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Career changer law to development KCL or Warwick or surrey or soas/ucl/Amani

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    • Thread Starter

    hello I have been practicing law for the last five years at a commercial law firm and I am now switching over to the development side with an interest in helping others to make a change.

    I have applied for various masters courses as I am not yet certain which area I would like to focus on.

    I have received offers from:-

    1. Kings College of London Msc Disasters, Adaptation and Development


    Initially i applied to this course as they have a 3-6 month internship. Which i thought would be good for networking. Also the element of environment and development is becoming more important as years go by and natural resources are depleted (in my view).The more i read the course description it seems a bit too environment based and less on development. I am not sure if I will completely enjoy this course.

    Pros: London based network, Reputation of university
    Cons: less development and more environment, geography?!

    I made a second application for the Msc. Leadership and Development course (yet to hear back from them). Which seems less exam based and more course work. Also deals with more management issues which may be what I am looking at.


    Pros: Essay based rather than exam based, more development

    2. University of WarwickLLM International Development law and Human Rightshttp://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/current/pg/modules/

    I like the fact that it has the law element in it so I won't lose out on my legal knowledge. However the downside is that living in coventry (Lemington spa) may be a tad bit boring as compared to London. Also I understand Masters degree is where one makes networks so by virtue of studying in one of the universities in London the network will be larger. Also now being a mature student I don't think i really want a campus based experience as i already had this for my undergraduate experience. But saying that it may be nice and quiet place to study.

    Pro: Essay based rather than exam based, Legal course
    Con: Campus, North Location and network

    3. University of SurreyMsc Sustainable Development


    I noticed university of surrey was ranked highly however I don't think many people have heard or think highly of the university just yet.Pros: sustainable development coursecons: campus based, recognition of university

    I am yet to hear back from:

    1. Soas: Msc Development Studies
    2. UCL: Msc. Social Development Practice
    3. Kings: Msc. Leadership and Development course

    I applied to the Amani Institute for their post graduate in social innovation management. However I am not too sure about doing the course as it is not a substitute for a masters and I haven't heard very much about it.http://amaniinstitute.org/programs/p...ion-management

    Feel free to have a look at the descriptions and give me your thoughts. I would appreciate your views and if you have heard anything good or bad about the respective courses.

    I am leaning towards KCL but just a bit worried about the course being less development and more geography

    SOAS: MSc Development is more established than UCL and KCL. Academically, it is top 5 with Oxbridge, LSE and Sussex IDS.Some profs in areas such as area studies, environment, agriculture, gender inequality, human rights etc. It has good links to NGOs, guest speakers from various organisations (for networking) and is feeder to PhD programme. International student body and staff. The course is more on academic and less professional/practice side compared to US government school programmes.

    UCL: This is a newer course and offered under the Bartlett school of urban planning and architecture. Niche course and does not represent core competence. A Bartlett trained architect told me that within the school, Social Dev practice is marginal, main courses/resources are urban planning and architecture. Sells itself as social policy meets development. My concern is that UCL politics department is not really focused on development, politics concentrations tends to be central and eastern Europe.

    I am surprised that you did not apply to Sussex Institute of Dev Studies IDS. Good balance btw academic rigour and field practice. IDS offers various MSc development courses with specific concentrations. Some NGOs and government departments send their staff on training courses (MSc and executive), excellent reputation within industry and helps with internship search. Some students have professional seasoning like you. Good alumni base.
    • Thread Starter

    Thank you Tcannon for your response and the details I really appreciate it.

    I was not aware about the UCL course and I am glad you have brought it to my attention. Same goes for Sussex, I just didn't look outside the more popular university names. But now that you have said it they do look very recognized in the field of development.

    I am keen on studying in London as many people have told me masters degrees are about networking and reaching out. I think (I may be wrong) that it will be easier to attend events, talks and reach out to international organisations if based in London. It may still be possible if based around England but I will have to factor in travel and stay arrangements.

    I was hoping to receive an offer from SOAS but yet to hear from them on that front.

    At the moment the KCL offer appears to be what I have. I am hoping that this course is well recognized at the same time as giving a good grasp of development issues. Have you heard much about this course?

    You correctly identified that opportunities outside the class room add value to your personal and professional development. Check about career fairs for development (NGO, government and private sector). There is one in London with various vendors, but you need to register. i would also ask about guest speakers from target orgs, a decent MSc should have a mix of academics, government officials, NGO workers and journalists. Some unis offer a panel discussion of development experts. Normally the department or career office organise speakers. Some modules are purely academic with essays/exams, others have a practical project management component: group work, presentation and real life task such as writing a grant proposal for a NGO with given guidelines. Apart from modules, see career office about skills work shop.

    I think your skills are important too. It is not all about London. Some graduates from MSc Development outside London land good internships and jobs. See Oxbridge, Sussex. I would suggest to go for 'fit' and can you afford London cost of living? Each programme has certain strengths such as research groups, concentrations, fields. So my key question to you:
    What are your academic areas of interests, professional goals, do you prefer academic modules or more practical training?

    KCL is recent entry to Dev. To my knowledge KCL does not have a core competence and it has changed the syllabus with new lecturers. KCL positions its Development courses btw environment (water, sustainability) and its more practical Leadership and Development. I visited LSE, SOAS, UCL and KCL. For my areas, LSE and SOAS have the best development vibe in lively class room discussions and various experts. I think if your undergrad is non-development, you may benefit from some core development modules. The leadership course is more useful for people with development undergrad.
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