Elizabeth Petts


Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background? 

I’m from Croydon, and I am the first person in my family to go to university. I’ve just finished my third year studying in the school of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science. In my time at university, I have been involved with the Prison Reform society, and I was the secretary of the Theology and Religious Studies society in my second year. Being at university in Leeds made me feel so at home in the North – so much so that I am staying in West Yorkshire after I graduate. 

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

Leeds as a city is so vibrant and welcoming, and being from London I wanted to live somewhere that still felt as busy and exciting as home. On my first few visits to the university, the professors were all so welcoming and every student I spoke to made Leeds sound like the university for me. Choosing Leeds definitely came down to the positive energy you feel on campus. My course, Philosophy, Ethics and Religion, is fairly unique compared to other religion-related BA courses, as it has a large choice of modules and topics, and the freedom to specialise or study a wide variety of things. The lecturers are all experts in their respective fields of study yet always find time for you, whether it be to discuss an essay plan or just something you found interesting in a lecture. 

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

Religion is so important to modern society. It perpetuates everything we do – and once you study it and read about it everyday, you see religion everywhere, from on social media to in advertising! I think that in order to understand the way the world works, it is important to understand religion, as religion motivates people, and gives life meaning for many people. Religion is forever changing – the way we understand it, the way it functions in the world. It is constantly adapting to new elements of society, and therefore is constantly interesting and relevant! 

What aspects of the course do you enjoy the most?   

The three religion-related BA courses (Philosophy, Ethics and Religion; Theology and Religious Studies; Religion, Politics and Society) are so close-knit, my level 3 group are all friends and that community-aspect has been so important to me during my time at university. That community has always extended to our lecturers too, who have been so helpful and supportive. Having these smaller class-sizes is probably what I enjoy the most, as it allows us to get into in-depth discussion and really share our thoughts and ideas openly.  

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

The learning facilities in PRHS are great – the school’s greatest asset is the staff, most of our lecturers consistently go above and beyond to make our learning experience the best it can be. We have plenty of libraries and library facilities too which makes studying a lot easier. 

Have you worked closely with a particular tutor or member or the University’s academic staff? Tell us about that experience.  

Jas made writing my dissertation as low-stress as it could be, supporting me through my consistent emailing and questioning, my mini-meetings so answer big questions and little ones. He helped me form my dissertation question when all I had was a jumble of ideas, and made sure I knew that he was there as support every step of the way. 

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

I was the secretary of Theology and Religious Studies Society in my second year. This was an amazing experience which allowed me to, first and foremost, get to know my coursemates better, but it also allowed me to finesse my event-planning, communication, and organisational skills! I was also a proctor in my second and third years, which provided me with great experience and skills to reference when it came to applying for graduate jobs! Proctoring was an incredibly fulfilling experience that I would recommend to anyone! 

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

After I graduate, I have been accepted onto a graduate scheme for trainee teachers, where I will start teaching full-time alongside studying for my PGDE in September. I think that, firstly, studying at Leeds has built my confidence to take a job in a non-specialist area, as I have done discovery modules in non-specialist areas, and have experience proctoring on modules I have not taken myself, which proved to me that I would be able to do something like this. Also, having the opportunity to do a Students into Schools module helped me to decide the career path I wanted to pursue, and the various talks the careers centre organises helped me to choose the route I would take. 

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

Apply! Philosophy, Ethics and Religion is such a diverse and interesting course, which opens up so many options post-graduation. My course is like a mini-community, and you really do feel as though your lecturers care about you and your education. Looking back on the last three years, I wouldn’t change a thing.