FAQs, Law Politics and International Relations, My postgraduate experience

Laura, MSc Politics and Public Policy

Why did you choose to study a postgraduate degree at Cardiff University?

I chose to come to Cardiff for three reasons. The first was how great my experience had been during my Undergraduate Degree reading Politics and the support I had received from the lecturers. The second was the course that was available. The focus on public policy is far more specific than a standard Politics course which was appealing to me as I wanted to specialise more extensively than I had during my previous years of education. The third and final reason I chose Cardiff was the city experience. Cardiff, unlike most other Universities, is a cross between a campus and city university giving you all the experiences of having a city atmosphere whilst also having your lectures and seminar in close proximity.

How was your experience as a postgraduate at Cardiff University, in terms of the programme?

The course has been a very intense learning experience and I have been learning from the very beginning! Initially in the first weeks we had a number of pre-sessions in order to establish what modules suited both students learning preferences and chosen topics. This was a really helpful addition as it helped me to identify what I wanted to achieve out of this course and the areas that I wanted to specialise in.

First term was all compulsory modules for me which was a shock having never had any before but was something that I was very much supported through and pushed me outside my comfort zone! It was nice to learn about new subjects specifically relating to my course and be able to spend time with similar minded people. Although I have found this term the most challenging due to the compulsory aspect I have also learned invaluable political skills that I may not have chosen to study originally.

Second term has been more of an individual experience as all of my modules I have been able to choose myself. I have been able to focus on all aspects of politics including feminism, British politics, economics and historical political themes whilst also being able to undertake political experiences including working on the Democrat Presidential Campaign.

Overall, my course has opened a number of doors for my political and personal development and I have really enjoyed it.

How was your experience of living in Cardiff, in terms of the city, social life and accomadation, again specifically as a PG?

I’ve love living in Cardiff and have enjoyed my experience even more as a postgraduate. In this year I have moved away from the typically student related areas and have been able to feel far more like a resident in Cardiff than a student. This has been a great experience and with Cardiff being very well priced this has been ideal for a fourth year student!

Socially there are also a huge number of things to do in Cardiff from pubs, clubs to more low key events including outdoor cinemas and lots of fitness related events including Cardiff half marathon. There are so many opportunities within the city and places to explore that there is never a dull minute!

What was different about your postgraduate experience at Cardiff University compared to your previous degree?

One of the huge differences I have experienced is feeling more like an adult. Lecturers treat you as equals and often hold seminars in their offices (with copious amounts of coffee and chocolate!). They are also available to help far more than at Undergraduate due to the fact that they are aware that as Masters Students many of us have jobs alongside our degrees.

My masters has also been far more individually motivated due to the fact the seminars tend to outline topics and then it is the individual students choose what they wish to specialise in. Essays also tend to be chosen by the student rather than having options presented by the lecturer which means that we are able to explore topics of interest more extensively than at Undergraduate.

How did you fund your postgraduate degree?

I was lucky enough to receive the Cardiff University Master’s Excellence Scholarship which has funded a large chunk of my degree.

How do you think that your postgraduate degree is helping prepare you for the future – job aspirations, career development, future study, etc?

My undergraduate degree was in Politics so some of the topics have been the same in my Postgraduate degree but they have been more in depth which has been really interesting.

A number of the jobs within the European Union only accept people with Masters levels degree so therefore this degree will open a number of job opportunities for me in this area. Also, due to my masters I have already been offered a job with an MP who needs aid in certain areas of public policy which I have only studied in my Postgraduate Degree.

Additionally, through being in Cardiff, I have had work experience in the National Assembly for Wales which is very local to the University. This is an opportunity unavailable at most other Universities and has drastically enhanced my CV.