Wouter Berkhof is a student
"There is currently so much happening in socioeconomics and politics. Will China be the most important economy in the world 20 years from now? Will the United States undergo a permanent change under Trump? Will Europe remain as prosperous as it is today or will there be competition? These kinds of questions are the order of the day and they can only be answered properly if you know how the current situation came about. The Master's programme in History of Politics and Society lets you consider the present and the future, based on the past. The socioeconomic approach really contributes if you want to understand history and current issues. Also important: the Master's programme is put together very well. There is a lot of room for discussion, you get individual feedback and the lecturers are always there for you.
What also appeals to me in this Master's programme is that you have all the space you need within the various subjects to develop an international outlook. If you wish, you can even do your entire Master's programme in English. By doing comparative historical research – in which you compare two countries, for instance – you train yourself to take an international perspective. You always ask yourself while doing so: who wrote this source, when and in what context? The socioeconomic research group of the Faculty is a global leader in the field of expertise; many prominent historians have ties to Utrecht University. All in all, by choosing this Master's programme, a career in international relations is surely a possibility.
The Master's programme prepares you well for the job market. We are currently writing a policy plan for a subject, an important employment skill. And earlier this year, we were trained in job-market sessions in subjects such as networking and job applications. The internship in the second half of the Master's programme is of course the best preparation for practice you can have. You can arrange your own internship or apply for one of the internships set up by the degree programme through lecturers' connections. I will be doing my internship at Urban Labs, a research project of the City of Rotterdam and Erasmus University Rotterdam. My role is to investigate how we can learn from urban experiments from the past. What I want to do after that? Maybe first a teacher-training programme. And later, I can imagine myself going into politics!"
Julia Hulleman is a student
"The main reason I chose the Master’s programme History of Politics and Society was because of my interest in political and societal issues. By combining the two and looking at them from a historical perspective, you develop a wide range of tools that can be applied in all kinds of situations. This variety in skills is important to me, since I have a lot of interests and don’t exactly know yet what I would like to do later in life.
Another aspect of this programme in which this broad scope can be found is in the freedom you get in designing your own study programme. You choose a lot of the courses you take yourself, and since you have to write papers for (almost) all of them, there is a lot of freedom in picking your topics. It is interesting to see the diversity in topics my classmates chose. You really get the chance to delve into topics you find interesting and might not know a lot about.
Aside from the variety in skills and topics you encounter, the internship in the second semester was one of the main reasons I chose for History of Politics and Society. An internship is a great way to prepare yourself for a future career, and is in my opinion too often overlooked in other Master’s programmes. My internship was at BKB, a campaign bureau in Amsterdam that develops strategic plans for campaigns for societal issues, often commissioned by the Dutch government. An internship like this is a great way to start a professional network and to gain valuable work experience."
Jennifer Beckwith is Policy Advisor at the CBI
“I chose this Master’s programme because I wanted to continue with interdisciplinary study. I had done History and Politics at undergraduate level and wanted to further explore the sociological, historical, political and economic forces that shape our contemporary world. I really liked the programme’s focus on ‘institutions’ because I was interested in working in government or the public sector after studying. The careers of former students also appealed to me, as did the strength of Utrecht University in international league tables.
I like the choice offered by this programme to study either a theoretical or practical track. There is even greater flexibility within this, for example I wrote a theoretical length thesis within the practical track as I worked on a research placement at the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam. This enabled me to choose exactly the topic I wanted to research (labour coercion), and meet leading researchers and academics in the field. Being able to combine the theoretical and practical track gave me a breadth of study and the real-world experience of a research organisation which I doubt would have been possible at other Universities, certainly not in the UK.
In April I became a Policy Advisor at the CBI, the UK’s largest business membership organisation. It works closely with government to shape everything from education to energy policy. I work in the employment team and lead on inclusion policy, forming recommendations to improve diversity in employment and workplace progression. This involves responding to government reviews by convening businesses to gain practical insight on how policy changes will affect their organisations. It also involves showcasing businesses with good employment practices and sharing these with government and other businesses. Sometimes it involves interpreting legislation after government passes new employment regulation, and helping organisations to apply it in their business and understand the impact.”