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Why Choose Queen’s

Why Queen’s for Postgraduate Study - Isabella Barros De La Rosa, MA Violence, Terrorism & Security

"I felt that a master’s degree would not only complement and deepen the knowledge I had gained during undergrad, but it would also allow me to improve my research capabilities."

Isabella at the top of Cave Hill

What do you think are the benefits of a postgraduate degree?

I feel that its importance lies in the fact that it allows you to specialise in a specific area of your interest, it allows you to deepen your knowledge about a certain area, which professionally leads to new and better job opportunities and, generally, to a higher salary.

At the same time, it may seem counterintuitive to pursue a graduate degree for a better salary in a world where employers don't want to invest as much in the salaries of overqualified people. However, I find it very valuable to keep up to date in our areas of expertise, and to know and expand the contact networks of the people who work in these areas.

Find out more about Isabella's course!

Why did you decide to pursue PG study?

There were several reasons why I decided to do a postgraduate degree. On the one hand, I always wanted to continue studying after finishing my undergraduate degree and specialising in the area that is of my greatest interest, which is issues related to armed conflict. So, more than a need to add value to my resume in academic experience, studying and learning more about the topics I like, it’s of great value to me personally.

Student writing in notebook with a mug an laptop in front of them

Working hard in my accommodation's study area

On the other hand, I felt that a master’s degree would not only complement and deepen the knowledge I had gained during undergrad, but would also allow me to improve my research capabilities and at the same time expand and facilitate the construction of a valuable professional network with experts, professionals, and colleagues who can be crucial resources in my career.

Among other reasons, a postgraduate degree can mean access to better job options not only in the tasks assigned by employers but also in remuneration.

What made Queen’s stand out from other universities during your initial research?

One of the things that stood out to me the most about Queen’s was its admissions process. I found the Queen's admissions process to be very flexible in a good way because it gives you the ability to receive conditional or unconditional offers to be admitted.

Hear more about PG study from a recent open day

In my case, for example, being an international student, whose mother tongue is not English, I had to take an international exam that certified my proficiency in this language, however, Queen’s allowed me to start my application process without necessarily presenting this certificate and receive a conditional offer to be accepted that only asked me to take the English exam.  And this way I didn't have to take and pay for the English exam (which is quite expensive), not knowing if I was going to be accepted or not.

In addition, Queen’s is part of the Russell Group, which means that it is a university of high academic recognition and research excellence. Respectively about my programme, I must say that the content offered seemed quite complete and accurate, I was also able to review who my professors were going to be and realise that the approach was quite interdisciplinary, which I found positive.

Why did you ultimately decide to move to Belfast and study at Queen’s?

One of the most appealing things about Belfast is how student-friendly city it is. It seems to me that it is an affordable city for the expenses incurred by students, and it is also a city that allows you to focus on your studies. Don't get me wrong, Belfast is fantastic and you can always have fun in every way and there's so much to do; yet at the same time, since it is a small city, it doesn't have the distractions that bigger cities like London would usually have, so it's very easy to focus on studying.

Check out Kathryn's student guide to Belfast!

Regarding Queen’s, I would highlight its membership of the Russell Group, and the content of the Violence, Terrorism and Security programme. It is worth adding that Northern Ireland offers the perfect context to specialise in this type of study due to its experience in peacebuilding.

How has the Queen’s Graduate School supported your postgraduate journey?

In many aspects, mainly when it comes to academic writing programmes in English. As an international student whose first language is not English, I found it intimidating to enter this English language academic institution.

However, finding this programme at the Graduate School has made it easier for me to complete my assignments and has given me the confidence to trust in my skills with this language, making it less difficult for me to participate during classes and communicate with my professors and classmates.

International students in the Graduate School

Keep an eye out on upcoming events here

I would also highlight the diversity of events they do, because it allows people to expand their networks, which is very important during the postgraduate programme.

How will your course at Queen’s help with your future career aspirations?

I find the content of the courses to be quite complete and up-to-date. I feel that they help in many ways to understand current social issues and cultivate students' critical thinking so that they can contribute their own perspectives on issues related to conflict, terrorism, violence, and security.

Course webinar on the MA in Violence, Terrorism and Security

In this way, the course offers excellent preparation in topics of analysis and methodologies of conflict management and prevention, allowing the student to decide whether to practice in more academic and research fields, or being practitioners and work with governments or state agencies.

What skills are you developing through your course?

I feel that in addition to the analytical and critical thinking skills that the course focuses on, I can highlight other more general skills that it has allowed me to develop. On one hand, Queen’s teaching methodology encourages independent work a lot, so its courses have allowed me to find organisational strategies that serve me to perform at my academic task and at the same time respond to my other obligations.

Student at the Dark Hedges

Isa visiting the Dark Hedges

Likewise, I feel that among other skills that the faculty encourages, is to expand the networks of connections, so I have been able to improve my strategies of sociability and it has helped me in how to approach to other people.

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The School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics

MA Violence, Terrorism and Security

Information for students from Colombia

Isabella Barros De La Rosa

Violence, Terrorism and Security | Postgraduate Student | Colombia

Hello, my name is Isabella Barros, I am 24 years old and I am from a beautiful city on the Caribbean coast of Colombia called Barranquilla. I am currently pursuing my master's in Violence, Terrorism and Security at Queen’s.

I am very into running and outdoor activities. That's why Belfast is so amazing to live in, because of the landscapes, and the spaces for this kind of hobby.

Besides running and studying, you can find me in any bookstore, wandering around the city, or enjoying a pleasant coffee in a cute cafe!

Isabella Barros De La Rosa