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ArchaeologyPart of HumanitiesPostgraduate study

Catriona Cooper MPhil Archaeology

Catriona Cooper's Photo

Hi, I'm Catriona Cooper and I studied MPhil Archaeology within Humanities at the University of Southampton.

Having completed my undergraduate and MSc degrees here I enjoyed working in Archaeology and it had access to all the resources I would need for a MPhil.

Having worked at Bodiam Castle during an earlier fieldwork season, the project coordinator suggested I might be interested in applying for the Collaborative Doctorate Award (CDA). I looked into it more closely and realised it would involve working closely with the National Trust, for whom I had volunteered in the past. I really decided I wanted to study the subject on visiting Ightham Mote (one of the properties the project is based on) - it is a beautiful building and is fascinating to study.

Choosing Southampton

Having completed my undergraduate and MSc degrees here I enjoyed working in Archaeology and it had access to all the resources I would need for a MPhil. When choosing Southampton as an undergraduate I favoured it due to a recommendation from the University of Sheffield and the friendly staff at my open day.
Working in partnership

My degree is MPhil/ PhD Archaeology with the title: Lived Experience at Bodiam, Scotney and Ightham in the later Middle ages. It was a CDA project and I applied for it after having worked with the project coordinator at one of the sites.

I like working closely with my project partner: The National Trust. It means I get to work with both academics and non-academics and get the advantages of both types of experience. It also means I get to spend a lot of time working at some very pretty sites and properties. I also enjoy the atmosphere in the PGR office where everyone is friendly and helpful!

Enjoying the challenge

Studying at postgraduate level is definitely challenging. When I started, I thought I would find it much easier than my MSc as I would always be focusing on one subject, but as my work has progressed I find I’m helping out on other people’s projects and even my own work goes in many directions. Overall though it’s amazing; I’m learning new skills and researching at a level I had never thought possible at undergraduate.

I came straight into this MPhil after finishing my MSc (which I went straight into after finishing my BA).

Future plans

I would be interested in organising myself a placement in the future. The nature of my PhD is such that I spend a lot of time working with my CDA partner (the National Trust) outside of an academic environment.

After my degree I would like to stay in education. However, this may not be possible in which case I would be looking for a career in the cultural sector. I would quite like to continue my relationship with the National Trust and maybe work for them.

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