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Are you attending full-time? If so, are you employed through a Graduate Assistant program as well?


Yes, I am attending full-time, but I am not employed through that program.

Best regards,


I am a full time leader/teacher at a special school. I would like to undertake a PhD in ed. Is it possible to keep my full time position whilst doing the PhD? I, like you, want to get into education research.


I know people who combine full-time work and part-time research degree. However, it would be more difficult to secure funding for your course because the research funding opportunities that I am aware of are for full-time students only.

This funding database might be worth looking at:


What piece of advice would you give to anyone considering postgraduate study in your field?

Do your own research before contacting academics. They are very busy people and you may waste a lot of time waiting for their responses. Before I found my current research supervisor I had have a couple of initial meeting with other academics. Looking back, I can clearly see that I could have saved my time if I had a thorough understanding of research in my field.

Why did you choose the University of Birmingham?

I decided to apply for postgraduate study because I wanted to become a researcher and this job requires a postgraduate qualification. The very limited amount of educational policy research has done in my home country, and not many research opportunities are offered.
The UK maintains its leading status in educational research, and applying to the University of Birmingham, one of the leading research-intensive universities in the UK, was an obvious choice for me.

What has been the highlight of your time at Birmingham?

Birmingham is the city of fabulous contrasts. I was worried before arriving because I have never been to the UK before. I immediately loved the spirit of Birmingham. This city attracts people from all over the world and I really like a mix of many cultures.

According to the 2011 Census about 42% of residents were from an ‘ethnic group’ other than White British. I think that Birmingham is the city where people have learned live together in peace and harmony.

Was there a big transition from undergraduate to postgraduate study?

Definitely was. I have lived most of my life in Russia and should say that Russian higher education different from the UK system. In Russia, those teaching undergraduates often use a ‘top-down’ approach that does not encourage students to develop as effective learners. Although I felt left behind at first, the University Library Services helped to identify strategies I had not learned in my home country and allowed me to gain independence in my university studies.

How have you funded your postgraduate studies?

Being outside the EU, I had not many options to choose from. Funding from my own government did not attracted me because I did not wanted to come back to Russia straight after my Masters course. I end up being a self-funded student and I have never felt sorry about that decision.