UCL Department of Geography


Amil Mohanan, PhD

Amil says his studies gave him the valuable skills and experience needed for a career in teaching.

PhD student at the UCL Geography Department, Amil Mohanan

29 September 2022

“I initially chose to study at UCL for my Master’s degree because of its reputation, and recommendations from friends who had already studied here. I chose Globalisation specifically because it covered such a broad range of human geography and I decided to stay on and complete a PhD to further explore my interest in political geography.

Analytical thinking

“My PhD looked at the role of computer networks in the governance of the education system. My research used archival sources and participant observation conducted whilst working as a reading assistant at a secondary school in London. Some of my favourite moments include presenting at the RGS-IBG conference in my second year, helping to organise the Stadtkolloquium student conference and participating in some of the lively debates in the Department seminars. Completing the PhD was tough, but the process gave me a chance to meet some interesting people, exposed me to some wonderful ideas and allowed me to develop as a person.

“My degree also gave me a lot of confidence in my writing, particularly in writing analytically. It has also given me practical experience in planning a research project over a long period of time and taught me to motivate myself and persevere through difficult and challenging work.

Teaching experience

“I was given many opportunities to teach in the Department which allowed me to gain experience in teaching. To develop my practice further, I was also able to attend a course on teaching in higher education conducted by the Graduate School, which I found to be extremely valuable.

“The Geography Department in particular provides a lot of resources for its graduate students. There’s also a diverse group of staff and students, which creates an intellectually stimulating environment to work in. The staff at the Department are really friendly; many have given me advice or time for a quick chat about my work when I was stuck or needed motivation. There are also lots of events and talks that take place both within the Department and in the wider university that you can be involved in. Completing a PhD can be an isolating experience, but being involved in and helping in events such as the lunchtime seminars or the student-staff committees can help you feel more at home in the Department.”