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Political Theory (Political Science)
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Hugo van Dam: 'I can wholeheartedly recommend this track'

Hugo van Dam graduated in Political Science (Specialization Political Theory & Political Behavior) at University of Amsterdam in 2015.

FMG - Political Science - Politcal Theory PTPG - Hugo van Dam - alumnus
Hugo van Dam

After completing my Bachelor's degree in Political Science (UvA, 2012), I worked for a year, mostly odd jobs. In the summer of 2013, I decided I wasn't finished with studying yet and that I wanted to pursue a master's degree. In 2012 I had wanted to start a master's in Political Philosophy at another university, but when I looked it up again in 2013 it turned out that the programme had been cancelled because of a lack of interest.Fortunately, the Graduate School of Social Sciences (GSSS) had been wiser and kept the Political Theory track. Not only that, it turned out that the Political Science department had appointed two new assistant professors; Enzo Rossi and Luara Ferracioli. Enzo and Luara both obtained their PhD at a foreign top-level department and brought with them a fresh impulse to the study of normative political theory at the GSSS.

I wasn't particularly interested in a career specific to Political Science but it has always been my favorite field of study, specifically Political Philosophy. The two courses Enzo and Luara taught (and also the core module by Marcel Maussen) were everything I had expected and sometimes more. During seminars it often felt like we were at the forefront of highly relevant debates.  The ethical aspects of phenomena like prostitution, drug use, organ donation and artificial insemination for adoption were among the issues discussed.

Next steps

At the moment I am working for the UvA at the student desk of Economics & Business and at the Student Service Desk (SSD) of Student Services. To be honest, I really didn't have a career in mind at all at the start of my master programme. I just try and go with the flow, and at the moment I'm succeeding very well at that. My current job does not have a lot to do with the programme I took, but I enjoy my work very much. I learn a lot and have two great, enthusiastic teams of colleagues. I consider myself very lucky in this respect. After the summer I'm going to give more thought to the next steps in my career. I am considering doing an external PhD in the near future. If I succeed it would most certainly be on a topic related to the master programme, like normative political theory.

The worst part

I can imagine that many people want to do something concrete with what they learn at university. Initially, Political Theory may sound like it does not meet this criterion but if you think so you'd be wrong. I can wholeheartedly recommend this track, especially to anyone with a deep interest in the fundamentals of crucial societal debates and a love for theoretical and practical philosophy.

Enjoy the programme, the city and all the new people (and ideas) you come across. The worst part of the programme is that it only lasts a year so I'd say enjoy it while it lasts!