Grand designs

I have a BSc in computing, and after taking a year out I've decided to try getting into computer games design. I know it's a competitive field but I hope that if I have a postgraduate qualification I'll stand out. Are there any courses in the south of England, and do you have any tips on finding work afterwards?

You don't have to have a qualification in games development to work in the computer games industry, but you're right to think that a relevant Masters would help to separate you from the crowd.

Skillset, the sector skills council for creative media, has accredited undergraduate and postgraduate courses at the University of Abertay, Dundee and the University of Hull. Unless you really are tied to the south, both of these should be your first port of call for enquiries. The most important question to ask any university is: how strong are your links with the industry? If the course regularly hosts visiting lecturers from the world of games development, you'll have a great chance of making the contacts that could land you your first job.

However, if you're intent on staying in the south, the University of Portsmouth offers an MSc in computer games technology, while the University of Gloucestershire has a variety of courses in computing with games development. Search www.prospects.ac.uk for the full listings, including some in London.

After you finish your course, you should have built up a good portfolio of work with which to impress companies in your hunt for a job. Research the firms you'd like to work for – you probably have a list of your favourites already – and then keep an eye out for any job opportunities or internships. Websites such as www.workingames .co.uk advertise vacancies, host forums and give out advice.

Musical chairs

My son is graduating this summer from Bristol University with a BA in music and wants to do a diploma at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford to further his skills in music production. We have looked at all the usual sites for bursaries, without luck – where else can we apply for help with funding?

Have you asked one of his course tutors what sources of funding previous students have gained? If not, that should be the first thing you do, as they might also have a hardship fund for students with financial worries.

Applying for a career development loan is another option. This would cover the course fees and living costs, but the rules are stricter than with undergraduate loans and repayments must start a month after the course ends. Visit www. direct.gov.uk to check his eligibility.

You could also approach a music-related charity or educational trust for funding. Sometimes it can be hard to find the right one doing your own research, so visit your public library or careers service and ask about Funder Finder, which will help locate one.

Scientific method

I'm in my third year of a biology degree and I'm hoping to get a 2.1 when I graduate this summer. I've become interested in speech therapy – can I do a postgraduate course, or do they only consider people who have done medicine?

You're right in thinking that most postgraduate speech therapy courses favour those with a relevant undergraduate background: the good news is that your degree should be perfectly acceptable.

When it comes to choosing where to apply, a visit to the website of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (www.rcslt.org) should be your first step. It has a very helpful list of recognised courses, most of which last for two years. It is best to apply early, as places are scarce and several of the courses are already running waiting lists.

Before you get to the application stage, accumulate as much relevant work experience as possible, either at an NHS hospital, a private clinic or a unit attached to a school. You are unlikely to be paid, but it will prove invaluable. A big part of the job will be getting on well with all kinds of clients, as you could be dealing with anyone from a young child with a speech impediment to adults recovering from strokes.

Thanks to Liz Hagger, Nan Sherrard and Gill Sharp, careers consultants for Domino Careers (www.domino careers.co.uk)

Send your queries to Chris Green at c.green@ independent .co.uk

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