Emma Rachel Hyde

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I grew up in York where I completed my A-Levels in Sociology, English Literature, Business Studies and Graphic Design. I came to Leeds in 2013 to study joint honours English Literature and Sociology and completed an industry year teaching placement. I am now studying the MSc Inequalities and Social Science programme.

What motivated you to apply for your course at Leeds?

Before my A-Levels, I hadn’t given a great deal of thought as to where I would go to University and following a Leeds undergraduate open day I was instantly drawn in by the lively feel of the campus. After a hugely enjoyable three years studying at undergraduate level, Leeds was always my first choice for postgraduate study. After studying joint honours in the School of Sociology and Social Policy I was eager to begin specialising in the social sciences. 

What is it that makes you passionate about your area of study?

The social sciences have enabled me to think critically about the taken for granted norms and interactions that make up our social world. I chose the course from a desire to interrogate and address the rising inequalities that are so commonplace in today’s society. Social science has an important role to play in tackling such inequalities, and it is this that motivated me to pursue postgraduate study.

What do you think of your course so far?

I’ve really enjoyed studying the MSc Inequalities and Social Science programme this year. Its interdisciplinary structure has allowed me to take modules on disability and human rights within the School of Law which was a great opportunity to learn new ways of thinking. The programme’s core module also provided a really insightful introduction to the core concepts of the course through exploring not only the causes of inequality but the consequences and interventions. I’ve particularly enjoyed progressing through my dissertation which will explore social perspectives of Syrian refugee mental health.

What would you say about the learning facilities?

There’s plenty of study spaces around the University including some areas specifically for postgraduate students. The library also organises loads of skills workshops which can be useful for things such as referencing and essay style. Teaching in the school often refers to current research which is a great way to apply knowledge to real-life examples.

How do you find the student support in the School?

Student support in the school is fantastic and the support staff are always friendly and happy to help. The school’s support officer holds drop-in sessions and often sends out useful resources related to student wellbeing.

Have you been involved in any extra-curricular activities?

There are loads of extra-curricular activities available for students across campus. There’s definitely a society for everyone and the school has its own society that arranges regular social events and an annual Christmas ball.

What would you say about Leeds as a city?

Growing up not far from Leeds I’ve always found it to be a really vibrant and exciting city with something for everyone. There’s plenty of museums, music venues, bars and great places to eat. Plus, the countryside is only a bus ride away and I sometimes enjoy travelling out to Otley or Ilkley at the weekends.

What would you say to anyone thinking of applying to your course?

The advice I would give to anyone thinking of applying to my programme would be to have a really thorough read through the course content and modules to make sure the course is right for you. I would also advise anyone from an arts-based background not to be too daunted by the idea of studying an MSc. Being from a predominantly English lit background this was something that worried me, however, I’m now happy that I’ve challenged myself to learn something new. There’s also plenty of opportunities to study non-scientific topics such as media or human rights.

What do you plan to do once you’ve finished your course?

Once I finish the course I am hoping to work for a year whilst I apply for a PhD and I aspire to pursue a career in academic research within the social sciences. My particular area of interest is in social perspectives of mental health and mental health in conflict and post-conflict settings. I would really love to study a PhD in these areas.

Any other comment you would like to make?

Overall, I’ve loved being a student at Leeds and can wholeheartedly recommend the University and the School of Sociology & Social Policy to anyone thinking of studying here.