UCL European & International Social & Political Studies


Matthias Kerbusch (2004-2008)

Some points to take into account regarding your exciting experience as an ESPS student.

What makes ESPS special and its consequences

Soon after starting your ESPS degree, anyone will realise that they are not the 'average Joe' student, but a rather unique subspecies, the “interdisciplinary discoverer”.

Whereas in other degrees, the programme of study is quite straightforward; what is required of you is the ability to choose and excel in a wide range of subjects.

This is not only a fantastic opportunity to provide yourself with a widely differing set of skills and discover academic paths from economics to anthropology but also entails several pitfalls.

Therefore, several key points are of essential importance to the ESPS student:

1. Organise events and meetings as a group in the First Year.

The core module, Introduction to European History, Law, Politics and Philosophy, provides you with a perfect occasion.

This will help you to progress as a year group, form friendships and develop a good atmosphere within the course. The First Year flies by and in the Second Year, you will each follow your individual paths through the labyrinth of academics.

2. Use any help you find.

The ESPS staff, both academic and administrative, will help you in any possible way and many other students envy our programme for this.

Especially in the beginning, don’t be shy to ask for help. Furthermore, use the other year groups for information on the Year Abroad or questions regarding the organisation of your dissertation.

3. Consistent work

In order to fulfil your academic potential which you have demonstrated by gaining your admission, it is necessary to work consistently and with a certain focus. This is not to say that you should sit fifteen hours per day in your room over your books.

However, it is crucial to do the required reading to keep up with the workload. Furthermore, you need to develop good time management skills as work will pile up at certain points, especially with essays towards the end of term.

4. Year Abroad

Enjoy !!!!!!!!!! It will probably be a unique experience and the most important thing in your Year Abroad is that you take the maximum gain from it. Try to improve your language skills both inside and outside the classroom.

Make the most of it by mingling not only with other Erasmus students, but also with the locals. And finally, easier said than done, if you are taking the Dissertation option, don’t lose sight of it completely.

5. Dissertation

If you are taking the dissertation, no one will ever get tired of telling you how important it is. Whilst this is true, one should not forget that it only entails 1/8 of your final classification, so don’t neglect the rest of the work.

It is therefore sensible to have at least a rough draft ready by the time you return from your Year Abroad.

This is a very personal piece of work and you will develop a rather special relationship with it; normally it will be the first work you researched yourself.

However, it is still considered a piece of academic work, so try not to be too one-sided and opinionated, especially when you cannot back it up with academic references.

Finally, and this is probably the most important piece of advice, have fun and enjoy your time as an ESPS student, because these four years should be a memorable and pleasant experience for all of you.