Faculty of Mathematics and Physical Sciences

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Derek Watson

MSc Mathematics

"I would tell another student thinking of an Msc to go for it, it's definitely worthwhile. It's a worthwhile qualification and it is from a well-recognised University."
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Andrew Grimes

MSc Chemical Biology

Why did you choose to come to Leeds?
I did my undergraduate in Glasgow in Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry and the Chemical Biology course itself is the only course of its kind in the country and so that was something I wanted to look into. I wanted to explore it and get a greater understanding of what is happening on the biology side of things. So, as this was the only taught course in the country, it was an opportunity to get a greater understanding of Biology before then taking that step into something else. 

How would you describe the student life here at Leeds?
Obviously I was only here for a year doing a post-grad masters which was quite tough with regards to the amount of time I had to spend in the labs but I enjoy being labs. We also had quite a large group doing the Masters and so it was easy to integrate into a new place. Leeds as a city for students is a fantastic opportunity. It’s not as big as Glasgow and is more focussed on students during term time and there is so much happening in Leeds. It’s got a nice atmosphere as well, it’s quite welcoming and if you are into music scenes or sports, for example, you will enjoy that side of things.

What are your favourite memories of studying here?
I think it’s the friends I met on the course. As a student you get a good feel for the campus and the Headingley area is really a place where you can be yourself as a student and enjoy life in Leeds. A lot of ideas come from that and it’s a supportive place for creative students as well. There is a nice sub-culture in Leeds, with a lot of small venues playing music and a lot of alternative dance scenes, which is a bit different. There’s a nice feel about Leeds in the summer as well and Hyde Park is a beautiful place to be.

You have just graduated. What are you thinking of doing next?
At present I am working for a fuel additives company in Oxford, so something completely different. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy chemical biology, but in the current climate this was a role which appealed and I was successful in getting. I am using what I learnt on the course within my current job in the sense of using my presentation skills and communication skills; being able to communicate my chemical knowledge well. I have also taken my confidence of chemistry into a role where I will be dealing with people face on, who may not know much about the technical aspects of chemistry but I will be able to break it down for them, making it easier to understand chemical data in bite-sized chunks. This course has helped me to achieve all of these things; to pick out the main pieces of information and present my knowledge in a way that is easier for people to understand.