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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Student Testimonial 4

After completing a Sociology degree in 2002 I spent a few years working on various youth projects in the UK and overseas, including an HIV/AIDS education project in Tanzania. I wanted to further my career though study and chose a Masters in Childhood Studies because it covered a broad range of policy areas and had the concept of 'rights', which I had heard so much of in Tanzania, as a core theme throughout.

I found the course structure to be very logical, covering the theoretical ground in the first term, and moving on to consider concrete issues in more depth in the second term. One of the strengths is being multi-disciplinary, considering social, cultural and legal perspectives, but also enabling you to focus in essays and the dissertation. The course options cover an expanding range of topics, and I was able to accommodate my interests in both national youth policy and cross-cultural issues. I'm often asked 'Childhood Studies, is that social work or teaching then?' to which I'm happy to reply that it is much more than that. My course options were also good opportunities to meet other people. The core group was small so classes could be very interactive, with lots of opportunity for discussion and debate. The course tutors are very approachable and their range of styles and years of experience in the field was a good resource.

Overall, I feel I gained an excellent knowledge of children's rights and certain areas of policy, and the assignments really developed my skills in research, analysis, critical thinking and writing. I also found the research and consultation with children course, and the (not compulsory!) opportunity to undertake field research for the dissertation has real practical application in work.

Inevitably, the transition back to study was challenging, although now I feel I can do anything I put my mind to! Because the course is so multi-disciplinary, I feel there are a wide range of avenues open to graduates. Personally, I looked at policy work and campaigning within the charity sector before deciding to do more 'on the ground' participation work in a challenging inner-city area, and I feel the knowledge and confidence I gained from the course and my own research has definitely helped me in my career.

It goes without saying that Edinburgh is a great place to live. I was amazed by the clubs and activities the University has, the best gym I’ve ever seen and a very professional Careers Service, not to mention the Festival, and I recommend making the most of these!

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