Qualifications: B.Sc. Geology
Studying: M.Sc. Natural Hazards
Ultimate Ambition: To work with volcanoes
Life at University
The course is research project based, with optional level 4 modules so there is a lot of choice. Bristol as a city is great. There’s lots to do – I come from a small village in Scotland and St Andrews, where I did my undergraduate degree, was tiny. So living in Bristol makes a change. The course is pretty much what I expected in terms of the topics covered. You can make it as difficult as you want, because you do your own research. There is a list of possible topics, but supervisors are open to project ideas. I am particularly interested in volcanoes. My project involves using satellite ASTER (Advanced Space-bourn Thermal Emission Reflection Spectrometer) to observe volcanoes. I am looking at sulphur dioxide emissions and using the images collected by the satellite for mitigation strategies.
How I got here
I completed Scottish Highers which are equivalent to A levels. Geology Geography English Maths French Biology and Chemistry. You take as many as possible in first year (no more than 5), and then add more topics in the second year. Originally I planned to go to university to study medicine, but I changed my mind at the last minute to study geology at St Andrews in Scotland. This was mostly because I like the outdoors. I didn’t take any year out. I travelled to New Zealand to study ignimbrite deposits for my undergraduate project. I picked my current course because it looked particularly interesting.
You have to be interested in natural hazards to do this course, but if you are, I recommend it.