Student stories

Liam Harris, Maths PhD

Liam Harris from Gloucestershire studied a BSc (Hons) Maths degree at USW before continuing on to do a PhD.

"My PhD looked at the solutions to various chess problems, on various types of “board”. I focused on the bishop piece and the problems of independence and of domination.

"Chess problems have fascinated me for a long time and this PhD was a chance to continue working on similar problems to those I looked at in my undergrad dissertation.

"The mathematics department at USW is fantastic; they are very passionate about teaching as well as research and have always made me feel welcome. So, when I completed my maths degree here I knew I had to stay to do a PhD.

"I do not think you can get through a PhD without wanting to quit at least once! You continue to learn so much during a PhD you are constantly challenged - its stressful but exhilarating and rewarding.

"I have had excellent support from my supervisors both of whom have mentored and guided me throughout the process.

"Achieving my PhD will make such a difference to my life, personally and professionally. For my career, the PhD is vital; it will mean I can now get my dream job as an academic/lecturer in mathematics."

Jess Lewis, English PhD

After graduating with first-class Honours from the BA (Hons) English degree, Jess Lewis went on to do a PhD at USW.

"I wrote about metaphors of cannibalism in the Victorian novel between 1840-1900. You know, just something 'light'!

"The topic evolved naturally from my original idea which was on cannibalism and Victorian travel narratives.

"My passion has always been Victorian fiction though, so the research kept returning to fictionalised cannibals, and finally cannibal metaphors.

"My supervisors Prof Alice Entwistle and Prof Kevin Mills have been incredible. I've never felt alone during this process.

"Of course, I hit bumps in the road - researchers' block, generally feeling fed up but Alice's mantra of 'The only thing worse than doing it, is not doing it' has got me through. It's so true!

"I'm currently working on articles for publication, one of which includes a research trip to the Brontë archives (a Victorian nerd's dream), as well as applying for lecturing/research jobs.

"I've always wanted to become a lecturer, so the PhD was essential!

"It's opened the door to a world I'm so excited to explore."

Prosper Mbowe, Forensic Accounting PhD

Prosper Mbowe, from Tanzania, achieved his PhD in July 2019 having previously studied the BA (Hons) Forensic Accounting and MSc Forensic Audit and Accounting.

"My reasons for embarking on a PhD were to further my career in academia and also to explore in depth an issue of growing importance in my home country of Tanzania.

"I was introduced to the issue of money laundering during my MSc Forensic Audit and Accounting, and was interested in exploring this in the context of developing countries.

"This formed the basis of my PhD thesis: The Financial Action Task Force recommendations on anti-money laundering: a case study of East African banks.

"Money laundering in Africa is only now being seriously addressed so I am very proud to be one of the first people to contribute to knowledge in this area.

"Having both a masters degree and PhD in this area has made me unique in my country so I feel privileged to have acquired these qualifications from USW and be returning to my country with a unique and in-demand skill-set and knowledge."

"I am looking forward to forging a successful career in financial crimes investigations, auditing and academia."


Abdulkareem Karasuwa from Nigeria achieved his PhD in Electrical Engineering in July 2019 having already studied an electronics masters at USW.

"A PhD can lead to lots of opportunities in academia and R&D in industry.

"Having already obtained an electronics masters degree at USW, I had an insight of what it could offer me as a doctoral student.

"The research team is headed by one of leading figures in the field of mobile and satellite communication, and there are excellent facilities as well as industrial networks and collaborations.

"There is great support for PhD students. The Graduate School staff are excellent people that work above and beyond to help us through every bit of our exciting journey.

"I have been exposed to a variety of researcher development opportunities throughout my PhD from research management training and teacher training to health and safety training.

"Thanks to these opportunities, I am already a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) which is a real advantage if I want to move into academia."