Jonathan - MSci Chemistry and Physics,
final year 2011

JonathanDuring my final year of High School, I could not decide whether to choose Chemistry or Physics to study at university. Thankfully St Andrews provided the perfect solution, a joint MSci degree in Chemistry and Physics. And in my (very biased) opinion, the most interesting course available.

When you begin your student life at St Andrews, you soon realise why the university has such an impressive reputation. The high quality of teaching from enthusiastic lecturers, who are carrying out world leading research is inspiring to say the least. And when you add to that a town filled with bucket loads of tradition and great coffee shops, it is a perfect combination.

Studying both Chemistry and Physics definitely has its advantages. It opens up a range of interesting courses, that would otherwise not be available and there is flexibility to the order in which you take the modules. Third and fourth year modules are taken concurrently, so some extra reading may be required, however I found the lecturers always had time to help and answer any questions I had.

During my time at St Andrews I became actively involved with the student staff councils of both Chemistry and Physics. It was really encouraging to see that student opinions were valued highly and acted upon quickly. I felt that I was able to make a valuable contribution to both departments. It was also a great way to get to know staff and other students from different years.

For the last three years I have joined up with research groups in both the Chemistry and Physics departments of St Andrews and CNRS in Grenoble, France. Both Chemistry and Physics were really supportive with helping me to find funding and actively encourage students to undertake such projects. The projects were a great way of gaining experience in the world of research and I met some lovely people along the way.

Following my graduation I will start work on a PhD improving the efficiency of silicon solar cells, which will draw upon skills and knowledge gained from both Chemistry and Physics.

I would encourage anyone who is wanting to continue their studies of both Chemistry and Physics to do so at St Andrews. I wouldn't have changed my 5 years at St Andrews for anywhere else in the world.

First posted 9.8.2011