After finishing my fourth year of medicine, I am intercalating in a Masters of Research, with a focus on Cancer, Immunology and Cell Cycles. I could have pursued my Master’s anywhere, but I felt Newcastle University offered the best research opportunities.
PG & Me
I chose to study at postgraduate level because I am considering the Academic Foundation Programme, an academic career route into medicine where you can combine your clinical work with research.
I chose Newcastle for many reasons: the university is one of the best cancer research institutes in the UK and is known for its stem cell research activity. The city itself also has a bit of everything: culture, shopping, entertainment, sports, and is so accessible by foot and cycle.
Surviving the Step-Up from UG to PG
Coming from medicine, I really like how you can tailor the MRes course to your own interests. We are guided on extra reading, but it is up to you what you want to know more about! Although they can be extremely stressful, I really like the variety of assessment methods used. For example: essays, presentations, multiple choice questionnaires, computer and written assessments. Also, the modules have been so diverse and challenging, and have allowed me to explore areas that I am most interested in. Having less teaching time has been a learning curve, but it has also enabled me to develop my independent study and time-management skills.
The Postgraduate Experience
As I did my undergraduate here at Newcastle, my experiences have not changed much – rather they have enhanced as a postgraduate. Having more of your own time, means more time to do sports and social activities, but also enough time to study hard. The university is huge, and I am still finding more study spaces and libraries despite having been here for 5 years already. I am now a Student Ambassador and this helps support my funding, and continue my transition into working life. Postgraduate life at Newcastle University is great – the city is the true definition of work and play!
I am currently renting from a private landlord, who I found through a letting agency. I lived in the same house last year, and because the landlord was so nice and communicable, I decided to stay. It was so easy to set up the house in the first place. We simply walked into the agency, organised house viewings, and decided in our own time which house we liked the most.
Living in NCL
The city is so compact and has everything you need. Eldon Square and Northumberland Street are so close to the university, so shopping isn’t a problem. There are also plenty of gyms and sports centres around the city, so if you are sporty then Newcastle is definitely for you.
I also really like the accessibility of Newcastle. You can walk from where I live in Jesmond to the city centre in 20 minutes, and that’s if you’re walking slowly. If you’re feeling a little lazy, you can take the metro from almost any of the main student areas (Jesmond, Heaton, Sandyford and Gosforth) and be in the city centre in less than 15 minutes.
Funding My Studies
Medical students are given many funding opportunities if they want to do a Master’s. There is also lots of funding available for non-medics, so there are opportunities for everyone! I am lucky enough to have been successful in receiving the NICR NECCR Paediatric Oncology Studentship, as well as NHS bursary funding, which cover my tuition fees and maintenance costs.
As an intercalating medical student, I hope to complete my Master’s, then go on to finish my medical degree, and qualify as a Doctor. My love for Newcastle will most likely mean I continue my training in the North East! I am also hoping to apply for the Academic Foundation Programme, which will allow me to combine clinical and academic work.
Doing better than I thought I would in my assignments, which can be stressful. But if you put the work in (and maybe a few all-nighters!) you achieve what you deserve. Meeting so many different students from different parts of the world, with diverse career ambitions, has also been really enjoyable.
My Top Tips
Google Newcastle upon Tyne, and Newcastle University – I am sure you will be convinced by the beautiful images you come across. Also, try to come and see Newcastle in person! It may be colder than most parts of the UK, but the city itself should provide enough warmth for you to consider coming to study here. People are not joking when they say that Newcastle is the most enjoyable location in the North East.