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Research Master Social Sciences

Femke Roosma: 'In love with research'

Alumnus testimonial

Femke Roosma graduated in the Research Master's Social Sciences in 2011.

Femke Roosma
Femke Roosma. Photo: Joost Bakker.

During an intensive course for my Bachelor's thesis in Political Science, I fell in love with doing research. Themes as welfare states and systems of social solidarity, got my interest and made me eager to learn more. The Research Master Social Sciences gave me the opportunity to improve my methodological skills and learn more about welfare states and social security systems. At that time, I was not certain if I wanted to obtain for a PhD, but I figured that finishing a Research Master would at least keep all options open and it proved to be an excellent preparation.

A good combination

After graduating, I applied for a PhD project in Tilburg called ‘Welfare state legitimacy: cross-national analysis from a multidimensional perspective’. I got accepted and at this moment I’m in my final year of my PhD research. I study public opinions about different dimensions of the welfare state in a European comparative perspective. It involves doing a lot of quantitative data analysis of opinion surveys. I write several research articles, which I publish with my co-authors in international journals and I present my work at international conferences and summer schools. I also teach Sociology to Bachelor students and  it really is great to teach and share your knowledge.

I combine my PhD project with hands-on work in politics in the City Council in Amsterdam, as a member of the GreenLeft party (GroenLinks) and I’m spokesperson on health care, poverty and treasury/finance. 

I love the combination of the theoretical abstract work of a researcher and the practical daily life issues.. Soon I have to choose whether I want to prolong my career in science and since I love doing research so much I will definitely try to do so.  

Lucky and happy

For PhD students it is necessary to have some substantial basic knowledge of how to organize a research project and of research methods. I’m very certain that I would not have got my current PhD position if I didn’t finishe the Research Master. Completing a research master proves that you have the skills to set up and finish a research project. Every day that I walk to my office on the campus I think about how lucky I was to get this PhD position and how happy I am that I can do what I love to do the most. I believe that life is so much easier and the quality of your work is so much better, if you feel you’re in the right place and you can do something that inspires you.

Therefore I would advise students to do the things that make them enthusiastic and choose the topics that make them eager to learn more. And specially those students who want to continue in research to pay close attention in the methodology courses: it is actually fun and you will benefit from it in your later career.