Reasons to stay

It can be quite tempting to look elsewhere for your Masters qualification but, as the following students who have moved to LJMU for their higher level study will explain, LJMU really is the ideal choice.

And don’t forget, as a graduate of the University you can look forward to a 20% discount* on your postgraduate tuition fees or access to our international scholarships* for overseas graduates!

*Subject to eligibility

Reasons to stay

It can be quite tempting to look elsewhere for your Masters qualification but, as the following students who have moved to LJMU for their higher level study will explain, LJMU really is the ideal choice.

And don’t forget, as a graduate of the University you can look forward to a 20% discount* on your postgraduate tuition fees or access to our international scholarships* for overseas graduates!

*Subject to eligibility

Steven Vaughan Sport Psychology graduate

Abdul Haleem Umerkel International Human Resource Management graduate

Debbie Caulfield Specialist Practitioner graduate

Ruairí Grego Sport Psychology graduate

Steven Vaughan Sport Psychology graduate

Abdul Haleem Umerkel International Human Resource Management graduate

Debbie Caulfield Specialist Practitioner graduate

Ruairí Grego Sport Psychology graduate

In his mid forties NHS Chief Operating Officer Steven Vaughan decided it was time for a change. The soon-to-be 50 year old is now studying for a Masters in Sport Psychology and planning to take a Professional Doctorate in the subject before launching a new career as a Sports Psychologist.

In his mid forties NHS Chief Operating Officer Steven Vaughan decided it was time for a change. The soon-to-be 50 year old is now studying for a Masters in Sport Psychology and planning to take a Professional Doctorate in the subject before launching a new career as a Sports Psychologist.

Steven admits he has always been one to follow his heart. As a newly qualified Accountant in his 20s he put everything on hold for a year to help out with a voluntary project. It was still, however, something of a shock to his family when he decided to turn his back on his very successful career. “At first I left full-time employment and did some consultancy work,” he says. “It was during this time that I decided to do an online Masters in Applied Psychology with the University of Liverpool.”

Steven’s educational experience sparked a passion for a career change. “I have always loved sport and have competed in Triathlons since 2003,” he explains. “I decided to look for a course that would enable me to combine my love of sport with my new found passion for psychology.”

Gaining graduate membership of the British Psychological Society through further studies in Stirling, Steve started looking for a Masters that could lead him on to a Professional Doctorate. “I found exactly what I was looking for at LJMU,” he smiles. “Being older than many other students I wanted something that could lead me to chartered status relatively quickly so the combination of the Masters and the Professional Doctorate was ideal for me.”

So how is Steven finding his course? “It’s great,” he says. “It is more specialist than my previous studies and there are some knowledge gaps I need to fill having not come from the undergraduate degree but that is all part of the independent learning experience.”

Steven is also happy with the support on offer from LJMU staff. “The support is brilliant,” he says. “There are drop in sessions to see tutors and they are always happy to answer any emails. I have been very lucky that they have helped me to narrow down the millions of ideas I had for my research project to a rather more manageable list of three!”

As to the future Steven sees two possible pathways. “Obviously I’d like to work with athletes at any level helping them to fulfil their potential,” he smiles. “The thing that keeps coming back to me though is the possibility to combine my new found expertise with my past experience and work encouraging people to adopt a more healthy lifestyle.”

So what would he say to anyone who is thinking of a career change later in life? “Just do it,” he laughs. “My previous career was not sustainable in terms of my physical or mental health so I knew I had to make a change. I didn’t want to step back as I am an ambitious person who enjoys success so I planned it carefully, did some consultancy work to fund my studies, and put my plan into action. I am very glad that I did.”

Afghanistan student Abdul Haleem Umerkhel is full of praise for LJMU. The International Human Resource Masters graduate feels that the support, facilities and opportunities on offer at the University make it second to none.

Afghanistan student Abdul Haleem Umerkhel is full of praise for LJMU. The International Human Resource Masters graduate feels that the support, facilities and opportunities on offer at the University make it second to none.

Abdul had always wanted to study in the UK following his undergraduate degree in Human Resources in Pakistan. After some time working as a lecturer, he heard about the course at LJMU and was lucky enough to get a full scholarship to study here.

“From the moment I arrived here I loved the place,” he says. “The people were so friendly, the staff so helpful and the city itself is amazing.”

Abdul’s learning experience offered so much more than he was expecting. “There were workshops, lots of guest speakers and the opportunity to develop a really good professional portfolio,” he explains. “The libraries here are first class and if you need any support outside the classroom the student wellbeing team can motivate and support you.”

Currently putting together a research proposal for a PhD, Abdul is also looking into job opportunities in the UK. “Eventually I want to go back to my own country and set up a school to offer free education to the children of poorer families,” he explains. “My time at LJMU has made that a real possibility for me. I am so very glad I came here.”

Living proof that success is possible whatever life throws your way, Debbie Caulfield recently graduated as a Specialist Practitioner District Nursing from LJMU, picking up the Student of the Year title and going on to secure her dream job.

Living proof that success is possible whatever life throws your way, Debbie Caulfield recently graduated as a Specialist Practitioner District Nursing from LJMU, picking up the Student of the Year title and going on to secure her dream job.

Leaving school at 16 with no qualifications, Debbie was 25 when she took first a pre-access and then an access course to higher education. “It was very hard as I had never considered myself particularly academic,” she says. “I persevered though and my studies led me on to a degree in Adult Nursing at Edge Hill University.”

As a single parent to three young children, Debbie was delighted to graduate with a first. “I worked in an emergency setting in the hospital for five years,” she recalls. “I then moved into District Nursing but, before too long, I realised that I needed to progress in my career for financial reasons.”

With a supportive manager to assist her, Debbie decided to embark on her Specialist Practitioner Course at LJMU. “Nursing is not just a job to me, it is what I love to do,” she smiles. “The idea that I could get a job where I am making a difference to other District Nurses so that they can make a difference to their patients was too good an opportunity to miss.”

As ever, life didn’t make things easy for Debbie and having worked hard to finish her course she suffered a close bereavement during her final exams. “The staff on the course were superbly supportive as always,” she says. “Throughout my time at LJMU they have consistently gone above and beyond to help me and all my fellow students.”

As well as passing her Masters, it was at this time that Debbie found out she had been awarded the Student of the Year title as nominated by her peers. “It was a complete surprise but a really lovely one,” she says. “I don’t find studying easy and I had a lot going on in my private life during my studies so it was wonderful that my fellow students appreciated that.”

About to start a new job as a District Nurse Team Leader, having supported a team in Kensington on a temporary basis for the last three months, the future is looking bright for Debbie. “I can’t wait to start my new position,” she says. “I love going into a place that is struggling and turning it around.”

As to the future Debbie also has high hopes. “At first I wanted to progress because I needed the money,” she recalls. “I now want to progress because I know I can make a difference. I am going to top up my qualification to a full Masters and long term would like to work as a Community Matron or Operational Manager. Thanks to LJMU I have found something I am good at and I want to use my skills to benefit staff and patients.”

When Ruairí Grego graduated from Manchester Met with a degree in Psychology he was pretty sure he was at the end of his educational journey. Fast forward five years and some amazing life experiences in Canada and Barcelona and we find him in Liverpool, mid way through his Masters in Sport Psychology.

When Ruairí Grego graduated from Manchester Met with a degree in Psychology he was pretty sure he was at the end of his educational journey. Fast forward five years and some amazing life experiences in Canada and Barcelona and we find him in Liverpool, mid way through his Masters in Sport Psychology.

“When I graduated I spent a little bit of time at home in Birmingham saving up and then moved to Canada for a couple of years, “ smiles Ruairí. “I lived in Whistler and Vancouver and had various jobs working in bars.” Ruairí then moved to Barcelona where he worked as an English Teaching Assistant before coming back to the UK and working in Birmingham as an Engagement Coordinator in a social integration charity for young people.

“I spoke to so many people during my travels and that got me thinking about furthering my education,” he explains. “Sport and particularly football have always been an absolute passion of mine. I eat, sleep and drink the game so the idea of combining my interest in Psychology with my love of sport really appealed.”

Looking at various universities throughout the UK, Ruairí narrowed his decision to two places of study. “I visited them both on their Open Days and LJMU and the city of Liverpool had this incredible atmosphere,” he smiles. “I honestly think Liverpool is the friendliest place I have ever come across so the decision was easy.”

With such a long gap between his undergraduate and postgraduate studies, Ruairí felt that he was almost starting his education again. “It took a little while to get back into academic writing and critical analysis but the support is always there at LJMU,” he says.

In terms of the difference between undergraduate and postgraduate study Ruairí considers higher level study like self employment. “You have to be organised and motivated,” he says. “You are very much in charge of your own learning so it is up to you to get the work done on time, arrange to see staff when you need them and basically immerse yourself in the subject. There is a lot of reading involved but I love my subject area so I don’t find it hard.”

As to the future, Ruairí is looking forward to his work placement which he hopes will be with one of the local football teams. Long term he wants to get some practitioner experience under his belt before embarking on a PhD.

So what advice would Ruairí give to those who have been out of education for a while and are thinking of going back to the classroom? “Universities have great facilities and great opportunities,” he says. “My advice would be to go for it, get involved, make the most of every opportunity and all the support available. Higher education really can be a life changing experience.”