I was looking for a university commutable from Birmingham and was well aware of Loughborough, due to its fantastic reputation as a top UK university and its highly respected materials department. After a considerable amount of research into the course and very positive discussions with friends and family who had studied at Loughborough previously, I decided it was the best option available, so applied.
As mentioned above, Loughborough has a highly respected materials department, ranking as one of the best in the UK on all ranking tables I reviewed. In addition to this, they offer a part time distance learning course which gave me the possibility to continue working full time whilst studying. Upon visiting the campus, I was very impressed by the facilities available - they were far superior to any I had experienced previously. I also spoke to my brother who had studied a materials engineering undergraduate degree at Loughborough and was complimentary of the lecturers, tutors and general course aids.
I studied my undergraduate degree, a BSc in Physics, at Aberystwyth University. I had always intended to study a master’s in my lifetime but wanted a break from academia for a short period after my undergraduate degree. Instead, I went into the world of work where I started a job as a Graduate Development Metallurgist with Arconic. After working for a year, I decided that acquiring a master’s degree in materials science would help further my professional career through knowledge and qualifications.
The teaching quality I have experienced has been at a consistently high standard. The content has included difficult concepts yet delivered at a reasonable pace in an understandable manner. The layout and labelling of the teaching notes on LEARN is well suited for those trying to learn from a distance. In addition to this, I’ve felt the teaching has adapted well to the COVID-19 situation.
As I mentioned previously, I was very impressed by the facilities available to materials students - they are first class. I was particularly impressed by the xenon plasma focused ion beam (PFIB), one of only nine such instruments available in the UK. Outside of the materials department there are endless sports facilities everywhere, which I am very jealous that the on-campus students get to use regularly!
My one piece of advice to someone considering studying part time is to study at your own pace; don’t feel like you need to do more than one module per semester if you don’t have time. My one piece of advice for someone considering studying the programme generally is to visit the campus, view the facilities available, discuss the programme with the programme leader and allow that to make your decision for you.
The support I received from the University has been fantastic. Module leaders are one email or Teams message away and always reply promptly for help on assignments. I’ve found this to be the case in and outside of normal working hours, which I don’t believe should be an expectation but is very useful.
As I was studying from a distance for a year pre-COVID, I developed an ability to work from a distance whilst staying up to speed and in constant communication, using applications such as Microsoft Teams. Even though this is non-specific to my course, I think most people would agree that this is a skill that has been essential in the last year and will likely be in the future.
I’ve only visited campus a handful of times as I have been distance learning, so I don’t have a full picture of it, but when I have visited there has been a social buzz. There are students playing sports, relaxing, walking round, studying with friends almost everywhere you look. It’s the sort of social atmosphere you only get on a campus university.
I would like to continue to work in the field of materials science engineering. My master's will give me the skills and tools I need to progress my career. In the modern day, many employers seek experienced engineers with a master’s degree as a minimum requirement.