Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

Stuart Cook

BA Sociology | 2012-2016

Photo of Stuart Cook

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

I’m in my fourth and final year of my Sociology degree in Leeds. I’m from Portsmouth, which is almost as far away as you can possibly go.

What motivated you to apply to study your chosen course and why did you choose Leeds?

I wanted a university that allowed the students to push themselves, basically the entire point of university. The reason Leeds swung it for me was down to a number of things: the feel of the city and the campus being right next to it, the size and influence of the student’s union, and the ability to go out into the city and beyond were all simply things that only Leeds offered.

What do you think of your course? Have there been any particular highlights for you?

My dissertation has allowed me to focus on subjects that I’d never had the opportunity to study in a ‘taught’ series, and my tutor has been incredibly supportive the entire project. It also led me to partake in film and performance, which is something that you’d never expect from the degree. Sociology clearly opens a lot of doors!

How would you describe the help and guidance provided by the staff within the School?
If you have a question, if you want to do something, whatever it is you’d like to do, the staff within the school are there for you. You’d honestly be surprised with the desire to help that such a large body of staff can communicate.

How would you describe the facilities at the University?

The Social Sciences building itself, where the school is based, has just been redeveloped which is obviously lovely as a member of the school. The University as a whole has done a fantastic job of constantly maintaining the classical look of the Redbrick, whilst making the inside inhabitable and inspiring.

Have you had the opportunity to study abroad, or complete a year in industry? If so, please tell us about your experience.

I went on a study abroad placement to Madison, Wisconsin in the United States. It was a fantastic experience, really getting me to take responsibility for myself and appreciate the opportunities that university can offer. Going to live in a different country for a year whilst living a student life is honestly a once in a lifetime experience, and I can’t recommend it enough, you grow so much as a person. Learning in a different institution also really changes your perspective on what you’re studying, how you interact with people and how you work as a whole.

Have you been involved in extra-curricular activities, such as societies, summer placements etc?

I’m hugely involved in the Student Radio, and Theatre Group. Both of these societies led me to do things I never thought were even possible for a student, a highlight being writing and directing a sell-out show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2014 (again, not something you’d often associate with sociology!).

Any other comments you would like to make?

Other universities often departmentalise the university, the city, the student’s union and external placements as very separate things. What’s amazing about Leeds is it does just the opposite; You’re free to do whatever you feel will most benefit you as an individual, and you’re actively encouraged to do so. I honestly can’t imagine being anywhere else.

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