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Karim Bhaluani: keeping his options open

Karim studied both his undergraduate and master's degrees in the Department of Classics. The flexibility of the courses and ability to keep his options open attracted him to study at Reading and helped him prepare for his future career.

Karim loved his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees as the flexibility of the courses and the ability to keep his options open enabled him to find his true passions and interests. 

"I started at Reading doing BA Classical Studies and switched to BA Classics at the end of my first year.

"It was a really simple process to switch, and the Department is very open about your options and supports you to do what suits you."

"This was perfect for me, as I was able to make an informed decision about my future to match my evolving interests, without compromising my degree."

Personalising my studies

Karim valued the freedom in Reading's Classics Department which enabled him to personalise his studies through the wide variety of optional modules available:

"One of the things I loved about Classics at Reading was the flexibility of the course and the wide range of modules on offer.

"At undergraduate you only have to do two core modules, which gives you 80 credits of optional modules left to select: this means you can choose from a variety of classics modules – such as ancient drama, literature, or history-based subjects – or modules from outside the Department. For example, I took some Archaeology modules which I found gave context to my classical studies.

"I was able to study a wide range of subjects in the first year of my undergraduate course, thus keeping my options open and experiencing new areas of the ancient world, before focusing my interests as I progressed through my degree.

"I chose to continue my postgraduate studies at Reading due to the flexibility of the course and because the tutors here have an excellent range of research topics: from Egyptology, to Ancient Near Eastern Studies, to Early Christian Studies. I felt this breadth of research topics would allow me the flexibility of focus I wanted for my dissertation."

Progressing to the next level

Karim decided to study his postgraduate at Reading, not only because of the strong relationships he built with staff and peers, but also to enhance his employability skills. Karim was able to develop strong transferable skills such as critical thinking, adaptability, independence, and the ability to understand people and situations across different cultures which has equipped him for his future career in teaching.

"Doing a master's degree consolidates skills such as essay writing, team-work, independent work, organisational skills and time-management: you learn these skills at undergraduate level, but a master's allows you to take your development one step further.

"Postgraduate study is really beneficial if you're considering an academic career path, but it also helps with other careers: it teaches you the life skills you wouldn't necessarily have developed on your undergraduate course, and helps you to stand out from the crowd."

What next?

Karim moved abroad to teach English as a foreign language after completing his master's course:

"I did a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) course after I graduated and spent a year in Thailand teaching as an English Language teacher. This was a fantastic and fulfilling experience for me that was greatly supported by my degrees."

Karim decided on this career path because he enjoys teaching, and because he loves languages. Studying Latin and Greek during his classics degrees helped him understand the structure of the English language better and teach the language to a high standard.

"I am now back in England studying for a PGCE in Primary Education. Although the course is school-based, a large portion of it focuses on academic research and completing master's-level assignments.

"My undergraduate and master's degrees at Reading have helped me unequivocally in this regard. Once qualified, I hope to spend some more time teaching abroad and do what I can to help those in need."

Explore our undergraduate degrees

Find out more about our master's course 

classics student jemma callue on her graduation day

Jemma Callue: getting involved

During her BA Classics degree, Jemma took up some of the opportunities available in the Department. This included becoming a peer mentor and module representative.

classics student alex heavens graduating

Alex Heavens: enchanted by the ancient world

Alex's fascination with history and the ancient world propelled him to study BA Classics at Reading.


Rebecca MacRae: from childhood fascination to the British Museum

Rebecca developed an array of transferable skills during her BA Ancient History course. These led to exciting roles at the British Museum and in the charity sector.