If Computer Science is something you’ve been interested in, then Sheffield is a fantastic place to study.

PhD Student Megan Thomas
Megan Thomas
PhD Student
Computer Science - Centre for Doctoral Training in Speech and Language Technologies
Megan is a student in the Centre for Doctoral Training in Speech and Language Technologies and their Applications.

Can you tell us more about your background and what/where you studied as an undergraduate?

I have an undergraduate degree in Arabic and Linguistics from the University of Westminster. I’ve always been really interested in speech and linguistics, so decided to continue down that path and completed the MSc in Forensic Speech Science at the University of York.

Why did you choose Computer Science at the University of Sheffield for your post-graduate study?

An email was sent around my department at York advertising the brand-new Centre for Doctoral Training at Sheffield. My MSc dissertation had involved working with speaker identification systems which seemed applicable to the work being done by the NLP and SpandH groups at the university here. I was worried about having limited experience in programming and computer science, but the beauty of the CDT was the integrated PgDip which gave me time to brush up on my Python skills and learn the mechanisms behind programs I’d used for my dissertation.

What do you particularly enjoy about studying Computer Science?

My favourite thing so far has actually been learning to code! I never thought it would be something I actually enjoyed doing but the teaching, resources, and support here have helped turn something I was worried about into something I feel confident in.

Tell us about being a postgraduate student here. What’s a typical week like for you?

A typical week for me at the moment is a bit of a mixed bag. I’m attending lectures (Speech Technology and Foundations in Computer Science) alongside working on the CDT’s Mini Project, staying on top of journals for the CDT and SpandH Health journal clubs, researching topics for the CDT’s MetaMooc, trying to brush up on my maths skills, and researching for potential PhD topics. Of course, there’s also the social aspect of being here! Un-Wine-d Mondays at the Red Deer (right next to the department!) and the weekly pub quiz at the Bath Hotel really help you to relax and enjoy the city outside of your studies.

What is your favourite thing about Sheffield?

My favourite thing so far has been the CDT cohort I’m in. A classic PhD would have been too isolating for me but being in a CDT means there’s always people working on similar things who are willing to help each other. It’s also great that we’re all from different backgrounds, so there’s a lot of different perspectives and different ways of approaching problems. I’ve also been really impressed with all of the faculty I’ve come into contact with. Everyone is so willing to share their knowledge, even if it’s in an informal chat just to find out more about what everyone is working on. 

Can you tell us a bit more about your project and what you are working on?

Unfortunately because of the structure of the CDT I don’t have a PhD topic set yet! But I’m hoping it will be within the realms of healthcare; using speech to detect early onset diseases or changes in emotional states.

What are your plans for the future and how do you think your experience at Sheffield will help you in your career?

I still have 3.5 years of study left, so I’m anticipating that my plans may change a lot throughout the course of my PhD. However, as things stand, I’d love to continue in research, and I think that TUOS is a fantastic place to be for that.

Do you have any top tips for students thinking about postgraduate study in Computer Science at Sheffield?

They should absolutely go for it! If Computer Science is something you’ve been interested in, then Sheffield is a fantastic place to study. The amount of help and support I’ve received here is heads above my experiences with other universities I’ve attended.

Find a PhD

Search for PhD opportunities at Sheffield and be part of our world-leading research.