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Whilst many UCL students are enjoying post-exams freedom, Masters students across the university are busy getting stuck into their dissertation projects. For one group of students, this potentially daunting task is being made easier by CRIS (Community Research Initiative for Students), a UCL-based initiative that puts community-oriented Masters students in touch with local charities and projects that are aiming to make a difference to their area. The result? Students get the chance to conduct interesting and innovative research on the project for their dissertations, and give something back to the community at the same time! 

Not only does CRIS help with the intimidating task of choosing a dissertation project that is both academically engaging and relevant to real-world situations, they also help students with their all-round development and learning. Last week, CRIS ran a two day course that sought to understand what students liked and disliked about the scheme, as well as help develop their overall employability skills. The attendees engaged in a number of small-group tasks that encouraged them to reflect on their experiences with CRIS, work out where they wanted to go next with their research, and prepare for future job interviews. They even got the opportunity to have a professional headshot taken for their LinkedIn profiles!

At the end of the session, students were asked to evaluate what they liked and disliked about the programme so far. They all agreed that it had been immensely helpful, and that it was particularly useful for part-time students who could spend longer getting to know their community-based contacts. So if you’re a community-oriented student that’s looking to understand and solve real-world problems, why not try getting involved with CRIS next year?

Written by Josephine Mizen - UCL Photojournalist.

If you’re a PostGraduate Taught student and interested in combining your dissertation with community research, let us know.

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