Student Profile

Amy, 2017 - Final Year Astrophysics

I have recently completed my undergraduate degree in Astrophysics (MPhys) and I’ve loved my time at the University of St Andrews, both academically and socially. My courses have all been engaging and the lecturers are enthusiastic about their subjects. 

Although I had the grades to go straight into 2nd year via the School’s direct entry route, I chose to start my time in St Andrews from 1st year.  My physics courses covered lots of topics that I’d already been exposed to at school but they were delivered in a different style and in more depth.  I was able to focus more of my effort on the new way to learn via lectures, tutorials, workshops and labs.  It also meant that I could spend more time making new friends and trying out different societies.

I joined AstroSoc, the Astronomy society, on their trip to Norway in the winter of first year where we were lucky enough to see the Northern Lights.  Besides Physics and science in general, I have always enjoyed singing and so I was also a member of the St Andrews Music Society Singers – a non-auditioned choir – during my time at St Andrews.

The extracurricular activity in which I invested most time, however, was the Ambassador Scheme which is run by the Admissions Department of the University.  The Ambassadors are the students that run the Open Days, often seen in the red gowns, but we also do a lot of work in Widening Participation through many Primary and Secondary School projects.  As the first in my family to go to University, I qualified for a few of the projects while I was at High School and so when I started my degree here, I decided to join the Ambassador Scheme in order to help other young people in a similar situation to me. 

I also met a good group of friends via the Ambassadors and I think that this is something that is fantastic about St Andrews: with so many societies, sports and groups available to be joined, there is a plethora of different ways to meet great people from different backgrounds with different interests.

The highlight of my degree was the opportunity to work with researchers in Astrophysics during the summer months after my 3rd and 4th years where I carried out research on galaxy models. This opportunity opened my eyes to the possibility of postgraduate study and developed my research and coding skills which have proved useful in many of my modules.  I enjoyed conducting my own research to the extent that I decided I wished to continue with academia in the form of PhD study.  With my time at St Andrews drawing to a close, I’m looking forward to starting my PhD at the University of Cambridge, which St Andrews has prepared me for well.

The University and the Physics department have offered me so many opportunities and I couldn’t ask for a more positive university experience that I have shared with a great group of friends.  A big thank you is definitely due to the Physics & Astronomy staff for helping, encouraging and supporting me over the past five years.

First posted BDS 3.8.17