How can I raise funding for my MA; and do I need a BSc if I want to study physiotherapy?

Money worry

Money worry

Q. I am about to start the dissertation phase of an MA in inclusive studies (it's about educating all children in mainstream schools) at Plymouth University. As a full-time teacher I am beginning to wonder how on earth I will be able to find time to complete a 25,000-word study. I had the bright idea that I might be able to get funding to pay for supply cover, to enable me to complete research in my own classroom (doing observations, etc) Do you know of any grants that could help with this?
Helen Knowler, Exeter

A. Try visiting your careers advisers at Plymouth University. They subscribe to Funderfinder, a clever software programme that can match you to trusts and charities that may be able to help. This will spare you the grim task of ploughing through directories of grant-making organisations. Check the eligibility requirements and resources of such organisations carefully so that you do not waste time asking for money you are unlikely to get. There are some useful tips about funding applications at www.prospects.ac.uk/links/fundstudy (click on "alternative sources of funding"). You might want to consider negotiating an extension with your tutor. Your search for funding will take time. It may also be unsuccessful, and an extension would allow you more time to complete your work, or the chance to save up enough money to offer to pay for a supply teacher yourself. And have you talked to your school? Budgets are notoriously tight and have to be planned in advance, but your head teacher might be prepared to support your endeavours in some way.

Healthcare options

Q. I graduated with an upper second in law with French from Sussex University in 2001, and since then have been teaching English as a foreign language in Britain and Spain, travelling and doing voluntary work in hospitals in Latin America. I am studying biology A-level to be able to start a health-related degree in 2005. I am considering physiotherapy, but am also thinking about doing a Masters connected with healthcare in developing countries. Would I be able to do a Masters without doing the physiotherapy BSc?
Davina Lambie, Oxford

A. It is not possible for an arts or humanities graduate to do a Masters in physiotherapy without an undergraduate degree in the subject. There are some accelerated Masters programmes in physiotherapy, but you would need a first-class or upper-second degree in a relevant subject, such as biological science, psychology or sports science.

Happily, there is nothing to stop you applying for a Masters relating to healthcare in developing countries. The Institute of Education runs an MA in education, health promotion and international development, which might be just what you are looking for. It aims to give students the ability to "plan, implement and evaluate health promotion initiatives", and the entry requirements are a good first degree or equivalent, plus some relevant experience. The course is run by Pat Pridmore, who has recently directed a study on using education to combat HIV/AIDS in Mozambique and South Africa, and who also works on education initiatives with the World Bank. She has research students studying issues such as safer sex in Malawi and nutritional improvement in Kenya. You can find details about the MA and apply online at www.ioe.ac.uk.

Or how about the School of Oriental and African Studies' MA in medical anthropology? Do not be put off by the title: the course caters for students with or without anthropological training. Covering Africa, Asia and Latin America, it includes anthropological theory, cultural understandings of health, and options such as shamanism and therapy, psychoanalysis, food and disability. The degree is aimed at those with a purely intellectual interest in the field, but also at people working or who wish to work in healthcare in developing countries. Go to www.soas.ac.uk to find out more.

Thanks to Irena Jennings, careers consultant, Graduate Prospects

Send your queries to Grace McCann to reach her by next Monday, 15 November at 'The Independent', Education Desk, Second Floor, Independent House, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS; or fax 020-7005 2143; or e-mail to g.mccann@independent.co.uk

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