Skip to main content

School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Emilie Venables

Emilie Venables
Emilie Venables
MSc in African Studies / PhD
Doing Now
Starting new job

Why did you decide to apply to the PhD programme in Edinburgh?

I was drawn to the size of the department at Edinburgh. I had been studying in London before coming to CAS, and wanted to move to somewhere with a smaller, more specialised department. I also wanted to study somewhere where a focus on Africa was the norm, not the exception.

You are currently working for Médicins Sans Frontières in South Africa. How has your time studying at CAS equipped you for this?

The research training I received at CAS and the time I spent in West Africa conducting my MSc and doctoral fieldwork have been of great help to me throughout my work. CAS also helped me see the kinds of work options that were available to me and how my studies could link to them - I am currently working as a medical anthropologist with Médicins Sans Frontières, conducting ethnographic fieldwork in the context of a rural HIV/TB incidence reduction project.

What are your best memories of your life as a student in African Studies?

You mean apart from being away on fieldwork?! Going to the pub! The CAS community and the people that I have met have been a definite highlight, as was the weekend to Firbush that myself and a fellow student, Tom, organised.

What is it like being a student in Edinburgh?

Cold! Edinburgh is a great place to study, but it isn't the warmest of cities. I love living in such a vibrant place though - there is always a lot going on within and outside of the university.

What one piece of advice would you give to someone thinking to study African studies in Edinburgh?

Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it -- my supervisors, CAS staff and students were always willing to answer any questions I had. Make sure you ask about funding opportunities too -- there is a lot of money available if you know where to look.

Oh, and bring warm clothes!