Interview with QMU graduate Bryony Nisbet: MSc Social Development & Health, Institute for Global Health & Development (IGHD)

By Press Office

Bryony Nisbet, 25, is originally from Kelso in the Scottish Borders and now lives in Edinburgh.

After completing an undergraduate degree in Behavioral Sciences at University of Abertay, Dundee in 2013, Bryony worked as a Project Coordinator for third sector organisation, Positive Steps, in Dundee from 2013 to 2015. In this role, Bryony worked with socially isolated people over the age of 65 to promote a healthier lifestyle, including running workshops focused on coping with change, effective communication, diabetes, sexual health and mental health.

While working for Positive Steps, Bryony decided that she wanted to continue to work for non-governmental organisations with a particular focus on gender and mental health.

In 2015, Bryony secured a place on the MSc Social Development & Health in the Institute for Global Health & Development at QMU. On moving to Edinburgh, Bryony started working in the homeless sector with women who have experienced domestic violence.

Bryony continued to work in the homeless sector but moved from full time to reduced hours to enable her to focus on her studies. She also worked part time hours for an organisation that helps young people who have come out of care access housing and live independently.

Bryony usually worked at least 20 hours a week across these two roles, but did not feel that this was a huge obstacle to meeting the demands of postgraduate study.

What made you chose QMU?

“I chose QMU for a few reasons. Firstly, my mother graduated from QMU and highly recommended this university. I had always wanted to live in Edinburgh at one point in my life and IGHD offered a course that I felt fitted in perfectly with my interests.”

The Course

“The MSc Social Development & Health gave me the opportunity to look at inequalities and health impacts completely differently. It opened my eyes beyond what I thought any course could possibly do. It has also given me the drive to help as many people and communities as possible on a global scale.

“I was able to study alongside students from around the world, which was an amazing experience. Without doing the course I wouldn’t have been able to focus upon a main interest of mine (mental health and gender). My MSc thesis focused upon this subject and, with the help of staff, I was able to secure a scholarship. This allowed me to travel to New Delhi and collect primary research data.

“I felt incredibly supported by the Institute for Global Health and Development and I found the workload was very manageable. IGHD took into consideration whenever we felt the workload was getting on top of us.

“Whenever I travel I now find myself asking so many questions relating to social determinants of health, take interest in culturally relevant situations, health systems and have a strong thirst for knowledge.”

Has QMU degree been important in helping you get to where you are today?

“I graduated from QMU in 2016. Using the knowledge and skills I’ve acquired on the MSc Social Development & Health at QMU, I’m going to Rwanda in Africa to lead a team of volunteers and work on a three-month project aimed at helping the most marginalised people to access their human rights.

“After completing the project in Rwanda, I’m planning to move to London to explore graduate job opportunities in the global health sector.”

Tips for current QMU students?

“My advice to any prospective student would be to understand your own capabilities and if you do feel yourself struggling then be sure to understand that you aren’t alone. Communicate your problems with academic staff and your Personal Academic Tutor. They are there to help and help they will. I have never encountered a more supportive and understanding network of people. You can do this too!”

Visit the Institute for Global Health & Development (IGHD) for more information.

If you're a QMU graduate and have an interesting career story to tell, we're keen to hear from you. Please email

Notes to Editor


For further media information contact Jonathan Perkins, Press and PR Officer, E: T: 0131 474 0000.

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