Written by Ram Anand
MA Directing Film and Television
Hi everyone, my name is Ram, an MA Directing Film and Television student from Malaysia. This week, I am writing about the difference in postgraduate study skills in the United Kingdom compared to my home country, Malaysia.
Learning in Malaysia
The key difference about pursuing postgraduate studies in the UK is definitely the teaching methods and philosophy here, which can appear to be drastically different to a lot of people who come from Asia. Malaysia is no different.
In Malaysia, postgraduate students are often taught the same way that they were taught during their undergraduate studies, except with more sporadic classes. Pursuing any form of higher education comes with the need to have the discipline to attend classes regularly, and regularly interact with lecturers to get their evaluation and feedback on your performance as a student.
Students will often have regular homework and will be part of much more structured teaching methods, and this regularly leads to an expectation that teachers have to provide all the necessary resources and guidance for a student to understand what is required of them through a course’s duration.
Like many other countries in the world, a postgraduate course in Malaysia could span two years or more, and include regular exams that happen at least twice a year.
Self-motivation in the UK
In the UK, the approach to teaching and the structure of the course is drastically different, and many students from Asia tend to notice this very shortly after their arrival. First of all, most of the UK postgraduate-taught courses run for only one year, which means we are expected to learn, understand and master the particular subject in half the duration compared to countries like Malaysia.
Owing to this fact, a self-motivating component is a must for students who wish to pursue their studies here. The resources are mostly already provided within the course structure and not necessarily repeated by lecturers. As students, it is important to take this into account, understand where the resources are available, and take initiative to study and use the resources comprehensively to aid our own progress in studies.
Lecturers here are mostly available to guide you on a more individual basis through one-on-one tutorials or by being consistently available over e-mails. They are more than happy to help you with any individual questions you might have, but you must take the initiative to contact them regularly and arrange appointments for such tutorials.
In short, at a Masters level in the UK, there is no spoon-feeding and students are expected to be resourceful and have a certain degree of prior knowledge in their particular field of study. Making the most out of a postgraduate course here is entirely up to your own initiative and enthusiasm, so be proactive!