A Systems Approach

Like many MSc Geoscience students, this week for me has been a whirl-wind experience of visiting as many classes as possible while attempting to narrow down my options. As a student in the MSc Environment and Development program, I already completed my compulsory coursework last semester and am therefore faced with the blessing and curse of seemingly endless course choices. A common theme I have noticed in the vast majority of courses I have visited, both in the GeoScience and Social and Political Science Faculties, is a prevailing ‘systems approach’ both to thinking, learning and problem solving.

The main reason I initially chose the University of Edinburgh to pursue my MSc, was the opportunity to study course work (and hopefully research) in a cross disciplinary manner that straddles the realms of social and environmental sciences. In my past life I worked as a secondary school teacher where I was constantly trying to point my students toward the interconnections in the world and between themselves in the hope of viewing the complex and often hidden relationships that make up our world. I have therefore been very impressed so far with the pervasive systems approach to learning that I have especially noticed this semester. I find myself increasingly fascinated by the complex interconnections within and between systems that connect, intertwine and ultimately impact everything within and between the ecological and political spheres. It is through the exploration of these complex system relationships that I am increasingly aware exists the semblances of ‘answers’ to the most pressing issues of the world.

I am looking forward to discovering more. /Steve..

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