This blog post contrasts my experiences of studying for my Sociology BSc in the early-mid 00s and my MA in the past 2 years at two different London universities.
- On my MA, personal experiences are paramount in a way they weren't during my BSc. People are encouraged to share their own experiences a lot. In my BSc, we focussed on texts, data and theories.
- There are many more international students, particularly from China. It has been interesting to learn from those confident to share their experiences and perspectives but many of them are very quiet so classes have a different vibe.
- There is limited focus on debate in my MA. My BSc seminars were frequently focussed on debate from different theoretical perspectives and there were lots of disagreements! The student discussion is ideologically narrow in my MA (liberal, CRT, decolonisation etc.)
- In my BSc we studied 'the classics' (aka dead white men); in my MA we are focussed on much more recent literature, and the authors are much more diverse.
- We do lots of 'activities' in MA seminars. My BSc was more traditional -- seminars rarely strayed from the format of 'read a difficult text and then discuss it'.
Overall, I preferred my BSc experience as it felt more intellectually stimulating and challenging. But perhaps best would be if we could mash the two up (e.g. diverse authors & students + pluralistic debate).