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Student Profile: Alan Elrod

Course:

MPhil/PhD in Politics and International Studies

How did you find out about Warwick?

I heard about Warwick through a combination of searches based on my research interests and relevant, subject-related university rankings.

Did you consider applying anywhere else? What made you choose Warwick?

I considered a number of universities, all of them in the U.K. and Australia. Ultimately, I only submitted applications to Warwick and Cambridge. I do not have any siblings, but my father pursued a PhD in political science in the 1980s at Vanderbilt University. My attraction to Warwick was a combination of the research interests of my supervisors and the department at large, the substantial scholarship options that Warwick offers, and my longstanding desire to study in the United Kingdom. The opportunity to do so somewhere other than London, and therefore see a different side of the country, was an added bonus.

Did you contact the department/university prior to application?

I contacted a prospective supervisor in the department directly. Fortunately, I heard back, and they are now one of my PhD supervisors!

How did you apply? Did you recieve any help or advice with your application?

I applied online. My prospective supervisor was excellent about coordinating with me on my research proposal to make it as attractive and rock solid as possible. My wife was far more on top of our visa paperwork! I am indebted to her in this regard.

How are your studies being funded?

I am a Chancellor's International Scholar.

How was your arrival? What were your first impressions of campus?

My first thoughts were how much I appreciated Warwick's setting. I did my MA at NYU and ultimately found the lack of a coherent campus to be on and part of to be something I missed.

What is the best thing about studying at Warwick?

Aside from really feeling like I've found an ideal research fit both with my supervisors and the department, I'd have to say that I think Warwick makes it easy to explore your curiosity. I've already taken the chance to attend events sponsored by other departments and groups on campus of which I am not a member, and I think that there is a sense of interdisciplinarity at Warwick that I appreciate a great deal.

How have you found your accommodation?

My wife and I rent in Leamington and love our place.

Have you joined any clubs or societies?

I am preparing to help take over the CRIPS group in PAIS next year. We've met with the current team to discuss the responsibilities we'll have and the various events we could organize for the department. I've also joined the campus Lib Dems.

Have you managed to travel at all during your studies?

Yes, a few times! Most recently, my wife and I spent Christmas and New Year's in Geneva. It was absolutely wonderful.

What do you hope to do when you graduate?

My hope is to work at a research institute/think tank and then to eventually launch my own, aimed at bringing heartland cities and communities into the conversation on issues in globalization.

What makes you happiest about studying at Warwick?

From the start, I have found Warwick to be a place that prizes and encourages innovative thinking. It is refreshing to have your ideas challenged while still being urged to think in new and original ways about your project.

What advice would you give to someone considering applying?

I would suggest that they reach out early to their prospective department and, included in that, be unafraid to initiate conversations and ask questions. You really can only know if a university is right for you by getting to know its people.