Kate Fairlie

Student spotlight details

The MSc in Sustainable Urban Development allowed Kate to further specialise as a land administration professional whilst gaining a broader, interdisciplinary understanding of related fields.

'I have a background in land surveying and the spatial sciences which has taken me on a broad pathway from Shell to environmental and land governance. Prior to enrolling in the MSc I was working as a land administration specialist with Land Equity International. This has primarily involved working in the international development arena with country governments and donors to improve land titling and administration systems with the aim of achieving secure tenure for all.  

'First and foremost I realised that I needed a masters or other higher degree in order to progress in my current career path. But in searching for a suitable masters I realised I wanted to both further specialise as a land administration professional, yet gain a broader, interdisciplinary understanding of related fields. The MSc met this aim nicely, whilst providing the opportunity to work and study at the same time, and to ultimately gain a degree from Oxford. 

'Juggling the demands of full time work and part time study, along with other unexpected time demands, was undoubtedly the biggest challenge of the MSc. 

'These demands and challenges were ameliorated to some extent by the support and insights of fellow students. Every class brought new knowledge not simply through the lecturer but also through the perspectives of fellow students. I had not anticipated the strength of the relationships formed, nor the level of support that classmates would provide in going beyond lecture material to both complete assessments and relate material back to our individual fields. 

'Biology has beckoned and I am currently on maternity leave from my previous role. I anticipate returning to my former role soon, and taking on more responsibility, in particular for consultancy work in the urban sector. 

'The MSc is fundamentally a stepping stone - I think it is best suited to those who have already specialised to some extent and are looking for a more 'generalist' postgraduate degree to widen and question one's perspective, whilst providing a broader network of peers and experts to draw from. In the tradition of most further study, it provides solid tools to promote analysis and questioning - whilst the breadth of topics addressed in each week of lectures allows students to dive as deeply as they would like (or not at all) according to interest and relevance.'

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