GSD Modules – Year 1 + 2
Now that it’s coming up to the time for offer-holders to make their decisions about where they would like to study, I thought it would be great to write a little about my first two years of GSD modules (I do a joint honours degree, so the other 60 CATS/credits are within Sociology). Whilst the content of the courses will no doubt have changed and developed, it’s worthwhile to know a little about what the courses might entail! I’ve just gotten back from my reading break visiting family, and was feeling quite reminiscent about first and second year back home as I returned to Canada. This is a very brief overview of what I think of them, but please ask any questions you might have below!
First year: 2016-2017
GD104 (15 CATS, Autumn) – Economic Principles of GSD
GD106 (15 CATS, Autumn) – Social Principles of GSD
We started the year as the first group of GSD students with 2 modules: economic principles (taught by Marta) and social principles (taught by Leon) [Note: to find out more about the lovely professors mentioned in this blog, please click here to learn about them!]. We didn’t know what to expect as the courses had not been taught before, but we had a pretty comprehensive term that covered a lot of basic principles used throughout the rest of the courses in the school! I’ve found myself reflecting on the principles whilst studying abroad, as lecture content from both classes has emerged in my classes in third year. I found the economics module very much more applied than theoretical – meaning that it was much easier for me to understand and apply the theories we were taught to real-world situations, rather than being faced with a lot of incomprehensible maths (which was my worry at first). I found many of the social principles concepts to be reflected in my partner degree of Sociology – which already I found in first year to be great to know that the content being taught was interdisciplinary and relevant to so much more than just academia.
GD105 (15 CATS, Spring) – Environmental Principles of GSD
GD107 (15 CATS, Spring) – GSD Mini-Project
Term 2 brought with it two new modules, one similar to first term, in that it helped us understand the principles behind what we’d be learning for the next few years, as well as demonstrating just how broad the concept of GSD is. Environmental Principles also brought with it a new professor, Alistair (once again, see the link above for more info!). This module definitely brought in a life science perspective, which was a refreshing change to the social science perspectives in first term, and in the other half of my degree. The mini-project focused on the HS2 rail line, and it’s impacts; we were split into groups with a variety of different subjects, and given the opportunity to design a research project and show our findings through a whole host of different mediums. My group chose to create a cartoon to document the communication issues between the different parties involved in the line; we ended up editing together a 12 minute video with a write up to explain our choices. It was great to be able to do something so practical and have control over what we were researching and doing; and the presentation at the end of the year to see the different projects was a lovely way to finish and celebrate the achievements of the groups.
Image of me over my reading break this semester, visiting family in Australia!
Second year: 2017-2018
Second year was a little different, as we were able to choose our core and optional modules for this year! We have the choice of one of two for our core modules – either GD204 or GD304. There are opportunities to take the other either as a full course (30 CATS) or short course (15 CATS), whilst the core module must be 30 CATS (autumn and spring). There was no research project this year, but instead I chose to take a philosophy module on ethics, which seemed relevant to GSD and gave a new outlook on some of the work.
GD204 (15 CATS, Autumn) – Security, Sovereignty, and Sustainability in the Global Food System
This was the module that I chose from GSD for my optional one in second year. I still really wanted to be able to experience the course content whilst not taking the full year worth of courses, so this seemed like a good compromise. I really enjoyed the variety of content within lectures and seminars, as well as the campaign design as an assessment. Leon led my seminar, and lecturers varied from guests across the university departments, to a round table from different organisations on campus (I even walked in to find my boss sat in my row one morning, as he was watching one of the staff members take part!). It was fascinating to learn more about food security and sustainability, and also take a more social science approach in places that I hadn’t thought about.
GD304 (30 CATS, Autumn and Spring) – Bodies, Health, and Sustainable Development
My choice for core module was the Bodies module taught by Stephanie. This was one of my first experiences of looking at health from a perspective that wasn’t purely biological, and really shaped my approach for future university degrees/jobs/internships. I’d picked several of my sociology modules in second year (a similar post no doubt coming soon!) based on taking this course, meaning that I developed a really strong base around these topics. I enjoyed being able to look at different aspects of ‘health’ and also go through a lot of different case studies. Being my first full year course, I was worried about how much I would enjoy it, but found the content so different throughout the two terms that there was nothing to stress over. The emphasis on seminars and guest lectures was something refreshing to the usual lecture-seminar format, and overall was a really enjoyable module.
PH212 (15 CATS, Spring) – Applied Ethics
Finally, I won’t speak too much on this module as this may not be for everyone, but taking a class outside of GSD/Sociology helped me focus my learning practices and realise that I’d adapted a lot to the teaching styles of the professors more than I thought. I ended up taking this class with one of my housemates studying PPE, and it was useful to have at least one person I knew there as going into an entirely new group of people was daunting at first. I enjoyed the content as it developed further on what I had learnt at A-Level in Philosophy, and was taught in a way that meant I wasn’t too worried about having not studied it for almost 2 years. If you get the option and find a module you really like – I would definitely advise that you try it out if it’s outside of the department! It isn’t a requirement, so don’t worry about it if not.
Hope you got a little insight into what the courses were like! Because of the changes year by year I don’t want to speak too much to the content or the assessments, but please ask any questions you have and I’ll do my best to answer them!
Edit: looks like I’d accidentally updated this without adding the second half of the blog! should all be fixed now