Sarah completed her part-time MA in Specific Learning Difficulties (Dyslexia) in 2018. She reflects on how the MA has been an investment in her career as a dyslexia specialist.
You told us you already had an MA (in Human Resource Management) - what were your motivations for pursuing another MA?
From my work with children with literacy difficulties I had become interested in how to support learners with dyslexia, which led me to seek a development opportunity that would fully inform me on this complex and fascinating specific learning difficulty. After significant research, I felt a Master’s degree would provide me with the depth and quality of learning to allow me to specialise in the subject.
Why did you apply to UCL for graduate study?
Initially attracted by the comprehensive MA programme offered by the UCL Institute of Education (IOE), the QS World University Ranking reaffirmed my choice as well as my positive interactions with the IOE during the enquiry and application process - when making enquiries about the course, I found the department responsive, informative and professional. The quality and teaching pattern of the course were also important factors in my choice.
What do you find interesting about your field of study and what inspires you?
Everything! Dyslexia has so many different components and I have enjoyed exploring each one through the various lectures, reports and practical assessments.
“Studying this course has reignited a thirst for knowledge and the tutors are great at sharing insights and encouraging you to continue learning after the course has finished with various networks and opportunities. The IOE runs some great alumni events and I have a good network of like-minded professionals gained from my fellow classmates.
Do you think studying at the IOE is a good investment?
Yes. It is a significant investment not only financially, but also the investment of time and effort. However, with the support offered and opportunities the course has provided, it has allowed me to invest in my future career. To have the accreditation of the British Dyslexia Association has been very worthwhile and could be practically applied in the workplace while still studying for the MA.
What are your career plans following your MA?
Completing the MA has allowed me to gain the qualifications to become a dyslexia specialist, and I have set up my own business providing dyslexia assessments and tuition both in schools and privately.
What was the best thing about your course?
Without a doubt, the quality of the tutors. They are extremely knowledgeable, professional and supportive in sharing their expertise and wanting you to do the best you can. Not only did I feel that the tutors were very experienced in their subject area but a number of other specialists would provide lectures which informed the wider subject area (for example, we had lectures on maths and dyscalculia as well as JCQ access arrangements).
What was it like studying in London?
I have worked in London all my professional career and thrive on the energy, vibrancy and diversity of the city. Studying alongside colleagues from diverse backgrounds with a multitude of experiences has been incredibly useful when exchanging teaching or assessment ideas or supporting each other during challenging times.
Has there been an element of your degree programme that has impressed you or been particularly valuable?
The quality of the teaching and the breadth of subjects covered has been impressive. There was a lot to pack into two years of study, but I left feeling informed on most things – also knowing where to go if I wanted to find out more in greater depth.
Thankfully (for me) this course doesn’t have formal examinations but assessments. Returning to academic writing was supported by help from tutors in planning essays and reports and the option to submit a draft plan.
The library facilities were also invaluable. The ease to access online resources or visit the library and research its extensive catalogue was significant.
Is there anything else you would like to say about your time at the IOE?
I will always be proud to say that I graduated from the IOE – the quality of learning, facilities and support are exceptional.