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Michael Palmer

Michael is from Brighton and recently completed an MPhil in International Relations and Politics at Churchill.

He attended state-run Brighton Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College and completed his undergraduate degree in Cambridge at Robinson College where he studied Human Social & Political Sciences (HSPS). Following graduation, Michael built on his interest in Politics by completing a three month internship with the Constitution Unit, a think-tank that carries out research on referendums and political discourse.

Keen to pursue his studies further, he made the decision to apply to Churchill because of the funding available, and was delighted to be awarded a Churchill College Archives MPhil Studentship. The Archives Studentship, which covers full course fees and living expenses, is worth £27,260. Securing the funding had a major impact on Michael’s ability to both take up the course, and make the most of other opportunities that became available to him. For example, he was able to spend two months in France developing his language skills in advance of starting his course.

I can’t stress enough what a massive weight off my mind it was to receive the funding from Churchill. Without the funding I would have tried to find a way of taking up the course by taking out a Postgraduate Master’s loan, but this would only have covered my course fees. I would have had to earn more money and take on more debt and there is no doubt that I would have been on an extremely tight budget. The funding gave me flexibility and I did not have to graduate with crippling debt.

Michael particularly enjoyed the research element of his MPhil which focused on how much influence the Foreign Office had inside the UK Government over European Policy between 1997 and 2016. He lived on-site in graduate accommodation on 70s Storey’s Way and really enjoyed the excellent facilities available at the College. He had already made use of the Archives Centre’s online Oral History Programme to help prepare for his MPhil application and hugely valued having the resources of the Archives Centre on his door-step.

In his spare time Michael played the viola, joined the French Society and Europe Society and made the most of the MCR, including the MCR Formals.

There is no doubt that his experience has made him keen to get the message out there about the importance of providing funding opportunities for graduate students.

The provision of funded Studentships gives people options. Not only does undertaking a Masters’ programme provide a crucial platform for students interested in pursuing a PhD, but it is also becoming an increasingly important route to progressing your career.

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