The Bachelor of Philosophy is by no means your average degree. As third year PhB student AJ America can attest, you can exercise a high level of autonomy within it and work closely with lecturers.
In Year 12, AJ took the HSC History Extension course, which she describes as a very self-directed research project.
“I really enjoyed the process of research and the process of letting a project take shape over a few months rather than just having a set essay question that you respond to in the three weeks that you have to write the paper,” AJ says. “The opportunity to keep doing that regularly was really enticing.”
For her first research project at ANU, AJ worked alongside an academic whose books she had admired – historian Angela Woollacott.
“It was my second year of university and I was sitting in her office getting to discuss my work every week and chat to her about history. Eighteen months earlier, I’d been reading her books when I was in high school,” AJ enthuses.
“I’ve also been privileged to work with Frank Bongiorno this semester and Alex Cook over a couple of semesters.”
AJ is currently working on a research project about Australian Holocaust education in Australia and another on Jewry in the Weimar republic. While her projects are solo endeavours, she has felt far from isolated from her peers. She spoke about first year seminar, which she did with her fellow PhB students.
“Often, class discussions would kind of continue in the hallway after class until it was moved to the bar slowly,” she smiles. “We ended up with a really great community of PhB arts students.”
“We still have coffee together and talk about our projects. Having those friends from first year seminar has been really valuable.”