Modern Languages MPhil, PhD


Student Profile

About me

Name: Elise
Course: Modern Languages MPhil, PhD
PhD Title: Photographs in Holocaust Exhibitions: Contexts and Functions
Study mode: Full time
Where I’m from: Britain

Choosing Newcastle

"I came across to Newcastle in 2004 to start my BA in German Studies, and just don’t seem to have been able to leave since! The reputation of the School of Modern Languages was a big draw, and having already studied in the department, I knew that it was a supportive and positive place to research. To pay for my other degrees (my MA and MLitt), I took time to save between my undergraduate and each degree by working in cafés and shops. I already knew my two supervisors through my MA and MLitt degrees, and knew that they could support me in what I wanted to do!"

Studying at Newcastle

"I really enjoy the independence of my PhD, the fact that my time is mine to manage, and the ability to travel! So far I’ve been to conduct research in America, Israel and Berlin, all of which was funded through the Northern Bridge. I’ve been able to make fantastic connections across the field so far, and I’ve had the opportunity to present at conferences (such as the Women in German Studies conference) and helped to organise a workshop entitled 'Shared Spaces, Shared Memories, Shared Visions: Contemporary Visual Representations of the Second World War in German Cities'.

"I try to work 9-5 Monday to Friday and come in to work if I need to do extra. My second year of my PhD has definitely been busier than my first, which has meant I’ve needed to create structure to my working habits!

"My MLitt prepared me well for my PhD, but my BA and MA were massively different to my PhD. I definitely enjoy what I’m doing now far more, as I’m working on research that I really enjoy.

"I’m lucky because the nature of my research means that I am split between two schools: the School of Modern Languages (SML) and Media, Culture and Heritage (MCH). This allows me to get the best of both worlds, tapping into expertise of both schools as well as letting me meet a wider range of people. More broadly speaking, the Language Resource Centre and Peter Robinson Library are great – especially the ‘Books on Time’ programme where you can suggest books for the library to purchase.

"I’ve also had the opportunity to gain teaching experience through the ILTHE programme, and I’m hoping for more teaching opportunities in my third year."

Postgraduate Community

"I really appreciate the interaction I have with my PGR peers. At School level, we can bounce ideas off each other – doing a PhD can be quite a solitary undertaking if you’re not careful, so it’s important to have that peer group you can be a part of.

"We have a PGR room in the School of Modern Languages, which is hot desking, and a common room. I use both of these every day, and as the School isn’t too big you really get to know the other PhD students. We often have ‘Research Exchange’ sessions with coffee and cake, which often turn into a catch up! I also have access to research seminar series with students and staff."

Funding my studies

"I received information from both my School and my supervisor about funding. Also, I’d definitely say having a good relationship with your potential supervisor puts you on the right track to receiving funding – so make contact!

"I was awarded a scholarship from the AHRC’s Northern Bridge project, which has been absolutely fantastic. I wouldn’t have been able to do my PhD without it, and as Northern Bridge funds students at Durham and Queen’s University Belfast as well, I’ve had the chance to make connections with students from other universities, which I’ve really appreciated."

Career aspirations

"Things are still undecided on this front for me. I’d love to carry on working in research; whether this is within an academic environment or elsewhere though will depend on the job market and what’s available when I complete my PhD."


"I’m living in private rented accommodation in Heaton, in the east end of the city. It’s a fab location, with easy access to town but also plenty of cafes and pubs to keep you entertained. I found my place from – easy and quick to use."

Living in Newcastle

"I’ve been living in Newcastle since I was 17 and still enjoy it just as much as when I first moved across. It’s a nice size to get around, but with enough going on to keep you entertained – good pub and bar scene, and plenty of cultural attractions. I particularly enjoy going to the Laing Gallery, the Late Shows, and exhibitions at the Great North Museum. Easy access to the coast and Northumberland is another plus."

Remembering Newcastle

"The highlight of my time as a PhD student so far has been the travel I’ve been able to do for my research. Spending two weeks in Washington DC and ten days in Jerusalem has been an incredible opportunity, and the connections I’ve made as a researcher have been invaluable."