"It is hugely enriching to get the best of the two worlds"
During his internship as a research assistant at the Swedish Defence University, Magnus Lundström became aware of the university's unique academic environment. Now he is studying in the master's programme Politics and War with a Political Science specialization. Here, he can immerse himself in his interests, which includes everything from strategic narratives to East Asian politics.
Magnus Lundström's interest in East Asian politics grew out of and was deepened during a term as an exchange student in Seoul, South Korea. Since then he has published several analyses on the region and is now an associate at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs' Asia program. This involvement also led him to do his bachelor's internship as a research assistant with Linus Hagström, East Asia expert and professor at the Swedish Defence University.
"The internship was one of the main reasons that I wanted to get my master's degree at the Swedish Defence University. Partially because I enjoyed it here, and also because I am very interested in security policy issues", says Magnus.
From Uppsala to the Swedish Defence University
After his graduation from the bachelor's programme in Peace and Development Studies at Uppsala University, Magnus returned to the Swedish Defence University. Now he is in term two of four in the master's programme in Politics and War with a specialization in Political Science.
How would you describe the Swedish Defence University as a school?
"It is very familiar and full of knowledge that both the teachers and students gladly share. Because it is a smaller university you get more contact with everyone; teachers can give us students a lot of attention and there are fruitful discussions in the classrooms."
What makes the Swedish Defence University unique?
"The mix of people is unique, with both civilian and military students but also students from different parts of Sweden and the world. It makes it extremely interesting to exchange experiences and thoughts with each other. I also like how the Swedish Defence University has succeeded in uniting the military's more practical view, for example in discussions of security policy, with academic theoretical reasoning. It is hugely enriching to get the best of the two worlds."
What do you think about the programme's layout and content?
"It definitely lives up to my expectations. The first term you get to dip your toes in many different pools, it is simply a broad introduction that covers many different aspects of security policy and crisis management. From there, you have excellent possibilities to immerse yourself in the issues you are especially interested in, among other things, through the elective courses."
Which courses have you chosen?
"The first elective course that I studied was about the effect through strategic narrative and it was amazingly interesting, so I am thinking about writing my thesis on that very topic. However, all the courses I have chosen reflect my interests; at the moment I am in a course in terrorism studies with Hans Brun, then I have chosen a course on modern peacekeeping efforts and then a course on strategic intelligence."
Do you want to do an internship and if so, where?
"Yes, I would like to have an internship placement with very practical work as a complement to my previous internship where I was a research assistant. I would like to intern at the embassy in Seoul or Tokyo, or at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs here in Stockholm. If the Swedish Defence Research Agency, FOI, has an internship that suits me I would not be opposed to that either."
What career possibilities do you see following graduation?
"The nice thing about the programme is that it opens a lot of doors. Personally, I am interested in doctoral studies here at the Swedish Defence University after I have graduated with my master's. I really enjoy researching and writing, and also think it would be exciting to teach."
What is your dream job?
"A constantly recurring ambition is to become a diplomat, but doesn't everyone say that? However, I think it would be interesting to work within research or with strategic narrative here at home."
What is good to keep in mind for those who want to apply to the master's programme in Politics and War?
"Since we read a lot it would be good if you enjoy doing that. It is an advantage if you have a background in political science or military history since it provides a strong foundation. However, there are many people, like me, that have studied peace and conflict research or another political science, so previous security studies are not mandatory. It will just be a flying start with a lot of international politics and security studies."
About Magnus Lundström
Studies: Master's programme in Politics and War with a specialization in Political Science.
Educational background: Magnus graduated from a bachelor's programme in Peace and Development Studies with a specialization in Peace and Conflict Studies from Uppsala University in 2018. He has also studied East Asian politics and history at Korea University in Seoul, South Korea.
Other assignments: Associate at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs' Asia programme. Board member of the Foreign Policy Association in Uppsala and editor-in-chief of the association's magazine, Uttryck Magazine. Magnus also has an appointment in the expert panel on Korean issues at IES, Institute for European Studies, at Vrije University in Brussels in cooperation with the Korea Foundation.