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School of Social and Political Science: Undergraduate study


Politics: Luke

My name is Luke and I’m in my 4th year of an MA in Politics and International Relations. 

I’m taking Armed Force & Society; War & Justice; Religion & Society and Politics of the Middle East along with my dissertation entitled What Should US Foreign Policy Be Towards North Korea?

I chose my degree because I wanted to develop my understanding of politics beyond A-Level governmental politics. The high academic reputation of the university and the vibrancy of Edinburgh as a city made the choice a no-brainer really!

The most fulfilling part of my degree has been the flexibility of the courses; allowing me to explore and develop my interests in particular aspects of international relations.

Honours degrees are designed to give you a broader and more flexible education. They allow you to try a range of subjects before specialising in your final two years.

The courses always seemed to compliment each other in some way which gave me the confidence to pick a somewhat eclectic mixture!

My favourite course so far has been War & Justice; it combines philosophical and logical thinking with very current dilemmas of politics and international relations. Religion & Society was also great; I’m fascinated by the secularization debate.

I plan to use my degree to work for an NGO, preferably focusing on human rights, or in micro-finance in the Middle East or Asia due to the particular focus I’ve given these areas throughout my degree.

Living in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is the best city I’ve ever lived in and not only because it has the most pubs per square mile in Europe!

The vibrancy of the city struck me immediately, there is so much going on for such a small city and there really is something for everyone. It’s also a bonus having such beautiful countryside on your doorstep whilst being able to live in the hub of the city centre.

I found it very easy to settle into life in Edinburgh, mainly due to the excellent accommodation services that Pollock Halls provided. There was a tremendous community atmosphere in and around halls in my first year, with loads of activities on offer to break the ice with other students which was a great support having just left home.

I don't have a job, but many of my friends do. I think it gets a little more difficult to manage in third and fourth year.

My personal tutor was also a great source of help and support in my transition from first and second year to the final two years of my degree, which was a little daunting initially.

I think I’ve learnt more about myself being in Edinburgh for four years than I had in the nineteen years before I got here! 

Luke Cheetham