We’re pleased to announce the winner for our Masters Compare Scholarship 2020/21 is Emma, an MSc Comparative Social Policy student of Green Templeton College at The University of Oxford. Emma shared her experiences of choosing to study a postgraduate degree and what winning the scholarship will meant to her. Emma started at the University in September 2020.

Can you tell us about your academic journey so far

I studied Global Health and Social Medicine at King’s College London for my undergrad. It was a really broad degree mixing sociology, anthropology, epidemiology and policy and teaching us how all these areas are connected. The degree was quite research focused which gave me confidence that I could handle the pressure and intensity of a masters.

Why did you want to continue your studies?

I have a particular interest for social determinants of health and while my undergrad gave a really solid foundation, I decided to apply for a masters to give me a deeper understanding of the area. In addition, I don’t actually know what I want to do as a profession and a masters will always make you more competitive in the job market while leaving the door open if you want to continue with further studies.

What made you choose Green Templeton College at The University of Oxford?

I chose to apply to GTC because I liked their ethos, it’s very focused on social impact which I care about. While it wasn’t of key importance, I wanted to be at a grad college as I’m technically a mature student. GTC is also one of the most diverse colleges in Oxford which was important to me and I personally benefitted from in London.

Also, there is a really laid back and friendly attitude among students and staff here and they strike the balance of tradition and modernity really well. The stunning campus doesn’t hurt either.

What is an MSc in Comparative Social Policy, and why did you choose this particular course ?

My course is really what it says on the tin: We study policy practically and theoretically. There is such a huge impact of social determinants of health that is ultimately because of policy (or lack of it) which I wanted to get a deeper understanding of. I chose it because of the department and their impressive research output, but also because of small groups and personal attention you get as a student at Oxford.

You are just starting your course but do you have any plans for further study or work once you have completed your masters?

Like I mentioned in the previous section, I don’t know yet what occupational area I want to explore. I am leaning toward going back to London and working after my graduation. Although pursuing my own research in a PhD does sound tempting. Having a masters definitely gives you more options!

What advice would you give to students who are thinking about starting a Masters in 2021?

This year has been stressful enough, if you decide to go for it, get started early! You may be applying to more than one masters with different deadlines and you will have to prepare your material on top of the work you are already doing at uni or work.

Spreading the workload out makes it less stressful and you are more likely to end up with better written work for your application. You will also need references and the people you ask will themselves be busy and may not end up sending it before the deadline.

What will winning this scholarship mean for you?

Being a masters student, this year of all years is a privilege, but finding a source of income has been a challenge.

Prior to starting my masters there were limited job opportunities in the summer due to lock down and during term time it’s the same problem. Winning this scholarship will mean that I don’t have the anxiety of thinking about finances and I can focus instead on the job in hand.

Next Steps

Are you inspired by Emma's story? All you need to do is register on Masters Compare and opt-in to take part in the £5,000 Scholarship Draw. You could be our winner in October 2021.