Department of Political Science


Farwa Ghazanavi

Meet Farwa, a current International Public Policy Student, and find out more about her journey at UCL.


Farwa Ghazanavi IPP Student

Hello, my name is Farwa Ghazanavi and I am a current International Public Policy student and this is my experience!

Why did you apply to Political Science Department, UCL?
Building on my undergraduate degree in law, my subsequent experience within the civil service fuelled a growing passion for public policy. Working in this dynamic environment exposed me to the real-world implications of policies on society. This experience solidified my commitment to understanding and influencing these dynamics, leading me to pursue further studies in International Public Policy at UCL. I am eager to leverage my past experiences to contribute meaningfully to the ongoing discourse and development of effective policies that address pressing societal issues.

What were your first impressions of the department?
Upon receiving the offer, attending the offer holders' event provided invaluable insights into the Political Science Department, the course, and UCL as a whole. This event was instrumental in facilitating a seamless transition back into university life after a year away from studying. The support extended throughout, including the fantastic introductory week, ensured that I was well-informed about all aspects of the department and university, contributing significantly to a positive start to my academic journey at UCL.

What is the rest of your cohort like?
My cohort is incredibly diverse, representing various parts of the world. This diversity enriches our learning experience through dynamic exchanges of perspectives. Interacting with classmates from different backgrounds adds a valuable dimension to our study of international public policy, fostering a vibrant and inclusive environment that enhances our overall educational journey.

What is the teaching and learning like?
The teaching and learning experience at UCL's Political Science Department is exceptional. The professors bring not only extensive knowledge but also a genuine passion for their subjects, enhancing the overall learning environment. Seminars, with their small size of around 10 people, provide an engaging platform for active participation and in-depth discussions. This setup is particularly valuable in the context of the international cohort, allowing for diverse perspectives that greatly enrich the study of International Public Policy. The collaborative atmosphere in seminars fosters an environment where ideas can be shared, expanded, and thoroughly explored.

What do you like best about your course so far?
What I enjoy most about my course is the immersive experience of studying and expanding my knowledge. Beyond the academic aspects, the department of politics organises insightful events, like the Alastair Campbell talk about his new book, discussions with past civil servants, and engaging talks led by renowned academics. These events provide a unique opportunity to delve into global issues, offering a well-rounded perspective that extends beyond the classroom, enriching my overall learning journey.

What advice would you give to overseas students wanting to study in the UK?
I would advise overseas students to actively embrace numerous opportunities offered during their studies, as it allows for a diverse and enriching educational experience. Engaging in these opportunities will not only enhance academic knowledge but also foster personal and professional growth, contributing significantly to your overall learning journey at UCL.

Would you recommend your programme to prospective students and why?
I highly recommend UCL's International Public Policy program to prospective students. A distinctive feature is its international perspective, reflecting the interconnected nature of global policy challenges. The diverse range of modules allows you to tailor your studies to align with individual interests and future goals while embracing an international outlook. This adaptability not only enriches the learning experience but also opens doors to various career paths. The variety of modules empowers students to explore different facets of public policy, making IPP at UCL an excellent choice for those seeking a program tailored to their unique interests and aspirations.

What are your career aspirations and how do you envisage your master’s helping with these?
My career aspiration is to enhance my role within the British Civil Service by deepening my knowledge in public policy. I aim to cultivate a more international understanding of public policy dynamics, exploring their alignment on a global scale and understanding how these intricacies impact national public policy. Pursuing this master's program will enable me to tailor my studies, developing skills for comparative analysis, and contributing significantly to both my professional growth and the civil service.

What is your greatest achievement to date?
My greatest achievement thus far has been the opportunity to receive valuable feedback on an Aral Sea policy paper. Achieving one of the highest grades in the Aral Sea paper competition within the IPP main module allowed me to present my work to a United Nations Partnerships Officer, gaining invaluable insights. This practical engagement not only enriched my understanding but also emphasised the real-world impact of International Public Policy. Additionally, this experience taught me essential policy writing skills and highlighted the feasibility and interconnected nature of policies, offering crucial insights for a career in public policy.

Was there anything you wish you knew about the application process?
The application process was clear, and the UCL team quickly addressed any questions about the university, application process, or course. The process was remarkably smooth, with transparent communication and regular updates via email and the application portal. In hindsight, having known the efficiency of the application process would have prompted me to apply much earlier and with greater confidence.

Where is your favourite study place on campus?
My favourite study place is the Student Centre which is located in the middle of campus. It offers a versatile environment catering to various study needs. Whether you prefer a quieter setting in the quiet study rooms, collaborative group work in the group study areas, or access to computers and printers, the Student Centre provides a convenient and accommodating space for all study sessions. 

if you could implement one for policy in the world today, what would it be?
In the context of the growing "blood" diamond trade, implementing a stringent and transparent regulatory framework for diamond mining becomes imperative. The policy will place much stricter rules on the importation and exportation of diamonds, aiming to stem the flow of conflict diamonds in the global market. This regulatory approach is crucial in addressing the alarming rise in the illicit trade of diamonds that funds armed conflicts and contributes to human rights abuses, particularly in regions like the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The policy's focus on responsible sourcing is vital in breaking the link between diamond trade and conflicts, fostering ethical and sustainable practices while safeguarding the rights of vulnerable individuals in the industry.