Category Archives: postgraduate

TEDx is coming to the University of Cumbria!


TEDx, an independently organised TED event, is coming to Carlisle for one night only!

Tickets available on the UoC TEDx website here.


The Theme

For the first ever University of Cumbria TEDx event the theme ‘Progression’ has been chosen, this ties in nicely with university life and can have a broad interpretation. Expect talks on career progression, the progression of ideas and much more. The event speakers really have had some great ideas on what progression means to them and the world.


The Speakers:

  • Andy Beeforth – Chief Executive Cumbria Community foundation
  • Jacqui Filkins – Honoury Fellow, advisor to EU on health matters – Sustainability Strategies.
  • Brenda Crossley – Graduate – Aging & Adapting With Technology.
  • Nathan Roberts – Zoo Keeper – Conservation and Effective Communication.
  • Phillip Wilson – Musician. Making Music Accessible For All.
  • Annie Weir – Self-published creative writing graduate – Age Is Not A Barrier.

Developing a great line-up for this event has been tough, there are just so many talented people with great ideas! There will be something for everyone with six super talented speakers all with unique ideas to share from varied backgrounds. Be sure to check out the event blog here for updates on speakers with details about them and their talks.



Thursday 5th May 2016 at 18.30 until 21.30



The event will be held in the University of Cumbria’s Fusehill Street campus close to the centre of Carlisle in the Learning Gateway Lecture Theatre.

University of Cumbria, Fusehill Street, Carlisle, CA1 2HH



A ticket must be purchased to ensure attendance. Just to make it even harder to resist temptation you will get a free beer and a burger with each ticket. Now that’s food for thought…

Tickets are £8.49 per person (including booking fees)

Tickets available on the UoC TEDx website here.



About TEDx, x = independently organized event
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

Find out more on the TED website.

New to TED? Here’s 11 must see TED talks.


This event is being organised by Ben Parker (University of Cumbria Events Management Student)


How to find funding for your Post-Graduate course


Thinking of undertaking some further study? FindAMasters knows that further study can be advantageous and can really improve your long-term employability, but one (or even four) years without funding can be a huge burden. Because of this, they are really keen to encourage as many students as possible to take advantage of funding opportunities.

This year their scholarships are bigger and better than ever, with £12,000 of Postgraduate Scholarships available to students who will be starting Masters or PhD study in autumn 2015. This will be broken into one £5,000 Masters scholarship, one £5,000 PhD scholarship and four £500 prizes for either Masters or PhD study. Applications for these scholarships will be opening in April and you can find out more information about these scholarships by visiting the website here:

FindAMasters have also produced an online guide to the HEFCE Postgraduate Support Scheme to help prospective Masters students’ find out more about the £10,000 bursaries for study at English institutions in 2015 (including a preliminary allocation of 15 awards at the University of Cumbria).

Good luck with your future studies!

Free Download: Masters Application Tips & Advice

Are you looking to apply for a Masters? This FREE ebook download from is for you!


From the introduction: There are many motivations for undertaking postgraduate study, and many reasons that you might be thinking about applying for a postgraduate degree. In this increasingly competitive graduate jobs market, a postgraduate degree can give you a considerable advantage over competitors, while it can also provide you with the chance to explore a topic in more detail, extending your academic career.

Some postgraduate courses are very academic in nature, and often involve an extended piece of research and writing, whereas others are more vocational and will provide training for a particular career path.

This ebook takes you through every aspect of applying for a postgraduate degree, from your initial thoughts and motivations through to the research proposal and funding application. The
ebook aims to offer some advice and suggestions to potential postgraduate students from all backgrounds and disciplines, and to anyone at any stage hoping to undertake an academic career.  Along the way, the ebook provides an action plan for your next steps along your route to becoming a postgraduate student, and eventually an academic, and draws on advice from current and past postgraduate students. Happy reading… and good luck!

Download via this link:

Postgraduate Routes into Teacher Training


So you want to be a teacher? The good news is there are loads of different routes into teaching nowadays – the bad news is you have to decide which is best for you – easier said than done, right! Don’t worry, the Careers Team are here to help!

We’ve pulled together some useful links for you below, as well as some ‘Routes into Teaching’ videos produced by UoC.

If you are going to be applying through UCAS, remember the old saying ‘the sooner the better’ – UCAS have just opened the scheme now (late October 2014) so start prepping your application now! has a really useful guide to writing your personal statement here: and the UCAS website has a great guide to filling in your application here:

The University of Cumbria’s YouTube channel has some handy videos that show what’s on offer here at UoC, with lots of advice on the different routes you can take:

Not sure which route is right for you? Try out this nifty tool on the UCAS Teacher Training (UTT) website:

It’s also worth having a look at the other routes into teaching that aren’t included in UTT here:

And why not have a look at UCAS TV for information too?

We really hope that this blog post has been useful – please feel free to ask us any questions in the comments or you can tweet us your questions @UoCCareers.

Remember the the careers team are here to help – email to ask us questions, get feedback on your application, or to book an appointment with us.

Why go post-grad?

student looking through bookshelf (close up)

Deciding to continue studies after completing your degree is not a task to be taken lightly. It’s a lot of hard work, that needs to be high quality that not only isn’t earning you money but it’s costing you.

I’m a part time, self funding PhD researcher with just shy of 3 years left until completion.  It leaves me both time and cash poor. My social life is seriously affected and I won’t have time to read out side of my field until I’m done. It’s not glamorous and it’s not easy. Every spare day and every spare pound is put towards making the project better.

With all that said, I must do it for some reason. What is it that keeps me going better than a new dress from zara? Why did I even dream of it in the first place?

Circumstances as they were for me gave me an opportunity to review my life plan. What were my strengths, interests and ambitions? It didn’t take long for me to see that I should continue with academic work as far as I can take it. It suits me. It gives me food for brain and soul. It makes me feel accomplished and like I can offer my best to the world. That may seem a little hyperbolic, but seriously why else would you run such a gauntlet?

I jotted down some of my motivations when planning this blog. Here’s what I jotted down:

  • re-thinking life
  • sense of achievement / bucket list.
  • to fine tune my research skills.
  • to have an impact.

The last item on my list could easily sit next to ‘to be rich’ ‘to sell books’ ‘to change the world’  ‘to be famous’ and ‘to prove I’m smart’ or be placed firmly on the should never be motivated by these things list.

A PhD will open a lot of doors but behind those doors there are richer, smarter people. It is your attitude and tenacity that will make you those things. But I am not going to lie, I really would like my research to have an impact.

Plus why not be open about the fact that being able to call oneself a Dr. does have a particular charm. It denotes trustworthiness,  rigour, and particular standards. If this is something you are looking for then why not go out and get it? There is a big message out there to all budding PhD researcher that I’m afraid I must echo. Being interested and engaged in your subject is vital!! I can’t stress this enough. If you do any further reading around becoming a PhD student or researcher you will hear this many times.  It is THAT important.

I had been out of higher education for eight years when I started seriously looking into post graduate education. It was draughting and after contacting lots of different universities about various courses and programmes I felt lost and like it was a bit of a foolish endeavour.  However contacting The University of Cumbria turned that right around.  I found Sonia Mason and the Grad School went above and beyond my expectations and made everything seem straightforward.  I felt like someone was finally on my side. I continue to get that same level of support from her over two years later.

My career isn’t completely mapped out and I have no definite idea of where my research will take me but I hope you will enjoy sharing the journey with me.

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You can learn more about Kerry’s research here: and you can also read her academic blog here: Please email if you have any direct questions, and please do leave some comments below!

Friday’s Featured Opportunities – 27/12/2013

In a change to scheduled programming, this week I have gathered a couple of opportunities for you to look at over the holiday period. Maybe you will find something here that will help you to gain some experience in your chosen field?

Gap Year Opportunity in Kuala Lumpar – International School Teaching Assistants


This is a fantastic opportunity to work as one of over thirty Primary School Teaching Assistants supporting the National Curriculum in a reputable and vibrant international school. You will spend a purposeful gap year within a professional working environment alongside colleagues from some of the best UK and international schools. You will have the opportunity to contribute to the all round development of our diligent, intelligent and very well-mannered pupils as well as broadening your horizons by travelling across Malaysia and Asia.

You will receive a comprehensive induction programme and regular training, return flight to Malaysia from the UK, free quality apartment accommodation, as well as an attractive salary package which allows you to enjoy Kuala Lumpur and travel in the region. You will also receive free health insurance.

More information about the school is available at
To apply please send your CV and covering letter outlining your interest in the
post, with contact address, email and phone number, along with the email addresses
of two referees to:

Funded places available on the Post Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Leadership


The Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS) are pleased to announce a competition for Sustainable Leader Scholarships, for fees-paid places on the new Post-Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Leadership.

This new course involves two residentials in the Lake District, UK, and independent study. It is suitable for professionals in the sustainability field seeking greater impact in their work. The deadline for applications is in January. The scholarships are made possible by sponsorship from the Robert Kennedy College. More information is available at:

Can Things Only Get Better? The Futuretrack Survey

Following on from the broad brush but optimistic approach of the last couple of posts the Futuretrack survey reported in “Graduate Market Trends” offers some contrasting insights as it studies the development of a group of students who started University in 2006.  In other words, most of them graduated at the time when graduate unemployment was at its highest (8.9%).

Unenployment and Under-Employment

Over 30% of those studied were still in what is classed as non-graduate level employment by the time of the latest survey in February 2012, although with considerable variations according to degree subject.  Looking on the negative side men, those aged 21-25 on applying to University (interestingly) and those from ethnic minority groups were found to be at most risk of unemployment after graduation, whereas (unsurprisingly) graduates achieving First Class Honours were much less likely to be on the dole.

There are also clear suggestions that those students who got involved in extra curricular activities, and especially those who held roles as a student representative or official were more likely to be in ‘graduate level’ jobs by 2012.  The interesting point here is that first generation graduates from poorer backgrounds are far less likely to have found the opportunity to take on this kind of function.  The same group are also more likely to be put off considering postgraduate study, which the survey finds has become less popular following the introduction of tuition fees.

Job Satisfaction

One of the tables in the Stage 4 Futuretrack report provides an insight into the degree-related skills used by graduates in their current job.  This is a subjective measure but suggests that the – by employers – much vaunted skills of spoken communication, teamwork and time management came out bottom, whereas the more academic sounding skills of research and critical evaluation made up the top two.  It would be fascinating to compare this finding with the original adverts for the jobs these graduates were actually doing at the time!

As well as providing some of the highest levels of graduate employment, students of engineering technologies and subjects related to medicine also recorded the highest levels of job satisfaction in their current roles.  bottom of the pile were architecture, building and planning with creative arts and design – so perhaps it’s only two cheers for hopes of creative satisfaction in the longer term.

From Futuretrack Stage 4 Report p. 92


It’s also only two cheers for gender equality as research into the respective earnings of men and women show that they remain strikingly uneven, in that women were much more strongly represented than men in the £15 – £24,000 range. Men were far more likely to be earning more, even though there was no substantial gender difference in the UCAS points held by those surveyed.

Almost 40 years after the introduction of the Sex Discrimination Act, there were only two silver linings for women in the research:

  • In the not-for-profit sector alone, reported salary levels were roughly equal with those earned by men.
  • The minority of women who were earning salaries of £40,000 plus actually recorded higher levels of job satisfaction than their male counterparts.
But the researchers reserved their most forthright comments on the subject for the Law sector: “Compared with the Education sector, female law graduates seeking a professional career should be aware that the profession remains some forty years behind the times with respect to the elimination of gendered career paths.”

Strong words indeed!

But Are Things Getting Better?..

The work of Futuretrack shows some aspects of individual choice (degree subject, extra-curricular activity) that can affect future job prospects but you cannot unfortunately choose the year you graduate.

Since 2009, prospects for graduates have been getting better and more recently Careers Advisers are noticing an increasing number of vacancies, for example coming in to the University of Cumbria Jobshop

Even the public sector is starting to recover, with evidence of increasing numbers of vacancies for newly-qualified teachers and something of a shortage of qualified nurses.

Postgraduate Study – What Are the Benefits?

The answer seems to be “precious few” according to work recently undertaken by the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) Postgraduate Students Task Group, as reported recently in AGCAS’ Phoenix magazine (October edition).

In a depressed labour market, many graduates hope they may increase their chances of landing a good job by obtaining a postgraduate qualification but the work of the Task Group suggests that many of the benefits they are anticipating can often prove illusory. Their investigations suggest that:

  • Only a few employers have recruitment programmes that specifically target postgraduates
  • There is not much evidence that acquiring a postgraduate qualification leads to higher salary offers
  • With the exception of problem-solving skills, employers do not believe that postgraduates offer a better set of skills or progress faster than graduates in their first job
  • A postgraduate degree seldom compensates for failing to achieve a 2.1
Overall the message is that a postgraduate qualification brings few benefits in its own right unless also accompanied by significant professional work experience.
So what price “Education, Education, Education”?
It’s interesting to speculate what sort of postgraduates the Task Group, whose work is acknowledged to be anecdotal rather than scientific, had in mind in coming to their conclusions. Many University of Cumbria students pursue careers in Teaching, Social Work, Psychology, Nursing and the Health Professions where it is required or at least very desirable to take a postgraduate qualification, albeit alongside extending their experience in the workplace. There are also many career areas where a Masters qualification is needed if you do not hold a degree in that particular subject.
Could it be that the Task Group were perhaps thinking more of postgraduates pursuing non-vocational or obscure subjects, and then trying to break into the ‘blue chip’ graduate trainee market?  Quotes from Ernst & Young, PwC (Price Waterhouse Cooper to the rest of us) and RAND Europe indicate that may be the case.
Research Your Course
So where does this leave the would-be applicant?
As so often with careers, it is a “horses for courses” type of situation.  There are a great many postgraduate courses – some that offer no vocational benefits at all and do not even pretend to do so, a few that are effectively essential career stepping stones, and others that come some way between.  The onus is on you to quiz postgraduate course providers about the career outcomes of previous students if you are definitely hoping to choose a course that will advance your own career.

New Postgraduate Business Courses at the University of Cumbria

The new University of Cumbria Business School is offering a series of postgraduate courses that will be starting at the University on 14th January 2013. They are:

        · MBA – full time (Lancaster)
        · MBA – part time (Fusehill St, Carlisle)*
        · MA Business Management (Lancaster)
        · Certificate of Management Studies – part time (Fusehill St, Carlisle)*
        · Diploma of Management Studies – part time (Fusehill St, Carlisle)*

Also on offer from the same date are:

        · BA (Hons) Business Management (Lancaster)
        · BA (Hons) Business Management – top up (Lancaster, Fusehill Street, Carlisle and Energus, Whitehaven)

Interested candidates can get more information at or from our course enquiry centre on 0845 606 11 44.

Alternatively you can visit one of the School’s open evenings in early December.

* All on Tuesdays

Forthcoming Careers Fairs in Manchester

This is our annual message to let you know the dates of autumn careers fairs for students and graduates, organised by the University of Manchester.

This year’s dates are as follows:

  • ETHNIC DIVERSITY FAIR 2012 (Whitworth Hall, Manchester) 10 October
  • ENGINEERING, SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY FAIR 2012 (Manchester Central, G-MEX) 17 October
  • FINANCE, BUSINESS & MANAGEMENT FAIR 2012 (Manchester Central, G-MEX) 18 October
  • LAW FAIR 2012 (Manchester Central, G-MEX) 20 November
  • POSTGRADUATE STUDY FAIR 2012 (Manchester Central, G-MEX) 21 November

 The next Graduate Recruitment Fair will take place in June 2013.

For more information, visit