How will your degree prepare you for what you want to do afterwards?
Read more about my experiences
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My PhD will help me to cultivate a number of skills to help me in my future career. It will allow me to develop my critical thinking, independent work approach, research skills, group work, presentation skills and communication amongst many others.
Why did you choose the University of Birmingham?
On looking for a foreign university in which to carry out my postgraduate degree I was immediately drawn to the UK for a number of reasons. UK institutions are advanced in equipment, experts and funding opportunities. Additionally I knew that in the UK I would have no language barrier problems! I specifically chose the University of Birmingham due to my interest in the PhD research topic which was being advertised as well as having heard that the University has a very supportive network set up with lots of opportunities and renowned research departments. Another plus side was that UoB is a well distinguished university and was University of the Year (2013-2014) when I started my studies.
What has been the highlight of your time at Birmingham?
One highlight is the diversity. Everyone has something unique about them to bring to the table, and with everyone’s strengths being used together they can make anything better. The diversity of people, cultures, ideas, opportunities and activities is constantly enhancing my education as well as me as a person.
What, for you, are the best things about the course?
The best thing about the course is that it is very hands on! Working in state-of-the-art laboratories with advanced equipment has truly been a great experience. Additionally it has been very exciting collaborating with a large European project with which my PhD is associated and it involves a great deal of lab work, traveling and networking.
Have you joined any clubs or societies, or gone on any research trips or done any volunteering?
There are so many different activities at UoB that no matter your interests you are bound to find something! I have a passion for dancing and am a qualified RAD teacher. At UoB I was able to join the Birmingham University Dance Society (BUDS), regularly attend classes of different dance styles and even teach ballet!
I have also been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to help out with the undergraduate Geography fieldtrip to Malta. Attending the trip gave me insight into the holistic learning approach that UoB strives to achieve for its students, with an emphasis on learning by doing, as well as how dedicated the lecturers are.
As part of my PhD I visited Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) to carry out some lab work. Collaboration with other institutions is always a stimulating practice. I was exposed to new techniques and experts. The data collected was valuable for my PhD work and the experience was priceless as more is always obtained by actually traveling to the institution and working there rather than just sending samples for analysis.
Do you have anything lined up for once you have completed your degree?
As I still have two more years of research to complete and this is a fast developing field as yet I have not decided what I want to do when I finish my degree. However, since I am so interested in research I would definitely consider a post-doc.
What was your motivation for undertaking postgraduate study?
The nanotechnology field has drastically changed daily life with its endless uses, and nanomaterials are already extensively used in many everyday fields such as optics, energy, electronics, structural engineering, clothing, food additives, cosmetics, conservation, paints and pigments, medicine, and health care. Nanotechnology continues to grow rapidly and being such an essential part of the future I wish to be a pioneer of this field. Therefore having always had a keen interest in research and enjoyed a university atmosphere it was an easy choice to further my studies and undertake a postgraduate degree.
How is it studying Environmental Sciences at the University of Birmingham?
I feel very comfortable studying here. There is a very good support system and students are constantly encouraged and helped out in whichever aspect of life or study they need. On the whole...a great experience :)
Hello Sophie, I am a prospective MSc student in the Science of Occupational Health, Safety and Environment. Is it possible to complete this, once admitted and straight away enrol on PhD without further requiring experience? For instance, can I do my PhD, say in Environmental Health and Risk Assessment immediately after one year of a Masters?
Hi! In my case I went straight from an MSc to a PhD so I would say this is possible...however if in doubt approach your prospective PhD tutor. They tend to be very helpful at explaining what experience you will need for a specific project. You can then judge whether you will need any additional experience or not. Every PhD project is unique and varies.
Hello! I'm from Mexico! I recently applied to this university, so all this is new for me. I feel so happy and very nervous, so if you or someone could help me, please? thanks!
Hi, applying to a university overseas is always an exciting new experience! Here at UoB there is a great support system for new students and I have found that there are always friendly people willing to help :) If you need any specific help just let me know!
Hi Sophie, I am currently pursuing post graduate studies in Environmental Science. I would like to pursue my doctorate abroad most preferably in the UK. Being a part of middle class family with average income in India, what are the various financial assistance that can help me realise my dream. What exams that can appear that will help facilitate my eligibility for scholarships in the UK especially in UoB?
Hi. There are many different funding bodies both here in the UK and possibly in India so you may want to look into those too. NERC is one of the big funding bodies here in the UK. Normally advertised project state whether they are funded or not. These may be funded via the school or an external funding bodies such as NERC however this varies amongst projects. Ideally, once you have found a project you are interested in you contact the associated supervisor to discuss funding possibilities. They will definitely be willing to advise you and offer help specifically related to your possible future research project.
Hello, can you please help me find a full scholarship under your field of study?
Hello, thank you very much for your question. The aim of the PG Mentor Scheme is to provide peer-to-peer advice from our current postgraduate students about their experience as students at the University of Birmingham.
Having reviewed your question, I believe that your enquiry is more suited to be answered by our postgraduate contact team. Please contact them with your enquiry at: email@example.com
To search for a postgraduate taught programme at Birmingham, please visit: www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/pgt/index.aspx
To search for postgraduate research opportunities at Birmingham, please visit: www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/pgt/index.aspx
To search for funding, the best place to start is our PG Funding Database: www.birmingham.ac.uk/pgfunding
I hope that this helps. If you have any specific questions about what it's like to study at Birmingham, please do ask one of our mentors.
Best wishes, Roaa
Could you please tell me about your current project?
My project is titled: Are engineered nanoparticles still toxic when they get old? Novel approaches in the safety assessment of engineered nanoparticles: The effect of ageing. I synthesise and characterise nanoparticles in the lab. Characterisation involves the determination of physical and chemical properties of the particles using various equipment in the lab. I then study their behaviour under different conditions such as elevated temperature. Finally toxicity studies are carried out by external collaborators.
Hi Sophie! I'm in my final years of studying BA (Hons) Events Management, and I am now looking to apply to study MSc Occupational Health, Safety and the Environment, as that is where my passion lies! Would you say it is a big step up from studying at an undergraduate level to that of a Masters? I'm very passionate about the course, but am scared of the implications of going from a BA (Hons) to a MSc. Thanks!
Hi. In my opinion, I would speak to the admissions tutor as they can probably guide you better than I can. There are more details to contact her or ask a question about this course here: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/courses/taught/gees/science-occupational-health-safety-environ.aspx
Keep in mind that there are differences in arts and science courses and I would advise you to look into the modules to see if you think you can manage them :) Good luck!