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Damon Lillis image
Damon Lillis
MA (Coursework), endorsed in Sociology

Writing his MA thesis on the Rugby World Cup is a dream come true for Damon Lillis, who’s majoring in Sociology.

“Sociology offers a lot of freedom to pursue topics that interest you and that you’re passionate about. I actually started my BA majoring in Psychology, but by the end of my second year I’d changed to Sociology and never looked back.”

Damon studied as an undergraduate at Otago before completing a graduate diploma at another university. While he enjoyed his time there, he says the student experience at Otago is unrivalled.

“I think Otago caters really well to lots of different types of people. The social scene truly is alive. If that’s not really your thing, you’ll still fit in fine as there are so many other things to do. Because of the central location of the campus, Otago feels really connected to all the wonderful things Dunedin has to offer – from the bars, pubs and sports grounds, to the museums, theatres and art galleries.

“One of my biggest highlights has been all the amazing opportunities to give back to the community through volunteering and the Social Change Studio. Otago is pretty unique in having a team dedicated to connecting students with volunteering opportunities, both within the University and the wider Dunedin community. The experiences I’ve had range from big events like the Dunedin Sleep Out and Relay for Life, to great student-led programmes like Aspire, to smaller one-off opportunities such as gardening for the elderly.”

He says one advantage of studying for a master’s by coursework is getting to meet people from a variety of different disciplines.

“Postgraduate study can feel lonely and isolating at times, but having weekly classes means you meet and form bonds with people who are at similar stages in their studies and lives.

“I feel like this master’s sets you up for so many possible futures. Further study is always an option, but I also think the knowledge gained through the qualification means you are well-prepared to do non-academic work.”