Ailsa Bennett

Without doubt, the teaching and supervision I have received has been excellent.


How did you decide on your degree choice? What appealed about Manchester?

Sciences are important to the continued improvement of life for us all, and the fascination of chemistry for me is that it brings together all the disciplines: physics, biology and mathematics. It is a practical, as much as an academic subject, which gives opportunity to get in the lab and put theories to the test. Choosing Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry allowed my interests in both chemistry and biology to be developed.

The fact that the university is one of the most targeted in the UK by graduate recruiters, as well as being a Russell University Institute, made my choice of Chemistry at Manchester an easier one to make. I realised the teaching would be excellent, and due to the large size of the city, there would be ample opportunities to socialise.

What were your first impressions of the university and the city?

The University rests either side of the busy Oxford Road corridor and is served by an excellent transport service. It is a large but also compact university which lends itself to quick, hassle free transfer to lectures in other buildings.

The city centre boasts many shops which are only a bus ride away. There is a lot to do in and around the University; with the student nightlife, societies, and sports.

There is also a large choice of student accommodation, with excellent support services.

What are you most enjoying about your course?

The chemistry course is different from what you experienced at A Level. It is up to you to put the work in, so be organised! I enjoyed the independent learning that you do at degree level in all aspects of the course. Practical labs are by far the best part of the degree.  They help you put into action what you have learnt in lectures.

What skills and attributes do you think you have gained from your course and co-curricular activities so far?

Chemistry is a course which allows you to develop many skills, making you attractive to potential employers. Over the years, my numerical, analytical, and practical skills have improved. My presentation skills and confidence have also developed, enabling me to communicate chemistry effectively.

There are societies within the School to get involved with such as ChemSoc, who organise lots of events throughout the year.

Third and fourth year students can also partake in PASS (Peer Assisted Study Scheme), where they aid first and second year chemistry students in their learning- very beneficial!

How do you think you are benefitting from studying at Manchester?

Without doubt, the teaching and supervision I have received has been excellent. This aided in my decision to pursue a PhD at the University. I decided that I wanted to study both Chemistry and Biology at a postgraduate level, hence my decision to undertake a PhD in Molecular Cancer Studies.

What advice would you give to students considering applying for the same course that you took?

You need a good work ethic, as the course can be quite intense at times. Preparation is the key, if you prepare you won’t go far wrong. The theory is backed up with practical labs, and further enhanced by tutorials.

The Sciences are becoming a much sort after discipline, and such a degree could provide a worthwhile and satisfying career path. There are opportunities to develop your chemistry portfolio with relevant placements at the University during the Summer recess. Be prepared though: they are much in demand.

There is time and ample opportunities to socialise: take advantage of all the societies within the University to keep yourself busy outside of University work.

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