Settling into Study

  • Postgraduate degrees are different from undergraduate degrees. More is expected from a postgraduate degree in a much more concentrated period of time.
  • You often find that the majority of your peers are there because they excelled at undergraduate level and now want the opportunity to progress in their field or acquire new skills; this means that you will get to spend a lot of time with people who love what they do, which is great. It can also overwhelming, perhaps promoting anxiety and a sense of personal inadequacy.
  • Set a routine from the beginning, including a regular slot of time dedicated to you and your interests outside of work, such as sport, societies or exploring the local area.
  • Reach out to your personal tutor early on; meet up with them in your first couple of weeks and arrange to meet them at least on a termly basis. They’re there to support you in a pastoral capacity; it won’t impact on your academic work to seek advice from them, so use them.
  • PGT grading works differently to UG, with the majority of masters courses awarding either a Distinction, Merit, Pass or Fail. This may differ for professional courses, and the criteria for each grade will vary from course to course.
  • Grading is not dependent on what everyone else achieves. So, for example, if you are aiming for a Distinction, your work will be marked against a set of objective criteria, rather than against your peers’ work. In this way, you should endeavour to help and support your peers so that you all get the most out of the experience and are not in competition with each other.
  • Make use of the PG Hub, the Library, and particularly their online resources. Be aware that if the Library doesn’t have a text or resource available that you need, then you can request that they purchase it for you to use.
  • The PG Hub (located in Senate House) is a PG-only study space with bookable rooms and a relaxed community feel; the team there host an array of cultural and community events throughout the year for you to take a break and engage with.
  • During the day you can also study in ‘The Graduate’ (next door to The Dirty Duck, Warwick SU), which doubles up as a social space in the evening with regular events such as quiz and game nights exclusively for postgrads.
  • Don’t overwork yourself because you feel pressured to prove yourself as a ‘big fish’ – you can do it, and you are good enough.
  • Your lecturers and tutors will have ‘Office Hours’, which are points in the week dedicated to having an open surgery for their students’ enquiries. This is the preferred method of contact compared to just knocking on their door at random intervals – so make a note of when they are and use them!
  • Identify gaps in your skill set; what is expected of you on your course at Warwick may be a world away from what has been demanded of you before. For example, the academic writing style that you have to adhere to on a British postgraduate course may be very different to that elsewhere.
  • Remember that different education systems have different standards, and so what may be good practice at one university may be forbidden at another, and vice versa. Familiarise yourself with the Warwick rules around plagiarism and referencing, for example, and seek out guidance if you have any doubts.