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What does a postgraduate student really do?

Our students' Week in the Life diaries give you an insight into the richly textured days of a postgraduate student of English Literature at the University of York. You will find here diaries from current MA and PhD students. 

Will is from the UK and is studying the MA in Renaissance Literature. He’s in his fifth year in York. When he’s not studying for his course or working at a restaurant in town, he maintains an active and varied social life, playing football, contributing to university media societies, or watching student plays. Diary picture for Will Haydon postgraduate diary


Hannah Boast - Diary Picture Hannah is from the UK and is in the third year of her PhD. She is co-supervised by the Department of English and Related Literature at York and the Department of Geography at the University of Sheffield. She coordinates the York and King’s College London-based research network Imagining Jerusalem, 1099 to the Present Day. In her spare time she organises feminist events with LaDIYfest Sheffield.


‌Rebecca is a second year PhD student. Her research explores Arthurian literature owned by women in fifteenth-century England in terms of provenance, potential readership, cultural implications and female identity. She is from London, and works as a freelance web editor to finance her studies. In her spare time she enjoys exploring the gorgeous North Yorkshire countryside and running around the city, and is undertaking her first half-marathon at Blenheim Palace in October. Rebecca Lyons Diary Picture


Stephanie is studying the MA in Medieval Literatures. She previously completed an MA degree at the University of Mainz (GER) in English Literature and Northern European Languages. She is writing her MA dissertation on ‘Representations of the Foreign and the Strange in the Poetic Edda’. Stephanie runs and plays the guitar, and is an active member of York's Centre for Medieval Studies' drama group - the Lords of Misrule. Picture for Stephanie Richter's postgraduate diary


Diary Photo for Jessica Jones Jessica is from the United States and studying the MA in Film and Literature. She enjoys representing her fellow English MA students as a Course Representative and giving tours to visiting international students as an International Student Ambassador. On Tuesdays Jessica volunteers at a local sixth-form, York College, through the York Students In Schools program. She assists in classes like photography, creative media, and filmmaking, as she hopes to become a secondary teacher after her Masters.


Elly is a PhD student whose thesis focuses on representations of danger in adaptations of the Arthurian legend for children from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. I examine how authors adapt Thomas Malory’s medieval version of the Arthurian Legend, the Morte Darthur, to socialize boy readers into idealized forms of masculinity through the presentation of rites of passage revolving around physical danger and risk-taking. Diary Picture for the Elly McCausland PhD diary


Picture for the Indrani Karmakar Postgrad diary Indrani is a PhD student whose research focuses on the representation of motherhood in South Asian womens' writing, paying particular attention to the works of Mahasweta Devi, Anita Desai, Jhumpa Lahiri and Monica Ali. Her project investigates how their literary representations both reflect and reconceptualise the notion of motherhood in terms of gender, sexuality, female-embodiment and mother-daughter relationship.


Jack is in the fourth year of his PhD and hoping to submit in August. His thesis explores the early short films of Charlie Chaplin in the context of emerging mass-amusement culture in America between 1880 and 1920. Jack works part-time job for the University’s Writing Centre, a drop-in service for undergraduate students – of all subjects – who want extra help with their essay writing. Diary Picture for Jack Rundell postgrad diary


Diary Picture for Hannah Kershaw postgrad diary Hannah is from the UK and is in the first year of her PhD studies, which is co-supervised by both the English and Politics departments. When not studying, she enjoys attending classes as York Sport Village, exploring the many natural and historical sites of Yorkshire, and visiting friends and family back in London. She is also an avid ‘tweeter’ and runs the Twitter account for the Department of English.


Harriet is from the UK and is studying the interdisciplinary MA in Culture and Thought After 1945 part time. When not working or studying, she enjoys yoga, running and learning foreign languages. Harriet works in a local café and also Teaches English as a Foreign Language.