Leicester Tigers’ lock Graham Kitchener can add graduating from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) this week to his long list of achievements, alongside making the England squad for the 2015 RBS Six Nations.
The Sports History and Culture MA graduate chose to study with the university’s world-renowned International Centre for Sports History and Culture (ICSHC) for a number of reasons.
Graham said: “Rugby careers are relatively short, so I wanted to start thinking about the future and I’ve always been really interested in sports history.
“DMU has a good reputation in this field and the subject links well with my undergraduate degree in Sociology.
“Also, part-time distance-learning gave me the flexibility to study around my training and match commitments.”
Being a rugby player is an 'intense' job, but away from the pitch Graham was also challenged by his course.
He said: “I found it enjoyable overall, but the second year was definitely tougher with a lot more research and interviewing involved.
"I tried to fit my studying around training as best as I could, but I did end up having to work on my dissertation from my hotel room while I was at camp with the team in Italy!"
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Having something worthwhile to work towards away from rugby has been satisfying for Graham, who said: "It was good to focus my spare time on something that wasn't just playing on the Xbox.
"It's given me a real sense of achievement and I feel quite proud of myself. Plus, having an MA shows a level of dedication to future employers."
With a competitive season ahead, Graham is looking forward to focusing on the game this year, but hasn't ruled out further education.
He said: "I enjoy learning, so I'd never say 'never'. But right now we've got some big games ahead of us and the expectations are really high. I want to stay focused on getting the club where it deserves to be.
"I'd definitely recommend my MA to others though. My dissertation advisor Neil Carter has been very accommodating every time I’ve popped in to see him and the online system is really easy to use."
Dr Neil Carter, Senior Research Fellow at the ICSHC, said: “Graham’s MA allowed him to pursue his career as a professional athlete without the pressures of attending regular classes which he would be unlikely to attend given his job.
“We hope that Graham’s association with the MA will attract other professional athletes who have both an interest in the history of sport and a wish to further develop their critical, analytical and research skills.”
Posted on Monday 23rd January 2017