Image of MSc Sustainable Cities student Rhian Ebrey

Rhian Ebrey

Why did you decide to study a Masters at the University of Leeds?

I decided that I wanted to change careers, and so studying a Masters has given me the qualification I need to get into working in the sustainability field. The University of Leeds’ School of Earth and Environment is one of the top departments for sustainability, and the MSc Sustainable Cities course is unique with its problem-based learning, diversity of work-related assessment methods and one module at a time learning, which allows greater immersion in the topic.  This made for a much more dynamic and exciting masters programme with real-world application.

What has been the best aspect of studying on your course and at the University so far and why?

I have loved the problem-based learning challenges. Being given a real-world city problem to research and have the chance to create a solution which could make a real difference to urban sustainability is really exciting.

Tell us about some of the exciting projects you have completed.

I have designed solutions to providing clean water during drought in Lilongwe, Malawi, using blue-green infrastructure, providing a sustainable energy supply to Khayelitsha, Cape Town’s largest informal settlement of 400,00 people, a socially and environmentally just transport system for Melbourne, Australia, and a sustainable social housing development in Leeds.

What does Leeds as a city have to offer students?

There’s so much more than the university. If you're interested in something that the university doesn’t have a society for, there’s bound to be one within Leeds. There’s a great range of events, places to see and things to do, and Leeds’ central location means you’re connected to most parts of the country by train. The Yorkshire Dales aren’t far for an escape from city life.

What are your ambitions for the future?

I want to work on developing climate change solutions to bring about wider societal change by working with NGOs and community groups.

What experiences at Leeds do you think will help you in your future career?

Working in groups on real city problems has given me a lot of skills and experiences which I can talk about in job interviews, such as team work, solving problems and communication delivery.  All of these will be really important assets in any future career, and the work-orientated assessment methods have allowed me to demonstrate that I can do a lot more than just write academic essays.

What would you say to students thinking about applying for the course?

Go for it! I haven’t come across another course like it. MSc Sustainable Cities provides you with such a diverse range of knowledge and skills which employers are looking for. It allows you to explore your interests and help develop you as a person as much as a researcher. The staff are all fantastic and very supportive too.