Choosing King's as the place to undertake my PhD was probably one of the most straightforward choices that I had to undertake in my life, for many reasons. As a starting point, it has a reputation as one of the finest places to undertake research not only in the UK, but internationally.
However, this does not stop there – I've only been here for 3 months, I can already see why it withholds such a fantastic reputation: the conditions for studying are ideal, the expertise within the Department and/or School are of the highest order, whether in terms of dynamism, knowledge or guidance. The library resources are not only wide-ranging but are kept within an ideal setting; the recurring high-profile events and speakers provide students with the opportunity to broaden their horizons by networking or engaging with high caliber practitioners – all this within the focal-point that is the city of London.
It is thus the perfect environment within which to develop your personal, academic and social skills all whilst benefitting from the joys of studying within such a vibrant environment that is King's, in the heart of London.
I have previously studied on three continents but my initial time at King's was by far the most remarkable. I did my MA in International Peace and Security in 2008/09 and immensely enjoyed the year both academically and socially. I quite liked the Department's interdisciplinary, yet practice-oriented approach to international security. Thus, returning to King's to pursue a PhD in War Studies seemed like a natural progression.
The Department of War Studies is at the forefront of research both nationally and internationally and I can benefit greatly from the Department's expertise and its excellent institutional links. Especially in my area of research - cyber security - King's offers a unique network of researchers. This network is complemented by an array of think-tanks active in the area of cyber security, as well as relevant government institutions tasked with policy-making in this field.
I was fortunate enough to secure funding from the Graduate School and the ESRC which was among other things a result of the dedicated support I have received from professors and other staff at King's.
King´s location, and in particular the Strand campus, is excellent in terms of centrality and access to other research facilities. Located in the heart of London, the Strand Campus is a stone´s throw away from other libraries such as the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) as well as think-tanks and institutes. In addition to facilities on campus there are numerous shops and cafes in the Strand area. It has everything to offer in terms of infrastructure and provides a student experience in the heart of London.
Being a student in London gives you access to all the things a vibrant, cosmopolitan city has to offer – ranging from theatres and museums, bars and cafes, great shopping, to major political and financial institutions. I like London's diversity and anonymity. With a little experience and knowledge of London's neighbourhoods one can have a great time even with a limited budget. The fantastic thing about London is that it has a lot to offer - in every price range.
The Department of War Studies itself is incredibly diverse and offers an attractive meeting point for students, academics and professionals from fields as diverse as development, gender, terrorism, intelligence and more - all seeking to further understand war and its interacting, diverse components. The combination of faculty and diverse thematic focus are par none and lends to an optimal learning environment and a broad range of skills and lenses from which to engage in the professional world following. The strong empirical focus within the school, whether through course work focus or constant rotation of high-profile presenters and world leaders, helps ensure you are studying in an environment that understands and addresses real world issues as they arise.
During my Masters I undertook rewarding internships at ICSR, and a risk management firm. Since beginning the PhD, I have become the Managing Editor at Strife, as well as work with the Canadian government on terrorism policy. I would highly recommend partnering your academic work with professional opportunities. The skills you obtain traverse academic and professional life and ensure you maximize your time and opportunities at King’s and onwards.