Human Security cohort bigger than ever

The master’s programme of Human Security at Aarhus University has enlarged its uptake of students, and the first month has proven successful in regards to academic outcome as well as social coherence.

By Kirstine Saxe Nordal
Human Security student from the 2019 cohort

50 students from 10 different countries have found their way to Moesgaard Campus in the city of Aarhus to begin their master studies of Human Security. The programme’s professors welcomed the students in the first week of September with a great amount of expectations to the new cohort.

This year’s cohort in Human Security consists of 50 students from 10 different nationalities and even more academic backgrounds.

One of the core elements of the master’s programme of Human Security is its interdisciplinarity, which also this year is easy to recognize. The students’ academic backgrounds count from International Relations to economics and humanities such as area studies on Brazil and Russia. Anthropology is naturally represented as the master’s programme is founded on the field of anthropology.

Finding a common ground across academic background

The interdisciplinarity is especially beneficial in class discussions and in the study groups, where the academic variations manifest themselves in subjects like security, violence and war. This enables the students to widen their horizon and acknowledge that world views can supplement each other.  Also, in the matter of a course on tropical ecosystems, the different approaches to an issue can come in handy, as the students are leaving for a weekend workshop in October.

The aim of the weekend workshop is for the students to address the case of the Mara River Basin in Kenya and Tanzania within the realm of Human Security and tropical ecosystems. This could be by studying industrial use of the river, and the implications for people’s health downstream, or exploring the relation between wildlife and humans.

Human Security in the woods of Aarhus

This year’s cohort is convinced that a good study environment also is created when the books are closed outside the auditorium. Therefore, a small volunteering group under the newly established Student Committee was quick to arrange a get together in best style of Danish outdoor life.

A big shelter in the woods, a bonfire and 35 happy students on an autumn Friday afternoon were the recipe of learning more of each other through name games and cooking on the fire.

After a month it can still be difficult to remember all the new names, but it’s never too late to practise.

It is clear that this cohort across academic and national backgrounds, interests and aim for the future is ready to engage in the master’s programme with all it entails.

The Student Committee also arranges academic events such as debates or short field trips, as well as being in charge of promoting the master’s programme on social media. With this initiative the students hope to create an inspiring study environment as well as engaging with both knowledgeable academics and interested people from outside.

The result of cooking on the fire for 35 people.

When asking the students

”It’s been interesting, challenging and a lot of fun to start at Human Security. I am surprised that we come from so many different academic backgrounds. It opens our horizons when we discuss. For example I’ve never met anybody studying anthropology or social science.” Wiebke, European Studies, Germany.

“The past month has been overwhelming – as expected. But specially to realize how ambitious our professors are on our behalf. What I really appreciate among the students are the different stories they bring with them. Not just academically but places they have been or interests outside the studies.” Niels, Russian and Balkan Studies, Denmark.

“I finished by bachelor’s degree 1,5 year ago, so I am just getting used to study again. Still, I am surprised how fast I progress in this study, and the past month I have learned so much. It’s really encouraging to feel that the ambitions are high among professors as well as students.” Julie, Science of Religion, Denmark.