I chose the programme because having studied philosophy at undergraduate level, I'd become interested in questions of environmental and social justice, but I didn't yet know what I wanted to specialize in. The programme was broad, covering a diverse range of topics with teaching from three different departments, so it allowed me to get a grounding in all these areas before my second year, in which I could choose an area to focus more closely on.

Today I am a PhD- student at the Department of Human Geography at Stockholm University.

 

 

I studied the Master’s Programme in Master's Programme in Globalization, Environment and Social Change at the Department of Human Geography.

Qustions and Answers

Programme structure

Question: How was the programme structured?

Answer: At the time that I was studying, the programme was split between 3 departments; Human Geography, Physical Geography and Economic History. For the first year, there was four 15 credit courses that every student on the programme took together to get a grounding in some of the main ideas in the different study areas. In the second year, we were free to choose courses from any of the three departments, and then we could choose in which field we would write our master’s thesis, assuming we had received enough credits from that department. Programme structures can change though, so it’s worth reading the programme structure online before applying!

Programme content

Question: What sorts of things did you study during your master’s programme?

Answer: The programme was very broad and covered a lot of topics. In my first year I learned a bit about climate science, the political economy and globalization, environmental and social issues in cities of the global south, as well as some training on working with theory and method. In my second year, I chose to study only courses within the Human Geography department, so I studied a course on migration and one on the social effects of different urban planning strategies. After that, I wrote my master’s thesis on questions of public space, migration and homelessness in Stockholm. One thing I would suggest is to start thinking early on about what you might want to write your master’s thesis on. During the first year you will have some time to learn about different things and to see what interests you, but the earlier you get an idea where you would like to focus for your thesis, the easier it will be to then pick courses in the second year that will help you in the right direction. And then when it comes to writing your thesis, you can have a lot of the ideas and theories already in place!

Course structure

Question: How were the courses structured? Was the workload ever too much?

Answer: This obviously differed between different courses, but it would usually consist of lectures followed by some time to carry out the assigned readings, and then seminars where we would discuss the readings together and maybe present whatever projects we were working on. Most of the courses gave the opportunity for group work, which was usually a really good experience (although group work can also be challenging at times). The work load was generally pretty full (enough to keep you preoccupied throughout the week, but not too much that you wouldn’t have time to socialise in the evenings, or even hold down a part time job if you organised your time well). We also had a few field trips and even a 2 day retreat where we had to negotiate the governance of a river system between two hypothetical nations (I was cynical before-hand but it turned out to be one of my favourite parts of the programme).

After Class Activities

Question: What was student life like outside of your studies?

Answer: When I moved to do my master’s, I didn’t really envisage doing the whole ‘student experience’ again, and in some ways I wasn’t as involved with extra-curricular student activities as I had been during my undergraduate degree in the UK. In my first month, I did take part in a lot of the activities organised for students, which were a lot of fun, but after that my social life was mainly focused off-campus (although often with friends from the master’s programme). There are groups and activities organised at the university, but if you don’t really want to feel like a ‘fresher’ again, Stockholm is also a place where you can find many other things to do in the city while you’re here.

To be a student in Stockholm

Question: What’s Stockholm like as a city to live in?

Answer: Stockholm is a really beautiful city, spread out over a number of interconnected islands so you’re always pretty close to some scenic water (meaning you can swim almost everywhere in the summer) or some forests for a scenic walk. Moving from London it felt to me like a small city (although most people coming from smaller cities would disagree), but there are loads of nice cafes and bars all over. Unless you’re moving from Norway, you’ll probably find Stockholm pretty expensive, so having some money saved up or getting a part time job can be helpful (also as a way to meet new people outside of the university). Some people struggle with the winter (it does get pretty cold and dark) but you can also make the most of it. You’re almost guaranteed to get some proper snow for a couple of months, and much of the water freezes over, so if you dress up warm you can make the most of Nordic winter activities. Jumping through a hole into a frozen lake and then into a sauna is one my favourite winter activities. 

Accomodation in Stockholm

Question:  I have heard it it difficult to get housing in Stockholm. How did you find a place to live?

Answer: Housing can be difficult to find in Stockholm. Personally, I got very lucky in that I met a couple in London before I moved out here who offered to rent a room to be before I arrived, which then worked out well so that I didn’t have to go through the process of looking for housing for a long time. Once you’re here, word of mouth is the best way to find things (posting a facebook status can be a good idea), but seeing as you’ll need to find something before you move, the university housing service can give you ideas and advice and a number of people I know got student accommodation close to the university through that.

Living in Sweden

Question: How did you adjust to Swedish culture?

Answer: Aside from some subtle differences, I think Swedish and English culture are actually fairly similar (social awkwardness is a common trait) so the culture clash wasn’t so big for me, but it’s been fun learning all the little traditions and specialities here (every other day seems to be dedicated to a specific kind of baked good). It will be different for students coming from very different cultures, but one of the good things about studying on an international master’s programme is that you’re surrounded by others who are also navigating the new social norms and practices so you can enjoy them or complain about them together.