Studying in Australia in third year gave me the confidence to look at PhDs abroad

Emily Rickman
Emily Rickman
PhD student, University of Geneva
MPhys Physics and Astrophysics with Study Abroad
Emily spent the third year of her degree studying in Australia, and is now completing her PhD in Switzerland.

When I first visited Sheffield I knew it was where I wanted to be. The main thing that struck me was that everybody was so friendly. I was also attracted to Sheffield because of the possibility to study abroad on the astrophysics masters program, which was something I hadn't seen offered anywhere else in the UK.

I enjoyed the course the more I went through it, from learning the basics in first year to leaving as a scientist after fourth year. I enjoyed that in the course we not only got taught skills, but these skills were immediately put to use and in context. For example, in second year we were taught how to programme and then we used these skills to model the internal structure of the Sun.

The path to where I am now truly started in second year with Simon Goodwin's extra-solar planets and astrobiology course. At that point, I was captivated into learning about planets outside of our solar system.


Studying in Australia in third year gave me the confidence to look at PhDs abroad when it came to fourth year.

Emily Rickman

Physics and Astrophysics with Study Abroad MPhys


My third year was spent studying at the Australian National University, which was a challenging but rewarding year. In Australia, I undertook a research project hunting for planets and it was such an incredible experience getting to work with cutting-edge research. It gave me the opportunity to network and meet people in the field, which would be how I ended up studying for a PhD in exoplanets in Geneva.

I was able to observe at a world-class site, operate a particle accelerator, be taught by a Nobel-prize winner in cosmology, as well as meet directors from NASA who were visiting Canberra's deep space communication complex. I left Australia with a greater knowledge and understanding of the field, invaluable experiences and lasting friendships.

Studying in Australia in third year gave me the confidence to look at PhDs abroad when it came to fourth year. I knew that I enjoyed living in another country and this has given me the ability to come and study for a PhD in direct imaging exoplanets at the University of Geneva.

Explore the University

Discover what sets Sheffield apart at our next on-campus open day.