Please help me me raise half of my tuition fees for an MPhil in Education (Psychology and Education) at the University of Cambridge!

We did it!

On 25th Jul 2016 we successfully raised £2,010 with 91 supporters in 49 days


How can psychology help us to combat the underrepresentation of women in science, technology, engineering and maths?

Does the gender imbalance in primary school teachers affect how children learn?

How can university selection procedures best accommodate for social inequalities in schooling?


Hi, my name is Susanna O’Brien.

And I want to find out the answers to these questions by studying for an MPhil in Education (Psychology and Education) at The University of Cambridge, Emmanuel College.

I’ve just completed my degree in Experimental Psychology; I'm an intersectional feminist, passionate about high quality education for all, and I am so incredibly excited to  study such an important subject at a world leading university.

But, due to the extortionately high tuition fees, expensive cost of living in Cambridge, and the fact that the new government loans for Masters students don’t even cover all of my tuition, I currently don’t have the money to cover the £21,000+ financial guarantee required by Cambridge. So I need your help…

Why this course?

A course dedicated to understanding how psychology can help us create the best, most effective educational practices? Yes please.

The chance to study on “perhaps the best course of its kind in the country” (Professor Neil Humphrey, University of Manchester, External Examiner)? Yes please.

The opportunity to conduct my own original research (hopefully on how we can promote gender equality in education)? Yes please.

Can you tell I’m excited?

Why am I Crowdfunding?

Put simply – Masters are expensive to undertake, and I have a deficit in my budget. Here is an outline of the expected costs for my one year MPhil:

  • My tuition fees for one year are £10,500…even more than the staggering £9,000 per year for my undergraduate degree.
  • Cambridge estimate my maintenance costs for the year to be £10,625… apparently this is the absolute "bare minimum" that will be required.
  • Therefore in total I need at least £21,125 for just a one year course. Ouch.

How do I plan to pay for this?

  • Government loans – The help available for Masters students is nowhere near as good as for undergraduate or PhD level. This upcoming year will be the first time ever Masters students can apply for government loans! Although I would rather not get into further debt than the £37,000+ from my undergrad, I want to do this course so much that I’m willing to take out the maximum £10,000 to help with my maintenance costs.
  • Summer work – I’ve already got a job lined up for the first six weeks, and I will be finding work to fill the remaining time before I (hopefully) set off for Cambridge. I’m even in the process of signing up to a flu camp(!), which just goes to show how committed I am to this course, as spending up to 2 weeks in quarantine with the flu isn’t exactly my idea of fun…
  • Scholarships – now my exams are over, I’m going to be sending off tonnes of applications to charities who offer small grants for educational endeavours.
  • Parental support – While my parents try their upmost best to support me financially, I'm one of four children and my younger brother (hi Mark!) is also headed to university next year, so I want to ease the financial burden on them as much as possible.

With all of this taken into account, I still have approximately half of my tuition fees to account for. That’s why I’ve turned to Crowdfunder. After factoring in the 6% Crowdfunder fees, and the transaction fees on each pledge, the final amount I hope to raise comes to £6,000. I hope to find some lovely, generous people who believe in me to support this aim and help me get to Cambridge next year!

Any donation you can make will honestly be so truly appreciated! If you can’t donate but want to show your support, please share this link far and wide! Every penny you give (or every share of the page) will help me follow a course of education I am genuinely so excited and motivated about, without being limited by the ever growing costs of education. You will even hopefully contribute to our understanding of how to make education fairer for all genders.

“All I want is an education, and I am afraid of no one.” – Malala Yousafzai

Thank you in advance for pledging or sharing to #SupportSusanna!


(P.s. Keep reading to learn more about me, and what my tutors have to say…)


About me

1. Psychology and Education

As part of my degree, I took an option in Education and Psychology. I enjoyed it so much that I decided 8 lectures, 6 essays and a 3 hour unseen written exam wasn’t enough for me. Luckily my tutor, Dr. Jane Mellanby, thinks I’m okay at the subject…

“Outstanding work. Her essays have been very widely researched…and have been elegantly written. She has plenty of good ideas about future research and is full of enthusiasm and interest.”  

For my research project, I investigated a possible strategy that could help improve our memory, motivated by my interest in enhancing revision strategies for students (being one myself, I thought this was a rather important aim…). I loved conducting my own original research, and so I’m really excited for my thesis next year. Again, my supervisor, Dr. Nick Yeung, had some nice things to say…

“Susanna has been an exemplary research project student and a joy to supervise. She thoroughly impressed me as a talented and highly motivated student. In almost every way, she is already working at a postgraduate level.”

Finally, I was lucky enough to work with the Centre for Research in Autism and Education at the UCL Institute of Education last summer, conducting my own research into how autistic children perceive information in the classroom. It was inspiring to work with such a friendly, enthusiastic and committed group of people, and it definitely fuelled the fire for my wanting to continue studying in this field. Thank you Dr. Anna Remington for these kind words...

“Susanna is a naturally brilliant student who shows great passion for research. She is innovative, conscientious and enthusiastic, and I have no doubt that she will make an important contribution to her chosen field. I hope she is given the opportunity to pursue the successful academic career that I know she deserves."

2. Feminist

I think it is one of the most important aims of government and institutions to ensure people of all genders have equal opportunities in education (and in life). In fact, the essay I applied to Cambridge with attempted to explain why more men than women get Firsts at Oxbridge, and my third year dissertation was an investigation of stereotype threat, and the interventions we can employ to ensure marginalised groups of students do not underperform relative to their potential.

3. Access

I’ve tried to help Higher Education Access efforts by being a Student Ambassador for my college and by going into schools directly, with the aim of encouraging them to pursue a university degree, regardless of their background.



If you’ve made it this far, wow, thank you and I hope you’ll consider pledging to this project!


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