6 reasons to do a second Master’s degree

How much does one person have to study to get ahead in life?! You studied hard and completed your bachelor’s degree(unless either learning came easy to you or you spent your college days in a haze :)). Then, you realised that a bachelor’s degree just isn’t enough and did a master’s degree. And now I am here giving you reasons to do a second master’s degree!

When does the learning end?!

Photo by Yogendra Singh on Unsplash.

The answer to this question is – NEVER. You may not need to do a second master’s degree, but you always need to keep learning or you will be left behind. One of my professors used to say – “learning is growing”. Thinking back, everything this professor said was for our benefit, and most of us were too naive to recognise it. Hindsight is twenty-twenty, and today, I look back and appreciate all the staff who put in the effort to impart knowledge to us.   

I apologise for going off on a tangent, but I wanted all of us to think back and appreciate the teachers who gave a damn!

Back to the blog topic – When I first did my degrees, I barely knew what my interests were, let alone where life would take me. There are, of course, some of us here who have everything worked out, mapped and dated; that is surely not me, and I am guessing, not most people.

So, here are SIX reasons why you should consider getting a second master’s degree:

Get yourself that 2nd Master’s degree. Photo by MD Duran on Unsplash.

Aligning your qualifications with life

Let’s say you have a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a master’s in accounting but somehow ended up with a career in marketing. No idea how it happened, but it happened to you. So, now you have a successful career in marketing but don’t have a formal qualification to back you up. What impact will it have on your career, maybe nothing, or perhaps you will miss out on your next promotion? Besides, it is nice to understand the theories behind what you do every day. It might lead you to enlightenment and make you a marketing guru.

Adding value to what you are doing

So, you have been a nurse for more than 20 years. You did your BSc in general nursing, and then a master’s in critical care. You have worked hard and now you are a nursing manager. While you are still a nurse, your job description has changed. Now you are less a nurse and more a manager. Getting a master’s degree that aligns with your current job profile adds knowledge to what you are doing and adds value to your organisation and yourself.

Change is the only constant

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.

Business is so dynamic. The way we do things can change overnight and multiple times a year. Technology is constantly evolving. Marketing strategies are constantly changing. You need to stay current, or you will become obsolete. While it is beneficial and even required to do short courses to keep your knowledge updated, a master’s degree from a reputed college is still a MASTER’S DEGREE! Not only will a degree add knowledge, but it will also keep your qualifications updated.  

Staying competitive

Every year hundreds of thousands of students graduate with a master’s degree. I am sure many of these bright-eyed and bushy-tailed youngsters have also joined your organisations. In addition, there is an increasing number of experienced and highly qualified professionals, constantly on the lookout for greener pastures. They are your competition, the people looking to cut the line in front of you. A new master’s degree will keep your knowledge up to date and your qualification current and relevant. And when it’s time for that new job or promotion, it will make all the difference.

Career change

What you are doing is not what you wanted to do, and you are not happy at all. No job satisfaction! A second master’s degree will make you a more desirable prospect to hire. Not only will it add a more current qualification to your resume, thereby adding value to your work experience, but it will also showcase your work ethos. It shows that you are dedicated to your career and are willing to work on developing it.

Networking

Networking Online. Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash.

It is said that your college friends are friends for life – Not relevant here, but the point I am making is the opportunity to network at university can seldom be matched anywhere else. You will have access to not only your coursemates but also to the alumni network of the college and the university. There is a loyalty that exists between the college/university alumni that are seldom found in professional circles.


So, which master’s programme is right for you? Not a question I can answer via a blog post, I’m afraid, but if you want to find out, you can get in touch with our team of admission advisers who can have a look at your profile and give you some advice.

Explore the number of specialised master’s degree programmes Robert Kennedy College offers through exclusive partnerships with top British universities. Or, if you have already made up your mind, click here to apply.

#DILO (A day in the life of) a master’s student – Friedrich Karl

Continuing with our series of blogs that answer some of the questions we at Robert Kennedy College (RKC) get asked frequently by students looking to join one of our online programmes. We asked some of our past and current students to share their thoughts and opinions, to give their feedback on how they handled the challenges of online learning. Hopefully, this will help you to make an informed decision.

Let’s learn from those who came before and see if what worked for them will help you become a better student!

An Introduction

Photo by Adam Solomon on Unsplash

Who are you, really?

Friedrich Karl, born in 1963 German citizen and my whole life on an exciting journey through this amazing world

Which Uni are you studying with?

York St John University

Which programme did you choose and why?

MBA in Innovation Leadership and Consulting. This programme seems to fit best with my tasks in future.

The Study Plan

Plan your study. Photo by Olena Sergienko on Unsplash

How did you plan to study each module, and what was the reality? How many hours did/do you have to put in each day/or in a week?

Plan: See at the beginning what the module leader was recommending. The next step was to find out what had to be done exactly in order to pass the module. After this, I tried to get an overview of all units right at the beginning. This enabled me to structure the assignment at an early stage. Finally working together with my classmates and the module leader through the regular tasks given and parallelly working on the completion of the assignment. Reality: Pretty much that way, but depending on the workload of my business. Depending on my business: Roughly ten hours per week, sometimes on one day, sometimes split over the week.

What part of the day did/do you find most suitable to study? (e.g. early mornings, lunch break, evenings, weekends?)  

Evening/nights

How much time did you devote to each assignment?  

It is part of the evaluation. Most of the time, as I mentioned above because as you see I focused my studies on the assignment right from the beginning.  

Travelling and Communication  

The challenges of learning while travelling. Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

How did travelling impact your ability to study?  

Good question for a commercial pilot 😀 Actually, it does not affect me at all because I am used to getting my work done in hotel rooms somewhere else. 

How were you able to interact with peers and/or professors given the time differences?  

Most of the time, the conversation is not a dialogue. So, write/get an email and answer it/wait for the answer. 

A typical day as a master’s student  

What does a typical day as an Online Masters’ student look like for you?  

Stressful. I do have a demanding and time-consuming job, and it became tougher from module to module to self-motivate. You always have some pressure in mind. You do your job and think: Oh, I have to do something for my studies. You reach the hotel after a long flight and annoying ground handling, and you cannot go to some spa, because you have to work on your papers. You go to dinner and have a guilty conscience that you are not dealing with unit tasks. So, your whole life is circling around YSJU.  

Any advice?  

Any advice you have for students to better plan their studies.  

Be aware of what is coming up. I think my planning was alright. But it is important that you keep your life as free as possible from any usual desires. Be ready to postpone bigger parts of your normal life during this period to a later date.  


I hope this blog has answered some of your questions, and please watch this place for similar blogs. So, if you have been thinking about doing a master’s degree and now understand how to study better for an online programme, look at our programmes and see if anything interests you.

You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on all the programmes we offer, the application process, and answers to any questions you may have.

Mature Students – 2 of the biggest challenges of getting back to school

I recently celebrated a birthday, and, in my melancholy, I got a little philosophical and started to think about growing old, achieving, or failing to achieve milestones, etc. You get the picture. Then I started thinking about our students, and I can honestly say they inspired me to write this blog. A majority of our students are mature students, and they choose to challenge themselves by doing a master’s degree.

A master’s degree is a challenge by itself, and added to this are the additional challenges that most mature students face, and I just have one world for our students – RESPECT!

RKC Graduation 2018 @YorkStJohn

I want to start this blog with the preface that I know there are a lot of challenges mature students face when they get back to studying. And I am not saying that any of the other challenges mature students face are not worthy of being considered a “big” challenge; one person’s Everest might be another person’s molehill, by which I mean for each of the challenges we face are the biggest and the only ones that matter.

This blog is about the two most significant, most common challenges faced by mature students, in my opinion, based on what I have seen, heard, and researched. They are –

  1. Job
  2. Family

I consider two other challenges equally important; I find that they are deeply integrated into the above two “big” challenges, so I am putting them in a subcategory. They are – time and finances.

Job

Photo by Razvan Chisu on Unsplash

There are several reasons what one might decide to a master’s degree late in life.  One of the worries most people would naturally have when they choose to get back to studies after a break is how they will manage work and study at the same time? The fact of the matter is it is not going to be easy! Most of us are set in our ways and have a routine that we are used to, and as human beings, we do not like change.

But you decided to do a master’s degree for a reason. Either you are not happy with the job that you are doing and want to change to a career that gives you fulfilment, or you are among the lucky few that have found a career that gives you job satisfaction and are looking for a leg up either in terms of academic knowledge or padding your resume to provide you with an edge in your next appraisal cycle.

So, keep this in mind the next time you feel down and stressed. Yes, it will be hard, and you will have to make changes to your schedule to work in a daily study time. You will have the challenges of completing assignments on time and doing research. But you will learn from everything you do, and things will improve.

Family

Family time. Photo by Natalya Zaritskaya on Unsplash

Family is another aspect of your life that will be impacted by your decision of going back to school. And for those of you who are single, with minimum family responsibilities, family for you here means your social life (friends). You will have to make sacrifices; you are working towards earning your master’s degree! Keep in mind, a little hardship and sacrifice can result in great rewards in the future.

Work with your family, explain why you have decided to get back to studying and how you plan to change your schedule. Don’t sugarcoat it, tell them it will be hard, and your time will not be your own, but it will be only for a short time and will be worth it in the long run. It might surprise you how supportive your family can be, and you will require their strength and support when you get stressed.

The other challenges

Finance

Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

Time to tighten your belt and cut down on frivolous expenses. Doing a master’s degree can be an expensive prospect, especially if it is from an accredited, globally recognised university. Noting is free, and anything worth getting will cost. You get what you paid for! Budgeting for the additional expense of a master’s degree will have an impact on your lifestyle and family. It also brings into focus the importance of having and keeping your job. But if you plan and start budgeting early, it can be done comfortably. 

Check with the college about the payment terms. You might find the down payment to start the programme reasonable with multiple easy monthly instalment plans options. Check and see what works best within your budget. And don’t forget, a little hardship now can lead to greater rewards in the future.

Time

Time management is the key. Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash

Time is the one thing that waits for no one. There are multiple challenges when it comes to managing time. Can time be managed? First, you must decide if this is the right time to go back to school. Can you wait any further? Are you losing out if you delay? How are you going to manage your work, family, and study at the same time?

The answer is to plan and schedule everything. People who use a calendar know how useful it can be to increase efficiency. The organiser/calendar is a tool that can be far more useful than to remind you of your next meeting. Create a calendar that contains every minutia of your daily activities for the week/month/quarter (however long you can go), from household chores to study/work deadlines. Then populate the calendar with your family’s schedule; this will give you a good idea of your schedule, inform you when to expect distractions from your family, and help you plan for it.

Time management is the key! IT. CAN. BE. DONE.


Now, if you don’t want to delay anymore and are ready to start a master’s degree programme, chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors today.

Want to study for long hours? Here are 7 tips to get you started!

University, for me at least, was a blast. I had loads of friends and every day was a party. I wish I were a better student than I was, but at the same time, I don’t think I would change any of my experiences. The friends I made then are pretty much the same friends I have today. Someone wiser than me once said that a good friend is the one who comes to bails you out of prison, but your best friend/brother is the one sitting next to you in jail saying, “dang! we are now in trouble”. These are the kind of friends I have today.

But in having this amazing experience in university I pushed studies to the background and would try and cram as much learning as I could a week (or a day) before the exams. But that never worked; I would get easily distracted, and what I did learn would slip right out of my mind the second I closed the book. Last-minute cramming sessions hardly ever work. Studying long hours, like everything else, is a skill that needs to be developed and fostered.

Learning to study long hours is especially important for mature students doing an online programme. Apart from the usual work pressures, there are also many other things around that demand our attention and can be an unavoidable distraction from studies. So, putting in the time when the opportunity arises, even if it is a marathon study session, can be very important, and learning to learn and retain during this time is critical.

But how does one go about studying for long periods? Here are 7 tips to get you started.

1. Break it down

Don’t feel intimidated by the amount you have to study. Break it down! Photo by Teslariu Mihai on Unsplash

Some of the study material you have to go through can get quite intimidating; there is just so much. This intimidation could lead to anxiety, which in turn could lead to your getting distracted, and finally, you will just end up procrastinating. Take a pen and paper and write down what you intend to achieve by the end of your study session, and then break it down to smaller targets that can be achieved. This list of achievable targets will be your guiding star; this will help you focus your efforts and concentrate on the micro picture, reducing overall stress.

2. Changing your frame of mind

Let’s face it; you will not come back from the office or a football game and get right into studying. Your mind is still at the office or at the game or whatever you were doing before getting to your studies. Give yourself some time to get into the right frame of mind, say 30 minutes. First, get rid of all distractions – tv, phone, tablets, etc., then use these 30 minutes to transition into a learning frame of mind – get your study set up, ensure all stationery required is on hand, eat something and keep drinking water close. Once everything is set up, just relax your mind – do some breathing exercises, listen to some calming music, or take a hot bath. And once the 30 minutes are done, get to studying!

3. Think positive

Photo by Katrina Wright on Unsplash

I know there are a thousand different things you’d rather be doing than studying. But this is what you must do to get ahead in your career, improve your knowledge, and earn that degree you always dreamt of having. So, keep thinking positive as you work towards your dreams, and don’t forget to celebrate the small victories. 

4. Unscheduled breaks

Schedule and time all your breaks. Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

AVOID unscheduled breaks! I get it; you have to take breaks but ensure that they are timed and scheduled. Don’t be tempted to check your phone or watch that match on tv in the middle of your study session. Once you get that ball rolling, it will just pick up speed, and the next thing you will be doing is studying during commercial breaks. Take the break when you schedule it and only for the duration it was planned for!

5. Study actively

Be engaged with what you are studying. Start reading the study material actively, making notes, asking questions about what you are reading, and answering them to better understand the subject. Don’t just read for the sake of reading; understand and learn by getting engaged with what you read.

6. Mix it up

Get a few extra hours of learning done by changing your location. Photo by Sarah Brown on Unsplash

While it is essential for you to have your own study space devoid of distractions, during an extended study session where studying can get physically tiring, you might get a few extra hours of learning done by changing your location. Try to keep distractions to a minimum, so maybe go out to a park or sit in your backyard, but if you end up in a café, make sure you take your noise-cancelling headphones with you.  

7. End it

Once you are done with your marathon study session, end it. Close your books and maybe go right to bed, don’t think about studying anymore, this way you will be fresh and rested for your study session the next day.


These study habits, like everything else, must be cultivated and developed; it is not something that will work right off the bat. You get into a habit of long study sessions by repeating regularly. Start with one full day of studying every alternate week. If you have the time, do it weekly, and before you know it, this one day a week study session will help you get ahead of your class. But please do not neglect your regular study sessions; this is just a boost to give you an edge in class and help you cement what you learnt. 

We would love to hear from you about what helped you with your long study sessions. Is an all-day-long study session something you would do?

If you are ready to start your online studies, chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on all the 100% online master’s degree programmes we offer and the application process.

6 tips to help you study better at home

It is so easy to get distracted when studying or working from home. There are so many things to distract you – from your better half asking (some might say nagging) you not to eat unnecessarily to children wanting to play, from your neighbours knocking on your door asking for some sugar (again) to someone unexpected ringing the doorbell.

Studying from home. Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

Now that you have decided to do an online master’s degree programme, you must be prepared for the challenges that studying at home entails. Most people don’t take these challenges seriously, and by the time they realise they have fallen behind in their programme, it may be too late to recover. So, tackle these challenges from the start.

In addition to all the “normal” challenges of studying at home, COVID-19 has forced some of us to isolate and work from home and forced children to stay home all day too.

How do you stay on top of your schoolwork? What can you do to help yourself study better at home?

Here are 6 tips to help you get started:

1. Location, Location, Location

Have a dedicated area at home for your study. Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

The first thing you need to do is have an area at home dedicated to your study. Make the space comfortable; add a few personal items to this area that give you ownership. And finally, make sure all the study materials you require are with you in the study, so you have no excuses to get distracted. Remember, when you work in silence, success does all the talking! Set up the study in a place where the external distractions will be minimal.

2. Organise like a pro

Use organisers to increase efficiency. Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

People who use a calendar know how useful it can be to increase efficiency. The organiser/calendar is a tool that can be far more useful than to remind you of your next meeting. Create a calendar that contains every minutia of your daily activities for the week/month/quarter (however long you can go), from household chores to study/work deadlines. Then populate the calendar with the schedule of your family. This will give you a good idea of your schedule, inform you when to expect distractions from your family, and help you plan for it.

3. Chewing Gum

Photo by Pete Alexopoulos on Unsplash

According to an article published by the National Center for Biotechnology (NCBI), chewing gum can enhance attention and promote well-being and work performance. The impact of chewing gum is said to be more than that of coffee, the catch being that the effects of chewing gum will last for only about thirty minutes. So, make sure you use the thirty minutes of heightened focus wisely and stock up on sugarless, flavourless gum.

4. Cutting the noise and setting boundaries

Having your family and friends around can get a little noisy. Getting your family, especially kids and pets, to understand that you are studying and not just sitting back and relaxing while reading your favourite LITRPG novel (Gnomes Rule!) might be difficult and, at times, heart-breaking (I know it is hard to say no to kids). But once they understand your schedule and that you are not to be disturbed when you are at your study, they will learn to give you your space.

Another way to reduce the noise is music. Put on an over-the-ear headset and, in low volume, listen to some classical music. It will also have the added advantage of keeping you calm.

5. Engage all your senses

Photo by Solstice Hannan on Unsplash

You are already listening to online lectures and reading articles, so why not make notes and ask questions? One of the best ways to learn is by being engaged in your studies, so try to increase the number of ways you can be involved with what you are studying.

Another good way to learn and retain more information is to teach, so once you have a handle on a subject, start by pretending to teach it to someone. Prepare for questions you might get asked by students, maybe join a study group with your fellow students and have a go at teaching them.

If you are not the teaching kind, then doodle. According to an article by Harvard Health Publishing, during an experiment on memory and retention, it was found that people who doodled were better at paying attention to the message and recalling the details. They recalled 29% more information!

6. Celebrate the accomplishments

Celebrate your success with a couple of squares from that bar of chocolate. Photo by Keriliwi on Unsplash

When you have successfully completed a task, realise that you have, and acknowledge this fact! Stand up and dance like nobody’s watching! Have a couple of squares from that bar of chocolate. You will find that celebrating your success will lift a weight from your shoulders that you did not even know you carried, which will help you focus better and remain motivated.


If you have been thinking about doing a master’s degree, and are ready to challenge yourself, look at our list of programmes and see if we have anything you are interested in earning your master’s degree.

You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on the programme that is right for you, the application process, and for information on discounts we might be offering at this time.

Unable to focus when studying? Here are 3 tips that may help you focus!

With age comes wisdom. By and large, the saying holds true, with a few exceptions – I am sure many of us know someone in our lives who hasn’t learnt from their mistakes. But this blog is not about introspection, or learning from one’s mistakes, or even about changing the past. It is about learning to focus when studying.

However, when I thought about writing this blog, it got me thinking about my childhood and the student I was; it got me introspecting. I remember sitting in my study and trying to focus on my textbook, and I remember all I needed was the slightest distraction to get completely distracted. Even when I read, I was just going through the motions and not really focusing or even trying to understand what I was trying to study.

It got so bad that even my parents realised I wasn’t focusing on what I was studying, and I remember the day before some exams, my mother would come to the study and offer to read the textbook for me. I don’t think I have ever thanked my parents for all the support they have given me, so thank you, mom and dad, for all you have done for me.

There goes my focus! Let’s get back on topic, shall we?

FOCUS! Photo by Stefan Cosma on Unsplash

What is focus?

In the simplest terms, focus is the ability to do a task without getting distracted.

Focus (or attention span), like most other human habits, can be trained and developed. The easiest things to develop are bad habits as it is usually fast and easy. But focus/concentration/attention span – whatever you want to call it, will take hard work and dedication.

“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.”

Bruce Lee

Our mind is, after all, a muscle, and so is trainable. The following are 3 simple tips that should get you started on the path of training your focus.

1. Take responsibility

Don’t wait for a sign from heaven to take responsibility for your life! Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash

Human beings like to deflect responsibility. If we take on the responsibility of a particular task, like, let’s say, studying a particular subject at a specific time, then the responsibility of completing the said task is in our hands. There may have been several reasons that distracted you and prevented you from completing the task… wrong! You allowed yourself to be distracted, and you failed to complete the task. So, stop making excuses and get back in the driver’s seat of your life!

A good way to understand what I am trying to say here is by imagining yourself on a long road trip, and you find yourself in the backseat of the car. For most of us, it is just a matter of time before we fall asleep. Now, keeping all conditions the same, only you find yourself in the driver’s seat, you will find yourself more focused, alert, and determined to drive the car to the best of your ability.

So, take responsibility, get on the driver’s seat, and you will find yourself able to focus a lot better.

2. Practice

Attention is a muscle, and like every other muscle, it needs to be trained and worked out to develop. Malcolm Gladwell, the author of Outliers, wrote that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in anything. He said 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” are needed to become world-class in any field.

We have many distractions around us that prevent us from focusing on the task at hand, and more often than not, we give in to those distractions. We do it so often that in the end, we become experts in ‘getting distracted’.

So, how do you go about training attention?

Let’s start with a simple exercise. Let’s start with a 10-minute exercise. Go to your study, just with a notebook and a sheet of paper to note down all your distractions. Leave all distractions (mobile phones, storybooks, food, etc.) outside. To start with, choose your favourite subject and take study material only for that subject and only what you will be able to cover in 10-minutes.

Time yourself. 10-minutes, that all it takes. Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

Start reading the study material actively, making notes and asking questions to better understand the subject. In the middle of this active study session, if anything distracting pops into your mind, make a note of it immediately in the distraction sheet, and return to your studies immediately. And once the 10-minutes is done, stop. Close your study material and leave the study.

Gradually try increasing the number of these 10-minute slots, rather than increasing the duration of study. If you find yourself unable to focus during these slots and cannot refocus, stop the session early and walk away. 

You will find you can cover as much in 10 minutes of focused effort as what you would usually have covered in an hour previously.

3. Health and rewards

We have covered most of this in detail in our earlier blogs, and I will link them here – eat healthily and exercise your body. To keep motivated, reward yourself, even in small ways. On completing tasks, realise that you have, and acknowledge this fact! Stand up and dance like nobody’s watching!


I hope these tips will help in getting you started on focusing on your tasks better. We would love to hear from you about what helped you with improving your focus.

If you are ready to start your online studies, chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on all the 100% online master’s degree programmes we offer and the application process.

All you wanted to know about Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

As promised in the blog about referencing and citation, this week, we bring you information and facts about academic integrity and how to avoid plagiarism.   

As a master’s student, expect yourself to be surrounded by deadlines to submit assignments, academic papers, and dissertations for most of your academic life (follow our #DILO – A Day in the life of an RKC student series to know more). Academic integrity is a crucial aspect of academic studies, and strict protocols must be followed to abide by the rules of academic writing.   

So, what is plagiarism? 

When one submits another person’s ideas, writings, words, images, or data as their own, it is termed plagiarism.   

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Source: https://mimiandeunice.com/2010/07/30/thief/ Author: Nina Paley, 1968 

Plagiarism is among the four most common forms of academic dishonesty, the other three being cheating, academic misconduct, and fabrication. While looking for ideas and information is good research, not giving proper credit for the work cited becomes plagiarism. It is easy not to recognise potential plagiarism in one’s writing. Here are some examples:  

  1. Using information from the internet is commonly considered public information. However, it is still required to be cited.   
  1. When one paraphrases (i.e. puts someone else’s ideas in their own words) and does not provide credit to the original idea.   
  1. When one sources information from reading material provided by the professor, it still needs to be cited.  This is considered poor academic practice though, as you need to demonstrate independent research, and go directly to the sources mentioned by the professors in their lectures, rather than cite the lectures themselves. 
  1. When one copies their own ideas, used in previously marked work, and submits the same material for a new paper. This is commonly known as self-plagiarism.   

How to avoid plagiarism?  

As complex as it may seem, plagiarism can be avoided by simply citing and referencing your work wherever necessary and giving due credit to the original ideas, theories, words, quotations, images, or graphs.   

It is essential to make sure an appropriate style of citing and referencing must also be applied. Commonly used styles include Harvard, APA, MLA, and Chicago. You can check out detailed information on the blog: Attribution, to avoid retribution: referencing and citations for academic writing.  

Don’t panic. We’ve got help!  

Studying for a masters, working full-time, juggling work-life-study balance itself seems daunting. Do not get lost in trying to find the correct way to present assignments and avoid plagiarism. There are various sources that you can use to ensure effective writing every time.  

  1. Access the electronic library through your University account – there is always a guide to academic writing, referencing, and tutorial support directly from librarians  
  1. Ask for help from the tutors and student support services, who can help you get unstuck and direct you towards the resources that can help 

I hope this prepares you well for authoring your academic papers and assignments.  If you are stuck or have any questions, our highly qualified, world-class faculty will guide you through using the correct methods and techniques to follow academic integrity. 

#DILO – A day in the life of an RKC student – Antonio  

We continue with our blog series bringing you answers to some of the questions we at Robert Kennedy College (RKC) frequently get from students looking to join one of our online programmes. We asked some of our past and current students to share their thoughts and opinions, to give their feedback on how they handled online learning challenges. Hopefully, this will, in turn, help you make an informed decision.  

I believe learning is a life-long process. You never know when an opportunity to learn is thrown your way. Would you grab the opportunity, or would you think it’s too late to learn and study when you reach a certain age? But is age just a number?  

Antonio, an RKC student from Mozambique, is a shining example of how age is just a number when it comes to studying for your Masters. Let’s hear his story!  

Who you are, really?   

Antonio M, from Mozambique. A senior citizen still willing to learn and upgrade my skills in new areas associated with my country development.  

Which Uni are you studying at?   

University of Salford  

Which programme did you choose and why?  

Online MSc in Procurement, Logistics and Supply Chain Management  

How did you plan to study each module, and what was the reality? How many hours did/do you have to put in each day/or in a week?  

Initially, I thought 2h a day would suffice, but I learned that I needed to spend at least an additional hour every day. Let me say, for someone with my slow thinking speed, you need an average 3h a day to be comfortable and do all the homework (forum discussions, contributions). Do this for 6 days a week, 1 day to rest if you can afford it.  

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What part of the day did/do you find most suitable to study? (e.g., early mornings, lunch break, evenings, weekends?)   

In my case, evenings due to silence and more available bandwidth for Internet data.  

How did travelling impact your ability to study?    

Being an online course, travelling did not impact too much. When travelling, the main issue was Wi-Fi availability.  

How were you able to interact with peers and/or professors given the time differences?   

Most of my peers were around the same or close time. Having a platform and forums eased the interaction. It was not immediate, but I would get the reaction soon enough. With those closer peer friends or people with closer affinity, we shared our mobile numbers, and if required, we would use the mobile phone and interact.  

How much time did you devote to each assignment?    

A lot of time. As soon as you get the assignment brief, start immediately and dedicate at least 3h a day for the assignment. Make sure you state an initial outline as soon as you understand the problem to be solved. Having the outline, Google Scholar all the required stuff, minimum of 15 peer-reviewed references per assignment (my opinion).  
  

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What does a typical day as an Online Masters’ student look like for you?  

6-7h sleeping, 6-8h working and 3-4h studying, 3h solving family issues, 2h socialising with other people. My community, Rotary, and family would require more of my time and reschedule this time outline.  

Any advice you have for students to better plan their studies?    

Please make sure you do participate in the weekly activities since usually they prepare you for your assignments. If you do it right, you may have a considerable part of your assignment done, at least in terms of the referencing. Going straight to the assignments is the wrong strategy. I did learn with some pain later that if I had done the week activities it would have made my life easier and would have saved time for my assignments. Otherwise, while busy with the assignment, you understand that you still need to do the work you avoided.  

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If you have been dreaming of joining a master’s programme or have had this personal goal to gain a higher degree, now is the time! Take valuable advice from our current students, gain from their experience, add your unique study strategies, and make your own success stories! I would love to feature you one day on our college blog.    

Chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on all the programmes we offer, the application process, and for information on discounts we might be offering at this time. 

Attribution, to avoid retribution: referencing and citations for academic writing

In my previous blog, I wrote a step-by-step guide on how to write an effective abstract for academic papers. Continuing further in the same direction, this week I would like to discuss referencing and citations. As I mentioned earlier, writing an abstract is not rocket science, and neither are referencing and citating.  

Now, referencing is an important academic practice. But it becomes even more important when you are studying at University level. It is thus imperative to understand the correct way to reference and cite your sources in your master’s degree assignments, academic papers, or dissertation. This blog is your one-stop shop about what, how and where, style guides, and examples of referencing and citations.  

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Let’s begin! 

So, first things first, what is the difference between referencing and citations? 

While undertaking your masters’ studies, you will constantly hear from your professors to reference your work and cite the sources of your research and ideas.  

Referencing 

As the name suggests, referencing refers to the source of work that you used in your paper. The readers should be able to find and read for themselves the original source of information that one has read or considered in their academic piece.  

Citations 

Citations, on the other hand, are brief mentions of the author or the external source used in writing the paper. A citation is, in other words, an abbreviated reference. While both inform the reader of the sources of information used, there is a fine difference between a reference and a citation.  Here are some key differences between references and citations: 

Scope  

A reference is a complete record of the source that has been sought or cited in the paper.  

A citation is disclosing the source within the main body and thus is also referred to as an ‘in-text’ citation. It provides just basic information such as the authors’ names, year of publication, and perhaps the page number if a sizeable quote is provided.  

Placement  

References are listed at the end of the document, on a page having its own title (“List of references”, “References”, “Works cited”). 

Citations are presented within the body of the document where we speak of the ideas or results of the source we are citing..  

Format  

References provide the reader with information such as the authors’ names, the publication date, the title (of the book or article), page numbers, publisher and place of publishing, etc. 

A citation provides less information, such as the last names of the authors and the publication year, such that it does not disrupt the reading flow. 

Both references and citations give credit to the authors whose ideas have been discussed in your work, in addition to supporting or criticizing an argument. This is additionally critical to avoid plagiarism in academic writing (topic for another blog!). 

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Different styles of referencing and citating 

Different academic disciplines prefer specific referencing styles. In business programmes (such as the MBAs, MSc’s), you will often be asked to use Harvard or APA styles, whereas in Law programmes (LLM, LLB) you will most often be asked to use Oxford or OSCOLA. You should always check the programme handbooks and assignment briefs, and in doubt, with your instructor what referencing style they expect for the assignment or academic paper you are writing.   

The references should be regrouped on a new page at the end of the paper. This list gives the complete information to identify and locate all sources used in the paper. There should be a corresponding entry in the list of references for all in-text citations that were used. References typically follow an alphabetical order of authors’ last names but under certain styles the order of appearance will rather be used. 

Among the different styles used by different disciplines, here are the 6 most frequently used styles in writing academic papers, each with a very specific purpose they fulfil: 

  1. APA (6th or 7th Edition) 
  1. Harvard 
  1. Oxford (OSCOLA) 
  1. Chicago 
  1. Vancouver  
  1. MHRA  

The style guides specify the kind of information and how it should be displayed for different types of sources (books, articles, websites, images, ebooks, etc.) – ensuring consistency across not only your work, but across the entire field of study that uses that style. 

At first look, these may all seem complicated, and daunting, but there are tools that can help you manage your sources, references, and citations. 

Graphical user interface, application, Word

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For example, Word has a tool called “Citations & Bibliography” which allows you to enter your sources in a database (“Manage Sources”), to insert in-text citations that are automatically updated if needed (“Insert citation”), and to generate your list of references (“Bibliography”) according to the specific style you need (“Style”). 

External tools also exist, such as Zotero, Mendeley, EndNote, or CiteThemRight – which have pretty much the same functionalities – managing your references with one of these tools will save you a gigantic among of time and effort, so by all means, pick the one that works best for you and run with it. 

Examples 

I promised you some examples, so here goes: 

Harvard / APA styles 

In-text citation 

Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2019), or Saunders et al. (2019), when the author’s names are part of the sentence, or (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2019) or (Saunders et al., 2019) when they are not. 

Reference list entry 

Saunders, M. N. K., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. (2019) Research methods for business students. Eighth Edition. New York: Pearson. 

Oxford style (OSCOLA) 

In-text citation 

OSCOLA uses numeric references, with the full reference given in a correspondingly numbered footnote. So, in your text, you would simply put a superscript number by inserting a footnote1 and then the footnote would contain the reference as: 

Mark NK Saunders, Philip Lewis and Adrian Thornhill, Research Methods for Business Students (Eighth Edition, Pearson 2019). 

Reference list entry 

Saunders MNK, Lewis P and Thornhill A, Research Methods for Business Students (Eighth Edition, Pearson 2019) 

Note the difference between the footnote reference and reference list entry – in the footnote, you give the author names in “firstname, lastname” format, whereas in the reference list you give it in “lastname, f.” format. 

If this looks complicated, it is! 😊 Which is why I reiterate my advice to use a reference management tool – whichever one works for you. 

Hope this prepares you well for writing your academic paper or assignments.  If you are stuck or have any questions, our highly qualified, world class faculty will guide you through using the correct methods and techniques for referencing and citations.  

#DILO (A day in the life of) a master’s student – Anthony Cairns

What is the best way to study online? Should you do an online programme? How to better manage time when learning online?

These are all questions that we at Robert Kennedy College (RKC) get asked regularly by students who are looking to join one of our online programmes. Undertaking to do an online master’s degree programme will be an additional commitment to your time and finances, and it is wise to get information beforehand, cross your T’s and dot your I’s before making your decision. 

Through this continuing series of blog posts, some of our past and current students have shared their thoughts and opinions and given their feedback on handling some of these choices and situations. Hopefully, this will help you to make an informed decision. 

Learning from those who came before you is smart. I am not asking you to follow what they are saying blindly, but to take what they said worked for them and see if it will work for you, maybe make a few changes (or a lot). In the end, only you know what works best for you!

Anthony Cairns is one of our successful students who graduated with a Master of Arts degree in Leading Innovation and Change (This programme has been discontinued, we now offer a 100% Online MBA in Leading Innovation and Change in its stead). Anthony says that his experience in doing an MA via RKC resulted in his now doing a PhD. 

On the left Anthony Cairns – Graduation Picture – 18th November 2015, and on the right Anthony Cairns being awarded his master’s degree by the Archbishop of York in 2015 John Sentamu

Once you get the academia bug, there is no stopping the roller coaster! 😉

Anthony Cairns, RKC Graduate

An Introduction

Who you are, really?

I am a software test management consultant, specialising in software testing, governance, and ISO standards.

Which Uni are you studying with?

I studied with York St John University for my MA. 

Which programme did you choose and why?

MA in Leading Innovation and Change 

The Study Plan

How did you plan to study each module, and what was the reality? For example, how many hours did/do you have to put in each day/or in a week?

I decided to study 2 modules at the same time, the reality being that I achieved this, but with detriment to perhaps I could have gained higher marks had I studied one at a time. But the end result was I managed to gain my MA in less time than I would have otherwise taken. Although I was working full-time as a contract consultant test manager, I worked every evening from around 7pm until about midnight. I then got up early at around 6am to do a couple of more hours before going to the office.

What part of the day did/do you find most suitable to study? (e.g. early mornings, lunch break, evenings, weekends?)

I used to personally love the 8pm to midnight, as well as the 6am (if not earlier).

How much time did you devote for each assignment?

Hard to say when I did 2 at the same time, but perhaps I estimate about 20-30 hours each week across 2 modules.

Travelling and Communication

How did travelling impact your ability to study?

Not at all, as when I travelled it was via flight and it gave me extra time to work on my MA.

How were you able to interact with peers and/or professors given the time differences?

There was no real time difference as such as I worked whatever time I need to allocate to get the work done and delivered.

On the top we see Anthony Cairns sitting in the front row with his graduating class, and the bottom picture shows Anthony Cairns with his lovely family

A typical day as a master’s student

What does a typical day as an Online Masters’ student look like for you?

Get up early, do some University work. Go and perform my daily paid-for-work. Get back (to home or hotel), then do another couple of hours before dinner. Stop for an hour or so for dinner, then do another 3-5 hours after dinner in the evening.

Any advice?

Any advice you have for students to better plan their studies.

Perhaps work on a single module at a time. Take all the advice you get from your supervisor, as they have been there many times before. Read, read, read, then read some more. Research is paramount. Give advice and guidance to fellow students who may need a little help and guidance. I did this all the time and found it also personally very rewarding.


I hope this blog has answered some of your questions, and please watch this place for more similar blogs. You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on all the programmes we offer, and the application process.