Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Jonathan Woodthorpe

MA Democratic Studies | 2007 - 2008

Photo of Jonathan Woodthorpe

I decided to study an MA in Democratic Studies as I had really enjoyed my time at Leeds as an undergraduate and I didn’t feel ready to finish my studies. I chose the course because it looked fascinating and covered important issues that I felt were really relevant to contemporary politics. I think that Leeds is a fantastic city for any student and I would strongly recommend it. POLIS has a good reputation and I had found them to be really supportive throughout my time as an undergraduate.

I found the MA in Democratic Studies both challenging and rewarding. By the end of the year I had questioned many of my own assumptions about democracy. The course made me much more aware of the different worldviews of democracy, civil liberties and justice. I enjoyed the mix of theoretical and practical content which allowed me to apply theoretical ideas to real life examples. There was also great flexibility in the module choices that allowed me to choose modules from across POLIS and beyond.

There are great facilities at Leeds University for example there is a computer cluster especially designated for POLIS use as well as a number of 24hour computer rooms nearby. The library is really well stocked and the staff are always helpful. The Union is really lively and there is always something to get involved in.

I think that I have developed much better analytical skills and these have been really helpful in my career so far. Also, because I work in local government, I think that my grounding in democratic theory has been particularly useful in that it has helped me to better understand the context and philosophy behind many initiatives and policy frameworks that exist within the public sector today.

After graduating I joined the Graduate Scheme at Somerset County Council. This is a three-year scheme that is designed to develop new graduates into public managers. The scheme exposes me to many different aspects within the Council and so my job varies quite a lot each day. What is clear, however, is that the skills that I developed as part of my MA have provided me with a fantastic basis upon which to build my career.

If anyone thinking of applying to this course I would say to go for it. I had a great time there and if I had the opportunity I would do it all again.

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