Richard Massie

What made you want to apply to your MA Modern History course at Leeds? 

I have always enjoyed studying history and I decided to go against my mainly maths and science A-Levels to study it at university as it was the subject I enjoyed the most. I have always enjoyed military history, especially post-World War 2 non-conventional conflicts. 

The main reason I applied to the masters course at Leeds was the level of enjoyment I got out of my undergraduate course here. I really wanted to write another dissertation and stay in Leeds.

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

I am passionate about studying history, especially the Troubles in Northern Ireland, as I believe they can provide an extremely important insight into current and future issues. In addition, I believe the military side of the conflict in Northern Ireland has a much greater potential for study than is currently being utilised so the opportunity to work on projects that are unique is something I am passionate about.

My favourite element of the course is the individual research that is required. This is especially prominent in my dissertation work but also something that can be engaged with in all modules. Additionally, I really enjoy my time in seminars. At a masters level, those studying all have a genuine passion for their subject matter, so being able to discuss history with them is very exciting.

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

The University has extremely good educational facilities. The equipment in the Central Teaching Space is a huge aid to student learning. The libraries are also exceptional. Across the four libraries the university has to offer there is a huge range of academic materials and work spaces. My favourite space is down with the history books in the historic Brotherton library but the Laidlaw and Edward Boyle libraries both provide extremely modern study spaces too. 

I have worked closely with Dr Alan MacLeod on my undergraduate dissertation and now my postgraduate dissertation. I have hugely enjoyed this as his expertise on the conflict in Northern Ireland and his willingness to discuss it makes for very interesting meetings with him, something I always looked forward to when writing my dissertation.

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

There is a wide range of clubs and societies provided through Leeds University Union. Personally, I am heavily involved in the University American Football Team. I love the comradery created within the team that really promotes a family atmosphere. I have also had the opportunity to be a part of the committee as both equipment manger and in my current role as Treasurer.

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

If you were looking to apply to study History at university and have a passion for the subject I would not hesitate. You will have an enjoyable time following your passion while learning valuable employable skills. Through my time at Leeds I feel I have developed strong skills through both my academic and non-academic activities so would feel comfortable in a huge variety of positions in the future.