Msc in Particle and Nuclear Physics: alumna perspective

Nisha is a current PhD student in the School of Physics & Astronomy, and an alumna of the MSc in Particle and Nuclear Physics. In this short blog article she looks back at her MSc student experience, and the skills she learned while on the programme.

When applying to MSc programmes I was looking for an interdisciplinary taught Masters with an emphasis on programming. I found that combination in the Particle & Nuclear Physics MSc programme, where I was able to take a wide variety of courses from Data Analysis & Machine Learning to Astrophysics to Detectors in Particle Physics. The courses were engaging and challenging, and I learned essential concepts and skills that are helping me now in my PhD. The School of Physics & Astronomy also has pioneering research across disciplines with strong connections with top research facilities like CERN.  My goal was to continue studying at the University of Edinburgh, and I knew the MSc would equip me with the knowledge and skills needed to be an attractive candidate for any PhD program.

I also wanted to live in Edinburgh for the culture and history of the city, and since moving here, I have appreciated the variety in restaurants, museums, and outdoor activities. The city has an emphasis on sustainability, is easy to get around, and has plenty of green spaces. I have been able to go on hikes, cycle around, and climb in Edinburgh, and when we want to explore Scotland, the highlands are only a train ride away.

After two years of working in industry, I was looking forward to being a student again, and during the MSc I especially enjoyed spending my time with peers who shared my passion for physics. There were plenty of students to study and socialise with in the MSc cohort. We spent much of our time in the MSc common room between classes, working together on assignments or taking lunch breaks.  The School of Physics & Astronomy planned events for the MSc cohort, which also contributed to a close-knit community among the students. I have also enjoyed representing and advocating for the student cohort in the School of Physics & Astronomy as the MSc representative to the Student Staff Liaison Committee and School Postgraduate School Representative to the University Representative Forum.

The School of Physics & Astronomy has a wide variety of colloquia, seminars, and group meetings, which were instrumental in helping me decide what subject area to pursue for my PhD.  During the MSc, I discovered my passion for astrophysics, and I applied for and earned a PhD offer in the Institute for Astronomy. Although I changed subjects, the programming and writing skills I gained during the MSc have greatly helped me in my PhD.  My current project aims to improve the efficiency of statistics on large-scale structures in the Universe to better understand features like dark matter and dark energy. In the future I hope to continue my research as a professor in a higher education institution.

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