Camille Bou, LSE

A PhD student’s experience of CIVICA coursework


LSE PhD student Camille Bou reflects on her experience taking a CIVICA course and on the ever-growing opportunities of the alliance.

LSE is one of the eight outstanding European universities forming the alliance that is CIVICA (The European University of Social Sciences).

Embodying the European motto of “United in Diversity”, CIVICA is a collaboration of higher education institutions specialised in social sciences, humanities, business management and public policy. It was created with the aim of fostering a strong research community, centred around values of open knowledge exchange and civic responsibility.

LSE’s CIVICA membership is part of what makes the LSE PhD journey incredibly rewarding and enriching, as it offers students external development opportunities to broaden their horizons and build connections with like-minded researchers. As part of CIVICA’s offers for Early Stage Researchers (ESR), I enrolled in a course hosted by Bocconi University on Advanced Social Dynamics (Family Demography), taught by the renowned sociologist Gøsta Esping-Andersen.

While an added advantage to the course (in normal times) would have been living in Milan and making the most of the resources offered on the Bocconi campus, it was still great to deepen my knowledge in family demography remotely.

The course was flexible, with the option to enrol as an auditor or sit the exam, and spanned over two months (March/April), alternating between a week on/off courses and a break during the Easter period. The class size was small (~9 people), allowing for in-depth discussion and debate on the 10 session topics. I met fellow PhDs from Bocconi, the European University Institute (Intergovernmental), and the Central European University (Austria and Hungary).

However, CIVICA doesn’t just offer coursework; it also organises themed seminars and summer schools for PhDs and Early Career Researchers. It often advertises calls for submissions for related journals. What’s more, it has opportunities for undergraduatesmaster's students, and alumni/ae too! It’s a platform that is continuously growing and open to nurturing student initiatives.

My first experience using the resources of CIVICA was very positive, and I will definitely be exploring other opportunities with the alliance in the future. I strongly encourage LSE students to check and engage with what they have on offer, and get in touch with the CIVICA Student Ambassadors if they have any enquiries.

About the author

I'm Camille, a PhD student in the Department of Health Policy, investigating the time-use, trade-offs, and wellbeing of young informal carers in the United Kingdom. When I'm not analysing data, I enjoy listening to music/podcasts, pondering existential questions whilst walking in the great outdoors, indulging in TV dramas, and exploring London's diverse art, food and drinks scene!

Get in touch with Camille on Twitter: @CamilleBou95

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