Undergraduate Studies: What Our Students Say...
Here's what some of our former students have to say:
Kayleigh Williams: 2005-2008 - Parliamentary Assistant at Westminster
In June 2008 I got a job as Parliamentary Assistant to Adam Afriyie MP, the MP for Windsor and Shadow Minister for Science and Innovation. I love my new position down here in London. I wanted to thank you for all your help in the last year of my University course - especially for Andrew Taylor's patience whilst I continually asked questions about the dissertation! I had various interviews and the one I had for this position picked up on the work based learning dissertation in my CV. They were intrigued and I got to speak about the experience and what it taught me about the workplace. I definitely feel that doing the dissertation helped me gain this role.
Niall Ahern: 2005-2008 - currently studying for a Masters degree
I am currently at King's College enrolled on an MA in Conflict, Security and Development. I have just secured myself an internship at the Foreign Policy Centre working as a researcher. This has a lot to do with the fact I did the work-based learning dissertation last year. In the interview it was the WBL that they were most interested in so it probably helped secure me the job!
Ian Cruse: 1992-1995 followed by PhD research in the Department and now working as a Library Clerk (Research) at the House of Lords
As a mature student who left work to take up a place in higher education, I was somewhat apprehensive about my own abilities and whether I would 'fit in'. I quickly found that within the Politics Department I was not the only mature student and that being 23 did not make me 'old'!
In terms of the academic and intellectual challenges, I was surprised not only to find that I could cope but that I could actually develop and stretch my own ideas and skills. This often meant questioning some of my own ideas and perceptions. In addition, the seminars, lectures and the various pieces of course work that I undertook, provided me with new tools and approaches to explore politics. Many of these skills, and the confidence they gave me, were an excellent grounding for postgraduate research and my current post as a researcher in the House of Lords. I also found that members of staff were extremely supportive throughout my undergraduate career.
I was also impressed by the variety of options that were available to me as an undergraduate, ranging from British, American and international politics to environmental and philosophical issues, centering on core questions such as the state. This variety of options opened up new avenues and ways of perceiving even the more traditional strictures of British politics, while it allowed me to gain new interests. I found my three years at Sheffield as an undergraduate, three of my most enjoyable and most rewarding.
Andrew Limb: 1986-1990 - now working as a Civil Servant in the Cabinet Office
My dual honours with Economic and Social History led to a Masters degree in sociology at Leicester, and from there I joined the civil service. I initially worked in the Benefits Agency in Peckham district, which very quickly taught me some harsh lessons about the real impact of politics at the sharp end ! Fortunately I was able to move on to work in the Cabinet Office, at the heart of the Government. In my four years in Whitehall I've worked in the Machinery of Government Division, I've been Private Secretary to a Cabinet Minister, and drafted a high profile report on anti-Discrimination legislation. I can honestly say the British Politics course I took at Sheffield provided a very useful context for my work here, and gave me the tools to develop my skills and knowledge further.
James Seymour: 1989-1993 - currently Schools and Colleges Liaison Officer at Aston University
I graduated in from Sheffield in 1993 and am currently employed as Schools and Colleges Liaison Officer for Aston University. My job involves writing the University Prospectus, organising Open Days and events and representing Aston at Higher Education Conventions around the world, a wide variety of roles as you can imagine! Before this I spent time working in Local Government for Leeds City Council where I coordinated various projects and events, including the city's involvement in the Euro '96 Football Tournament.
As well as University being the best three years of my life, the politics course at Sheffield taught me the importance of questioning, researching and presenting different ideas and perspectives, whatever your career choice. The staff in the department were always friendly and approachable and you really thought you were being taught by people who were at the forefront of political research.
Ben Jones: 1995-1999 - currently undertaking research for PhD
My warmest regards to the staff of the Politics Department for what has been a thoroughly enjoyable and possibly life changing three years. The standard of teaching and support has been excellent at every stage, and has allowed me to achieve a great deal more than I ever thought possible. The Department has a wealth of talent in research and academia, my lasting impression, and that of many others I have spoken to, is the truly open and friendly atmosphere alive in the Department.
Jonathan Slater: Currently a Freelance Reporter working for the Times Educational Supplement
After graduating from Sheffield in 1995 I went to work for David Blunkett, then a member of the shadow cabinet as a researcher. My degree gave me the confidence to succeed in in that environment as well as a good understanding of Labour's tradition and the political imperatives behind policy making. Since then I have moved on to write for the Times Educational Supplement where I am putting my writing skills honed at Sheffield to good use.
I chose the International Relations option in my second year and Building Democracies in Latin America and Eastern Europe in Transition as my two third year special projects. They deepened my understanding of world politics and the difficulties facing newly emerging democracies and inspired me to investigate a career in international development and human rights. Since graduating from Sheffield I have been working in the research department for the human rights organisation Amnesty International for two years.