Make the most of Postgraduate distance study

Being a distance learning postgraduate student is a unique opportunity to deepen your knowledge and understanding in your chosen area.

As you progress, you will develop, reflect on and keep developing a range of skills. As you go through your course, these will include:

  • Reading and writing associated skills
  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Research skills
  • Communication skills

As you go through your studies you will gain all these skills, they may not come over night but after you complete your MA you will realise how far you have come.

Becoming a Student

We are sure you will enjoy your time studying with us, and find the course both interesting and rewarding.

Before you begin your journey, it is important to take a little time to consider what this will involve and what your commitments need to be as you undertake the course. Think here not only in terms of subject knowledge but also in terms of how you will fit studying into your life as a distance learning (and probably working, possibly mature) student. 

You will need to develop a range of skills that allows you to fully enjoy your course and gain the most from your reading, the experiences of your fellow course participants and your course tutors.  These skills will include:

  1. Organisational skills, thinking about how you will plan and schedule your reading, thinking and writing time;
  2. Study skills, developing a range of reading, writing associated skills;
  3. Writing skills, how you will analysis and synthesise your reading then write in a style asked of you by your course team within the time frame required;
  4. Knowledge and understanding, gaining subject specific knowledge and relating and understanding this in context;
  5. Research skills, searching and finding relevant and appropriate information related to your area of interest;
  6. Communication skills, communicating online is becoming part of life today and you will learn and develop your own sense of identity and style as we engage in our learning online

All programmes of study therefore begin with a Research Methods module to support you in acquiring or enhancing the new skills needed to undertake and succeed in your studies.

How to Study - Juggling home, work and study

One of the biggest challenges distance learning students face is the time challenge. 

You may have family and work commitments and now you have to fit in your studying time.  We understand this challenge and have taken this into consideration within the design of the module and course.  There are a number of skills and practicalities you can implement to support your balancing act.

Plan your time; be clear about your deadlines and plan the time you need (and you have) to meet these. If you have not already done so, look at the study calendar provided by your tutor and mark in your diary when your assignments are due.

Diary your time; make sure you set time aside to study.  You may find it too difficult to fit in your study around everything else you need to do, so make sure you mark out your time and stick to it.

Train your family & friends; this may sound odd, but if you have a family they will be on the journey with you and you need their support.  They need to understand why you are studying and how they can help.  Discuss the time you need to study so everyone at home understands and feels part of your journey (coffee of course is always welcome when you are in the middle of writing your assignment!). Your friends (and work colleagues) too will become sounding boards for your new ideas and intellectual struggles.  You may have to miss the occasional evening out or favourite TV show. Your family and friends will support you and feel part of your achievement when you complete.

Know your study pattern; we are all at our best at different times.  Are you an AM or a PM person? Be flexible initially but learn when your study better, tackle the most challenging work when you are at your strongest, and remember to take frequent breaks.

When the going gets tough….

All students at some point sit and wonder why they started (usually when there is an impending deadline and the sun is shining)!

Learning at a distance is not as isolating as it once was; just talking to other students can sometimes be all that is needed.

So remember you are not alone on your journey, you have family, friends, your peers and tutors and the online environment helps you to remain in touch. 

If there are times when you fall behind with your reading and writing, communicate with your course members and tutors we are there to help and support.

Introduction to Distance Learning Postgraduate Studies