- Course: BSc Geophysical Sciences
The huge diversity of Earth environments, from mountain ranges to the deep oceans trenches, had always amazed me, so the choice to study Earth Science was not a difficult one to make. Geophysics offered me the chance to marry this interest with a talent for maths and science, and it didn’t take me long to realise that I had made the right decision.
Having started the UCAS process not wanting to attend a city-based campus, I was a little surprised to be named the University of Leeds as my first choice. I found that after visiting each university on my shortlist, the Department of Earth Sciences at Leeds was head and shoulders above the rest; combined with a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, Leeds boasts some world-class geoscientists, bringing international acclaim to the university.
I decided to study the three-year BSc Geophysical Sciences course. Unlike many universities, which offer geophysics only as part of a geology module, our degree introduced us immediately to the science. Our maths and physics skills were also reinforced, and we were taught geology in modules specially adapted from the Geological Sciences degree scheme.
Fieldwork is an important part of the Earth Scientist’s training - during my degree, I attended field courses in Pembrokeshire, Western Ireland, and Aveiro, Portugal, where I carried out my third year project in conjunction with the city’s University. Over a two-week period, I used electromag apparatus (basically, a big metal detector!) to delineate the extent of a groundwater contaminant plume, under the supervision of Dr Jackson. Fieldwork gives you a real sense that you’re doing something relevant, and is a genuine boost to the theory you’ve studied.
But it's not all study - the department has its own social committee, the RocSoc, and the field trip to Ireland was as much a chance to study home-grown Guinness as it was rock formations! And in terms of Leeds as a good-time city, you couldn’t really ask for much more. As a three-year resident of the place, you get to believe that it really is Britain’s fastest growing city - new buildings (and many bars!) are always popping up, and I never met anyone who said that they couldn’t find something for them. I was also a member of the University Music Society, just one of an enormous number of groups that you can get involved with.
I graduated from the University in July, having achieved a 1st Class Degree. Right now, I’m working for Veritas DGC, a company processing seismological surveys for the oil industry. However, I’m returning to the University in September, having gained a fully-funded place on the MSc Exploration Geophysics course. I know that the University of Leeds has provided me with a great foothold, and the Masters degree can only bolster this position. After my Masters - well, who knows; an MSc opens up hundreds of avenues.
All in all, I’ve fully enjoyed the last three years. Geophysics at Leeds? Great choice.