Postgraduate

Int Politics (Critical Geopolitics) MA

Mark P

Student Profile

About me

Name: Mark
Course: International Politics (Critical Geopolitics) MA
Study mode: Full time
Where I’m from: Britain

Choosing postgraduate study

"I chose to pursue a postgraduate degree as I felt that it would allow me to pursue areas of study with a high degree of freedom. While undergraduate study gave me the tools and background in a number of areas, my chosen programme has allowed me to dig deeper into the issues and conceptual questions surrounding security, identity and ethics in politics."

Choosing Newcastle

"I chose Newcastle University as I knew from my undergraduate study that the politics department suited my interests. The staff do research on a variety of different and interesting themes, with many taking critical approaches to traditional International Relations. This is something I am very interested in and knowing how friendly and welcoming the staff were made staying on an easy choice."

Studying at Newcastle

"The thing I most enjoy about my course has to be the teaching format. While undergraduate study consisted of predominantly lectures, the two hour seminar format allows us to really discuss the issues and questions that arise from our readings and creates a space for debate and group learning. I would recommend it to any of my friends who have an interest in how international politics ‘really works’, and seek to look at the assumptions underpinning that.

"While postgraduate study is certainly a step up in terms of time, commitment, and effort, I think this is rewarded by the faster paced learning you receive. Smaller classes make learning more interactive, and the opportunities outside of our formal classes allow us to continue pursuing our interests. One such example is the bi-weekly seminar series the department hosts, bringing speakers from outside of the university in to talk about their research interests. One particular highlight was Jennifer Medcalf, a researcher at the Foreign Office, coming to talk about her work and answering questions after."

Postgraduate community

"I definitely feel part of a postgraduate community, both within my School and outside. The postgraduate Freshers events allowed us to meet people outside of our course, and there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in different aspects of student life. Having not been that active at undergraduate level, this year I have become a course rep, a student ambassador, joined the debating society and I’m involved in starting a politics students’ magazine. At Newcastle you will find people who share your interests, you just need to put yourself out there."

Funding my studies

"I found out about funding opportunities through the Newcastle University website. I received a full-fee bursary from the department of Geography, Politics and Sociology, and so the funding side of the course was all sorted out behind the scenes. The University told me this with plenty of time before the course starting, which was a real relief.

"I have a part time job working in a restaurant, as well as working as a postgraduate ambassador. While the bursary means that I do not have to contribute toward my course fees, these jobs help me cover the cost of living."

Career aspirations

"My dream is to work in diplomacy, either with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or an international organisation like NATO, the EU or the UN. By staying on at Newcastle University, I am building the critical analytic skills that are necessary for these careers, as well as gaining a higher qualification, which is becoming even more necessary in an increasingly competitive job market."

Accommodation

"As I left it quite late before deciding whether to pursue postgraduate study, I thought it would be difficult to find somewhere to live. But in the end I found a place relatively easy, living in a student house in the middle of Jesmond. We found the place through an estate agents called Jesmond Lettings."

Living in Newcastle

"Newcastle as a city has a sense that something is always ‘going on’. There are plenty of events organised around the city, no matter what your interests are, despite the fact that it isn’t a massive city and you can walk from one end of the city centre to another in about 15 minutes. Having said that, there is also a highly convenient Metro which goes through the city, out to the suburbs and even to coast, making it really easy to get around the region. I would highly recommend it to my friends, having lived here for three years with no desire to leave!"

Remembering Newcastle

"While it wasn’t one particular event, I would say the first week of term was a highlight of my time as a postgraduate so far. Being introduced to the course and seeing the qualitatively different way that PG studies were taught in comparison to undergraduate level was really comforting.

"As postgraduate study is more independent, I could see within the first week that the relationships between staff and student were going to be far less strict, which is definitely something that the subsequent weeks have proved. The welcome drinks were nice too!"

Advice

"Postgraduate study is far more accessible than people think! Even if you are undecided about staying on (or coming back), there is no harm in asking questions and finding out whether this path is for you. Come to one of our PG Cafes and ask questions, we have ambassadors from a variety of different backgrounds. Even if your question is very course specific, we can put you in contact with someone who will know."