Emily is currently studying MSc Genetic Counselling at Cardiff University School of Medicine. The course is very specialized, and Cardiff is one of only two places in the UK that offers it. As a result, Emily was delighted to receive her Postgraduate Taught Scholarship which has alleviated her financial concerns about postgraduate study.
Can you tell us a little bit about the programme in your own words?
“The Genetic Counselling course is composed of lectures and placements that will prepare us for our future careers as genetic counsellors, within the medical genetics team. We have a variety of lectures on genetic diseases, counselling skills, research techniques and topics within the field of genetics. My first term placements were in schools for children with special educational needs and during the second term I have been in many different hospital settings. During the summer I have to complete 36 days with a genetic counselling team, where I will be able to start to put the skills I have learnt throughout the first year into practice.”
What did the Postgraduate Taught Scholarship mean to you?
“The scholarship was incredibly helpful in helping me to overcome the deficit in my funding package. It has allowed me to focus on my studies without having a constant worry that I won’t be able to afford to continue the course in the second year.”
Have you been able to secure funding from other places, how else are you supporting your studies?
“I had worked for a year before starting the course in order to save and support myself whilst I was in Cardiff and I return to the same job during the holidays. I have tried contacting several charities and trusts, following the advice of the ‘Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding’, but unfortunately I did not manage to secure any additional help, therefore the Postgraduate scholarship was gratefully received.”
What were your motivations for undertaking a postgraduate degree?
“During my undergraduate degree I attended a career’s fair, where there was a talk by a genetic counsellor, she was very passionate about her job and it combined all the features I was looking for in a career. I was inspired to find out more about the role of a genetic counsellor and managed to get a week of work shadowing. This fuelled my motivation more and I knew that in order to pursue this career I had to undertake the relevant postgraduate degree.”
Why did you decide to do your postgraduate degree at Cardiff?
“The MSc course in genetic counselling is only offered at two Universities in the UK, and one of them is Cardiff. Although I applied for both courses, Cardiff was my preferred choice, I loved the city and generally got a good impression of the course.”
Is there anything about your postgraduate course that has stood out in your experience?
“The provisions for postgraduate students at Cardiff are exceptional. There are regular events and lots of study and social spaces dedicated to postgraduates. As I am based at the Heath Park campus I make the most of the Graduate Centre on-site. Although the course is small, I’ve made some brilliant friends and everyone is lovely.”
What do you think of Cardiff as a place to live as a postgraduate?
“Having lived in London throughout my undergraduate degree it was refreshing to come to a smaller city. I settled in quickly and love the balance of city life, whilst still having lots of big parks to roam. There is a lot to do in Cardiff and many bars and cafes that I am still to try out. There is always loads of events going on and the Welsh accent is great!”
How do you think your postgraduate course will contribute to your future career plans?
“I had to do the Master’s course in order to pursue my intended career. The staff involved in the course are friendly and supportive and have brilliant connections with medical genetic staff all over the country.”
Has studying for a postgraduate degree at Cardiff University lived up to your expectations?
“Studying in Cardiff has lived up to my high expectations. I am really enjoying my time here and I’m glad it is a two-year course, so that I can make the most of the city, before I have to move on!”
What are your biggest achievements as a postgraduate student at Cardiff University so far?
“My biggest achievements so far have been to actually be selected to do the course at Cardiff, so for now I am just focusing on finishing with a good Masters degree, and enjoying it whilst it lasts!”
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