Image of ice

Our Students.

Maria Luisa Sanchez Montes, Polar and Alpine Change 2012-13

Image of Maria in SvabardWhy did you choose to study on the MSc Polar and Alpine Change?

During my Bachelor’s Geology degree in Spain, I took a palaeoceanography module and got very interested in Quaternary climate variability, notably its polar expressions, and I wanted to learn more. I realised that the MSc of Polar and Alpine Change was covering such topics and that it would help prepare me to obtain a job in Europe and/or in academia.

What do you think of Sheffield?

I like all sorts of things: the city’s dynamism and its studenty feel; opportunities to learn new languages (e.g. in the Language Teaching Center) and what happens in other fields (via other departments’ seminars); advice from the Career Services on CV improvement and interview preparation; extra-curriculum activities like lunch-time music recitals at The Firth Court and the Students’ Union. I enjoyed the city’s active night life and made many friends.

Are there any modules that you particularly enjoyed?

The Polar and Alpine Climates module. Covering a wide range of topics, it was well structured and encouraged deep learning. I enjoyed writing its assessed essay.

What were the highlights in your course?

One highlight was the Fieldclass module in Svalbard. The inspiring location, the interesting module content (hydrologicy, glaciology, geomorphology), and facilities at the University Centre together made it a great scientific experience. The MSc Dissertation was for me another highlight, where I put my research skills into full practice.

What is it like studying in the Department of Geography?

It is a nice and friendly environment. The staff members are welcoming and accessible, so I can learn what they research; the discussions with them helped me discover my own interests. The department’s weekly seminars also kept me up to date with the latest science. I found the computer room and the café to be great places for studying after class and meeting other postgrads and chatting with them over cups of tea.

What valuable skills have you gained from the MSc Polar and Alpine Change?

In the past year I have developed my research/academic writing skills by a long way. They will be very valuable for my career.

How has your degree helped your career development?

My experience in this MSc has truly propelled me into a life of research! It has helped me gain my current PhD position at Durham University, where I am funded by a Van Mildert College Trust Scholarship.

Kate Reid, Polar and Alpine Change 2012-13

ReidWhy did you choose to study on the MSc Polar and Alpine Change?

I decided to choose this course after completing my undergraduate degree in geography-geoscience at the University of Aberdeen as I wished to further my knowledge of the climate and cryosphere.

What do you think of Sheffield?

Prior to starting my course I had never visited Sheffield but I instantly felt very welcome as both the locals and university staff were very friendly. As our classes are small it was easy to get to know other students on the course and the lecturers quickly.

Are there any modules that you particularly enjoyed?

I particularly enjoyed the Polar and Alpine Climates module as the subject material was new to me and I liked the informal teaching format, which combined lectures with class discussions.

Have there been any highlights of your course?

The Department of Geography holds weekly Seminar and Forum lectures, where current PhD students and lecturers at the department, along with guest speakers are invited to discuss their research findings. I found these lectures very interesting and it was a great way to make friends in other courses. There are also lots of sports and societies at Sheffield University, which I would thoroughly recommend joining, and of course, the Peak District is just a short bus journey so is very accessible for day trips. I can’t wait to go on the fieldtrip to Svalbard in Summer, I have seen the photos from previous years and it looks amazing!

Scott Davidson, Polar and Alpine Change 2012-13

Student ProfileWhy did you choose to return to further study?

I have always been interested in research and the chance to further my education. I went straight from my undergraduate degree to Masters so the crossover was relatively smooth.

Why did you choose to study the MSc Polar and Alpine Change?

I chose to study this Masters as I have always been fascinated by the extremes of the planet, especially how the flora and fauna of the polar regions can survive at extremes. Having really enjoyed my Glaciology module at my previous university and undertaking my thesis on vegetation on an alpine debris-covered glacier, it seemed fitting that I further my education through this Masters course.

Are there any modules you have particularly enjoyed?

I particularly enjoyed the Polar and Alpine Environments module which allowed me to study the arctic and alpine ecosystems which I am really passionate about.

What has been the highlight of your course?

A highlight has been the excellent array of guest speakers at the weekly forums throughout term time. It’s a brilliant opportunity to expand your knowledge on areas you may not necessarily know much about and the networking opportunities were invaluable.

What's it been like studying in the Department of Geography?

It has been good to have our own masters study space within the Department of Geography and to interact with staff and other postgraduate students who are so driven and passionate about their research.

What skills have you gained from the MSc Polar and Alpine Change that will be of value in the future? How do you plan to use these skills?

I have enjoyed the independence of the Masters, in particular learning to use new modelling/software programmes, and gaining a greater knowledge of how to write for scientific journals and how to create a scientific poster, which will be invaluable in my future career.

How do you think your degree will help your career development?

This Masters has helped be secure a NERC funded PhD in the Department of Animals and Plant Sciences at the University of Sheffield, looking at how climate change has influenced arctic Tundra Vegetation in Alaska and subsequent impacts on Greenhouse Gas Emissions.