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Hear from our Graduates


Peter Bothwell

Class of 2020, currently a PhD student at University of St Andrews

Coming from a background in International Relations, the MSc in Comparative Social Change provided me with a much broader understanding of the social sciences as a whole. Alongside this, the in-depth methodological teaching helped me grow as a researcher, covering both quantitative and qualitative methods. A unique benefit of the course was its collaboration between TCD and UCD. This not only broadened the expertise that I was receiving, but allowed me to choose from many modules and gain access to the amenities of both institutions. This also created a close atmosphere among those in the course, who were crucial both in terms of support and expertise, and who came from twelve different countries. The professors provided expertise and support across a wide range of topics making it easy to find a supervisor who suits your topic and needs. The MSc prepared me for pursuing a PhD at St Andrews University, which I could not have done without. I highly recommend this course to anyone pursuing postgraduate study as it will provide you with a comprehensive and prestigious education no matter your future path.

John Åndahl

Class of 2020, currently a DPhil student in Anthropology at Oxford University

Studying for a MSc in Comparative Social Change at TCD and UCD was a vastly enriching experience for me. Coming from a closely related but not identical background, having a whole year of reading sociology with access to two great departments allowed me to broaden my understanding of the social sciences. Particularly, the access to Trinity’s unique campus and UCD’s modern facilities was greatly helpful and quite the privilege. I enjoyed the inputs and friendship from a diverse group of classmates and the knowledge and inclusiveness of leading sociologists from the two institutions. As a student aiming for an academic career, I was encouraged to explore topics ranging from nationalism studies to the sociology of education, and was able to draw on sources both from our classes and my personal interests to develop my arguments – particularly the chance to do first-hand research during my dissertation was an experience I enjoyed. Furthermore, studying social change in fast-changing contemporary Ireland and Dublin constitutes an ideal environment for any student. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Trinity and UCD, and I would recommend it to any social science student.

Meghna Dutta

Class of 2020, currently a PhD student at Wayne State University Detroit

As an international student from India, my transition to Dublin and Ireland was quite smooth. Having enrolled into the MSc Comparative Social Change offered by Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin, I got the best of both the top-ranked universities in the country. The course was a fascinating one that covered a whole range of topics from education, gender, migration and globalization and did a whole lot of comparison between different countries including India, China, Brazil and Ireland. The class consisted of students from all over the world which really helped us understand the issues better through the discussion of personal point of views. The professors were really helpful. Upon graduation from the MSc, I decided to continue my thesis topic and applied to Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan where I have now started a PhD in Sociology. My MSc dissertation supervisor and the Course Director helped me immensely throughout this process and I am very grateful to have received this guidance as an international student.

Sophia Gonsalves-Brown

Class of 2019, currently Researcher at Campaign Legal Center Washington DC

I came to the MSc Comparative Social Change programme from a political science background, with an intended career in public policy. As an American student, I was excited about the opportunity to study social systems from an international perspective. I found that I was able to deepen my understanding of the challenges (and opportunities) within US domestic policy through the comparative study of government programs. To that end, the international make-up of the programme is invaluable. The wealth of experiences and viewpoints among my cohorts were among my best educational resources. The dual nature of the Comparative Social Change programme is as unique as it is beneficial, as I had access to double the elective module opportunities, advising professors, and academic and social resources. Now, as a researcher for a US government watchdog group, I am particularly grateful for the programme’s strong foundation in both quantitative and qualitative research. My year in Dublin is one I will always look back upon fondly.

Carla Lips

Class of 2019, currently a PhD student at the Université Catholique de Louvain

From the beginning of my studies, I had always been eager to study abroad. Coming from Belgium, I wanted to experience the Anglo-Saxon education structure as well as the Irish culture. Taking part in the MSc Comparative Social Change was an amazing opportunity and experience. As the program is jointly organised by both Trinity and UCD, it provides the students with full access to both universities. Not only does it give you access to the facilities of both universities, including the libraries which are amazing places to study, but it allows you to meet a very broad and remarkable team of professors, which all have their own specificities. They went to great lengths to provide us with interesting, challenging and inspiring lectures, being at the same time very helpful and approachable. I also met incredible people during that year as it gathers students from around the world, which further enriched the discussions and debates we had. Experiencing the old and beautiful campus of Trinity and the huge and modern UCD campus, surrounded by enthusiastic and captivating teachers and students is a journey that I would highly recommend to any student interested in broadening its horizons and in engaging with the sociological aspects of our current society.

Adrien Sautereau

Class of 2019

I loved this course due to the variety of teachers and lessons that were available. Moreover, the group's diversity enhanced my experience and truly made my studying and living experience in Dublin unique and pleasant. The programme allowed me to produce quality papers that I could use for my professional goals. I also received a lot of support from the staff during my time there and thanks to the general atmosphere, I was able to make meaningful connections. This programme helped me to improve and gain new skills in my main fields of expertise by giving me new tools to produce studies and analyses. The academic staff were, from my experience, great. They were accessible, helpful and created great content for their students. It was great to be able to study both at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and University College Dublin (UCD) allowing us to be taught by various and diverse professors. Moreover, knowing that the degree parchment is given by these two institutions is a major plus.

Jeffery Niu

Class of 2019, currently a PhD student in the School of Sociology, UCD

I feel extraordinarily lucky to have gone through the MSc in Comparative Social Change. As so many other students in my class, I was relatively unfamiliar with sociology when I entered the MSc programme as a freshman, but fell in love with the discipline after my very first sociology class. I learned so much about the world, culture, and even myself. During my one-year study, the sociology departments at TCD and UCD offered me constant guidance and support, and the faculty were willing to discuss my budding research interests. I am deeply thankful to the sociology faculty in both campuses for encouraging me to develop my theoretical and research skills and for their relentless support of my intellectual development. The MSc in Comparative Social Change not only provides me with great knowledge but interest and passion for the field of sociology. It was worth all the time, effort and money.

William Foley

Class of 2018, currently a PhD student at the European University Institute

Without the MSc in Comparative Social Change I would never have got into the PhD programme at the European University Institute. I first developed the idea for my doctoral thesis through seminar materials and discussions with lecturers and classmates. When I decided I wanted to apply, many of the lecturers in the Sociology department devoted significant amounts of time to helping me prepare. They wrote reference letters, met with me to discuss in detail methodological and conceptual aspects of my submission, read over documents, and held interview prep sessions to help me practice for the face-to-face meetings with the admissions board. I remain extremely grateful for the time and effort that the departmental staff invested in my development, and I will also remember with fondness the many interesting people I met on the masters and the interesting conversations I had with them.

Darragh Miller

Class of 2018

The MSc in Comparative Social Change really succeeded in offering me, firstly, a deeper understanding of sociological research, and secondly, provided me with the essential critical skills to analyse the various broad social forces operating in global society. The layout of the programme, across two universities, allowed for a rich learning environment, with access to many libraries and work spaces for self-study and learning, and gave me a chance to get to know the professors and lecturers from Ireland's best universities whom are studying diversely across the field of sociology. When choosing a supervisor for my thesis in the second semester - I felt that I was very well placed to make that decision, primarily because the programme provided many chances to meet those professors and learn about their expertise, but also by providing some great social events and evenings for all of the students, so mixing with staff and fellow academics felt natural. The students in the programme were great! We came from all sorts of backgrounds and nationalities so discussion in class was always enriched by different perspectives. I'd recommend the programme for anyone considering working for international NGOs, public sector, as a social researcher, and even if you want to stay within the world of academia. 

Monika Pedroso

Class of 2017, currently a PhD student in the School of Sociology, UCD

When I first came to find this MSc in Comparative Social Change I felt like my search for a postgraduate programme, which lasted almost four years, had finally come to an end. Its comparative approach provides a better understanding of the current international scenario, going beyond European affairs and addressing the dynamics of emergent countries such as Brazil, India and China through the lenses of a contemporary globalisation. Discussions involved ongoing, at times provoking themes such as migration processes and their social and educational implications, the emergence of the neoliberal economy and its political, financial and social repercussions, ethnicity, race and patterns of social exclusion/stratification, among many other relevant themes. Discussions were further enriched by having colleagues from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds as well as by having a remarkable team of professors and staff who were at all times very approachable and tried their best to inspire, support and challenge all of us. Furthermore, it was a very interesting experience to be part of a course offered jointly by TCD and UCD as I had the opportunity to meet professionals and to enjoy the structure and facilities of two of the leading educational institutions in Ireland. I would highly recommend this program not only for those who are already pursuing careers in Sociology but also for those who want to have a broader and clearer view of our current society.

Mayel Hadi

Class of 2017

Obtaining my masters in social work from India made me aware about the society and its problems but I still had limited understanding and knowledge about it from a global perspective. My enrolment in the MSc course was motivated by my constant questioning of how other countries in the world deal with the same issues. The topics this course offered seemed like a way to get the answers. The modules gave me theoretical as well as practical insights happening in different systems and countries across the globe. The comparative aspect of the course helped in analyzing the differences between two systems but also simultaneously making me look at things from a developing nation’s perspective. Coming from a different culture and education structure I was a bit uncertain and nervous about the class but the support from all the professors and classmates made me comfortable. Class was diverse and engaging in discussions helped me develop myself on a personal and professional level. The course engagement with diverse issues made me aware about how each issue is inter-related and different at the same time. Even in terms of assignments and essays, the professors were very open about the topic selection. I highly recommend this course for people aspiring to be in academia or the development sector.

Courtney Marsh

Class of 2017, currently a PhD student in the School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity

Being part of the first class of the MSc Comparative Social Change program has been an incredibly unique experience. The ten of us were given the opportunity to give feedback at every turn to ensure that this program continues to be a success for many years into the future. The program being shared between Trinity and UCD allowed us to take advantage of what each university had to offer and learn from teachers in the two top universities in Ireland. The comparative element in the course is in large part why I chose the program; the international focus makes for a dynamic course curriculum that creates informed, well-rounded graduates who have the ability to enter a multitude of career paths anywhere in the world. The emphasis on research in the program has helped me grow as an academic, and the life skills I have gained throughout the year have made me grow as a person. I am going on to do my PhD in the School of Social Work and Social Policy continuing my research into the An Garda Síochána, and this opportunity is due in large part to the experiences and connections I made during this program.

Phil J. Ryan

Class of 2017,currently Business Manager at Ryan Immigration, Dublin

I choose the course for its cutting-edge focus and bi-location as a joint programme. I wanted to develop my fundamental research skills in a taught setting and while I was broadly interested in the study of social change my main interest is migration due to my experience running an immigration consultancy. Annually I am directly involved with the consultation of several hundred migrants. This requires an understanding of the administrative structures of several government departments and how they apply policy, understandings that have been enriched through insights from the course. The collaboration between the universities is the MSc’s unique selling point. You get two sets of academic staff for the price of one. All the lectures are experts in their field and there was a great selection of modules. The timetable is separated out into half of the week in Trinity and half in UCD so there are never overlaps. My original research was expertly supervised through the dissertation, and I have been able to present this work at several conferences. Through the course the quality of my professional work has been increasingly recognised and I have had options opening to me I could not have imagined before the programme.

Niall Foster

Class of 2017

I began this MSc with little or no experience in Sociology or its methods of research. Having studied Ireland and its relationship with the world through History at Trinity College, I took a specific interest in Irish society and its relationship with the world more generally. Having attended the Trinity Postgraduate Open Day, I was impressed with the direction of this course, the dual relationship between both UCD and Trinity, and the knowledge and experience I would gain in some of the most important social issues today. The course offers great choice between both Universities in terms of the different modules available, as well dissertation supervision support. The choice of supervisor from a selection of experts across two schools is certainly advantageous. The course has broadened my understanding of current social change through economic, political, and social observations in the variety of modules available. The modules in sociological theory and research methods also provide the less experienced sociologist with a better understanding of the subject, and the empirical nature of its research. The research skills, practical knowledge of the social consequences of change, and connections with a great mixture of international students has been both enjoyable and beneficial to my ambitions of being directly involved in policies which influence positive social change in the future.

Maren Miller

Class of 2017

As a new programme, the Comparative Social Change MSc provides an opportunity that I did not find offered in any other institution. As the first cohort to complete this programme, we had a variety of students from all over the world, which offered unique views and perspectives in every class. Our classes gave us the chance to delve in to theory as well as real-world issues, and discuss them with both our classmates and esteemed professors. The benefit of having classes through two of the top universities in Ireland is having access to excellent professors who invested in their lectures, as well as access to two academic libraries! Each university brings something different to the programme, and enriches it in a way I do not believe a programme at only one university could. My network has grown as a result of having access to two academic departments, and there is no end to the support we receive from our professors. I chose this MSc for the opportunities it provided as a brand-new programme and a truly international one at that!