My name is Rohana Prince and I studied a Master of Strategic Studies within the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre.
I chose to do the Master of Strategic Studies program in order to study with Australia’s leading strategic thinkers. I had done my undergraduate degree at the ANU but started in the College of Arts and Social Sciences. I was lucky enough to have Professor Hugh White as my mentor for the PhB (Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours)) program, and then as my honours supervisor. Professor White encouraged me to take a few courses from the College of Asia and the Pacific, which I did and haven’t looked back. With my strong interest in history, international relations and foreign affairs, and having enjoyed the College of Asia Pacific courses I’d taken (such as “US Security Policy in Asia” and “the Politics of China”), the choice of Masters program was easy.
Amy King’s course “China’s Defence and Strategic Challenges” was a highlight of the Masters program. I enjoyed the course because it tried to see the world from China’s perspective and get us to understand the motivations behind China’s decisions on the international stage. I also liked that Dr King linked the academic side of what we learnt to the practical world of policy making. We wrote policy memos instead of traditional short essays and did a crisis simulation as our major piece of work. This was all highly applicable to the work I hope to do in the future in the foreign affairs field.
There were many highlights of the Master of Strategic Studies program. I really enjoyed learning from such great thinkers and educators as Professor White and Dr King. I liked the practicality of the learning - that ideas about power politics and strategy were always linked to Australia’s situation and that of the region in general. I also enjoyed learning with such a diverse cohort, with students from so many different backgrounds and with different views on the topics we covered in class. Most of all, I liked being a part of the Bell School community.
I’ve lived in Canberra all my life and have always loved that you can do it all here. It’s a place where you would say to students considering studying the Master of Strategic Studies program that this is a program that teaches you to think deeply about what is happening in the world. Don’t be fooled by the name - it’s not just about military strategy, guns and boats. It’s about looking at the world and seeing the forces at play in terms of what choices countries make, and what those choices mean for other nations.
The Master of Strategic Studies program has helped me immensely in terms of getting a job in my field of interest. I’ll be starting in the Department of Foreign Affairs graduate program in February, and I don’t think I would’ve gained a place in the program were it not for the Master of Strategic Studies program and the great lecturers I’ve had over the course of the year. I’m looking forward to using the knowledge and skills I’ve gained over the last year to help Australia, and hope that I’ll be back to study again at the ANU.