Now that we’re reaching the end of the academic year before I embark on a summer to write my dissertation, I thought I would reflect on this year and how I got to LSE, including a few tips for future students applying for a Master’s!
Why I wanted to pursue a Master’s degree
I applied to study a Master’s degree while I was living in Hong Kong in my first job after graduating from the University of Edinburgh. Having got some real-world experience, I realised that while I loved my teaching role, I knew that I wanted to expand my academic abilities, particularly after loving studying History for my undergraduate degree. At the time of my application, I was considering a career in academia or a career that would utilise my knowledge and transferable skills gained from studying History at a postgraduate level.
It was for this reason that I applied to LSE. My advice would be to be clear about why exactly you want to study a Master’s degree. It’s a stressful, time-consuming, and intense year of study, so make sure you’re pursuing a Master’s for the right reasons!
Why I chose LSE
I spent many afternoons and weekends researching different history degrees. My undergraduate background was broad and my interests were varied, so it was difficult to pick a specific university or course. I knew I was interested in global imperial histories, but I didn’t yet have a particular dissertation idea. I wanted a university experience that could expand and deepen my academic capabilities, and to commit to a substantial research project while also benefiting from taught elements of the course.
I also applied to LSE because of the careers service and ability to broaden my network and learn about interesting careers after my studies which would pertain to my field of expertise.
I wanted a challenge and to be intellectually pushed, which I knew I would get at LSE. I also chose LSE because of its prestigious reputation as well as the fact that I had the opportunity to live at home and find a part-time job. When choosing a Master’s, it’s important to think about the year beyond the library!
Why the Department of International History
The Department of International History at LSE attracted me because it allowed me the opportunity to engage with colonial history. After perusing countless websites and trawling through LinkedIn to see where the graduates of different programmes at different universities were now, I settled on MSc Empire, Colonialism and Globalisation at LSE. Not only was I unfamiliar with some of the content (a great bonus for challenging myself), but I was drawn to the focus on ideologies of empire, the notions of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality, the ideas surrounding economic development and underdevelopment, and more. I was also excited by the opportunity to pursue additional courses in areas I had never studied before.
Furthermore, the professors at LSE are leading experts in their fields, providing students with the opportunity to engage actively in interesting areas of history on a deeper level than you would at an undergraduate level.
When applying to a Master’s, if you’re not sure what exactly you want to focus on, think about what else you can gain from studying academia at a postgraduate level, and how you can apply this knowledge beyond university.
I’m so grateful to have been accepted to study a Master’s degree at LSE – I got what I came for. I’ve become a more critical historian with a wider range of interests and perspectives. I believe that I have the capabilities and transferable skills which will set me on my course in terms of a career after I graduate, and I’ve made great contacts with both professors and peers.