What is it like to be an MA student at Institute of Development Studies? A graduate of the 2011 cohort talks about why she moved from New Delhi to take the MA Science, Society and Development.

Shweta Srinivasan, was working for the Indo-Asian News Service, an International News Agency based in New Delhi, India, when she decided she needed to engage more fully with development issues and policy.After thorough research she realised the course that would most meet her needs was the MA Science, Society and Development with its focus on Sustainability and Development and she decided to move to England for a year of study. Here, she talks about the course:

Q: What was the best thing about the course?
A: IDS is the best of both worlds, a University experience and the dynamic work environment of a think tank and policy advisory body of repute. The other thing that stands out for me is the people I met, both personal friends and professional contacts.

Q: What do you feel you got out of the course?
A: The course gave me a very thorough understanding of existing debates in Science, Agriculture, Environment and Health Policy as well as a nuanced understanding of contexts in different countries. I’ve learned to deconstruct many of the predominant framings in development discourse and policy. I now have both relevant skills and a sound theoretical base gained from the international exposure and constant engagement with current research and upcoming issues.

Q: What do you feel was the most important issue you tackled on the course?
A: The course dealt with very fundamental issues linking the use of science, technology and modern “developments” in agriculture and health with the changing landscape of development. This was why I chose the course, the presentation and unpacking of underlying theory will remain etched in my mind for many years ahead.

Q: Which piece of work are you most proud of?
A: My dissertation. I was able to relate my prior experience as a journalist and documentary film maker and mesh it with theoretical concepts that I discovered along the year which weren’t necessarily a part of the entire course structure. My dissertation titled Water Grabs in India’s Mining Belts used concepts in political ecology and exclusion to unpack some inherent systemic problems in water management in Rajasthan. Without the flexibility of my course and guidance of my supervisor who is part of the KNOTS team  that hosts the SSD course, my learning would have been disconnected.

Q: What were the other students like?
A: It was an amazing mix from different countries, professional backgrounds and levels of experience. I now know people from literally across the globe in connected, if not the same, fields of work.

Q: What are you up to now you’ve graduated?
A: I have assisted on research projects at IDS as a research associate and consultant. I’m now trying to find a profile that fits my communications background with policy research.

Q: Do you think you’ll go on to further study now that you have an MA?
A: Maybe… after a few years of work.

Find out more about the MA Science, Society and Development or email [email protected]
Find out more about the KNOTS team (The STEPS Centre is located in the KNOTS Team at IDS)