Introducing the MA by Research: Interview with current student

Barbora Bartosova is currently pursuing an MA by Research in twentieth-century French studies, tentatively entitled ‘From Baudelaire to the Situationists, Processing the Loss of Tradition with Regards to the Phenomenon of Modernity’.

 

Why did you come to Durham?

Firstly, Durham has one of the best French departments in the country. It also has excellent professors whose expertise is in my area of research interest – needless to say, it was very important to look up their profiles and also to read some of their publications. Because I found two brilliant academics whose research concentration is on French literature, visual arts and general theory, it enabled me to pursue my initial proposal that I was very passionate about – most Universities were less flexible as they were only offering Masters programmes in either History of Art or Literature Studies.

Why did you choose to do a Research MA rather than a taught course?

As I have mentioned, I am incredibly passionate about Frenc literature, visual arts and general theory within a relatively specific period of time (late 19th to late 20th century) and I wanted to examine these particular interdisciplinary subject-matters more closely. It is also exciting to be in charge of your own project and to schedule your studies, however, of course I would be lost without my supervisor and I also audit two classes which I really enjoy, so I definitely operate according to a certain structure.

How is the course structured?

I have meetings with my supervisor almost every week, but this is our personal arrangement – it is different with every student and professor, they agree on how often they would like to meet up. We usually discuss the progress of my work and set up different goals for the next meeting, and he always has some extremely helpful suggestions on how to develop my ideas and likewise various recommendations for further reading. The rest of the time is my individual schedule of reading and writing, although, as I have previously stated, I also attend two classes that are relevant to my area of study and they provide me with more background information and inspiration.

What have you found to be the most valuable aspect of the MA so far?

I am incredibly happy that I have the option to expand my knowledge in the specific areas that appeal to me the most while I am being supervised by academics who are experts in these fields. It also gives me the freedom to organise my time in the most efficient way, which means that I can include any different lectures and extra-curricular activities in my schedule. Getting to meet other postgraduate students from my department is also an amazing experience – I particularly enjoy this community in which one can discuss research interests and network.

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