Archive for August, 2009

just one year?

August 31, 2009

If a one year master’s degree sounds good to be true, it is. The school year is intensive and you really do work up until the last month of the summer semester.

Most master’s students don’t have time to search for jobs, internships, or other opportunities while working on their dissertations, so a lot of postgraduates spend the first couple of months after graduation just trying to find something to fill their hours.

The one year master’s is still a fantastic option, but just keep mind, it’s a lot longer than it seems.

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A Master of Science?

August 28, 2009

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Sticky markers and notes post-dissertation.

It’s official: I am now finished with my dissertation, and more importantly, my master’s course! I won’t get my marks until next month and graduation isn’t until December, but I am now free from papers and assignments (at least for the time being). Overall, I am happy with the way the dissertation and course went. There are of course things I wish I could have changed about my paper, but that’s always the case.

Here’s a bit of dissertation advice for future MA and MSc students:

  • Collect a number of take-out menus, you may be too busy to cook.
  • Create PDFs of your documents, so that your formatting remains consistent. If you’re working with multiple documents, you may combine them using a PDF maker.
  • To avoid the crowds, get to the print shop early. I visited the print shop in David Hume Tower a week before the dissertation was due to get price quotes and binding/printing options.
  • Make sure you have enough time to proofread. Big thanks to Naomi Salinas and Thomas Hancock for editing my work.

Good luck and happy mastering! It’s going to be a great next school year.

the big D: draft 1

August 9, 2009

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After three months of intensive research and writing, I have finally finished my first dissertation draft! It still needs a ton of revising (I am about 1,000-2,000 words over the 15,000 word limit), but I am glad to be done with the bulk of it.

To mark this momentous occasion, I’d like to share several dissertation tips:

  • If you have writer’s block, don’t be afraid, just start writing — even if it’s just, “I have writer’s block and I don’t feel like writing.” You’ll be surprised how quickly you start fleshing out your thoughts and ideas.
  • If you get stuck on a section, move on and then come back to it. No point in forcing it.
  • Read your dissertation aloud. This will help you ensure everything flows.
  • In addition to your supervisor, get a friend or two to edit it for you. Ideally, you should get one editor from your field and one from outside.
  • Once you’ve finished a chapter or a major section of your paper,  treat yourself to something special.
  • Once you’ve finished a draft, take a break for a few days, so that you can revise and edit with fresh eyes.

Happy Dissertationing!