Samantha Wood tells us why she enjoys studying the MSc Social Justice and Community Action.
My interest in the MSc Social Justice and Community Action programme stems from my experiences working in public engagement, activism and counselling in the areas of women’s reproductive health and feminist anti-violence work.
Before I started this programme, I had moved from Canada to Qatar. Not being able to find work in my field, I began actively searching for ways to plug back into my social justice roots while abroad. This is what led me to explore online programmes. I was looking for a masters that would complement my background in sociology and social policy, but with a focus on grassroots activism, public policy development and implementation and organisational management.
Since starting with the first cohort, I have completed 3 of the 4 compulsory courses for the Masters. The course content is fresh and engaging and it is clear that the course organisers have put a significant amount of work into making the programme relevant in different global contexts and applicable across many fields of interest. I enjoy learning from my colleagues who are located internationally and are active in different areas of social justice such as climate justice, political activism and community organising.
I’ve been able to balance my studies while working full time and while doing volunteer work. Through the online social justice hub I have found it easy to plug into the weekly lectures and to connect with my colleagues.
A real bonus is that as long as you have an internet connection you can study from anywhere — so far I’ve logged in from Doha, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Istanbul, Belfast, Dublin, Ottawa, Sault Ste. Marie and various airports in-between!
Even though I’m not physically on campus, I’ve also been able to benefit from the services that the University of Edinburgh offers such as the digital library and the workshops offered through the Institute for Academic Development. The online environment has made me a lifelong advocate of digital education. The different modes of teaching, the live discussions and the small class sizes have all contributed to transforming our digital classroom into a vibrant online community.
Since my first day on the course I have benefited from the support and mentorship of the course organisers, my personal tutor and my colleagues. This has allowed me to refine my research interests and to focus on the type of work I’d like to do next. The work we do on the course is practical and we’re given opportunities to focus our learning on issues that are of personal interest. This ‘learning by doing’ approach brings the topics to life and gives us the tools we need to operationalise the principles of social justice in real world contexts.