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Epigram interviews Bristol SU's Postgraduate Officer

Epigram News Writer Neve Dawson chats with Postgraduate Education Officer, Timber Hill about their role and all Bristol has to offer for those considering a Master’s Degree.

By Neve Dawson, Third Year, English and History

Following an Undergraduate Degree at the Open University, Timber Hill set their sights on Bristol for a Master’s Degree in Nuclear Science and Engineering. Now an Education Officer for the SU, Hill provided Epigram with an informative and personalised take on Postgraduate Life at Bristol University.

Representing postgraduate students on a variety of different committees, ranging from International Students’ Groups to the Univesity’s Women’s Network, Hill’s timetable is packed to the utmost capacity.

An ongoing representation review is currently underway with the Postgraduate Education team, in which they are working closely with the University’s Executive Board to bring constant suggestions for improvement, based on student life and Postgraduate experiences.

This includes both taught master’s students and those undertaking the research-based path at the University, which has been praised as a national and global centre of departmental research for students and staff.

There are many assumptions one hears when considering a master’s degree, and Epigram hopes to de-mystify them all to our best ability.

Studying only for a year in Bristol, Hill recognises the isolatory nature of master’s degrees and how sometimes postgraduates can feel separated from the mass student body and student activities.

When discussing this further, Hill stated: “one of our main roles as education officers for the Student Union is to ensure postgraduate students have as many social interactions as possible and can form their own community - it’s important to know people outside of the office”.

Steps to the SU's Richmond Building - Milan Perera

Recent events held by the Student Union for new master’s students have included smaller events held within the faculties themselves, as well as a plethora of larger welcome-week get-togethers in the SU’s Balloon Bar. One of said events entailed a jam-packed Mario Kart Tournament enabling students to come together and bond over a childhood favourite.

Perhaps the biggest concern for students considering a master’s degree, is the financial burden of undertaking another, and often more expensive, year of study.

When asked about the financial side of postgraduate life, Hill immediately pointed to Bristol’s alumni discount, which you might have seen plastered across signs in University buildings.

In short, the University offers a 25% discount on tuition fees for those who have already studied at Bristol, making it a sensible and economical choice. From this students can then save money to support, as Hill points out, the ongoing cost of living crisis and ever–growing price of accommodation within the country.

Choosing Bristol and accepting the alumni discount can also help to counteract the notoriously reduced student loans given by the government for postgraduate tuition fees.

Student Union Balloon Bar where weekly post-grad events are held - Milan Perera

When asked about other incentives to join the university for another year of study, Hill spoke of the supportive and community-like feeling of Bristol’s Student Union, helping students in all aspects but especially with mental wellbeing, the cost of living crisis and student experience.

Hill here pointed to the recent discussion with Vice-Chancellor Evelyn Welch, within which the Professor stated her commitment to the postgraduate team and support for all students and their voices. Notable here is the University’s ongoing work to resolve the problems faced by students residing within the Newport Accommodations.

As a renowned research University, there is an immensely diverse range of master’s degrees offered by Bristol. To quote Hill, Bristol offers the opportunity “to have a deep dive into things you’re really interested in”, whether that’s obtaining further skills to benefit you in the graduate job market, or for those wanting to enter the world of academia and pursue a PhD.

Whatever your plans for after graduation next summer, Timber Hill suggests that all students on the fence about a postgraduate degree should look into the idea, even if you’re unsure as to your career ambitions and prospects.

Masters degrees provide an individual with a springboard from which they can leap into whatever career and lifestyle they choose for themselves, with Bristol offering an intimate, supportive and communal-like life for those choosing to study for an extra year.

Featured image: Timber Hill