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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Gabrielle Crane

MSc Comparative Public Policy (2007-2008)

What were you doing before you applied to the MSc in Comparative Public Policy?

I was studying for a BA in English Literature at Durham University.

Why did you apply to the programme?

I wanted to find a masters program that would enhance both my academic record and my job prospects. The very nature of Public Policy enables you to study theoretical and conceptual academic ideas alongside real-life social and economic problems. As such, I hoped the Comparative Public Policy program would develop my academic ability and expand my understanding of the public policy environment across Europe, thereby giving me the knowledge necessary to successfully find a job. I also really wanted to live in Edinburgh! It is a beautiful, lively, eclectic city with so much to offer in such a compact (but not limiting) space. As the seat of the Scottish Parliament it also enables you to explore the world of Scottish politics and public policy; something that is fascinating, a lot of fun and invaluable when looking for a job! I cannot recommend Edinburgh more.

What are your best memories from your time studying here?

Lively debate with some brilliant lecturers and a lot of support and encouragement along the way. You really get treated as an individual in the department and I really appreciated the interest that staff took in students.

What are you doing now? Did the degree help you to get where you are?

Currently I am working as a Research and Information Analyst in the Policy and Research Department of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman in London. I have just been offered a secondment to the Cabinet Office to work as a Policy Advisor in the Social Exclusion Task Force. My degree is the primary reason I got both these jobs. It gave me the knowledge of public policy I needed (having studied English at undergraduate level) to prove my interest and commitment to the sector, whilst providing me with the understanding of public policy issues and the analytical and research skills necessary to do my job. Doing a quantitative research methods module was particularly helpful in this respect. 

What's it like being a student in Edinburgh?

Brilliant! No one could ask for a more beautiful and inspiring setting or more helpful and knowledgeable lecturers. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Edinburgh, it was stimulating, relaxed and gave me the opportunity to discover and explore my own interests. As someone who had very little experience of the social sciences, I felt supported throughout the course. The student body is varied and enthusiastic and I felt part of a group of people who really believed in what we were studying and wanted to take their knowledge into the real world and put it to good use. The facilities are good and the city has everything you could possibly want in terms of art, culture, entertainment and sport. The size of the city enables you to find everything that you need without feeling lost or overwhelmed. It is hard to say precisely what makes Edinburgh a truly special place, but when you emerge from Waverly station to see a virtually untouched historic vista it is  difficult not to be enlivened by what you see. With such an inspiring location and such a great staff and program, Edinburgh is a wonderful place to be a student. 

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