Ross McNeilage

MSc Applied Gender Studies

Tell us a bit about your background...
I’m from Glasgow. I completed my undergraduate degree at Strathclyde, it was a joint degree in journalism and creative writing and politics and international relations. My undergraduate studies began in 2013 and finished in 2017. I then decided to come back to pursue my master’s degree. I had explored the idea of going straight into an MSc programme at another university when I graduated in 2017, but I wanted to take a break to decide if it really was right for me. At that time Strathclyde didn’t offer the MSc in Applied Gender Studies.

After graduating I got a job with MTV in London and moved down there. I was a music journalist at MTV and that was fabulous, I loved my time there and when I was working I kept thinking about gender studies. I saw that Strathclyde offered the course for 2018, I applied and was accepted, so here I am. I still freelance at MTV when I can.

What inspired you to study your course?
I took a feminism in politics class in the 4th year of my undergraduate degree. This covered gender and feminism in real life and I found that so interesting. It made me realise that I was really fascinated by gender studies and that was what I wanted to explore, it was so meaningful for me. The course has allowed me to development my writing skills, so I knew I could continue with this path in journalism and creative writing. I want to explore more than just pop music. 

What has been the highlight of your time at Strathclyde so far?
I have really just genuinely enjoyed the whole course and I have found it so much more focused than my undergraduate studies. Everyone that is there wants to be there and has such passion for their studies, it makes such a difference for classes and friendships. It also feels a bit more relaxed. 

What specialist knowledge/professional skills have you developed whilst studying the course?
Developing research skills has been a bit of a learning curve. Two of my classes have been really focused on reasearch methods, how to conduct research and how to critique. This really helps with my critical analytics, because I want to go on to do a PhD, research is very much a big part of this. This really has set me up for independent study.

Because it is interdisciplinary, out of the classes you can choose from, you learn different skills. I am doing a history class for the first time ever and it is really interesting to work with archived materials, as that is a new way to learn and helps with future study.  

What would be your advice for people considering taking this course?
If it is something that you are passionate about then just go for it and apply yourself - enjoy it. Don’t be hesitant if you don’t know it all. That is the point of the course. 

What have been the main challenges studying at postgraduate level?
The workload is more but luckily not as significant a jump as I thought it would be. It is very manageable. Everyone is so dedicated and wants to help each other. 

What do you think of the support available?
The support at Strathclyde is fantastic. Karen Boyle and Churnjeet Mahn have both been incredible helps. Both when it comes to classes and assignments but also with advice for progressing in the future. They have given me a lot of guidance for PhD application and funding. They are very encouraging. The rest of the tutors have also been equally helpful and supportive to me. 

What are your ambitions for the future?
Hopefully I will go on to do a PhD, otherwise I want to use what I have learned in the course, and the connections I have made in the course to work in the field.