Research Masters has given me the skills to proceed to a PhD


Gareth undertook a History Masters by Research in the History Research Group. He's now been awarded a fully funded PhD studentship with the Open University and LSE Library: The British Library of Political and Economic Science


My History Masters research project delved into the political culture and historical storytelling of the British left in the run-up to the Second World War. I love politics and history, so the ability to combine these passions is part of what I’ve loved about the project. It is also an under-explored area of British history, and one that has very interesting implications for our current political culture. Along the way, I’ve discovered a unique moment in British historiography, one that bridges a gap between older styles of storytelling and the more scientific history of the later twentieth century. 

The topic was a sideways step from my undergraduate dissertation, in which I tracked the development of the early Soviet film industry. I began by tracing the influence of these developments on left-wing independent cinema in the United Kingdom at the time. However, my research led me to broaden this out and develop the thesis to cover the political storytelling of the British left more widely. 

The Masters by Research has given me a taste of what a much longer PhD project would be like, without having to commit three years to my studies. It has given me the skills necessary to proceed with a PhD or a career in research. I enjoy independent study, so I felt that the Masters by Research was a better fit for me than a taught MA. 

The flexibility of the Masters by Research has allowed me to study when and where I like, be it at home, in the University library or my favourite coffee shop! I also enjoyed making trips to archives across the country, which can make an exciting break from study. As a Welsh student, I was able to apply for a postgraduate loan and rent accommodation, which helped me to focus on my research. 

As an alumnus of the BA (Hons) History degree, University of South Wales made seemed like the logical place for postgraduate study. I was familiar with staff, and so I knew how positive the relationships made at USW can be. The University has great library facilities, which I made use of in both Cardiff and Pontypridd. I was confident throughout that the staff and my supervisors wanted the best possible outcome for me and my work, being very accommodating of any challenges that I had faced. 

Most of all, my MRes has given me the skills and connections needed to proceed with PhD study. After discovering a perfect studentship opportunity, my supervisor, Dr Chris Hill, helped me to put together a proposal and make contacts the ensure that I succeeded in winning a place. I am now set to start the next chapter in my academic life, though I will forever feel at home at USW and am eternally grateful for the experiences I’ve had and the people I’ve met. I would recommend postgraduate study at University of South Wales to anyone!