The master’s programmes that make you more employable

Committing to a master’s degree could feel like delaying the start of your career. That’s not the case at Linköping University (LiU), where the rigorous master’s programmes are designed to prepare students for life after graduation.

The master’s programmes that make you more employable
Photo: Linköping University

It’s been just three years since Natacha Klein graduated from LiU’s MSc in Science for Sustainable Development but in that time she’s achieved a lot.

Since 2015, the sustainability scientist has completed internships at the UN Environment Program, Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and the International Union for Conservation of Nature. 

Natacha believes it was her master’s degree from LiU, which is ranked among the world’s top 30 young universities, that opened doors to these prestigious global organisations.

“My background in multi-disciplinary sustainable development helped me get these opportunities. During the internship at the Ramsar Convention I wrote a publication and all of the research skills, like writing a report and collecting data, I had already done during my MA so it helped me land the job at the IUCN.”

Find out more about master’s studies at Linköping University

Photo: Natacha Klein

The two-year MSc in Science for Sustainable Development is tailored to prepare students for a career in the sustainability and environmental field. Even the structure of the programme, with its distinct lack of exams, mirrors working life as opposed to the typical academic setup.

“We had no exams, only reports or presentations. I think that was very good,” recalls Natacha. “My BA was only exams, learning by heart then forgetting everything straight after the exam. At LiU, you focus on writing something and critically thinking about a subject or problematic research topic.”

Natacha also appreciated being part of a small cohort that worked closely to solve real-world problems. Teaming up to tackle a broad range of topics from climate change and sustainability issues to resource and water management gave her a taste of life in a fast-paced research environment. 

“It was good that it was a small programme because we could work together more in-depth. You only have one course at a time. So you just focus on one topic for five weeks, do the coursework then move on.”

For Natacha, one of the most valuable aspects of the course was the opportunity to take a five-week internship before graduation. It gave her an insight into how her learnings could be applied in a commercial setting, expanding her overall understanding of the field and helping her to get more varied experience.

“A member of my family works at Ikea so I did a 5-week internship in the sustainability department. That was hugely useful for me to see how sustainability worked in a company like that.”

Natacha has now moved onto start a PhD on circular economy at Universidade Nova de Lisboa but still credits LiU with laying the groundwork for her future academic career.

“I’ve just started my PhD and I feel like all the proper academic areas and writing in a scientific way I practised a lot during my master’s.”

Multi-disciplinary master’s programmes

Much like the MSc in Science for Sustainable Development, LiU’s new MSc Computational Social Science programme is a multi-disciplinary master’s degree. Blending computer science, statistics and the social sciences, the programme teaches students to address socio-cultural questions using statistical and computational methods.

“It’s about trying to get students to become not just quantitative social science researchers but getting them to learn how to deal with large and complex data sets and answer very specific social science research questions,” Dr. Jarvis tells The Local.

Dr. Jarvis. Photo: Thor Balkhed, Linköping University

He explains that the field, while young, is becoming increasingly relevant for all sectors as they recognise the potential of ‘big data’. The new programme, therefore, is a career springboard for number-crunching techies with an interest in the social sciences…or vice versa. 

Find out more about master’s studies at Linköping University

“Social research is happening all the time; there are big companies doing social research but also governments who are trying to figure out what policies will best serve their constituents. There’s also huge academic interest in this stuff. And so wherever the students we get want to go, we are offering them something that they can take to any sector in the economy.”

He adds that, while the university trains the students to come up with good research questions, it’s up to the students to decide which sub-discipline to do their research in. It gives them more scope to tailor their own education and make them more employable following graduation.

“At the moment we have people doing all sorts of things from studying management and organisations to people looking into discourse online or how users on Spotify influence each other’s musical tastes.”

It’s still early days but Dr. Jarvis hopes that graduates of the programme will go on to make a positive contribution in whatever fields they enter. In the meantime, he says that he has high ambitions for them — the programme culminates with students submitting a piece of original social science research that, in some cases, he believes could make an impact outside the university.

“Most of our students should be able to do some kind of research that has either an impact in an academic sense, such as producing a published research paper, or they could have an impact in a private company or perhaps municipal government in terms of analysing data and coming up with a solution to a problem they have in those organisations.”

Choose a master’s degree at Linköping University and make an impact while you study. Click here to find out more about the master’s programmes offered at the university.

This article was produced by The Local Creative Studio and sponsored by Linköping University.

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Norway shuts all schools and universities to fight coronavirus pandemic

Norway is closing all schools, kindergartens, and universities to slow the spread of coronavirus, in what Prime Minister Erna Solberg has called "the most far-reaching measures we have ever had in peacetime in Norway". (Paywall free).

Norway shuts all schools and universities to fight coronavirus pandemic
The law department at Oslo University. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
“All the country's kindergartens, schools, primary schools, secondary schools, technical colleges and universities are to be closed,” Solberg confirmed at a press conference held at her cabinet office on Thursday, according to a report by state broadcaster NRK
The measures, laid out in detail on the website of Norway's Health Ministry, will apply from 6pm on Thursday and remain in force until March 26. 
They also include a provision requiring everyone who has arrived in Norway from anywhere apart from the Nordic countries since February 27 to enter into compulsory quarantine in their homes, whether or not they are displaying any symptoms. 
Solberg said that though difficult, the measures were necessary to slow the spread of coronavirus. 
“We are in a difficult time, both for Norway and for the world,” she said, according to the VG newspaper. “The drastic measures we are now taking are in the hope of stopping the virus. We are doing this in solidarity with the elderly, the chronically ill, and others who are particularly at risk of developing a serious illness. We must protect ourselves to protect others.” 
She warned employees faced with unexpected childcare demands not to call on elderly relatives for help. “We must remind you who we should most be looking out for. We should therefore not hand over childcare to grandparents who are in the risk category.” 
Erna Solberg delivered the address at her cabinet offices. Photo: Norwegian Government
Camilla Stoltenberg, Division Director at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, estimated at the briefing that between 22,000 and 30,000 people would be hospitalised as a result of infection, with up to 7,600 requiring intensive treatment.
The measures announced include: 
  • Closure of all schools, kindergartens and universities.
  • A provision requiring primary schools and kindergartens to stay partially open in order to look after the children of key personnel in healthcare, transport and other critical social functions.  
  • Cultural events, sports events, gyms and businesses offering hairdressing, skincare, massage, body care and tattooing are all banned. Swimming pools will be closed.
  • Buffet restaurants are banned. Other restaurants, bars and cafés must ensure guests are kept at least one metre from one another.
  • A requirement for everyone arriving in Norway from outside the Nordic to enter quarantine, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not. This is retroactive to 27 February.
  • Restrictions on visitors to all the country's health facilities and the introduction of access control.
  • People are asked not to visit institutions housing vulnerable groups (old people's home, psychiatric hospitals, prisons etc).
  • Healthcare professionals working with patients are banned from travelling abroad.
Shops will continue to be open as normal, and the Ministry of Health advised people to shop normally and not seek to  hoard food.
The transport system will continue operating as normal, but people are encouraged to avoid unnecessary travel. 
Shortly after the press conference, King Harald V of Norway issued a statement saying that the Royal House was suspending all official engagements until Easter. 

“Our country is in a serious situation that affects individuals and society as a whole. It is crucial that we all participate in the national effort to avoid exposing ourselves or others to infection,” the release read. 

“It is therefore important that we all follow recommendations and orders from the authorities. We must contribute what we can to prevent the spread of the virus, and I would especially like to thank health professionals all over the country who are doing their utmost to remedy the developments. We all hope that the situation will soon turn around.” 

This article will be updated as more information becomes available.