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Why Choose Queen’s

Why Queen’s for Postgraduate Study - Ashwin Somanath, MA Film

“Compared to a fully practical filmmaking course (as it is in some universities), the MA Film course has a lot more theory in it, paving the way for my career pathway of researching and lecturing on cinema and TV.”

The Lanyon Quad
The Lanyon Quad

What do you think are the benefits of a postgraduate degree?

In a modern world filled with undergraduate — or perhaps even those that did not receive a formal university education — students that enter their chosen fields as soon as they can, the postgraduate degree may not seem to hold as much value as it did in a time when more degrees could be easily equated to a larger chance of being chosen for one's preferred career path.

In this regard, I feel it is important to remember that a postgraduate degree is neither a “course by itself”, nor a “useless accompaniment” to a related undergraduate course. A good postgraduate degree is basically a rigorous year crammed with a plenitude of academic output that is balanced not just with practical expertise-building opportunities, but also with the gradual shaping of a person into what they need to become to either fit into their career, or to break out and create a new career for themselves.

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I do feel that this shaping process is better done by a postgraduate course, than an undergraduate one, in which case, of course, it is worth quoting Franklin: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

Why did you decide to pursue PG study?

As a literature student, I chose to do a PG course in Film Studies because literature is quite related to film. Compared to a fully practical filmmaking course (as it is in some universities), the MA Film course has a lot more theory in it, paving the way for my career pathway of researching and lecturing on cinema and TV, and also includes being involved in creating them.

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However, all this is simply a justification for my choice of the MA Film course. The reason I decided to pursue a PG course was simply to increase my employability in my chosen career path, while also increasing my academic prowess.

What made Queen’s stand out from other universities during your initial research?

The two requirements that I absolutely stress upon are the course content, as well as the cost of living in the locale selected. While Queen’s had great course content in some ways, the cost of living in Belfast was quite low, which made me shortlist Queen's, along with a few others out of the original 14 universities that I had selected at the beginning of my admission process.

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Why did you ultimately decide to move to Belfast and study at Queen’s?

Apart from the factors mentioned previously, the provision of scholarships was also another important strength in Queen’s. In other universities from where I received offer letters — such as Bristol, Manchester and Leeds, for example — large scholarships were provided to only a select few, whereas in Queen’s, a small scholarship was provided to almost everyone.

Aerial view of Lanyon site from Botanic Gardens

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The latter helps more people, and I found it perfect for myself, because I could not apply to a university knowing that I had only a 3% chance of getting a huge scholarship. I required certainty, and I got it with Queen’s.

How will your course at Queen’s help with your future career aspirations?

Despite most modules being organised by way of placing the central screening film within the larger topic at hand for discussion that day, the discussions do not get stale, for the recommended readings we receive are quite fresh and interesting, as are the discussions which even take very interesting turns at times to related topics.

People in film studio

Some of the other modules are practical, such as the Film Practice and Research Skills (I and II) modules, while some help us attain the skill level required to complete the course itself. 

What skills are you developing through your course?

Since the methods of studying vary quite largely from those in India — which was perfect for me, as I wanted to learn the European way of learning as well — the skills I have been developing are my interpersonal skills and academic writing skills, first and foremost.

Student writing in red notebook

Ashwin's course is helping to develop his writing and interpersonal skills

This has been followed by developments to my overall personality that come from studying while also living independently. I have also newly developed some degree of filmmaking skills due to the practical sessions. Lastly, I hope that in the coming months, I will develop career skills that align with my character, because for me character and integrity are very integral to being a good human being and living a quality life.

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India Admissions Guide

Postgraduate Study at Queen's

MA Film

Ashwin Somanath

MA Film | Postgraduate Student | India

Hello there, my name's Ashwin (that's USH from Usher plus WIN from winner). Nice to meet you, dear reader. *gives you a high-five and offers you a slice of pizza*

As a film student, I love good conversations, films, and a good game of football. Feel free to drop a message here and I'd love to chat with you about anything you may want to know about my Queen's experience, and perhaps yours as well.

Ashwin Somanath