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MA Independent Study

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  • Objectives
    The MA by Independent Study offers you the chance to design and pursue a tailor-made Master’s programme in an area or field of your choosing. It allows you to study in a way which is most appropriate to your own circumstances and learning style, and also to be taught by leading national and international scholars in the Faculty of Humanities at De Montfort University. The MA by Independent Study provides you with a wide range of subject areas to choose from. These include traditional fields like English, History or International Relations, right through to the more creative disciplines such as Dance or Drama, and including areas of study which are innovative or cutting edge, for example Music, Technology and Innovation. In particular, the MA by Independent Study offers you the opportunity to create a programme of study which is interdisciplinary drawing upon one or two different subject areas.
  • Entry requirements
    This course would be ideal for you if you have a first degree in a humanities or related subject and are looking to enhance your present qualifications or move on to further research.
  • Academic Title
    MA Independent Study
  • Course description
    Programme

    The MA by Independent Study has been designed to offer a range of opportunities to pursue an area of particular interest to you. While taught MAs offer some restrictions on the topics under consideration, given that the learning package is to some extent pre-defined, the MA by Independent Study demands student participation in the development of a programme to suit your needs and reflect your interests. Upon admission to the course, you will be allocated one or two mentors in your chosen area of study. They will help you decide what aspects of your subject to pursue, how you should be assessed, and provide one-to-one guidance throughout your period of registration.

    Studying for an MA by this route makes large demands of the student and requires the capacity to frame a programme of learning and to undertake independent research. There are clear rewards in being able to study the area you're really interested in, with the support and expertise of a mentor who will ensure that your work meets postgraduate standards.

    Such a programme is suitable for all types of student - from those who live locally but whose professional or other commitments make it difficult to fit into a taught MA framework, to those living at some distance from the University and those who are based overseas. Not only is the programme of study flexible, but communication between student and mentor can be undertaken by electronic means if regular face to face meetings are difficult to arrange.

    It is possible to undertake this MA programme entirely at a distance until your final assessment interview (where you meet your mentor and an external and internal examiner who will discuss and confirm assessment of your work), when you are required to come to the University in person.

    We recommend that full-time students meet up or contact their mentors at least once a fortnight and that part-timers meet their mentor at least once a month. In reality, you will find that you have more contact at busy times before an assessment deadline and during the drawing up of the learning contract.

    You are allowed to take up to 45 credits via taught modules if this is approved by the Faculty. There are existing taught MAs in the Faculty which may have elements of interest to you; in addition some undergraduate modules may provide useful background work (with the proviso that the assessments you are set are at postgraduate level). This is something the Course Leader can investigate with you prior to enrolment.

    If you are unable to take a taught module,the Faculty has a dynamic research culture and a large number of postgraduates at both MA and PhD level. The Graduate Centre is a good place to study if you are local, but in addition we organise a postgraduate conference each year, not to mention numerous research seminars in various subject areas. As one of our postgraduates you are more than welcome to attend any of these events.

    The University's website will give you a sense of the academic community at DMU, as well as offering more specific news about the Faculty of Humanities. The Faculty has a graduate student website, which can be used for interaction and communication. We have numerous resources, such as electronic databases and journals that can be accessed from a distance, go to library.dmu.ac.uk

    You can study either full-time or part-time, and there are two enrolment points: September and April. Full-time students study for a minimum of one calendar year. Part-time students study for a minimum of two and a maximum of three calendar years.

    Career opportunities

    Masters degrees in the humanities give added value to your undergraduate degree and, for those who have been out of education for a while, they help to re-focus your academic energies while at the same time developing your skills in data-gathering, researching a topic and presenting your findings in a form appropriate to your discipline. Because of the flexible structure of the programme some students enrol part-time and use it to enhance their current profession (for example teachers may use the MA to research an area beyond their existing expertise, but which they are planning to teach in the future); creative practitioners may use it to facilitate critical reflection on their own work and others may see an MA as a means to a better career or to move on to further study at PhD level. Others will use this pathway as a means to study a subject they are passionate about! Humanities students are valued in both the public and private sectors for their ability to absorb and synthesise large quantities of information, construct a lucid and well-structured argument, present their findings both orally and in formal documents, manage time and deadlines, and because of their advanced analytical skills.

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