MSc degree: a student perspective

Paola is one of our current Msc Theoretical Physics students. In this blog article she tells us why she chose to study at the University of Edinburgh, and what her experience in the School of Physics and Astronomy has been so far.

What made you choose the MSc in Thereothical Physics?

The two main factors that helped me in deciding to study my MSc at the University of Edinburgh were the vast choices of courses available, and the support given by academic and admission staff.  The MSc in Theoretical Physics offers a wide range of courses to pick from, which is important to me as I want to explore all realms of physics. I was also able to explore subjects from other fields such as Biological Sciences and Geosciences. Staff at the University were quick to give me information and support before, during and after I applied, which was very valuable to me.

What do you like best about the MSc?

During my studies I have opportunities to expand my knowledge in different directions. In lectures, staff are able to provide examples of current research, allowing us to connect the dots between what we are learning and what is going on in the research world. The small group tutorials facilitate discussion on topics and enable us to receive support from academic staff which is valuable when in doubt or stuck on problems. Also, it is great that we have access to the MSc common room in the School, so students can study and connect with each other.

Are you involved in any extra-curricular activities?

I became a Student Ambassador shortly after the start of Semester 1. I can work without having to commit to fixed hours, which is especially helpful during assessment and exam periods. I am also part of the Boxing Club, which is a great way for me to de-stress and socialise with students across the University.

What do you like most about Edinburgh?

Edinburgh is a great city. I enjoy walking around and seeing historical buildings, such as those in the Old Town. Edinburgh is also multicultural and there are shops, cafes and restaurants offering different cuisines from all over the world. At the same time, having nature all around the city is amazing for a little city-escape or weekend hike. Arthur’s Seat, for example, is right next to the city centre and the Pentland Regional Park is just 40 minutes by bus from Edinburgh. Moreover, having an international airport just outside the city makes travelling home for us international students easier, and possibly less expensive.

What would you like to do once the MSc is over?

I am not sure what my plans are after my MSc, but I would like to see myself able to adapt. This is definitely something that I have learnt while studying Physics, and even more so during my MSc. Wherever I’ll be and whatever I’ll be doing, I know I’ll be able to quickly pick up new skills, expand on my knowledge and adapt to new environments. I’ll definitely be chasing challenges, because that’s what us physicists like to do!

What advice would you give to someone thinking of coming here to do the MSc?

Advise for new students? Be organised! Know what and when your deadlines are and plan accordingly. Lecturers and personal tutors are supportive and open to a chat so if you are facing challenges you can always turn to them. Most importantly, you are not alone! Your course-mates are all are trying to navigate the degree, and comparing solutions to academic tasks or going through maths problems together really helps with the workload.

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