MSc Public PolicyJosh Box, UK

Tell us a bit about your background...
I am originally from Nottingham, though I have lived in Manchester, Leeds, York and am now happily living in Glasgow. My background is in Popular and World Musics (BA) and Community Music (MA), which I gained from University of Leeds and University of York respectively. Having met my fiancee in Manchester, we moved up to Glasgow together. I haven't looked back and think that Glasgow is a great city, very welcoming, creative, authentic and fun. 

What inspired you to study your course?
I've had a lot of experience in different jobs: from a music studio engineer to a community development officer, from working for Shelter in Manchester to the DWP in Glasgow. I am at a point now where I want a career but need additional skills, tools and understanding to progress into a role that is challenging, creative and impactful. 

Why did you choose to continue studying for your MSc at the University of Strathclyde?
I feel that I reached a plateau in my work life. I needed a new challenge and wanted to equip myself with the skills to better understand the policy environments I was working within. University of Strathclyde appealed to me as the course content is very forward thinking and relevant in the real world.

What has been the highlight of your time at Strathclyde so far?
As I have been out of education for a number of years, at first I felt apprehensive about the work I was submitting. After receiving positive and constructive feedback from lecturers, I have been able to build on my academic writing skills and research abilities. Feeling this development has been a highlight for me.

What specialist knowledge/professional skills have you developed whilst studying the course?
Within policy analysis, I have developed a deep understanding of the many frameworks used in policy analysis within many different settings. I have developed my presentation skills through frequent presentations across different subjects and have learnt to use software to assist data analysis (both quantitative and qualitative), all of which will be very useful for the future.

What would be your advice for people considering taking this course?
I would say go for it! Reach out to the university and attend the open days. Plan ahead for balancing work and university life. I wouldn't advise working more than 16 hours a week. 

What have been the main challenges studying at postgraduate level?
Striking a balance between university course work, working, continuing hobbies, and having a social life.

What do you think of the support available (supervisors, professional services etc)? 
I think it's great! Staff and lecturers always go out of their way to help, whether face-to-face, through Skype or e-mail. Student support services are also very good, as are the finance department who have given me invaluable support and advice.

What are your ambitions for the future?
After the course, I want to move into a job which is rewarding, challenging, and ultimately, one that I enjoy. I am looking forward to a placement which will enhance my dissertation and provide a platform within the context of environmental policy, the circular economy, and social policy.