Fraser Bonar, MA English Literature student

Fraser Bonar

What made you want to apply to your MA course and to Leeds?

The reputation of the department and of the University in general appealed to me foremost when I was researching postgraduate options. When I came to visit Leeds I instantly liked the department, and with the various optional modules that suited my tastes, it was always a great fit for me.

What is it that makes you passionate about your area of study?

I love that in English literature, there is always a different way to approach any text, any topic, or any problem. It makes it an endlessly fascinating field of study. If you don't agree with one critic's view, then you are always free to explore a divergent line of enquiry.

What aspects of the course did you enjoy the most?  

The seminars were wonderfully vibrant. There really was never a boring tutorial during my year, as the discussions tended not to be too closed fixed to the texts studied, but shifted with each person's input. I feel like this led to a far more productive learning experience for me than if we had simply stuck to the studied material dutifully.

What would you say about Leeds as a city?

Leeds is a wonderful place to be a student, and with the city-centre not far from the University and the student areas it feels nice and compact. It also has great shopping and an amazing night-life!

What would you say about the learning facilities in your School and at the University in general?

The School of English has incredible staff. Both the academic staff and the support/admin staff really make sure that you get everything you need as a student here. In terms of the broader University, the libraries are simply excellent. The Edward Boyle has an entire floor dedicated to postgraduate research, so you can always find a quiet place for studying.

What other activities are available for students to take part in outside of their studies, and which ones have you tried out yourself?

With the huge Union at Leeds, there are more societies and sports teams than anyone could list. I joined the University Baseball Team, and one of the choirs. As with everyone at Leeds, both were full of friendly, fun, and welcoming people.

What would you say to anyone thinking of applying to your course?

The opportunities at Leeds are incredible, and you just need to put yourself out there a little in order to enjoy the benefits of them. Two good examples within the School are the monthly postgraduate research seminars—run by some doctoral students, but Masters students are more than welcome—and the MA conference. The conference was a wonderful experience for everyone as far as I can tell, and I would urge anyone to get involved with these.

What do you plan to do now you’ve finished your course, and how do you think the skills and knowledge you’ve developed at Leeds will help with these plans?

I am taking a break from study, and moving to Berlin for some time to improve my German in order to help with my proposed PhD topic. I hope to return to the UK and to study in the next few years. My proposed topic was formed while I was studying for my Masters at Leeds, and would not have been possible without the support of several members of staff. I also feel that the experience of the dissertation has made me far more confident about the prospect of extended independent research.