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Department of Political Science

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Dylan Jones

PPE student

Why did you apply to the PPE Programme at The Department of Political Science?

Choosing to apply for PPE at UCL’s department of political science was an easy decision to make. During my time at sixth form, I found myself split between my love of the social sciences and my passion for more technical fields such as data science and coding. After begrudgingly deciding to isolate my love of data science from my university academic life I was more than pleased to hear about the Q-step programme available to all PPE students at UCL. This combined with UCL’s world renowned teaching quality and research opportunities made the choice easy.

What were you first impressions of the department?

My first impression of the department of political science was in October of 2020 where not only was I adjusting to university as a fresher (a daunting experience in any time) I was adjusting to distance learning as a result of COVID-19. The anxiety and confusion were quickly swept away by the calm and reassuring help of the Department which answered every concern I had. The patience, helpfulness and understanding of the professional service team at the department would continue to be a supporting pillar during my first year. As for the teaching staff you are getting exactly as advertised, even online I was provided with ample support and resources while hearing from experienced and renowned lecturers.

What is the rest of your cohort like? Have you met them?

During my first term our cohort mainly communicated through group chats and the brief interactions we had during seminars and tutorials through zoom. However, despite this the cohort continually came together to help and assure every member, whether that was by answering content-based questions or swaying the vote any time a classmate was up for election at their favourite society. Personally, PPE seems to attract some of the most intelligent, kind, and diverse people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. Even now as we’re once again able to meet in person I know I’m one quiet debate at the pub away from my next essay topic.

What are you looking forward to this year now that you will learn face to face?

As we return to face-to-face learning, I’m looking forward to walking by UCL’s main campus every day. Despite how glorious it is to wake up 5-minutes before your first lecture and needing to only stroll a few feet to my desk, there’s a certain satisfaction that comes from actively journeying onto Gower Street and seeing the main campus. It was easy to forget last year just how prestigious UCL is and now that I get to see it every day, it serves as a motivator for me as I continue with my studies.

What do you like best about your course?

My favourite thing about PPE is easily the seminars and tutorials that run alongside normal lecture materials and readings. As a first year it can sometimes be difficult to understand the breadth of some of the topics we handle and so having a dedicated space to hear classmates discuss or even argue about the finer points of the course material is both fun and incredibly helpful when essays come around.

What do you plan to do after graduating?

After graduating I would likely move on to a graduate degree or a graduate scheme within the civil service. Like most studying PPE I have a great interest in public policy, and I think it’s the prefect arena to put the skills I’m learning at PPE to use.

What advice would you give to prospective student wanting to apply to PPE?

If you have any interest in studying political or social sciences, there is no better way to do so than a PPE degree. It is my belief that Philosophy, Politics and Economics cannot be taught effectively without at least some reference to one-another, and this course not only provides a satisfying education in them individually but as the connected fields that they are.

What is your favourite spot-on campus?

The quad at UCL main remains a favourite of mine. Not only am I continually impressed by the architecture, but it really is a hub for everything and everyone at UCL, from society events to just the place you and your classmates agree to meet before a day out.

What is your greatest achievement to date?

I could mention small awards or competitions from secondary and sixth form but frankly my greatest achievement is getting myself here. I started my academic career in a rather underperforming and underfunded secondary school where most would struggle to get into the local college or even pass English or maths at GCSE. So, the hard work (and the little bit of luck) that has allowed me to study PPE here at UCL is a continual source of pride.

What is your favourite book?

I’m personally a big fan of dystopia so my favourite book would have to be Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. The book provides a look into the sinister and sometimes bemusing “world state”, the effect of its cruel eugenics-based class system, and a vicious set of social norms that guide its sedated population. All of which we get to see through the eyes of John, a “savage” who carries similar ideas to our own in the real world because of his isolation from much of society, his journey into the world state is crushing whilst at times humorous as both John and the people of the world state struggle to understand each other’s culture.