Isobel Kemp, UK. Universitat de Barcelona.

Isobel Kemp, UK

I completed my BA in History of Art at University College London. However, while studying for my undergraduate degree I become involved in party organizations and student movements, which fostered in me a strong interest in politics and activism. Thus, after I had finished my studies I began to research further studies opportunities that would allow me to formalize and develop my knowledge of government and public policy.

I was drawn to the Master in Institutions and Political Economy due to its interdisciplinary nature, and inclusion of modules such as microeconomics and economic history, which have allowed me to develop my theoretical and practical understanding of markets and economic forces. While I was initially concerned that due to coming from a different academic background I might find these subjects more difficult, I have received all the necessary support from the professors and course coordinators. Before beginning the masters, I was required to undertake bridging courses in economics and mathematics, which ensured that I had a firm foundational knowledge before starting the program and since I have felt comfortable in all of our classes.

The multidisciplinary nature of the course also means that students have come from a variety of academic backgrounds. Combined with the truly international nature of the cohort, this has meant that our class discussions are always stimulating and dynamic. The small course size has also allowed us to create a community among the students and friendships that extend outside of class hours. 

Aside from the course itself, the opportunity to study in such a beautiful city as Barcelona has been an utter privilege. Its vibrant cultural scene and rich history mean that there has been a plethora of museums, galleries and events to keep me occupied during my study breaks.

David Cregg, Ireland-US. Universitat de Barcelona.

David Cregg, Ireland-US

I hold an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. Prior to matriculating at the Master in Institutions and Political Economy, I spent three years working in consumer credit analytics in the U.S. During the summer between the first and second years of the master, I will be interning with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Supervision Group, monitoring the economic stability of some of the largest financial institutions in the world.

I was initially drawn to the program because it provides a uniquely interdisciplinary curriculum through which to understand the ideas and institutions that sustain human societies. In addition to the program’s foundations in economic history, political science, and political economy, students can tailor the elective courses to their area of interest to build a stronger understanding in preparation for their dissertation.

The Master in Institutions and Political Economy is also a part of the University of Barcelona which has a strong reputation for social science research. As someone considering a profession in academia, the opportunity to get graduate-level research experience at an internationally recognized institution was an important factor in my decision to come to the UB. I’m now working as a Research Assistant on Topics in Public Economics with two faculty members in the Department of Economics.

Because of the program’s appealing interdisciplinarity and the university’s research reputation, the program has been able to attract a motivated cohort of students from across the globe which adds to the richness of discussion and diversity of thought in class. This diversity also spills out of the classroom and applies to the university’s host city as well. Barcelona is consistently cited as one of the world’s most international cities and offers lifestyle amenities that make it clear why so many people want to come here.

Alexander Rütjes, Germany. Universitat de Barcelona.

Alexander Rütjes, Germany

I hold a degree in International Management and alongside my studies I work as a research assistant at the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (HHU). The reason for switching from my business-based Bachelor to a master’s program like the the Master in Institutions and Political Economy is explained by my political engagement and interest in political and economic challenges. This program is the perfect degree to make such a switch, as it brings together graduates with different academic backgrounds.

The Master teaches you to combine Economics, Politics and the fundamentals of institutional change. The students are trained to understand global issues, develop their own perspectives, and conduct their own research. Studying at the University of Barcelona means studying at a prestigious institution which is well positioned in international rankings and is considered to be one of the best Universities in Spain and in southern Europe.

A unique advantage of studying here is the opportunity to live in an open-minded and cosmopolitan environment. Barcelona offers a once in a lifetime experience and it has been awarded several times as one of the most liveable student cities in Europe.