Not many places offer Plant Sciences courses and I love Sheffield as a city!

Emily Brooks
Emily Brooks
My time studying Plant Sciences
MBiolSci Plant Sciences (now Biological Sciences)
Emily had always had an interest in plants so when she discovered that she could study Plant Sciences at Sheffield that seemed like a perfect fit.
Emily Brooks

What made you decide to study your course in Sheffield? 

I have always had an interest in plants. My grandad has been a gardener all his life. In addition, my mum has had an allotment for over ten years now and also recently began gardening professionally. I always enjoyed science at school and I have found that I am pretty good at it. Plant Sciences was the only degree that combined both of these interests. 

I chose to study at Sheffield because it was one of the few universities that offer an undergraduate Plant Sciences course. I also really liked the sound of the third-year modules and it was exciting that a lot of professors within the department were conducting cutting-edge research on plants. Additionally, my sister came to Sheffield previously and she showed me how great the city was.

What have you enjoyed most about the course?  

I have really enjoyed getting to know new friends who are also interested in plant science. I have had the opportunity to study modules focussing on improving food security, whilst also tackling climate change. I have thoroughly really enjoyed working under, and receiving lectures from the professors of plant science at Sheffield.

What did you do for your third year research project and dissertation?

My dissertation was focussed on plant-aphid interactions under the supervision of Professor Juriaan Ton. In particular, how aphid viruses can help aphids to overcome host plant defences. For my project, under the supervision of Dr Beth Dyson, we looked at the environmental responses of arctic and alpine plant species to climate warming. 

What scientific skills have you developed during your course? 

I have primarily improved my science communication skills, but also my lab and coding skills. I am also now better at collecting, interpreting and presenting experimental data.

What transferable skills have you developed during your course? 

Through the course, I have become a lot more confident in my own abilities, whilst also having improved my written communication, critical thinking, and presentation skills. 

What do you hope to do after your degree? 

I am not sure yet. I am hoping that my masters course will help me to clarify my interests a bit more, and give me an opportunity to seek more career advice. If I find a topic I am really passionate about, I would be keen to stay in academia. Otherwise, I would perhaps like to work for a company developing GM crops, though this would depend whether I agree with the ethics of the particular company.

What would you say to a prospective student considering studying Plant Sciences at Sheffield? 

If you are interested in the future of crops on this planet, Plant Sciences is a great course to choose. It hardly limits your module choices in the first year and, if you don’t enjoy it, you can easily switch to a standard Biology degree.

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