Maartje Zaal, European Studies on Society, Science and Technology
After finishing my bachelor in European Public Health (EPH), I was looking for a more critical master which focuses on why our society looks the way it looks today. I wanted to go deeper into the “system” to be able to change it and hereby improve the health and sustainability of our society.

Why have you chosen to do a master’s programme in European Studies on Society and Technology after finishing your bachelor’s degree in European Public Health?
After finishing my bachelor in European Public Health (EPH), I was looking for a more critical master which focuses on why our society looks the way it looks today. I wanted to go deeper into the “system” to be able to change it and hereby improve the health and sustainability of our society.
My master’s programme really looks at contemporary challenges, including climate change, bioethics and privacy, but it also looks at the history of science and technology; it questions how knowledge is “created” and what role politics plays in this; how scientific and technological developments influence how we understand the world around us and how we engage with it (including for example economic thinking or theories of rational behaviour, but also introduction of the clock and its effects on thinking and behaviour). And it really teaches you to dig into the core of a problem. It also uses different approaches, like philosophical thinking and anthropological research. Next to an interdisciplinary content, the students all have a different background, which adds to the quality of discussions in class. Furthermore, it is a small-scale, international programme with very motivated teachers. Lastly, you have the opportunity to do a specialization in one of the 12 universities in Europe that are also offering ESST courses.

Was the fact that European Studies on Society and Technology is taught at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, a factor in your decision-making process?
Not necessarily, I really chose the programme because of the content. Of course, the approach used is different from what you will find at a faculty of business or on FHML (where I did my bachelor), so in that sense I think it did attribute. Also, the building is quite beautiful and there is a nice garden and of course bandito espresso is a really nice café within the faculty, which deserves many visits.

Why have you decided to stay at UM for your master’s degree?
I have decided to stay at UM, because I applied for two masters that were given at UM, again the content of the programmes was the main reason to apply at UM. However, I also like the small-scale approach with PBL and I knew that the two programmes specifically, but also UM in general has a very good quality of teaching. I think it also helped a bit that I already did my bachelor here, so I already knew how everything works here. 

Is there anything you would like to add?
I would like to add that I’m very happy with the choice of my master and I would like to stimulate everyone to not be afraid to choose something which is not necessarily a logical choice for outsiders. As long as you believe it fits your interests. I did my EPH minor in sustainable agriculture (at Wageningen University), which was for many people a bit of a strange combination, but for me very logical. Also, in the end it was a valuable experience as a preparation my master (even though with my master you can combine very many different experiences). As long as you know where you do it for, you will later be able explain your path and then your unique experiences will make you stand out. ​

Other testimonials

  • Inger Rutten, Student Ambassador European Studies on Society, Science and Technology 2018-2019
    “In this programme you find yourself at the crossroads of society & culture and science & technology. With everything that is going on in today’s world, I cannot think of a more interesting place to be!”
  • Florieke Bogaarts
    Florieke Bogaarts, Student ambassador European Studies on Society, Science and Technology 2017-2018
    I would like to raise awareness about the growing influence of technology and science on people’s lives and the possible downsides of that development.
  • Shelly Tsui
    Shelly Tsui, Student Ambassador European Studies on Society, Science and Technology 2016-2017
    “In my future career, working in consultancy or conducting research, I will greatly benefit from the open-mindedness which is cultivated and highly valued here.”
  • MA Testimonials - Erika Boeing
    Erika Boeing (United States), European Studies on Society, Science & Technology
    ESST offered me the opportunity to take a step back and learn more about how technology affects society and how society determines which technologies are accepted