Student Profiles, University Life - Study

Catherine Iannucci – Undergraduate to Postgraduate

Ever wondered what makes our students stay at Cardiff University for postgraduate study after completing their undergraduate degree? Read on to find out what some of our students have to say…

What are you studying at postgraduate level?

MScEcon International Relations

What did you study at undergraduate?

BScEcon Politics and Modern History

Did you come directly from UG to PG or take a break?

Came directly

What brought you back?

I wanted to carry on studying somewhere I knew would provide excellent teaching whilst having the continuity of staff for me to be able to study a mostly different course but within the same academic school.

What do you love about Cardiff?

I love that the city is always busy and there are always things going on without feeling like it was a really overwhelming place to move to on your own when you first come to the university. It’s also beautiful and the people are really friendly

Where’s your favourite place in Cardiff and why?

My favourite place is Roath Park; it’s so beautiful there and you can feed the ducks and swans or hire one of the little peddalos. It’s peaceful even though it’s still relatively near to the centre and it’s nice to have somewhere green to go in the middle of a city.

Why did you decide to stay at Cardiff for your postgraduate studies?

I decided to stay because I knew that the university would look after me if I ever found myself in need of help as well as providing the high standard of teaching that I’d experienced at undergraduate. The course offered modules that sounded really interesting that were not offered at other universities that offered similar courses. The staff that I spoke to during the open day were also really enthusiastic and encouraged me to apply even though I had doubts that doing a different course at postgrad to what I’d studied at undergraduate would be a massive challenge.

What are the benefits of studying at postgraduate level?

I’ve found that the range of modules available to me have opened up the sort of jobs I could apply for that I hadn’t even considered, as well as seminars being structured in a way that definitely focus more on employability and skills whilst still relating to your course than undergraduate teaching did.

How is postgraduate study different from undergraduate?

It definitely is a lot more challenging, but not necessarily in a bad way. I think lecturers definitely expect more from you and I’ve found that seminars require a far greater degree of preparation, but equally I think because there are fewer seminars at masters level they’re all more directed and so everyone preparing more makes them actually more useful. Lecturers expect more from you as well, in the sense that you haven’t really got a proper excuse not to do work since you have chosen to do this course and since there are fewer people in the sessions you can’t get away with everyone else pulling your weight.

What support is available at Cardiff as a postgraduate student?

In terms of wellbeing, there are a number of services to help with things like money or mental health problems, which can be accessed by anyone. In a more general sense of feeling part of the university and getting to know people, the Vice President (VP) Postgrad based at the Student’s Union has been really good at running events to help postgrad students get to know other people so that you don’t feel like you won’t know anyone before the course starts.

What/who helped you to make the decision to stay in Cardiff? 

I partly decided to stay because I knew it was a good uni, but I also stayed because the course offered modules that other universities didn’t. I also chose to stay here because I knew there would be funding that I could apply for through the scholarship that would make a huge difference to whether or not I was actually able to carry on with my studies.

How do you fund your postgraduate studies?

I applied for the Student Finance Postgraduate Loan and was lucky enough to receive the Cardiff University Masters Excellence Scholarship, which reduced my fees by £3,000.

Looking back at your time as an undergraduate is there anything you’d do differently?

I don’t think so!