- Name: Mandy
- Course: Biology BSc Honours
- Where I'm from: UK
Living in Blyth, Newcastle University was reasonably local to me and convenient to travel to. However being a prestigious university with an excellent reputation, particularly in the biological sciences, did highly influence my decision to study here. I was also impressed by the amount of pioneering research occurring within the School. Attending the prospective student’s open day, where I met previous students from the biology programme and heard about their experiences, finalised my decision.
What do you think of the teaching quality on your course?
Excellent. We are provided with a range of teaching platforms to learn from including practical field and lab sessions, seminars where there are opportunities for questions and discussion and approachable lecturers who involve students in their current research experiences. Lecturers are also easy to contact and provide a variety of resources to aid exam and assignment preparations. Useful feedback is also made available which helps enormously in the learning process.
I am relishing the whole university experience, meeting like-minded people from a range of different backgrounds and appreciating opportunities to use resources I wouldn’t get a chance to otherwise. Most of all, I enjoy learning aspects of a subject I have always been fascinated in, especially after so many years since leaving education. My favourite module so far has been the Biological Research Project which has enabled me to be involved in direct conservation work concerning management of Red Squirrel populations. I also very much enjoyed the Animal Behaviour module in stage 2 and currently Evolution of Behaviour as I am keen to learn the origins of, and reasons why, animals behave the way they do.
Recommending Biology at Newcastle
Newcastle is a friendly university with an excellent and supportive School. My course offers choice and flexibility. The first year provided a foundation of a broad range of biological subjects. So if after Stage 1, which happened to me, you change your mind and decide to specialise in a different area of biology be it zoology, cellular and molecular or ecology, you can. Teaching staff are also involved in a variety of research projects, of which they incorporate into some of the lectures particularly in Stage 3. The course contains compulsory modules but also allows for variation, with a choice of optional modules, so your degree can be somewhat tailor made to your interests. The university has a well-resourced library and an abundance of study and computer spaces to work at.
Living in Newcastle
Newcastle is a vibrant city with something for everyone: beautiful architecture, fantastic shopping facilities, interesting history and dynamic nightlife. Transport links are good and the locals are friendly.
There are so many clubs and societies to suit all interests. I have been a member of the Mature Students Society, BioSoc and The Soil Society. It’s great to be part of something where you can meet up and chat with people who share common interests. There are regular coffee groups and nights outs arranged and I know that other societies in the university arrange trips out further afield.
I live in my own house in Blyth, Northumberland so I don’t have to travel far. I drive half the way and use the metro for the other half of the journey.
Managing your money
Having my own family, I have to budget. My advice would be not to, as tempting as it is, spend all of your student finance at once. Mine goes straight into a student account I opened especially. Then I ‘pay’ myself in equal increments spread out through the term, which go into my main bank account. This way, I treat my student loan as wages. It takes willpower, but it’s the best way if you don’t want to run out of money quick!
When I first started my degree at Newcastle, I was interested in cellular and Molecular Biology and wanted to work perhaps in a research laboratory. However, having been introduced to many other aspects of biology during my first year at Newcastle, my interests changed and now I enjoy fieldwork and am very much interested in the protection of vulnerable and endangered species. Studying at Newcastle has exposed me to these opportunities, through involvement in current research projects. I would like to work locally in Northumberland in areas of ecology and conservation and am considering embarking on a wildlife Management Msc at Newcastle University to gain more specialist knowledge and experience in the field.