International Security at UEA: Reflections from an MA Student

International Security at UEA: Reflections from an MA Student

Joseph Rollwagen provides a students eye-view of our MA course in International Security at UEA

While mulling over different options for where to pursue my Master’s degree, I sought the advice of my favourite undergraduate professor in my department’s International Relations faculty. He gave me the name of four possible options, one of which was UEA, which he described as a programme of quality, and worth investing in for my continued studies. I applied, was accepted, and it has since become abundantly clear that this was precisely the programme for me.

Many people might shy away from a security studies degree because they have little to no experience in the field. What the programme at UEA offers is a strong grounding in the subject from the foundations of international relations through to contemporary issues around war, terrorism, and ‘new security challenges’ such as poverty, development and disease. The International Relations theory course, being the first core module, allows students to ease into a complex field of study. Students who come from diverse academic backgrounds were therefore able to succeed, even if they had never studied politics or International Relations before.

One of the many appealing characteristics of UEA’s MA in International Security is the flexibility around student module options: something other institutions don’t necessarily share. Students are allowed, to a large extent, to forge their own path in the discipline of Security Studies, and since people come from different backgrounds and have different passions, this is extremely welcoming. Since foreign policy happens to pique my own interest, it was especially exciting to be able to take courses in both American and Russian foreign policy, as well as a simulation-based module called War Games which provides insight into diplomacy and strategic decision- making. My experience with the lecturers and students alike in my different modules allowed me to broaden my point of view and even to reassess my previously held beliefs.

Perhaps the greatest achievement of this course has been to allow students like me to apply what we have learned to other facets of academic and professional life. Being able to examine different phenomena critically is a skill that is central to the training on UEA’s International Security degree. This course has prepared me for my next steps in life, and has certainly done so for my colleagues as well.#

Joseph Rollwagen was enrolled as a student on the MA in International Security in 2014/2015.

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