Learning from those who are at the top in their field of study was a big factor in continuing my studies at Sheffield

Rebecca Roberts profile image
Rebecca Roberts
Former student
MA Politics, Governance and Public Policy
Rebecca chose to stay on at Sheffield after studying BA Politics, to pursue a postgraduate degree in MA Politics, Governance and Public Policy.

Why did you choose your particular course?

I chose to study MA Politics, Governance and Public Policy due to my keen interest in the workings of politics as a whole, and the policy process on a domestic and international level. The course appealed to me as it offers an in-depth understanding of the traditions that politics is based upon, and would expand my knowledge and understanding of governance and policy, and how different factors impact its implementation and evaluation. Also, the modules in which the course offers looked exciting to me, and after studying them I can confirm that they are indeed exciting yet also challenging; something of which is always beneficial, in my opinion. 

Why did you decide to study at the University of Sheffield?

I studied BA Politics at the University of Sheffield and the department was extremely helpful throughout my whole degree, and have continued to be so. The department is filled with tutors and staff who are willing to go an extra mile for you, as they are extremely passionate about you succeeding and doing the best that you possibly can. The vast majority of academics in the department are conducting their own research, and are authors of many of the books/academic articles that you will be reading during the MA. Speaking to the people who are authors/contributors to the material you read is extremely beneficial, as you are directly learning from those who are at the top in their field of study, and this was definitely a big factor in me continuing my studies here at Sheffield University. As well as members of the department being extremely helpful to you academically, they are also helpful personally, as from my own experiences I have always been able to speak to my tutors when I am feeling under pressure and stressed; they show a real duty of care. 

In addition to the academic benefits of studying at the University of Sheffield, I have made a lot of friends during my time here at Sheffield, some of whom are also students in the department, each of them inspire me every day, so being able to spend another year working and also socialising with them was another driving factor for me to stay and study in Sheffield. Although I had several friends already in Sheffield, due to the welcoming and friendly nature of fellow students here, I have made many more friends during my MA. So I can confidently say that even if you have not previously studied in Sheffield you will be made to feel welcome by everybody in and outside of the department. 

Photo of Dr Burak Tansel giving a seminar

The department is filled with tutors and staff who are willing to go an extra mile for you, as they are extremely passionate about you succeeding and doing the best that you possibly can.

Also, due to the independence and flexible schedule that the MA provides you with, I have been able to participate in some voluntary work this year; something of which I have always had an interest in doing but never really found the time or the right opportunity. The Students’ Union has a great and helpful volunteering office, and have sorted out a brilliant opportunity for me to help improve children’s literacy level in a local primary school. I am really enjoying the experience and it is really nice knowing that I am making a difference to several children’s education. 

What made you decide to study a masters degree?

I decided to study a masters degree because I really enjoyed being able to do academic work. In addition to this, a masters degree has and will help my career possibilities and unlock new potentials in myself and my ability. I am really interested in pursuing a career in the civil service, as being able to influence policy first hand is something I have always been passionate about. Studying MA Politics, Governance and Public Policy will give me a great advantage when it comes to working in my chosen career, as the MA provides a large amount of stimulating and useful modules such as: ‘Analysing the Policy Process’, and ‘Understanding Politics’; which I am currently doing and finding the content of the modules enjoyable and insightful. Next semester I am going to be studying: ‘Policy-Making in the Real World’ and ‘The Governance and Politics of the European Union’. Both of these modules will broaden my knowledge of policy itself and how democracies across the world are responding to the challenges that they are facing; aiding my ability in producing good policy ideas/ recommendations and advice in my future job.

MA study differs from undergraduate study to a large extent, due to the freedom and different style of learning that it provides you with. The seminars are more of a group discussion than a lecture from your tutor; which is extremely stimulating. Learning from your peers as well as your tutor is a key and great experience, as many people come to seminars with information that they have found beyond the reading list; which really increases your learning experience and brings you knowledge of topics that you may not have previously looked or thought to look at before. 

The MA provides you with an opportunity to conduct your own research to a higher level than at undergraduate, via a dissertation. Being able to thoroughly research a topic of my own choice is something that I am looking forward to the most. Whilst researching my topic of choice, I will also be able to learn a range of research skills such as quantitative and/or qualitative analysis; which are extremely valuable and desired skills for my future career. 

What are you enjoying the most about studying in Sheffield?

I love Sheffield! It is a great city with many great places to go. There are lots of lovely independent shops, cafes and restaurants; which is why Sheffield is such a unique and wonderful city. Whether, sitting in a café and reading a book, enjoying the Sheffield nightlife or going for a stroll in the Peak District is your thing, there is definitely something for you to do here in Sheffield!

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