The Masters Experience

My name is Jorge, and I came from Mexico in 2016 to study my MSc degree in Polymers Science & Engineering at the University of Sheffield.  I chose Sheffield because it has one of the best Materials Science departments in the UK, and, as a member of the Russell Group, employers everywhere in the world would recognize the quality of my degree.

Materials such as polymers or composites have become so ubiquitous in our life that we barely notice how indispensable they are. Through this course, I have learned that there are so many exciting development opportunities in the field of Materials Science and engineering, especially for applications such as aerospace or biotechnology. With so many opportunities available, this is definitely an exciting time to study materials science.

Having the opportunity to work on a research project with the staff at the Composite Systems Innovation Centre has definitely been the highlight of the course. Given the recent announcements about McLaren and Boeing building new manufacturing sites in Sheffield in cooperation with the University, it really speaks of the quality of the work done in composites by the staff here.

The University made relocating to Sheffield really easy. Just before Orientation Week, the University ran a regular coach between Manchester Airport and the university residences that is very convenient for international students who have just arrived to the UK after a long journey. During Orientation Week, the Students’ Union organized several useful sessions to help new students settle in, such as how to open a bank account or tours around the campus. During this week, you are also able to meet with a lot of new students from all over the world in your same situation so it’s easy to make friends as soon as you arrive.

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In a typical weekday, I will either have lectures for my modules or I will have programmed some laboratory work for my research project. In your master’s project you are given several objectives you are expected to reach and it is up to you to manage your own time in order to achieve the desired results. I usually work on my project in the mornings at the Composite Systems Innovation Centre (CSIC), where experienced PhD students are available to answer any questions I might have. I meet with my project supervisor once a week in order to discuss my project progress. At midday I like to have lunch at the university since there are several good and affordable places to eat around the campus. Some days, if I have some pending coursework or papers I need to read, I’ll head to the Information Commons or the Diamond to work before heading back home.

In the evenings, I will either go for training with the University of Sheffield Fencing Club, or head out with my friends to a local pub. Some nights, we will also head out to some of the club nights happening around Sheffield or organized by the Students’ Union such as Pop Tarts or ROAR.

During weekends, I love heading out for hiking in the Peak District with the University of Sheffield Walking Club or catching a movie at the Students’ Union, courtesy of the university Film Unit.

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I highly recommend joining one of the several sports clubs or societies . Not only will you meet lots of new people, you will also have the opportunity to exercise or get involved in local projects, as well as participating in social events organized by the clubs or societies. I joined the Fencing Club and besides weekly training and all the amazing socials and nights out organized by the club, I had the opportunity to travel to a fencing competition in Paris.

I also love travelling around the UK when I have some free time. Distances and travel times are short enough that one is able to visit a couple of cities in a weekend. I also take any opportunity I get to travel to London since there is so much to see there, even if it is only for a couple of days. London is comfortably just two hours away by train

After I’ve completed the degree, I’ll be heading back to Mexico in order to apply all the knowledge I gained here. There are so many opportunities for development in Mexico and highly skilled workers are really needed for the local development of science and engineering.

Be sure to apply early to your selected courses and any scholarships you might be interested on. Don’t feel intimidated applying to certain scholarships you might think are out of your reach, you might get a pleasant surprise!


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