Thomas studied at University of South Wales prior to beginning his MSc Physical Organic Chemistry here at Cardiff. The enthusiasm of staff, and the “very good” reputation of the University as a whole were key factors in his decision to study here.
Can you tell us a little bit about the programme in your own words?
“So far it would seem to be a mix of both theoretical and practical work. There is a lot of theory being taught which is quite good to learn but in the cases of any practical examples they are always taken from real work the lecturer themselves has been a part of. This adds in a good perspective of the type of thing a university lecturer would do for his research. The lecturers themselves are all pleasant people and seem clearly interested in their subjects which can help when they are presenting the course material as their enthusiasm makes listening slightly easier.”
What did the Postgraduate Taught Scholarship mean to you?
“It allowed me to take part in my course with significantly less fears concerning finances potentially meaning that over the course of some of the breaks I would be able to spend my time attempting to further my career prospects by visiting various facilities related to ‘Ferring’ which my father works for and get a better understanding of the value of a degree in Chemistry.”
Have you been able to secure funding from other places, how else are you supporting your studies?
“For the most part all of the rest of my funding has come from savings I gradually managed to build up by being quite frugal during the three years of my BSc and from an internship over the summer which gave me a reasonable amount of money to live off of.”
What were your motivations for undertaking a postgraduate degree?
“Mostly it was an opportunity to gain further knowledge about the various subjects and opportunities available, I was considering a PhD and still am but the degree is allowing me to actually talk with the tutors and learn much more about the specific subjects meaning I will be able to specifically pick out the subject which is of most interest to me hence meaning I will do the best work I can.”
Why did you decide to do your postgraduate degree at Cardiff?
“I chose Cardiff for a variety of reasons, firstly it is a university with a very good reputation so the degree I receive from here will stand slightly better than a degree I might achieve elsewhere. Secondly, it is in a very large city which means there are more opportunities in general for things to do and people to meet. Finally, I already had friends and family near enough that I knew I would have people I could turn to if I was ever troubled which meant it would be a less stressful place to be.”
Is there anything about your postgraduate course that has stood out in your experience?
“I personally very much enjoyed the large variety of societies available when I attended the Students Union’s Society Fair. Whilst I have found I do not have the time to do as much as I originally wished I still make enough time to meet people and have fun such that I am keeping busy most days, either with societies or work.”
What do you think of Cardiff as a place to live as a postgraduate?
“Cardiff itself is mostly convenient as it is such a large city it offers access to basically the majority of things you could want,shops, restaurants etc, it also means its well connected to transport routes so getting there and back home over breaks is easier for me.”
How do you think your postgraduate course will contribute to your future career plans?
“I believe having the Masters will definitely give me a slight edge over anyone with a Bachelors though the principle reason I undertook it was as I said to investigate my options for doing a PhD which I think will be even more instrumental in gaining a good career.”
Has studying for a postgraduate degree at Cardiff University lived up to your expectations?
“One thing I would say about this Masters, it is a lot more work than I originally expected. When I came in for the first few weeks my grades suffered a little as I was not yet used to the quantity of work although I have now gotten used to it and my grades are improved it was still a bit of a shock to have this level of coursework right from the beginning.”
What are your biggest achievements as a postgraduate student at Cardiff University so far?
“I’m not really too sure.It’s too early for exam results and I have only had one meeting as a student representative. The best achievement to me would probably be just what I talked about in the previous question, getting used to the workload and managing to raise my grades to an acceptable level, which for me is a minimum of 70% although preferably higher than that.”
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