The first-year PhD cohort at the LSE’s Department of Social Policy includes students in the Social Policy and the Demography/Population Studies programmes. At a recent seminar, they discussed why they chose this programmes, and the pros and cons of being in a multidisciplinary department. The conversation generated six posts that will be posted on the Social Policy Blog over the coming weeks, which together demonstrate the wide variety of research topics the department accommodates, and the intellectual, practical, and personal factors that contribute to choosing to study here. This may prove useful for future students who might be deciding whether a research degree at LSE’s Social Policy department might be right for them, too.
In conversation with Dijana Spasenoska
What are you studying? PhD Demography and Population Studies
What is your background? I have a BSc in Biochemistry and MSc in Global Population Health.
Did you apply to other schools? I did not apply to any other schools or programmes.
Why did you choose the Social Policy department?
My general interest has always been health and social policy. I’ve always wanted to do research that will improve people’s health and well-being.
I studied biochemistry to understand health at the individual molecular level. I came to see that genetic inequalities are not the only explanation for the variations in health across populations. External factors, for example socio-economic status, matter too. Although policy cannot modify genetic inequalities, external socio-economic factors can. Thus, I decided to pursue a MSc degree in Global Population Health at the LSE (in the Department of Social Policy) – to learn how to use research to inform policy making.
During my masters I studied subjects such as global health policy, epidemiology, population and development, and demography. After taking those classes, I decided to use a demographic approach to research the impact of socio-economic and political changes on health and mortality. The Department of Social Policy at the LSE offers a very strong PhD programme in Demography and Population Studies, so I decided to apply here.
How is the experience so far? What are the pros and cons?
I really enjoy studying at the LSE! I feel supported by the Department and by my supervisors; everyone is very approachable and friendly. Moreover, Social Policy is a multidisciplinary field; I am surrounded by people from different academic backgrounds, using different research methods, so I am constantly learning new things. Also, as a PhD student I am allowed to audit courses offered by different departments, so this is a great opportunity to strengthen some of my skills or just learn more about subjects that interest me.
Note: This article gives the views of the authors, and not the position of the Social Policy Blog, nor of the London School of Economics.