jeevanr21
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0le
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(Original post by jeevanr21)
So last month I started my MSc in Human Rights and Politics at LSE. I'm really torn as to whether I should carry on, for a number of reasons.

For some background, I graduated in June with a first-class degree in French and Spanish from Oxford University. I also have a deferred place to study an MSc in Journalism at Columbia University in New York next year, which I'm really keen to do. In the future I want to be a human rights journalist.

I applied to the LSE masters initially because I had to defer my Columbia place due to Covid and because of scholarship issues (I was planning to start this year). As I worried about being able to get a job, I thought I'd do this masters, as I've always been interested in human rights and politics, and the modules looked really interesting.
Doing a master degree whilst you wait to do a second masters degree just because you are worried about getting a job seems really strange to me, particularly if you have financial difficulties. If certain modules sound interesting to you, then you can buy or loan a textbook and start reading it and learning. But the decision has been made so anyway...

Fast forward a few months and it turns out two of the modules I was really keen to study at LSE have both been withdrawn for this year. We had a really stressful optional course selection period at LSE and so many of us were unsure whether we would get the options we wanted to study (many of us didn't in the end). I've got one module for this term and one for next term but it's a gamble as to whether I'll get the other two modules I want to study next term, since the courses are all massively oversubscribed. If I do get to study the modules I want, it'll be an interesting course, but still not quite the one I applied for.
I am not sure how it works, but given you are paying for this, you should be allowed to choose the options you want. However, make sure you read the fine print. Was it made clear before you applied that you may not get the options you wanted to do? If this is something you want to complain about then your form tutor/ student rep/ postgraduate admin should be able to give guidance.

It's not really what I expected - there's so little work expected of us, we just have to do some readings and turn up to a seminar. We submit 1 essay per module in a term (so a total of 3 essays per term) which is a far cry from Oxford where I was submitting 1 essay a week minimum. The class sizes are also sometimes huge - in one of my seminars, it's a group of 35 people. We've written two open letters to LSE saying that the course selection process was awful, but they didn't respond to either letter which makes me think they don't really care about their students. Whenever I've had academic meetings with my supervisor they've also been 10-15 minutes long and I've always had the feeling he wants to get it over with as well.
35 is really not a large number. Many STEM courses for example have that sort of cohort size and also share seminars with other cohorts in large lecture theatres, so we are talking about 100+ people maybe. Regarding the work, maybe there is an emphasis on self-learning at LSE and less "guided" learning. It may help to read the course structure/guideline materials and see what is expected of you. Maybe LSE type of learning doesn't suit you, no shame in that.

Supervisors can be a bit "off" and are usually quite busy. Bare in mind covid-19 is causing a lot of problems and they will all be a lot busier than normal. If you need more time to discuss the work, send an email and ask for it.


I also didn't get any funding from the LSE, as they said you had to have received an offer by April 27 in order to be granted a scholarship, and I got my offer on May 1. I'm not in the best financial situation, meaning that I have to literally pinch pennies to pay (my postgrad loan doesn't cover it all) and I'm still waiting to hear back on an external scholarship (this would take care of things if I do get it). I could apply for a LSE hardship fund in the meantime, but that will only tide me over until the next instalment. Some people got around £13k of funding from the LSE, which just infuriates me given that I need this just as much as they do.
What other people get is irrelevant. We don't know their full situations so it is best to not think and worry about that. Regarding your financial decisions, I mean, it really comes down to the fact that perhaps doing the masters was not a great financial decision. Applying for a hardship loan is sensible. Wait and see on that outcome before making any decisions.

I know LSE is an amazing university and there are lots of incredible events on all the time, and this course does fulfil my specialist interest in human rights. This course would provide me with the knowledge, and also might be useful if I ever want to work for UN/Amnesty in the future. However, I do wonder whether I would have been better off doing a course like the MPhil in Politics and International Studies at Cambridge and then specialising in human rights related areas.
Personally I am not really sure what the point of an MPhil is. Either look to get a PhD or don't bother. MPhil would be a complete waste of time and money.

I've applied for some journalism jobs, but I'm just really confused. Should I stick out this masters? Or should I drop out and consider doing it at some point in the future or doing a different one? Or just do the journalism masters and leave it there? Would be so grateful for any help.
I can't make that decision for you but it seems that external factors are forcing your hand. If you can't afford it, then you may have to drop out. I think your plan to look at hardship financial support is sensible but don't necessarily expect a positive outcome. Try and look for part-time work outside of journalism. You can try retail work.
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jeevanr21
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Thank you very much for this advice! I'm considering dropping out to gain more practical experience this year, especially as there is the option to do this masters in the future part-time (alongside a job) and then I would also get funding from LSE (I missed the funding deadline this year). Or I can try to stick it out, but I will have to fill the gaps with my savings - which I am not sure is worth it especially if I don't get the modules I want to do next term.

You're also right about Covid-19 causing problems! We will have to see what happens. Either way, what will happen will happen, right?
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jeevanr21
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(Original post by 0le)
Doing a master degree whilst you wait to do a second masters degree just because you are worried about getting a job seems really strange to me, particularly if you have financial difficulties. If certain modules sound interesting to you, then you can buy or loan a textbook and start reading it and learning. But the decision has been made so anyway...



I am not sure how it works, but given you are paying for this, you should be allowed to choose the options you want. However, make sure you read the fine print. Was it made clear before you applied that you may not get the options you wanted to do? If this is something you want to complain about then your form tutor/ student rep/ postgraduate admin should be able to give guidance.



35 is really not a large number. Many STEM courses for example have that sort of cohort size and also share seminars with other cohorts in large lecture theatres, so we are talking about 100+ people maybe. Regarding the work, maybe there is an emphasis on self-learning at LSE and less "guided" learning. It may help to read the course structure/guideline materials and see what is expected of you. Maybe LSE type of learning doesn't suit you, no shame in that.

Supervisors can be a bit "off" and are usually quite busy. Bare in mind covid-19 is causing a lot of problems and they will all be a lot busier than normal. If you need more time to discuss the work, send an email and ask for it.




What other people get is irrelevant. We don't know their full situations so it is best to not think and worry about that. Regarding your financial decisions, I mean, it really comes down to the fact that perhaps doing the masters was not a great financial decision. Applying for a hardship loan is sensible. Wait and see on that outcome before making any decisions.



Personally I am not really sure what the point of an MPhil is. Either look to get a PhD or don't bother. MPhil would be a complete waste of time and money.
I think the MPhil could be interesting just because you are able to choose modules from other departments such as Latin America and South Asia, whereas LSE has very few regional courses... but we will see! It would also give me the 'politics' degree you need to work at places such as the UN.
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