Alex Gardner


Subject International Relations
Course MA International Relations (International Political Economy)
Country United Kingdom
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Was there a big transition from undergraduate to postgraduate study?

Having graduated a few years before undertaking postgraduate study, I found there to be a clear ‘step up’ in the intensity of study. Postgraduate level requires much more independent research and on a course such as International Relations, much more outside, wider reading is required. These new demands of study were eased, however, by much more interested and conscientious peers who would support one another, and in my case, the skills I learnt from my years of employment enabled me to manage my time and workload (and reading!) much more effectively than before.

What, for you, are the best things about the course?

A Masters degree in International Relations provides wide-ranging opportunities for areas of study. Module choices are vast and the ability to specialise in a particular stream of IR allows you to really work to your strengths and interests. My stream of International Political Economy allowed me to study economic systems, an area of strength for me from my previous studies, whilst I was also able to undertake research into feminism, education and social mobility which were of great interest to me. This adaptability was a particularly enjoyable aspect of the course.

Do you have anything lined up for once you have completed your degree?

Since completing my postgraduate degree in the summer I have gone on to complete an internship with an educational charity and now work with a university in their outreach team. My role involves working with pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds and giving them the skills, whilst overcoming any obstacles, in order for them to achieve their greatest potential. In the long term I hope to either set up my own social enterprise focusing on education or social injustices, or alternatively I may move abroad to work on international development projects.

What was your motivation for undertaking postgraduate study?

Following my undergraduate degree in Business Studies and work experiences across the world, I decided to pursue a Masters degree as a way to refocus my career path. Personal ambition and interest to become educated a higher level certainly influenced my choice but I knew that a career in social mobility would prove more accessible with a Masters qualification.