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Meet our postgraduate students

Name: Esther Wilson
Course: MA Public History (part time)
Year of study: 
Part time employment:

1. Vacancy Service Assistant, Careers and Placements, University of York
2. Sales Associate, The Sunglass Hut
3. Captioning Assistant, Department of History, University of York
4. Postgraduate Ambassador, Department of History, University of York

What do you think the benefits are of an employer recruiting postgraduate students? 

Since Masters students have made the decision to advance their academic career, they are definitely able to demonstrate that they have a higher level of motivation, dedication and commitment, which will be valuable to all employers.  A Masters offers students the opportunity to further develop the skills that they gained from studying at undergraduate level, for example critical thinking and communication. In addition to this, Masters students have a wider repertoire of research methods and problem-solving skills and are better able to view things in a larger context and appreciate different perspectives.

On top of this, postgraduate students also have up-to-date, subject-specific knowledge that they can draw on and apply to different situations.

How has your Masters degree prepared you for the future?

My Masters degree has been instrumental in helping me prepare for the future. Not only have I been able to develop a wide range of transferable soft skills, but I have also gained an in-depth understanding and awareness of the industry, through a range of networking events and conferences. As a Masters student, I have been able to further my interests and ambitions more than at an undergraduate level and discover where I would like my degree to take me.

My experience as a Masters student is quite unique in that I decided to complete my postgraduate degree on a part-time basis to enable me to work alongside my studies and gain experience in different sectors. Being able to take the time to further my interests and decide on a career goal has allowed me to  tailor some of my experience to the sector I want to work in and this experience has confirmed this interest and ambition. 

How valuable do you think your Masters degree is to employers?

Masters students are valuable to employers as they have a range of skills and are trained to a much higher standard. Regardless of the discipline, Masters students are better able to critically analyse, construct arguments and appreciate other viewpoints, as well as offer highly developed project and time management skills. 

My Masters is incredibly broad, practical and forward-thinking. Although I am studying a Masters in Public History, I have gained a variety of perspectives on the relationship between the past and the public and I have been able to  relate this to current affairs and evaluate the impact of this on the modern day heritage sector. Throughout this degree, I have not only expanded my knowledge of the heritage sector, but also other sectors like journalism, publishing and media.

My Masters programme at York also has a very practical element to it and has offered me the opportunity to gain valuable industry experience through the placement module. For this module, I have been working with a freelance Historian to assist with writing three publications, proof-reading work and get involved in media work. This experience has been incredibly insightful and not only has this enabled me to develop my professional skills and gain experience in a remote setting, but it has also complemented my studies and has  facilitated many opportunities to put theory into practice.

How valuable have your part-time roles been in terms of developing your skills and abilities?

Working alongside my postgraduate degree has enabled me to demonstrate that I can balance several responsibilities and extra-curricular activities. I have adopted a professional approach to managing my time and projects, as well as showing flexibility and adaptability where necessary.

The reason I opted to complete my Masters degree part time was to enable me to gain experience in different industries and be exposed to a range of professionals and like-minded people, who I can learn from. By undertaking these roles, I have not only developed my knowledge of the sector, but I have also developed many invaluable soft skills. My part-time roles have enabled me to gain experience of working with a range of different teams to accommodate requests and adapt to the needs of individual stakeholders and this experience will carry forward in future roles after university.