(Original post by mirupu)
Thanks! How do you find the program, is it hard- is there a lot of contact hours?
Alos I have a feeling less people apply for our maser, do you think it's slightly less competitive?
Can I ask you what you put in your personal statement (roughly, I am so bad at them, I never made one) ?
Thank you so much!
Workload-wise, there's no doubt about it. It's very intense and I find myself having at least one or two assignments/essays/presentations to hand in every week plus weekly readings. Courses are also fast paced, and if you know French, I highly recommend you take some of the French modules. The grading is generally harsher for the French courses, but they have a very particular way of teaching that I find intriguing. PM me for more info about this.
Content-wise, whether you find the programme to be hard will depend on your prior work experience and knowledge of human rights. If you've done a degree in IR, law, or a human-rights-related field, then yes it will probably be easier for you, at least in the beginning. I came from a French literature background so it was a substantial learning curve for me.
All programmes within PSIA combined, I think there's around 700 students for the class of 2016-18. From what the School's deputy director said at the inaugural speech, around 3000 people applied last year. Not taking into account the people who turned down their offers, that would put the acceptance rate at around 24% with a +5% margin. Of the 700 students attending PSIA this year, a little over 100 students are doing the Human Rights programme.
As for my personal statement, I wrote about how my French Lit degree taught me a lot about humanism. France has a long and turbulent history with human and civil rights (e.g. the French declaration of human rights). Concretely speaking, I took a class about the Jewish Genocide and survivors' testimonies and secondary literature/art surrounding the topic, and the difficulty I had having to sustain myself for over 10 weeks throughout the course - then talking about how it was nevertheless rewarding and made me become more interested in what has been done since then to prevent such atrocities.
I think the important with personal statements, and what a number of people do not realize with them, is that:
1. You have to give them a good, concrete (and possibly short but precise) answer as to why you want to study the course you've applied for.
2. Show them what you've DONE (and not what you've wanted to do but not have done) to demonstrate your interest in the field (internships, work experience, student associations, articles, blogs, etc.) In a way, personal statements are an extension to your CV, so choose your activities carefully and make sure they're adequate to your personal project.
3. Explain i) what these activities have taught you and ii) how they have contributed to your desire/conviction to pursue the course.
4. Show them you've done research about the school and course. How does the school and course match your needs/interest? Cite a concrete example of a course/teacher you want to work with and why.
This link may help you in structuring your personal statement:
I hope I've answered your questions. Don't hesitate if you need any further advice.