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Case Study

Bridget Griffiths-Shaw

Sunderland, UK

MSc Inequality and Society

BSc (Hons) Sociology with Integrated Foundation Year

Losing her job was the motivation Bridget Griffiths-Shaw needed to pursue her passion for studying sociology. After graduating, she continued her studies on the MSc Inequality and Society, so that she could develop her knowledge further in the hopes of gaining employment in the charity or third sector, or in social research. Her degrees have boosted her confidence and changed the way she thinks about the world, and she’s considering pursuing a PhD or MPhil in the future.

For me, coming to university seemed like fate. I’d signed up for open days and not attended, but one day a leaflet dropped through my letterbox, and something made me feel determined that this was going to be the day. I’d just lost my retail job through lack of childcare and I realised that this was the moment to follow my dreams. I knew exactly what I wanted to study – I fell in love with the honesty of sociology, and I just knew this was the subject for me. I enrolled on the BSc (Hons) Sociology with Integrated Foundation year which I’m incredibly grateful for, as without the IFY, I wouldn’t have been prepared enough to succeed.

I’d researched the University of Sunderland’s sociology degree and felt that this was the place that could help me learn more. I was born in Sunderland, and although I’d considered attending a different university, my life path brought me back here, and the University has ended up helping me achieve my dream of receiving an education to be proud of. The way that it happened couldn’t have been more special or amazing.

After graduating with my degree in sociology, I decided to continue my studies on the MSc Inequality and Society course. I knew how good the teaching was and it offered a wide range of modules, which would help me enhance my knowledge to ultimately find employment within the charity or third sector, in social research, or Citizens Advice, where I could further develop my professional practice. Due to being care experienced, I received the We Care Bursary for my master’s degree, which has made a huge difference in being able to afford to continue studying.

Both of my degrees, as well as the volunteering experience I gained on the IFY, have helped me build my confidence and provided me with an understanding of society, inequality, the world, and myself, and given me skills and knowledge to go into employment where I can pursue my love of helping others. For example, the skills I gained from my undergraduate course inspired me to create an art group within my local area, as I’d learned how isolation can have a negative impact on people, which I wanted to try and alleviate. I also feel fully prepared for whatever’s next in my future. I’d love to continue my studies, whether that be a PhD or MPhil, in research areas that I’m deeply passionate about. I’m hoping my master’s dissertation will be a springboard for achieving this.

I’ve loved every single part of studying here and I’ve met some great friends who are now friends for life. The lecturers are so down to earth, truly inspirational, and supportive – they’ve taught me everything I dreamed I would one day come to learn, plus so much more. The education provided far exceeded my expectations and was transformational, not only on a personal level, but also in the way that it’s changed how I see the world.

If you’re thinking of studying at Sunderland, my advice would be to just go for it! The University is so supportive and the modules you study, as well as the on-campus facilities, will help you follow your passions. It’s a welcoming, inclusive, and life changing place, and you’ll feel really proud to study here. I’m incredibly thankful!”

Please note, the BSc (Hons) Sociology course is not currently recruiting.

Published 4 April 2024

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