Postgraduate queries



I’m 56, have a Masters degree in history and would love to do a PhD, either full-time or part-time. Do you know of any sources of funding for people of my age?

There are a variety of pots of money available for PhD students, but the competition is fierce, and you probably won’t know if you qualify for them until you’re well

down the track of applying for your PhD place. However, university admissions services and academic departments, are well tuned-in to the funding opportunities, so they will help you with your search.

The first category is subject related. The Arts & Humanities Research Council ( and the Economic and Social Research Council ( both support postgraduate students in historyrelated areas, always administered through universities.

There are also scores of special interest organisations, societies and trusts that give smaller awards for research in their specific areas. You may also be able, partially, to pay your way at your chosen university by doing some teaching, or other assistance, within your academic department. Much of all of this depends on how highly the universities rate your previous academic track record, and value the potential of having you enrich the research pool within their faculties.

For more generic funding advice, it pays to have a look at the postgraduate funding section at

I’m interested in the science behind what we eat, and its link to public health. Are there are postgraduate avenues I could go down to learn more? I have a first degree in chemistry.

There are numerous postgraduate courses in the market which touch on this link, both in a developed and developing world context. And, in almost all cases, these courses

are rooted in science, so your chemistry degree will stand you in good stead. At this stage, though, you probably need to pare down your search to a specific area of interest. For example, are you interested in how food is manufactured and the role of the industry in improving public health? Is your interest, on the other hand, closer to the field of education, namely contributing to the process of persuading people to change their eating habits to benefit their own health? Do you see your working life spent mainly in a laboratory alongside other scientists, or out in the community transferring your knowledge to people not steeped in the science?  Answering these questions will help you start to narrow down a large field of potential courses.

I’ve just done a management degree and now want to set up my own business, but don’t know whether to do a Masters course first.

There’s no straight answer, I’m afraid. But here are some thoughts that might help you to make up your own mind. First, given that you obviously have the  entrepreneurial gene, you should probably restrict your search to Masters courses that have the potential to feed and fire that impulse. Many such courses have the word “entrepreneur” in their title or among the lists of modules to choose from. Then you’ll need to weigh up whether you think the time and money spent on such a course will pay off in the short to medium term when you start your own enterprise. On the other hand, does your business idea have a “seize the moment” feel to it? Is there a danger that, 12 months down the line, you’ll have missed the boat, and lost ground to competitors? In that case, you might put further study on hold. You can always go back to a course later in life, after all!


Send your queries to Steve McCormack at

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

NQT for KS2 Teacher role Sept-Dec

£110 - £120 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: NQ...

Intervention Teacher- Key Stage 1

Negotiable: AER Teachers: A Primary School in North London; Camden is looking...

Year 5 Teacher -NQT's Welcome

Negotiable: AER Teachers: A Primary school in Camden - North London, is lookin...

Early Years Teacher

Negotiable: AER Teachers: We are currently recruiting on behalf of a school in...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice