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School of Geography

Angus McDonald, BSc Geography (Industrial)

I am currently in the final year of my BSc (Hons) Geography (Industrial) degree. Over the duration of my course I have developed numerous research skills and analytical tools which have enhanced my awareness and understanding of the spatial and temporal factors that influence our ever-changing climate. I feel that I have developed valuable skills such as teamwork, presentation, problem solving, and communication. Many research projects which I have undertaken have required me to analyse and interpret information from a wide range of sources. Furthermore, data collection methods essential to scientific studies, combined with laboratory analysis, have been undertaken. Consequently, the course has improved my qualitative and quantitative research skills.

Modules that I have particularly enjoyed include ‘Tropical Forests & Sustainable Development’, ‘Water Science & Management’ and ‘The Science of Terrestrial Carbon’. These modules particularly interested me as they provided an insight into relevant and cutting edge scientific knowledge. I also went on a field trip to the Alps in my second year and undertook an individual research project in New Zealand in my final year. These field trips were both fantastic experiences and I would thoroughly recommend them to future students. The New Zealand field trip, in particular, presents students with a great opportunity to carry out an individual research project abroad.

The third year of my course, also known as a ‘Year in Industry’, was spent at The Co-operative Group in Manchester. My role was the ‘Energy & Environment Support Manager’. The 54-week long placement gave me vital experience and allowed me to develop essential transferable skills which could be used on my return to university and throughout my future career. Throughout my placement I was given numerous responsibilities of varying significance. By having these responsibilities I was able to develop my ability to manage projects, apply knowledge and work with others. Prior to my placement, I had very little idea of what I wanted my career to involve and the direction I wanted to take it. However, the placement has allowed me to gain vital work experience and has provided guidance for my future career. Moreover, the placement has acted as a gateway for future opportunities within the company.

During my final year, I completed a dissertation, which was both an enjoyable and fulfilling experience. The dissertation presents an opportunity for students to manage a substantial research project from inception through to completion. It is an opportunity to gain a vast amount of knowledge about a research field which genuinely interests you. It can also be used in future job interviews as an example of skills gained whilst at University.

Throughout my degree I feel that there has been a great balance between receiving the support and guidance I have required whilst undertaking individual projects and being able to improve my overall self-development. All the members of staff in the School of Geography have been welcoming, friendly and incredibly helpful. Finally, there is a huge amount on offer at the University of Leeds in terms of both academic and extra-curricular activities, and there is something for everyone to get involved in!