School of Social and Political Science

Jenni Argent


MSc Global Challenges (Online Learning)

  • Age: 39
  • Graduated: 2020
  • Winner of Best Overall Performance in MSc Global Challenges Online Learning in 2020

Studying at the School of Social and Political Science

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

The MSc Global Challenges offered me the opportunity to study a multi-disciplinary degree online from home.

The course sounded perfect for my interests and goals and allowed me to study at the University despite living in England.

How have you enjoyed your programme?

The programme has been excellent, despite studying remotely I felt really supported by the tutors, support staff and other students.

I really enjoyed the lectures and in particular the tutorials and forum discussions. I already miss the interaction with other students!

What has been your favourite course?

Difficult to choose! Global Health Challenges: An Introduction was probably my favourite as it introduced me to a subject area that I had no experience with at all but which I found fascinating.

But also, Displacement and Development which raised so many interesting questions and explored the link between the two key topics. Both have inspired me to go on to do further study in climate change, health and migration.

Aims for after University?

I hope to go on to study for a PhD in climate change, health and migration.

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

As a remote online student my days were a bit different from on-campus students. I would aim to be at my laptop for 9.30am with a coffee on my University days (three a week, if possible) and would try to work through until it was time to collect the kids at 3.30pm.

I would always get out for a walk in the countryside around lunchtime. Breaks would be fitted around doing the family laundry and household chores.

As deadlines loomed, I would inevitably be sat at my laptop again at 8pm until late into the evening. On non-University days, I still usually took some time first thing to check on forum messages and respond.

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

Tutorials were always a highlight. When you are working remotely without any day-to-day student or tutor face-to-face interaction you can get a bit lonely, so those opportunities to hold a real conversation with someone were priceless.

I will always be grateful to all the staff in the School who showed me such kindness and encouragement at times when I really needed support.

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

Learn to use a reference manager!

University life

Are you involved in any student societies?

Unfortunately not. This is tricky as a remote student, though I think I could have made more effort to either get involved with or start something.

Where have you lived while studying at Edinburgh?

In England! But I grew up in Edinburgh and it is a beautiful, friendly and vibrant city - so much fun to be had.

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

Challenging, inspiring, eye-opening.

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

Go to the Royal Botanic Gardens, it is a beautiful and relaxing place to explore with great views across the city. Plus, it is free to go around the gardens (with a small charge for the glasshouses) and easy to get to - catch the 23 or 27 bus.

City of Edinburgh

What are your favourite things to do in Edinburgh at the weekend?
  • Royal Botanic Gardens for a wander around and great views
  • The Filmhouse for brunch and interesting movies
  • Traverse Theatre for new Scottish plays
  • National Museum of Scotland for all sorts of interesting things
  • Himalaya Café, South Clerk St - delicious food in a friendly little café and the best momos in town
  • Morningside, for charity shops full of wealthy people’s barely worn discarded items
City of Edinburgh top tip or hidden gem?

The group of giant redwoods in the Royal Botanic Gardens, somehow this is missed by so many people, it is almost always quiet even when the garden is packed out. A good place to get some quiet time.

Have you had a part-time job while you’ve been in Edinburgh?

I worked part-time for the business I run with my husband. Working for myself meant I could be more flexible, but I did struggle to delineate between work and study sometimes.

If you work for yourself and have this problem, then planning out your week in advance and possibly using a separate space for study (i.e. going into the library) would be helpful.