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Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme

03 Jun 2015

Shaun Haywood tells his real life story behind our scheme to help talented students overcome barriers

Shaun Heywood

The University’s Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme has helped students to overcome a variety of barriers to master's study. In this StaffNet series, we see some of the real life stories behind the scheme – illustrating perfectly just why we do this.

Our Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme helped Shaun Haywood tackle an uphill battle to finance a postgraduate course in a subject he really loved, at his first choice institution.

Combining part-time work with a step up in academic expectations has been tough, but he’s on the way to qualification in a new professional field.

Shaun’s undergraduate degree in Social Care at Manchester Metropolitan University was supported by a full maintenance grant. Halfway through he tried to switch to a psychology degree, but would have had to start from the beginning again, so decided on a psychology conversion master’s. Funding, however, proved to be a problem:

“I initially applied for a Professional and Career Development Loan through the bank, but this was declined,” he recalls. “I faced the prospect of not having the opportunity to study at postgraduate level, in a subject I was really interested in. I felt as though my undergraduate degree had not opened many doors for me and that I needed to do postgraduate study to progress.”

Rather than be denied the chance to move into psychology, he decided to study part-time while continuing to work as a retail manager at the Trafford Centre. But being awarded our Postgraduate Scholarship meant he could study full-time.

“The scholarship has enabled me to study at postgraduate level without getting into any more debt and to not have to work full-time, which allows me to concentrate on my studies,” Shaun explains. “In fact it has allowed me to study at postgraduate level full stop, as I wouldn’t be here otherwise.”

Shaun still has to work part time, which was a concern ahead of the course. “My main worry was being able to finance myself and keep up with the workload as we were warned that studying at this level full time is really intense, not to mention there is a huge shortage of financial aid for postgraduate students,” he says.

“The work has been tough, not only because it is the next level from undergraduate study, but also because it is at a more prestigious University.  However, you soon get used to the workload and expectations.

“You are expected to work a lot more independently, but other classmates have been amazing at offering support and sharing ideas.

“I’ve really enjoyed the content of the course and the connectedness of the class, as well as the ethos of the University in general.  It’s a great place at which to study.”

His advice for others in the same situation? “Be prepared to be working most days on your assignments if you want to get good grades. Also make use of tutorials with tutors, social media contact with your classmates – and make sure you attend every session.”