School of Social and Political Science

Amanda Meyer


Find out more about the MSc Global Challenges (Online Learning)

Completed February 2021

Studying at the School of Social and Political Science

What made you choose to study at the University of Edinburgh?

The key reason I chose to study at the University of Edinburgh was because this particular course is so flexible and accessible. 

The opportunity to study online – with both part-time and full-time options – and the way in which the MSc can be reached via three Certificates were particularly appealing as my personal circumstances required maximum flexibility.

How have you enjoyed your programme?

The MSc Global Challenges has been a very enjoyable course. The subject matter was perfect for my interests, particularly with the addition of elective options – and the interaction that was possible through discussion forums and group work meant that online studying was not a lonely experience.

What has been your favourite course?

That’s a really difficult question! Of the 10 courses I studied – I would say that the four courses that made up the Global Health Challenges certificate were my favourite.

I also very much enjoyed the Nutrition elective and Roots of African Poverty and Development.

It’s fair to say that Health and Southern Africa are where my main interests lie – so I do feel that my favourite courses were perhaps pre-defined! 

Aims for after University?

My aim is to use the knowledge I have gained in the MSc, in a development environment – either in research or practice. I have a commercial background and it has been a real joy to study something driven solely by my interests and to also realise how much I enjoy research!  

What does a typical weekday look like for you as a student at SPS?

I opted to study the MSc via the part-time route and as a result my working week varied as to whether or not I was studying two courses or one course. 

As an ODL student – I always worked from home, accessing the resources online and I fitted my studies in around the rest of my life – there was no standard day. 

What are your highlights from your time at the School of Social and Political Science?

The highlight for me was the interaction with the other students in my courses. Due to the flexible nature of this MSc, we weren’t all following the same progression, some part-time some full-time and we chose to do courses in different orders. As a result, there was a new cohort of students for each course, with some familiar faces mixing in with new ones. This added to the variety and the interest, and provided we all interacted well during the forums, meant that the diversity of backgrounds added something different and unique to each course.

Knowing what you do now, what would you say to your past self before starting the course?

I would say to put in as much as you can. Take part in all of the discussion forum activities, attend as many tutorials as you can (and if you can’t, listen back to them), engage with all of the material and be realistic about the number of hours you will need to study, to do all of this well.  

And for your assignments, choose areas you enjoy and want to learn more about, not just those that will enable you to complete a piece of coursework quickly. You definitely get more out of a course, the more you put in. 

University life

What has your University experience been like, in just three words?!

Rewarding, fascinating and thought-provoking.

If you recommend ONE thing to do in the first semester what would it be?

Specifically targeting online students – I would encourage you to join the many chat groups that are set up both formally (MS Teams) and informally (What’sApp etc.), and if your course doesn’t have one  then I would be proactive and set one up. Knowing your fellow students adds so much to your experience.