scientists who can explain their research to a nontechnical audience. Speakers are awarded a score out of 30 for their three minute presentation: 10 marks for content, 10 marks for clarity and 10 for charisma. And with speakers only allowed the props they can carry to the stage, powerpoints are banned!

Runners up at the event were LJMU’s Rosie Horner, talking about biomimicry and using knowledge from nature to assist marine engineering and Matthew Varnam, a PhD student from Manchester University, who discussed the mastication of the Triceratops using a number of Freddo bars as props.

With experts from the fields of health and life science, sport and exercise psychology, pharmacology and astronomy judging the speakers, the scene was set for some outstanding performances.

Having won her heat, Hazel will go on to the regional final in Manchester, hoping to win a place at the final in London. Good luck Hazel – we’re all rooting for you!


WORKING TOGETHER Liverpool John Moores takes an interdisciplinary approach to learning and nowhere is this more evident than in the School of Art and Design’s Collaborative Practice module.

“That’s why we ask them to select the project that interests them the most, working collaboratively with their partner in establishing a mutually beneficial outcome.” This year’s options include the chance to work in the worlds of education, art and health with opportunities at a local school, Tate Liverpool, the World Museum, Sound City and Aintree Hospital amongst others. Collaborative opportunities within John Moores include working with the Astrophysics Research Institute and the Research Institute for Sport & Exercise Sciences.

Led by Postgraduate Taught Co-ordinator Jon Spruce, the module offers postgraduate students from a wide range of disciplines the opportunity to spread their expertise across the University and beyond. “We ask students to propose, plan, organise, publish or promote a piece of work,” Jon explains. “We offer them a range of project partners or they can work with existing contacts.”

“Students need to think about all aspects of the project and how they can bring expertise from their specialist area to work with other specialisms in providing solutions and realising opportunities,” explained Jon. “For many it will be the first time they have worked in multidisciplinary partnerships and it’s sure to be a valuable learning experience.”

This year students have a choice of 11 projects. To enable them to choose which one they want to be involved with, project partners from across the city will visit the University to pitch their ideas for collaboration. “This module only works with complete buy-in from the students,” comments Jon.


POSTGRADUATE PASSIONS Passion plays a huge part in postgraduate study, be that passion for a subject, passion for a particular career path or simply a passion for learning. Here we meet four masters students whose passions have brought them to LJMU.


KYLE BEEFS UP HIS STUDIES We all have our favourite music, chosen bands and preferred classical pieces, but Exhibition Studies student Kyle Percy is about to take his musical passions city-wide. Kyle, who has been passionate about the music of Captain Beefheart since he was a teenager, is on the verge of bringing a major festival about the musician turned artist to the city in November.

Sadly, though, with much of the Captian Beefheart collection in private hands, the challenge of bringing something together at that stage proved just too difficult. On hearing of the collaborative module in his masters course, however, Kyle’s exhibition idea evolved. “I started thinking about how we could bring Beefheart’s music and art together,” he explains. “Working with Brian Biggs, Artistic Director of the Bluecoat and Chris McCabe of the National Poetry Library in London, I came up with the idea of a festival: the Liverpool Beefheart Weekend.”

“I first came across Captian Beefheart in my mum’s CD collection,” explains Kyle. “As time went on I got more and more interested in the man, his music and his art.”

Just awaiting confirmation of the Arts Council grant for the project, the festival will take place in November. It will include: an exhibition of Beefheart photographs and memorabilia; newly commissioned poetry; a spoken word event; a symposium exploring different aspects of Beefheart’s life and work plus live music featuring artists inspired by the man.

Born and bred in Liverpool, Kyle returned to education after a few years in work. “I had always been interested in art so decided to do an Art History degree,” he says. Loving every minute of his course, Kyle went on from his undergraduate degree to take up a year’s Curatorial Research Assistant post at Kettle’s Yard gallery in Cambridge. “It was a brilliant experience and I met some really great people,” he says. “But I wanted to come back to Liverpool at the end of year so I started looking for a masters course to boost my curatorial skills. The Exhibitions programme at LJMU was perfect – and the 20% alumni discount certainly helped!”

Happening at several sites across the city, the event is set to attract some big names. Several Captain Beefheart experts are already signed up and some key players in the music industry are also on board. “For me this project is about creating awareness of Beefheart and his music and sharing my passion,” says Kyle. “The fact that it is also playing a key part in my masters is a real bonus.”

Kyle first came up with the idea for a Captain Beefheart Exhibition during his undergraduate studies. “I used it for a planning exercise on one of my modules,” he says. “That’s when I found out that the Artistic Director of the Bluecoat is also a Beefheart fan and had considered doing something similar. We started to talk.”

Looking to the future, Kyle wants to move into art curating on a permanent basis. “The knowledge I am gaining from my masters study and the experience I am building through the Beefheart festival puts me in a great position to do what I love,” says Kyle. “And when you are doing what you love, it really doesn’t feel like work.”


FASHIONING CAREER SUCCESS Dunila Hettiarachchi is not your typical fashion student. Originally from Sri Lanka, this science graduate worked in product development and merchandising at fashion manufacturer MAS Holdings (PVT) Ltd. Having been involved with businesses like Nike developing items for the 2011 Rugby World Cup and 2012 London Olympics, he undertook a Textiles, Clothing and Manufacturing Higher Diploma before winning a scholarship to study on the John Moores Fashion Innovation and Realisation masters programme.

“I am designing a number of items including silicone printed gripper gloves and leggings which will aid the performance of female athletes by increasing blood flow to the leg muscles,” Dunila explains. “Silicone printing on the inside of leggings has previously been used to help with muscle contraction but not with circulation.” Working in collaboration with the world-leading School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Dunila is about to embark on a performance testing programme. “Dr Mark Robinson and his team have helped a great deal with my work so far,” says Dunila. “The information he provided at the development stage and the testing he is carrying out for me will ensure that the product is the best that it can be.”

“My work in Sri Lanka involved developing sportswear and silicone printing for performance garments so I wanted to have a higher level qualification in my field,” Dunila explains. “I have been given a year’s leave by my company to expand my expertise in this area.”

On graduation, Dunila plans to put his designs into production. For now, however, he is busy giving his hi-tech garments a local feel. “The silicone printing will do its job on the inside of the leggings,” he smiles. “But I am going to use a Liverpool theme on the outside of the leggings as they have been developed at LJMU.”

Whilst other fashion students are interested in the style of the garments they design, Dunila is interested in performance.


PUTTING THE HEART IN ART Having studied photography together over 20 years ago, Lyndsay Roberts and Susan Sumner went on to have successful careers in the arts. Last year, however, their paths crossed again when they both enrolled on the MRes at the Liverpool School of Art and Design.

and have worked with the school on several projects over the years. When we found out about the collaborative module in our MRes course we decided to approach the school with the skateboard art idea and they loved it.” Whilst Susan is immersing the class in skateboard art and teaching them about the design process, different materials and copyright issues, Lyndsay will be helping the children keep a record of their learning by setting them free with her £3,000 camera! “The idea of letting a group of excited 10 year olds use an expensive camera may sound quite daunting,” laughs Lyndsay. “But we teach them to respect the equipment and use it properly and you would be amazed to see just how good they are with it.”

Lyndsay came to the University to look for a course which would enable her to carry out research in her chosen area, whilst Susan, who had just finished her undergraduate degree at LJMU, was looking for a course to extend her academic expertise. “We were delighted when we realised we were going to be on the same course,” says Lyndsay. “We have always worked well together and have the same work ethic and passion for our subject.” Lyndsay and Susan’s excellent working relationship is about to bear fruit for the pupils of St Patricks School in Toxteth, who will soon embark on a skateboard art project with them.

The classroom learning will kick off with a podcast from Susan’s brother Brian. “I want them to see just what they can make of themselves,” says Susan. “Brian was invited over to America by Tony Hawk when he was 15. He has had an amazing career and a really interesting life. I want those kids to see exactly where passion can take you.”

“I became interested in skateboard art through my brother Brian Sumner who is a professional boarder in the US,” explains Susan. “I am a teaching assistant at St Patricks

Photograph taken by pupil at St Patrick’s School in Toxteth


MAKING A DIFFERENCE PhD candidates Ian, Miro and Sean are living proof that you don’t always set out to find a cause, sometimes a cause finds you. In this feature we meet these three amazing individuals who are carrying out research to improve the lives of others.

HOW MASTERS HELPED ME THROUGH Whilst most masters students wonder how they will cope with postgraduate study, 59-year old Ian Loftus says he simply wouldn’t have coped without it.

programme leader but I didn’t say anything to my fellow students. When I told my bereavement counsellor about the MA some time later, he said that creativity was a really good outlet for grief although he couldn’t really explain why.”

An IT professional by trade, Ian studied for an Open University degree in Humanities with Literature whilst he was still working. “I’d always been passionate about literature and written poetry since I was 11 so it seemed like a good idea,” he says.

Ian’s weekly trips to Liverpool helped father and daughter. “Chloe and I would meet up for a coffee, go for lunch or see a film,” he smiles. “It gave us a chance to talk about Dominic and what had happened. Inevitably, it also meant I spent a lot of time collecting dirty laundry and delivering clean clothes!”

Keen to continue his studies with a masters qualification, Ian was disappointed to discover that the course he wanted to study was not available from the Open University.

Some months after the accident, Ian founded the Cumbrian Lad Foundation in Dominic’s memory. The Foundation provides bursaries to school leavers needing financial help as they progress to further education/apprenticeships. Dominic himself at 22 had made a huge success of his career. He qualified as an electrician at Carlisle College in 2012, and at the same time owned, ran and worked in two restaurants in the area.

The following year Ian brought his daughter Chloe to LJMU for the start of her undergraduate degree in Criminology and Psychology. During his visit he saw a leaflet for the MA Writing course and, with Chloe’s agreement, signed up for the course which would bring him to Liverpool one day a week from his home in Cumbria. The day after Ian started his masters, however, something happened which changed his life, and the life of his family, forever. Ian’s 22 year-old son, Dominic, was killed by a drunk driver.

Ian graduated from his masters with a merit and, realising how his studies had helped him to cope with the tragedy, decided to embark on a PhD investigating the role of creativity in the bereavement process. “I’m looking at the works of CS Lewis, Julian Barnes and Helen

“I don’t know why but I just kept on with the course,” recalls Ian. “I explained what had happened to my


Macdonald who have all written about loss and I am considering the psychological impact of bereavement too, speaking with bereavement councillors and organisations as part of my research” he says. “I want to be able to give something back, to talk to counsellors and tell them about the real life experience of bereavement and how that can complement their theoretical learning.” It is also hoped that Ian’s research will form the basis of a book helping others to come to terms with their own grief. For more information about the Cumbrian Lad Foundation go to

As part of the Writing MA, students set up a blog. Ian found this a good outlet for his grief. He has continued the blog since graduating and now posts sections of his PhD here. See


SHINING A LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS Sean Bell’s return to education was always supposed to be about career advancement but now the former policeman has a driving passion which has inspired his PhD and given him a real determination to highlight an issue of national importance.

Standing that she told me about the MRes in Critical Social Science. She told me it welcomed poets, potters and punks so I decided to add policemen to that list!” Sean thrived on the masters. “I just loved it,” he smiles. “We had a wide variety of disciplines on the course so we were studying all kinds of topics in the morning sessions and then going on to specialise on our own areas in the afternoons. I learned so much about so many different things.”

Coming towards the end of his police career, Inspector Sean Bell realised that he was about to retire with no professional skills accreditation. He therefore embarked on a foundation course and then an undergraduate degree in Policing. During his studies, his day job changed and he became a full-time advocate in the Police Federation, representing those taking medical retirement. “I soon realised that mental health issues in the police were a real problem,” he explains. “No-one admits to such problems as they do not have confidence in the system. I saw at close quarters the devastation this can cause. I think it’s safe to say I had a real bee in my bonnet about the subject.”

The MRes enabled Sean to gather evidence on a regional level, but what he longed for was the opportunity to study the national picture. “National study called for a PhD and I have been lucky enough to be awarded a bursary to carry on my work,” he says. “It is important that I do this now as I still have key connections in the Force. The long term aim is to give police leaders, staff associations and support networks the evidence they need to make a change.”

Bringing together the concerns he had uncovered in his day job and his new-found passion for research, Sean was keen to investigate mental health issues in his own Force. “I simply didn’t know how that would fit in with a structured course,” Sean admits. “It was only when I spoke to Kay

So, given the chance to go back in time, what would a young Officer Bell have thought of the academic researcher he has become? “He simply wouldn’t have believed it,” smiles Sean. “It just seems like everything fell into place to bring me here and I’m so very glad it did!”


A FIGHT WORTH FIGHTING Having worked in disability rights since the tender age of 17, Miro Griffiths, MBE joined LJMU two years ago to research young disabled people’s views of social movements and disability.

a reason. The University has a strong connection with its community – be that the local community or the community we are researching for – in my case young disabled people. There is no pomposity around academia here, it is real, targeted and worthwhile.”

“I got involved in human rights activism when I was about 14,” explains Miro. “As I grew up I experienced numerous barriers. The local authority, for example, didn’t want me to go to a mainstream school. I started to realise that the constraints put on me were due to attitudes, policies and, of course, the built environment. I realised I wanted to broaden my knowledge of oppression and marginalisation and fight against it.”

As to the future, Miro would like to stay in education and continue researching and lecturing. “I want to be in a place where I am on the side of the oppressed, not the oppressor,” he says. “LJMU is giving me the time and space to explore who I want to be and where I want to go.”

With fabulous support from his parents, Miro became involved in the politicisation of disability. “When I was 17 I saw a position for a strategic adviser who would support all government departments in reviewing the delivery and development of their policies on human rights and the treatment of marginalised groups,” he says. Miro was appointed to the post and since then has worked as a disability rights adviser to governmental bodies and other local, national and international organisations. “After my masters I worked for the European Network on Independent Living as a human rights researcher and policy writer,” he explains. “One day I found myself in a Dublin hotel, thinking about my next step in life. I read about the LJMU scholarship scheme online and, having always wanted to do my PhD, decided to get in touch.” Miro is impressed by LJMU’s no-nonsense approach to academia. “Research at LJMU is far more about substance than style,” he insists. “These days the generic student experience is centred around lifestyle and consumption. Things are very different here. People at LJMU want to know about your research and why you are doing it – LJMU insist your research has


LIVING THE DREAM Not all postgraduate students envisage themselves studying at a higher level and fewer still believe they will go on to live out their dream. Laura, Molly, Mary and Denise however, prove that, not only is postgraduate study achievable, it can also take you to places you never quite dared to imagine.


THE ONE THAT ALMOST GOT AWAY Five years ago when masters student Laura Clancy was waving her friends off to University following a truly miserable encounter with the A-level system, little did she think that she would now be in the middle of a postgraduate degree and planning for a career in academia.

Over the three years of her course, Laura fell in love with learning once more and, on graduation, decided she wanted to pursue her passion for research. “I saw the Education, Globalisation and Social Change course,” she explains. “It was just what I was looking for. My interest in education is not about being a teacher, it is about policy development and service provision. What we are learning on this course is what is making the headlines now. It’s all about the increasing interconnectivity of people and countries and the impact that has on society, policy and curriculum development.”

Raised in a small town in North Wales, just outside Bangor, Laura didn’t really know what to do with her life when all her friends left home. An interest in child development, sparked by the birth of her much younger sister, gave her the inspiration to look into a career in childcare and soon she was undertaking a two year course at a local college.

The small cohort on the programme is also a real benefit for Laura. “It has really increased my confidence,” she says. “When you sit in a lecture hall with a few hundred other people you don’t need your own opinions, but when you are in a workshop with five others you need to have solid opinions that you can discuss and share. It’s a good motivator to read around the subject and become an expert.”

Far from mirroring the miseries of her A-levels, Laura gave an outstanding performance on her course, gaining a triple distinction and earning her the ‘Dream, Plan, Achieve’ scholarship from LJMU. “By that time my boyfriend was studying in Liverpool,” Laura explains. “He really loved the city and, when I came to visit him, I loved it too so I decided to continue my studies here. I was still unsure if academia was right for me but LJMU seemed so different from other institutions, it was just really engaging and friendly.”

So how does it feel to be following in the footsteps of the friends who went off to university straight after A-levels? “To be honest quite a few of them dropped out early on,” she says. “Like me, they didn’t know what they wanted to do at that age. In retrospect I think I was quite lucky that things happened the way they did. I needed time to find the right path and I’m really glad that I found LJMU when I did.”

Located at IM Marsh, Laura found that even the setting suited her perfectly. “I love the city centre but coming from North Wales I really liked the greenery here,” she smiles.


WHEN DREAMS REALLY DO COME TRUE When Molly Frost joined LJMU to study for her undergraduate degree in Wildlife Conservation, she thought she would spend three years doing what she loved and then leave it all behind and get a ‘real’ job. Now, in the midst of her Masters in Wildlife Conservation and Drone Technology, she is looking forward to a career in conservation and a lifetime working to protect endangered species.

“Saying that you are a conservationist who wants to save the planet might sound like a grand claim,” she smiles. “Luckily for me though, that is the world I now live in. I spend my time doing what I adore. Before I came to LJMU I didn’t even know that was possible!”

“I didn’t really know what I wanted to study at University to begin with,” says Molly. “When I saw the course at LJMU though, I couldn’t believe my luck. I had always loved animals and was really interested in conservation, it was the perfect choice for me.” Molly loved her three years at LJMU and soon came to realise that she couldn’t bear to leave her studies. “When I heard about the new masters programme I knew I had to do it,” she says. “LJMU had made me realise what I was capable of. The support was fantastic and the opportunities I had already experienced at undergraduate level were amazing.” On graduation Molly had worked as a research assistant for three months on a leopard conservation programme in South Africa before joining her masters course. “It was an amazing opportunity and came about purely through the contacts I had made at John Moores,” she says. Currently preparing to fly off to Tanzania to carry out a primate study, Molly is loving her masters. “The step up to postgraduate study was initially quite hard,” she admits. “As a masters student, however, I now have increased confidence and know I can succeed.” Looking to the future, Molly wants to pass on her passion for conservation to others but also wants to carry out research that will secure the future of endangered animals.


PAPERBACK WRITER “I think when you say you want to be a writer, it’s a bit like saying you want to be a pop star. People never really believe you,” laughs Mary Torjussen, the LJMU MA Writing graduate who has just seen her first novel published.

to develop the middle section,” Mary admits. When she sent her novel to several literary agents, the interest was immediate and within no time she had signed with Kate Burke. “Things progressed quickly from then,” said Mary. “I started working with Kate in November and we submitted the novel to commissioning editors in February.”

Mary, a former IT teacher and Philosophy and Politics graduate, returned to education part-time whilst she was teaching. “I had always written in my spare time,” she explains. “I wrote a novel before I joined the MA programme but it didn’t get anywhere. What I really wanted was to spend time with people who shared my passion so, for two years, I came to the University every Wednesday evening and immersed myself in writing. We had lots of interesting workshops and some great guest speakers. I loved every minute.”

The day after UK and Commonwealth rights for the book were snapped up by Headline, a five-part auction started in Germany, finally won by Random House. Penguin bought the US and Canadian rights and language rights were sold in France, Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. What is even more exciting, a production company has now bought the television rights to the book and hopes to sell to one of the major networks soon.

A few years later, having written another two novels which got some great reviews when self-published, Mary came to a crossroads in her life. “I had the opportunity to take voluntary redundancy, giving me a year’s salary to play with,” explains Mary. “I decided to seize the opportunity and give myself a year to write a book that would attract a publisher.” Having taken the plunge, Mary spent a couple of months looking for the ‘hook’ for her book. “One thing you realise when you try to get this kind of fiction published is that publishers are interested in your idea first and your writing second,” says Mary. “You can be the best writer in the world but if they don’t buy into your story, you won’t get anywhere.” The idea for Mary’s novel came, strangely enough, from a post on MumsNet. “A woman posted up that she had come home from work to find her boyfriend had gone and taken everything in the house,” explains Mary. “What struck me about her post was the lengths her boyfriend had gone to so that he could ‘disappear’. He’d even taken a half empty jar of lime pickle from the fridge! It was like he was deleting himself entirely from her life.” At long last Mary had her ‘hook’. The first draft of the book was written in a couple of months and then she spent another couple of months editing it. “I had the start and the end of the book but struggled at first


CARDIOLOGY TO COUPLETS After 38 years working as a doctor, Consultant Paediatric Cardiologist Denise Bundred was heading towards a well-earned retirement when she came across the MA Writing programme at LJMU.

as a poet but, at first, I was trying to write in the patient’s voice,” she explains. “Again my tutors advised me that I was strongest when writing in my own voice – as a doctor.” On graduation Denise had a couple of poems published in anthologies and even started to attend open mike nights to read her work. “It was one of the most frightening things I have ever done,” she admitted. “I could present a medical paper in front of hundreds of experts and I was fine but reading my own poetry felt like completely opening myself up to strangers. It was hard but very useful.”

“I’d always been interested in writing and had an outline for a radio play,” says Denise. “I applied for the course because I thought that writing would be a nice hobby.” Over the years Denise had written hundreds of detailed medical papers and journal articles but, apart from a few short stories, had little creative writing experience. “When I was interviewed by Jim Friel for the course I took along my short stories and fortunately, he must have seen some potential as I was accepted onto the programme,” she smiles.

In 2012 Denise had a poem published in the anthology of the Hippocrates Initiative, beating over 900 other submissions to take one of the 46 highly sought after slots. “It made me more positive about what I was doing,” she said. A reading at the Manchester Literature Festival followed and more of Denise’s poems were published in magazines and journals.

Denise really enjoyed the MA. “Being retired I had lots of time to practice my writing,” she says. “The assignments were very well directed and we got lots of feedback not only from our tutors, but also from our peers.”

The highlight of Denise’s career thus far came in 2016 when she won the Hippocrates NHS Award with her poem ‘A Cardiologist Seeks Certainty’.

One of the reasons Denise chose the course at John Moores was the variety of genres it covered. “It encouraged us to look at novels, short stories, plays, poetry and more,” she says. “I was determined to develop my radio play so really fought against studying poetry until one day a tutor took me to one side and told me that poetry was quite obviously my strength. As I came to realise, that was very good advice!”

“Winning the award was a great honour and has really spurred me on with my writing,” says Denise. “The MA from John Moores introduced me to so many wonderful writers and taught me so much. It was through the course that I discovered Danny Abse and his beautiful poetry about medicine. That is what set me off on my current path, gave me the confidence to write and makes me happy every day.”

During the last semester of her studies Denise worked solely on poetry. “I was drawing on my medical experience



LEAVING FOR LIVERPOOL Postgraduate study can be a daunting prospect – especially for those new to the UK. Here MasterPlan meets three of the thousands of students who come to Liverpool each year to take the next step in their education. They talk about how they have settled here, their love for the city and why LJMU is a great choice for international students.


IT’S A 10 FROM JENNE Arriving in a new country, on a new continent, with only two huge suitcases for company, Jenne Lee could have been forgiven for feeling a little daunted, but the Chinese language teacher from Malaysia was fully prepared for her new life and excited about the opportunities it would bring.

perfect, the central location of the University means you can access everything you need very easily.” One thing that was very different for Jenne, however, was the Liverpool climate. “I had never experienced all four seasons before I came here as it is always summer in Malaysia,” she laughs. “I soon learned an awful lot about suitable clothing!”

Jenne Lee graduated in Chemistry with Education in Malaysia before teaching for six years and taking a parttime masters in Education Psychology. Her life changed, however, when she received a prestigious government scholarship to study in the UK.

In terms of her University work, Jenne is studying Sport Psychology and looking at how artistic gymnastics judges make their decisions. As a national gymnastics judge herself in Malaysia and now a regional judge for British Gymnastics, Jenne has been able to bring lots of real life experience to her studies. “I have been lucky enough to keep judging whilst I have been in the UK,” she says. “I have judged competitions throughout the North West of England and with The City of Liverpool Gymnastics Club who have been very supportive.”

“I had never travelled outside Asia until the day I came to Liverpool,” smiles Jenne. “I had not arranged a pick up at the airport but I managed to find my way to my accommodation in Liberty Atlantic Point quite easily. I must admit to wondering if I had done the right thing as I made my way up to the very top floor with my huge suitcases, but I knew I had been given an amazing opportunity and I had to grab it with both hands.”

Jenne is extremely positive about the UK education system. “The approach to teaching is very different here to back home,” she explains. “LJMU invite expertise from outside of the University and are more in touch with real world practice. Knowledge development is encouraged at all times and you are able to build an expert opinion.”

Realising that PhD study can sometimes be a lonely place, Jenne threw herself into making friends. “Anyone who comes to study overseas will experience some kind of home sickness at some point,” Jenne admits. “I got over it very quickly though. I went to as many student support sessions as I could and made friends immediately. I also joined the international society and, of course, had excellent support from my research supervision team.”

So, given the chance, would Jenne choose to study overseas again? “Most certainly,” she says. “It is really good to experience the education system somewhere new and see the world with your own eyes. There’s no better choice for me than Liverpool John Moores University. I’ll never forget my time here.”

Jenne was soon feeling very much at home in Liverpool. “It is a good place and I am very glad I came here,” she explains. “I don’t like busy cities so Liverpool is


TAMING THE GLOBETROTTER Irene Heyn, from Argentina, is thoroughly enjoying her masters in Clinical Exercise Physiology. Her journey to LJMU, however, was far from straightforward!

Unfamiliar with the UK application process, Irene contacted the University and started to submit her paperwork. “In Spain, if your background is right and you have all of the right paperwork, you are on the course,” she smiles. “I didn’t realise the importance of the personal statement in the UK so when I was asked for it, I rattled something off there and then. I didn’t think twice about it. And when the University asked for more information, I just added another quick paragraph and resubmitted it.”

Irene moved from Argentina to Spain in 2010 where, at the age of 28, she undertook an undergraduate degree in Sports Science. “I worked all the way through my undergraduate degree to fund my studies so I felt I didn’t really make the most of my course,” she explains. Somewhat tired of the constant struggle to balance work and education, Irene vowed her degree would be her last brush with education and spent some time travelling first back home to Argentina and then to New Zealand.

Confident that she had secured her place, Irene decided to travel again. “I booked flight tickets to Australia and London,” she recalls. “It was then that I heard I had not been accepted on the LJMU programme. My world was in tatters!”

It was in New Zealand that Irene met a lecturer who was teaching on a masters programme in Clinical Exercise Physiology. The more Irene thought about what her new friend was doing, the more she realised she would like to specialise in this area too.

Irene’s only option was to fly into London and stay with her brother in Bristol. “I decided to apply for a Public Health course down there,” she says. “With help from some UK friends I wrote a good personal statement and was accepted on the course.” Working full-time as a Duty Manager at a gym, Irene soon realised the masters course in Public Health was not for her and dropped out just three weeks in.

Irene looked at courses all over the world but realised that the UK would be a good choice for her from a financial point of view. “There were three universities to choose from and when I read up about them and considered both comments from students and league table rankings, John Moores was obviously the best,” she says.

“I realised if I wanted to be happy I would need to go back to John Moores and apply again,” she admits. And that’s what she did – successfully this time, thanks to a well thought-out personal statement. So, was it worth the wait and the heartache? “Absolutely!” says Irene. “I fell in love with the city immediately and feel very much at home here. The people are lovely and the course is just what I wanted.” Irene’s schedule is still hectic as she works in two local gyms alongside her studies. “If you want something enough you’ll find it is worth fighting for,” she says. “I’m always dashing here and cycling there but I feel a real sense of satisfaction that I am moving towards a profession I will find really fulfilling.” On completing her studies, Irene wants to work in cardiovascular rehabilitation – in Liverpool if possible. “I’m really happy here and I’ve got a good group of friends so I’d like to stay a while,” she says.


SUPPORT WHEN YOU NEED IT He may only have been studying for his PhD in Business since October 2016, but Muhammad Hashmi is finding the opportunities and support available at LJMU simply second-to-none.

“We have students from all parts of the world, ranging in age from 20 to 55,” he says. “I love teaching at the centre, it is very rewarding and it is good to give something back to the community.”

Muhammad moved to the UK from Pakistan in 2008, first studying for his masters at the University of Bolton. “Moving on to PhD study I looked at a few universities,” he says. “One of the main reasons I came to LJMU was the expertise on offer, I also found a big difference in the enthusiasm and support of the academic staff here. When I contacted my supervisor at first she was overseas but still got back to me to share some research papers and offer advice on my application. Other members of the academic team also helped me by telling me about the range of opportunities on offer.”

And what does Muhammad think of Liverpool itself? “It is a great city to study in, very multicultural,” he says. “Many cities have pockets where certain nationalities live. Liverpool is not like that, it is one big community where everyone mixes and that makes it a really nice place to be.”

And the high levels of support available when Muhammad applied to LJMU are still very much in existence now he is based here. “I have a lovely mentor who is a second year PhD student,” he smiles. “I can ask her anything and, if she doesn’t know the answer, she uses her contacts to find it for me. I also have my tutor’s personal number so I can contact her when I need to, we have meetings via Skype when she is out of the country and I have a good support network in my fellow researchers. LJMU shows real concern for new students and that makes a big difference.” Muhammad is also making the most of the opportunity to teach as he studies. “I am doing the 3is teaching course,” he says. “I want to be a lecturer so this will give me some great experience. I have many friends studying for PhDs at other UK universities and they have not been given the chance to teach so I am very grateful to LJMU.” Also keen to build his teaching experience outside of the University, Muhammad is doing some voluntary work at the Kensington Community Centre teaching English language and basic computing in the local community.



• 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 relating to University accommodation once you settle in, email You can also contact our private sector housing adviser based at Liverpool Student Housing, email:

If there’s one thing our students really appreciate at LJMU, it’s the support they receive from academic and pastoral services staff. 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 on this page but, if you are not quite sure what support you need, either email or call in and see us at the Aquinas Building on Mount Pleasant.

• 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: • 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:


• Finance Whether you need information on scholarships, loans or bursaries or some help budgeting, our Finance Advisers have the answers you need, email:

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’.

• International Student Support For one-to-one and group sessions on topics such as visa applications or cultural issues contact: • 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: or see our Academic Support section

To find out more about what the international team can do for you, email:


SPORT AND SUPPORT “Hiba arrived in the UK two years ago and has been studying in the School of Pharmacy for a year now,” he explains. “She is really enjoying her studies and simply can’t believe how advanced the equipment and facilities are at LJMU. If there’s one thing we both agree on it’s that LJMU really does give you a future to look forward to.”

PhD student Omar Aldhaibani is living proof that University clubs and societies can make a real difference to life at LJMU. The second year Wireless Networking specialist spends his spare time making new friends, visiting new places and generally having fun – and that’s all down to his membership of the University’s Basketball, Handball and Volleyball teams. “I would certainly recommend joining some clubs and societies,” says Omar. “You meet new people, get to practice your English and, best of all, travel up and down the country for games and tournaments involving other universities.” Omar also believes this down time helps with his studies. “Sport is a great stress reliever,” he explains, “and that is very important when you are studying at a higher level.” Having gained his undergraduate degree in Iraq and his masters in the Ukraine, Omar moved to the UK three years ago, spending a year learning English before embarking on his studies. “I am very happy here,” he says. “The support for students is really good and my supervisor is amazing. There is plenty of help with academic writing, presentation skills etc but the most beautiful thing is the mathematics support. I’ve never been in a university before where you can just call on a maths expert when you need one. That has made a real difference to me.” Keen to share his positive experience of LJMU, Omar encouraged his sister to study here for her PhD.



When you begin your studies at LJMU you may need help with certain academic topics. Our study skills classes provide valuable support for students at all levels.

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.

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.

A hub for all front-line student services, our libraries are the place to: register and enrol, hand in your coursework, pay fees and receive guidance on anything related to the student experience.


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

TAKING YOU TO WHERE YOU WANT TO BE 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 links LJMU has with a diverse range of employers.


*2015 HESA data

• Regular careers events and employer days – see

We work hard to ensure that careers support is as accessible as possible so, for example, we have Careers Zones in Byrom Street, Aldham Robarts Library and IM Marsh Library (Tuesday and Thursday). We offer workshops and classes at times to suit you and even arrange webinars for you to access remotely. Highlights of our service include:

• Workshops and webinars on CVs, application forms, interviews, psychometric tests etc – see

• Details of jobs and placements on the MyJobsandPlacements website (

• One-to-one careers advice and guidance from expert employability advisers and careers advisers – call 0151 231 8099 (option 1)

• Career insight guides specifically for your subject area – see

• Mock interviews to perfect your technique and build your confidence – call 0151 231 8099

• A dedicated careers adviser for your faculty

• Drop-in sessions for postgraduate researchers giving feedback on applications, CVs or personal statements

• Details of graduate jobs, internships, placements, voluntary work and more at

• Workshops for postgraduate researchers featuring topics such as interview skills, job hunting and working in academia and beyond

• An expert CV and application checking service – call 0151 231 8099


BUILDING FOR HER FUTURE With LJMU placing so much emphasis on employability, it comes as no surprise that students at all levels are encouraged to take paid and unpaid work placements. Public Health Nutrition student Beth Bradshaw understands the value of work experience. “When I was in the third year of my undergraduate degree at LJMU I had a work placement with the Health Equalities Group which I really enjoyed,” explains Beth. “On returning to Liverpool for my masters, I contacted the group to see if they had any volunteering vacancies and a week later I was back in my old role.” Having progressed from a voluntary to a paid position, Beth is making a significant contribution to the work at the Health Equalities Group. “I produce the monthly e-bulletin for the healthy weights in the North West group, I have trained groups to deliver the GULP (Give Up Loving Pop) message to children and I have even represented the organisation at external events,” says Beth. “The opportunities I am encountering through my work are really developing me as a person and preparing me for the workplace.”


FUNDING YOUR STUDIES Financial support is available for postgraduate study in many guises and our student advice team are on hand to guide you through the options, email

FUNDING OPTIONS • 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. See • Professional and Career Development Loans A commercial loan of up to £10,000 is provided by some high street banks and underwritten by the government so you don’t have to make repayments whilst you are studying. See • Postgraduate International Scholarships LJMU offers scholarships for international applicants on taught masters programmes and research degrees. See • Teacher Training Teacher training is funded via government loans and grants. Bursaries are also available depending on degree classification and subject. See • NHS Courses


You can apply for a bursary for some masters level NHS courses. The funding cycle opens in April for September starters. See

• Funding is also available from research councils, charities and trusts • The University Student Support Fund helps those facing unexpected hardship and those with caring responsibilities


• Equipment and support is available for those with an ongoing disability or learning difficulty, email: for further information

If you have an undergraduate degree from LJMU you may be eligible for 20% off your postgraduate tuition fees.

• Extra support may be available for full-time students with a child or adult dependant


FINDING A PLACE TO LIVE All new students are guaranteed a room in Universityendorsed accommodation, no matter what your level of study.

UNIVERSITY ENDORSED ACCOMMODATION To book university accommodation and live with other postgraduate/mature students: 1. Look at the options: 2. On accepting your offer from LJMU, submit your online accommodation request as soon as possible 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:

PRIVATE ACCOMMODATION Liverpool Student Homes (LSH) is the official provider of private accommodation for LJMU, the University of Liverpool and Liverpool Hope University. It 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. For more information call LSH on 0151 794 3296 or email


Edition 3



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Masterplan - Issue 3 Preparing for postgraduate study at LJMU  
Masterplan - Issue 3 Preparing for postgraduate study at LJMU