Why I Picked My Masters: Kayley Hardiman

What is your current area of study?

I am currently studying a Master of Arts in Social Media Communications at Dublin City University.

What previous qualifications have you obtained?

I have a 2.1 Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and New Media from University of Limerick.

What made you decide to pursue a postgraduate course? Did Covid-19 influence your decision?

I decided to continue my studies and undertake a postgrad because I had been thinking about doing a Master’s for the duration of my final year at UL and I was very interested in the programme at DCU. I think if anything the impact of Covid-19 and the remote learning concept encouraged me to pursue my Master’s because not having to commute to Dublin or spend money on accommodation made the year more affordable. I was already used to remote learning as I had to study remotely for some of the final semester of my undergrad.

Kayley completed the Social Media Communication MSc in DCU.

Did you take time out and work or go straight into your postgraduate course following your undergraduate degree and why?

I went straight into my postgraduate course because remote learning suited me better. I had been applying for jobs since I finished my undergrad to no avail. I worked temporarily in retail in the first semester of my postgrad and recently started working in another industry. Remote learning has made it much easier to work alongside my studies because none of my time is taken up commuting or walking to lectures. It made sense for me to go straight into my postgrad because of the lack of full-time jobs in the media and communications industry when I immediately finished my undergrad.

What factors did you take into consideration when selecting which course to pursue?

The factors that I took into consideration when choosing my Master’s degree was the course content and the career opportunities available to me upon completion. There were also particular modules that interested me in the Social Media Communications programme such as Public Relations and Social Media: Structures, Practices and Applications. The DCU school of Communications consistently performs well in the world rankings which was also something that attracted me to the course. I also knew that if I had to attend classes in person it was possible for me to commute from Athlone to Dublin but luckily I have been able to further my studies fully online. DCU also has excellent working relations with media organisations throughout Ireland which further drew me to this MA.

Did your course meet your expectations and why?

The course has met my expectations so far and I am really enjoying it! However, it is a bit more academic than I had originally envisioned so coming from a journalism background meant that I had to adjust but I think that this has really progressed my skills and academic career. I can now write academic essays and will be writing my own dissertation during the summer which is exciting. I am delighted that I chose this course and I believe that continuing my studies was the right choice for me. I have been able to hold onto my journalistic side despite moving towards a career in social media by joining some clubs and societies and writing pieces for DCU’s college newspaper, The College View and Her Campus, DCU.

What role do you hope to go into once you complete your postgraduate course?

Studying the MA in Social Media Communications has definitely improved my career prospects as I am now working part-time alongside my studies as the Social Media Marketing Manager for Pro-Weld Ireland. After I complete my studies I hope to continue in my current position in a full-time capacity and to move up the career ladder.

What advice would you give to someone unsure as to what they should study at postgraduate level?

My advice to someone who is unsure what they would like to study at a postgrad level is to look at the areas which you enjoyed in your undergrad but didn’t get to learn about in-depth and investigate whether this is something you would like to pursue further. Think about the kind of work you enjoy and then search for Master’s programmes based on that. Don’t be afraid to email and ring the course directors of courses you are interested in or shoot a recent graduate of the programme a message. Other people in the field will be thrilled to help you and to provide you with any information they can.

Kayley Hardiman

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