Livia Watts

International Security MA

Livia is a Postgraduate student on our International Security MA course.

I knew that I wanted to specialise my knowledge in this particular area and continuing my studies as a postgraduate was the best way to do this.

Studying for a Masters degree

You are expected to take responsibility for your own learning and work independently a lot more than you would as an undergraduate. Even though this can feel daunting at first, you will find that you adjust to this type of learning quickly! I have also found that there is a lot more to read and prepare before lectures as a postgraduate student, but this is really beneficial because you can engage with lecture material better and contribute to discussions more.

On a ‘typical day’, you would usually find yourself attending lectures either virtually or in-person. Outside of this, you will most likely be reading and preparing for these contact hours or working on coursework. My biggest tip would be to be as productive as you can in the daytime, so that in the evening you can unwind and step away from your work, socialise, and have fun! As for a typical week, you are likely to have a couple of days with no contact hours. Days like this can be good to work shifts if you have a job for some extra income. They are also good to get out and go on a walk or find somewhere new and refreshing to get some work done and change your environment.

All of the lecturers that teach on my Masters have been so helpful and amazing to learn from. Whenever I have needed help with a piece of coursework or have not understood something in a lecture, they are always happy to offer assistance via email or a virtual meeting. Help has never felt too far away, which is really reassuring because studying a postgraduate degree can feel challenging sometimes.

After completing modules on terrorism, war, and militarism in the final year of my Undergraduate studies, I became really interested in the dimensions of international security. I knew that I wanted to specialise my knowledge in this particular area and continuing my studies as a postgraduate was the best way to do this.

I found researching and creating a policy brief on the impact of anti-personnel landmines on human security really interesting. Landmines cannot distinguish between civilian and combatant targets. Due to this, civilians, deminers, and aid workers are all disproportionately killed and injured by landmines. Bans and restrictions on their use in war is an international policy concern!

Extracurricular opportunities

This year I managed to gain employment as a Student Ambassador. This is a really flexible and enjoyable role to have alongside my degree that allows me to put my knowledge of Loughborough to good use.

I have also taken advantage of the volunteering opportunities that Loughborough offers. I currently sit on the Democracy and Representation Committee within the Students’ Union, where I have gained practical experience in policy and governance alongside my degree. I am also the Chair of the Elections committee, where I help ensure the democratic running of campus-wide elections. Voluntary positions like this have been a great way for me to meet new people, expand my skills and make myself more employable!


Life after graduation

I hope that specialising in Security will allow me to gain employment in policymaking and defence in the public or private sector. I am also really interested in peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction and would be interested in working abroad for an NGO in the international development sector in the future.