School of Social and Political Science

MSc International Political Theory


Sarah Krause

MSc International Political Theory

  • Age: 25
  • Graduated: 2020
  • Winner of Best Overall Performance in MSc International Political Theory in 2020


Studying at the School of Social and Political Science

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

I’m from the great state of Queensland in Australia, colloquially known as the ‘sunshine state.’ After twenty-four years of sweating my way through 360-odd days of the year, I decided I desperately needed a change of scene. Naturally, this led me to Scotland – not quite a ‘sunshine’ state.

I knew I wanted to do postgraduate study, but I was never really sure what I wanted to do it in. I was scrolling through the University of Edinburgh website one day and stumbled across the International Political Theory (IPT) MSc. After reading the course description, I just knew straight up that it was what I wanted to do.

How have you enjoyed your programme?

I enjoyed every second of the IPT programme, even when I didn’t understand half of what was going on around me and I felt so out of my depth it wasn’t even funny, there was nowhere else I wanted to be.

What has been your favourite course?

My absolute favourite course was Human Rights, Global Politics and International Law.

The class was taken by Dr Andrea Birdsall and she was just wonderful, although I do feel slightly bad for her because sometimes our classes got a little bit loud.

Aims for after university?

My aims were to find a job, hopefully live in Scotland for as long as you would have me, and then one day do my PhD and finish what I started with my dissertation.

However, the story of 2020 is that nothing is really going according to anyone’s plans. With Australia closing its international (and domestic) borders, I had to make the heart-breaking decision to return to Australia on a special government repatriation flight much earlier than I ever intended.

So now my goals are kind of up in the air and I’m just trying to muddle my way through this year as best as I can.

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

I started pretty much every single day, no matter the temperature, with an iced coffee. I’d then walk into University for class, even when it was snowing (although I usually regretted that pretty quickly).

Like seemingly every other University of Edinburgh student, Black Medicine Coffee Co. was our go-to for long study sessions.

If we’d had a particularly rough lecture, we’d sometimes walk over to La Rusticana on Hanover Street for some of the most amazing pizza in the city.

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

The people I met there, honestly. Some of the friends I made while at the University of Edinburgh, I now consider family and I’ll be forever grateful to the University as the place that brought us all together.

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

I feel like this is a trick question to ask given the state of the world right now. I know you’re probably looking for something deep and meaningful, but all I can come up with is: ‘hey past self, next time you move to a different hemisphere, maybe don’t do it nine months before the onset of a global pandemic.’


University life

Where have you lived while studying at Edinburgh?

I lived in Leith, at the very top of Leith Walk and it was an absolute dream.

I caught a bus maybe three times during my entire stay in Edinburgh. I could walk to work, to class, and into town so easily from here.

I was surrounded by great pubs, there were heaps of parks and river walks around, plus the water was only spitting distance away.

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

Two words: Calton Hill. Sure, it doesn’t have all the star-power of Arthur’s Seat, but don’t let the hype sway you. Calton Hill is not only significantly less of a trek than Arthur’s Seat, but has 360-degree views of the entire city, as well as sights to see up on the Hill itself.

(This is not to say that Arthur’s Seat isn’t also definitely worth it because it is, just baby steps first.)


The City of Edinburgh

What are your favourite things to do in Edinburgh at the weekend?

Me and some of my close friends in Edinburgh would spend our weekends on a quest to find the best Sunday roast in town. It’s what I miss most now that I’m back in Australia. You can’t get Yorkshire puddings anywhere near as delicious around here.

City of Edinburgh top tip or hidden gem?

The Royal Oak on Infirmary Street, just off North Bridge and across from the Blackwell’s bookstore. It’s an awesome pub, very cosy, and with the most amazing live music.

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

I had two part-time jobs during my time in Edinburgh. I worked up at Edinburgh Castle doing events like government functions and military dinners.

I also worked in a pub called Jeremiah’s Taproom on Elm Row, which is also definitely worth a visit.

I can’t imagine not working while at University, it also definitely makes you prioritise your time and work more efficiently.