December 2016: The bell has rung, lectures have begun

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Two months have passed since the beginning of the first semester, so I think this is a perfect moment to talk about how the course has been so far. Before coming to Manchester, I had some specific enquiries regarding the programme that were not fully covered on the University’s website or in its guides. Maybe, you are going through the same situation now.
I would like to describe some of them and hopefully, answer some questions you might have.

Lectures and lecturers

The MSc Human Resources Management and Industrial Relations has four core units during the first semester. This year they are ‘Research Methods for Organisations’, ‘Industrial Relations’, ‘Multinationals and Comparative Employment Systems’ and ‘HRM – Strategy and Practice’. Each lecture lasts two hours per week and is held for approximately eleven weeks. Additionally, if you are planning to join CIPD, you must consider one extra class a week which is compulsory for obtaining the membership.

In my experience, lecturers have been very kind. They are available at certain hours during the week to respond any enquiries or to discuss certain topics further. Also, you will be assigned to an Academic Advisor aimed to help you with both, academic and personal concerns.

Seminars

In addition to lectures, each unit has a one-hour seminar per week. This means that students are separated into smaller groups in order to review specific topics. In that sense, lecturers may ask you to participate in a discussion or to present an academic topic in 10-15 minutes. Although it may sound scary, seminars are not assessed and they are really helpful to understand specific subjects in depth.

Library and books

Some books are core readings for first semester courses. The library is amazing, holding thousands of books, but unfortunately, it does not have enough copies available for every student. Therefore, I suggest that once you have received each Course Outline, go straight to the library and borrow the essential books.
There may be some academic papers as core readings as well. In that case, do not worry. They would be available freely on the library’s website.

Classmates

Aside from the Industrial Relations unit, the other lectures are shared with students from the MSc International Human Resources Management and Comparative Industrial Relations course. From my point of view this is a good thing, because it enables you to learn from an international perspective and to meet new classmates. Actually, I have not felt a competitive environment among us. On the contrary, we have been a friendly and supportive group.

Assessments

Basically, most of the units on my course have one final assessment at the end of the semester. Depending on the unit, it can be a 3000-words essay or a two-hour exam.

I am now starting to think about the final essays and exams. The days pass really fast! I recommend you to enjoy every single day from the beginning because in the blink of an eye you will be ending the first semester.

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Francisco Muhlhausen

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