Jayeel Serrano Cornelio
Visiting Research Student (2009 - 2010)
To say that I am privileged to have been a visiting research student at Lancaster's Department of Religious Studies is an understatement. A few years ago, a friend who was pursuing his PhD toured me around the university and even introduced me to the faculty and staff of the department.For its warmth and intellectual vibrancy, I immediately knew that Lancaster was where I wanted to be for research attachment. Even my supervisor in Singapore, Prof. Bryan Turner, was optimistic about it. I am now in the final stages of my PhD at the Department of Sociology and the Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore.
When I arrived at Lancaster in 2009, my main objective was rather straightforward: to be supervised well and finish the draft of my thesis. On this, the department did not fail. My supervisor, Prof. Linda Woodhead, is the best one could ever have, for having mentored me both as an academic and as a person for a full academic year. But being in this department has also exposed me to its various academic networks, not the least of which is the sociology of religion study group of the British Sociological Association. At its annual conference in April 2010, I presented a chapter from my thesis and met fellow graduate students and academics working on similar areas. I hope to have this chapter published very soon.
The final year of the PhD is usually the loneliest since one is, for the most part, engaged in conversations with the self, if not the computer whose screensaver automatically pops out after a long stare. Thankfully, the support system at Lancaster was very strong and in fact natural. It was typical, for instance, for graduate students, many of whom come from other countries as well, to visit each other's offices and engage discursively (another way of saying chat over tea). It was also encouraging that other colleagues and staff in the department were willing to offer practically anything to help and yes, even food.
Another compelling aspect of my stay at Lancaster has been its immediate vicinity. Intermittently, I would jog (or walk in exasperation, most of the time) around the campus and the nearby village of Galgate whose view of the sunset and the Pennines will leave one simply awed. If the weather is clear, that is.
Without the mentorship received and community built during my Lancaster experience, my PhD life would not have been as exciting, fulfilling, and worthwhile. As my PhD now draws to a close (fingers crossed!), I look back to the final year of my writing at Lancaster in deep gratitude.
Having enjoyed my experience as a Religious Studies undergraduate and benefiting from a wide range of interdisciplinary modules, including both Philosophy and Politics, I decided that there would be no better place to pursue a PhD than at Lancaster University. Not only that, but it was during my undergraduate studies that I was introduced to New Religious Movements and Alternative Spiritualties, which has had a direct influence on my PhD thesis. The department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion is a friendly an accommodating place and is committed to helping you as an individual achieve the most out of your studies. Also, studying at a University that is ranked in the top 1% of all research Universities worldwide will help me to secure a job in my chosen career. I currently enjoy being involved in some of the faculty training courses and as a graduate teaching assistant. All of which are adding to the great experiences that I have had so far. I would recommend studying towards a PhD at Lancaster to anyone.
PhD Religious Studies