SOAS University of London

Hannah Duncan, 1st Year

SOAS has given me the space to ask questions of myself and of my studies which I hadn’t had before, it gives you the academic and ideological freedom to explore your own ideas. This has been really important for me, and changed the way I address challenges and experiences more generally.

MSc Environment, Politics and Development
I heard about SOAS from a friend I worked with in the humanitarian response sector, who told me if I wanted to do a Masters in Development Studies, this was the place to apply. When I looked into it more thoroughly, the range of courses offered and the flexibility of degree programmes at SOAS was a real attraction, as was the quality of teaching and the guarantee of a critical and multidisciplinary approach.

The MSc in Environment Politics and Development is a fantastic course which explores the human face of environmental problems and struggles – everything from the politics of climate change, to indigenous struggles over resources and meaning, to broader themes on how ideas of ‘nature’ and ‘development’ intersect in practice to shape people’s lives. The teaching team is excellent, and the analytical skills you pick up throughout the course are invaluable.

I am inspired by someone new every day, and constantly motivated to consider new ideas and experiences by those around me who all hail from such diverse backgrounds and have such incredible talents. Everyone comes to SOAS for a reason, and getting to know people and figuring out their story is the best part.

SOAS has given me the space to ask questions of myself and of my studies which I hadn’t had before, it gives you the academic and ideological freedom to explore your own ideas. This has been really important for me, and changed the way I address challenges and experiences more generally.

Student profile interview questions

How did you find out about SOAS?

From a friend I worked with in the humanitarian response sector, who told me if I wanted a Masters, this was the place to apply.

What made you choose to study your chosen degree programme at SOAS?

The range of courses offered and the flexibility of degree programmes was a real attraction, as was the quality of teaching and the guarantee of a critical and multidisciplinary approach.

How would you describe your time at SOAS?

It’s been amazing. I knew it would be interesting as I’m very passionate about the subjects I chose, but it’s been fun, challenging, and inspiring in ways I didn’t quite expect.

How would characterise SOAS and the typical SOAS student?

Vibrant, interested, and approachable. I have found all the students to be friendly, passionate, and open-minded. SOAS itself is a hive of activity, music, culture and learning that inspires you to really dig deep into the things you’re interested in.

How would you describe the course/programme of study/department?

The MSc in Environment Politics and Development is a fantastic course which explores the human face of environmental problems and struggles – everything from the politics of climate change, to indigenous struggles over resources and meaning, to broader themes on how ideas of ‘nature’ and ‘development’ intersect in practice to shape people’s lives. The teaching team is excellent, and the analytical skills you pick up throughout the course are invaluable.

What is it like to live and study in London?

Studying in London is brilliant – you really feel like you’re in the middle of it all, with so much at your fingertips. Although the city is big, once you get to know your local area it can be really homely, and you definitely won’t get bored.

Who (or what) is your biggest inspiration or motivation at SOAS and why?

The students - I am inspired by someone new every day, and constantly motivated to consider new ideas and experiences by those around me who all hail from such diverse backgrounds and have such incredible talents. Everyone comes to SOAS for a reason, and getting to know people and figuring out their story is the best part.

What is your fondest memory of your time at SOAS? Do you have a story or anecdote from your SOAS experience?

I remember even in the first week when everyone was meeting each other for the first time there was already such a sense of solidarity, and that has been maintained throughout the year. I had come from a long way away, so to already feel welcome and at home was really special.

What do you think makes SOAS unique?

Certainly the diversity makes it pretty magical, and the whole place oozes creativity and positivity, making a space to really flourish both academically and creatively.

What impact has SOAS had on your life and outlook?

SOAS has given me the space to ask questions of myself and of my studies which I hadn’t had before, it gives you the academic and ideological freedom to explore your own ideas. This has been really important for me, and changed the way I address challenges and experiences more generally.

What next? What are your plans for the future?

I’m considering doing a PhD in order to explore my research interests further, but it would be nice to work a bit first. I’m excited to see what opportunities are out there once I finish the MSc.

Do you have any tips or advice for students applying to SOAS?

Look carefully at all the degree programme options and don’t be afraid to pick something which allows you to specialise your interests.