Learning To Change: The First Degree in Social Change Starts

By Meka Beresford, Freelance News Editor 27 Sep 2019
London, UK - April 17th 2019: Extinction Rebellion, climate change activists, stage a demonstration in Oxford Circus, Marble Arch, and across London calling on the UK government to declare a ‘climate emergency’.

The first known degree in social change has begun at Queen Mary’s University in London.

The course will see students learn about the essential tools for going into charity work, including advocacy, accounting, ethics, and law. 

Aside from the two days of lectures and seminars, the students will be paired with charities such as WaterAid, Action for Children, and the Alzheimer’s Society in an apprenticeship-style approach to learning. 

A Career In Activism

Credit: Thomas Katan Extinction Rebellion

Image Credit: Thomas Katan Extinction Rebellion

More and more young people are becoming budding activists as issues such as the climate crisis and inequality continue to grow.

Young leaders like Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old from Sweden who went on strike from school to protest climate change, and Gina Martin, who made upskirting illegal, have inspired other young people to pursue activism as a career – and the course hopes to act as a handbook of how to create social change. 

The course was widely sought after, with over 500 students applying to the 13 places on offer.

Dr Philippa Lloyd, vice-principal of Queen Mary’s, explained that large swathes of young people “want to take action to make the world a better place.”

“They want to make a social impact as well as an economic impact. That is what this is tapping into,” Dr Lloyd said. 

Adarsh Ramchurn is one of the students who has been accepted onto the degree. They explained that they were inspired to study social change because Ilford, the area they grew up in, is “quite rough.” 

“There’s knife crime and youth violence and that’s something I don’t want to escalate. The fact I know we are changing lives and wanting to make a positive impact in society [is important to me],” Ramchurn said. 

Shania Thomas, 19, from Chiswick, added that growing up in a disadvantaged background meant she thought a lot about helping other people. 

“This degree will help us find out how to do something. Being a role model in the BAME community has partly motivated me to do this.”

Featured Image Credit: Ollie Cole