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A master's and a PhD at Reading

Outside a building at Nanjing University

Yuanyuan Wang studied Applied Chemistry at the Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology (NUIST) before making the most of our 4+1 agreement to join us for her master's degree. She loved it so much she decided to stay, and has now completed her PhD.

“My undergraduate supervisor recommended Reading to me as she is a Reading graduate and enjoyed it here very much!

"The main reason I stayed for my PhD was that I really enjoyed my master's and my supervisor was enthusiastic about me continuing here. My PhD concerned soil analysis – specifically heavy metals in polluted areas.”

A new culture and independence

Yuanyuan soon discovered differences between studying in China and in the UK, notably the independence and freedom to study what she wanted here at Reading.

“At the beginning of my master's degree I realised I would have a lot more independence. I could decide what subjects to study, what to do and how to do it.

"My supervisor at Reading was always ready to give me guidance and ensured that I was working effectively. In China, the supervisor would have told me exactly what to do next and I would have just followed his advice.”

Making friends and improving English

At first it was difficult for Yuanyuan to get used to working in English for long periods of time, and she found it quite tiring.

“I overcame this by trying to communicate with other people. When I was experimenting in the lab, I would always try to chat with members of staff.

"They were very kind and talked with me too, which really helped improve my communication skills. Overall, they made me feel extremely supported.”

A dedicated Graduate School

The University of Reading has a world-class and supportive Graduate School and Yuanyuan made the most of what they had to offer.

“The Graduate School was really good because they ran lots of courses that gave me ideas. For example, I was able to learn how to write a good CV and cover letter. I think this was really important for me.

"I also used the University for advice about my visa. Overall, the careers guidance I got at Reading was very important.”

Hopes for the future

Yuanyuan was accepted onto the doctorate extension scheme, meaning she could work in the UK for a further 12 months, and is confident about her career prospects.

“I think the PhD will help me to find a job very easily in China if I go back. Another Chinese PhD graduate I know has been able to find a number of positions.”

Learn more about master's study in our Department

Richard Blackall: a solid start

A pipette in a chemical bottle
After feeling passionate about his final-year BSc project, Richard was inspired to continue learning. He decided to stay at Reading to complete an MSc in Chemical Research.
Athena SWAN Silver Award