The MPhil was a very enriching experience for me, because it succeeded both in providing a solid groundwork in a variety of disciplinary and methodological approaches to the study of the African continent, and in creating a stimulating environment in which to do meaningful research for one academic year. For me, these successes are directly attributable to the community at the Centre of African Studies. The course brought together a group of students with diverse backgrounds and research interests to create a cohort that was supportive, and whose varied perspectives contributed to the way I approached my own work (we had a close group in my year, and I am still in touch with a number of my classmates). Also, the opportunity to work with faculty members and researchers who are invested in the degree, its students, and the Centre of African Studies, created an exciting learning and research environment and a set of strong course offerings. Finally, I’m grateful for the available resources that the MPhil offered, and for a great experience with my supervisor, without which I would not have been fortunate enough to publish my dissertation.
The MPhil provided me with an excellent foundation for future study and for my current career in the US military. The academic rigour of the MPhil encouraged a level of critical reflection that is an essential element of the analytical, communicative, and decision-making challenges I have had to face as a junior officer. I have often drawn directly on my MPhil experience while working to find practical contributions to the monumental challenges of promoting peace, stability, and true local partnership in a conflict environment.
Tom Barron's dissertation entitled: The Soldier and the State in the Congo Crisis: The Unprofessional Legacy of the Congolese National Army was published in the academic journal African Security in 2013, to read it click here.