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Emily Skinner out in the field

“My MSc helped me develop a new skill set relevant for my future career.”

The MSc Ecological Survey Skills with Placement course at the University of Reading really stood out to Emily as she wanted to gain industry-relevant practical knowledge.

“I chose this MSc over others as I wanted a course that was hands on and would allow me to delve into practical ecology. The course at Reading went beyond what I had initially expected”.

This course was ideal for Emily as she was able to develop practical skills ⁠– ⁠such as animal and plant identification and vegetation survey ⁠–⁠ alongside her peers. She even noted her appreciation in being able to explore legislation, which is becoming even more relevant in the ecological sector.

Students at Reading also get the opportunity to conduct a six-month paid placement with an ecological consultancy company as part of their MSc. Emily’s placement was with Jacobs working as a Seasonal Ecologist, where she supported ecological projects including the rescuing and rehoming of reptiles from a sea wall due to be rebuilt.

“I am loving being a seasonal ecologist as part of my paid placement. They got me out in the field immediately and it has allowed me to put into practice the animal identification skills I learnt in the taught part of my master's. I have been able to deal with adders, lizards, and even slow worms up close, noticing their features and patterns.

"The staff on the course were very supportive in helping us secure our paid placements, but above all they were so enthusiastic. Learning skills such as plant identification became more fun.”

Studying at Reading gave Emily a unique opportunity to gain real industry experience. She feels her master’s has now set her up for a career in ecology as she has the relevant skills.

“I’ve found through the master’s itself and through the paid placement that ecological consultancy is my area and is something I enjoy! I would love to continue in the sector, become a graduate ecologist and a full ecologist one day.

"I now feel confident going into the ecological sector with all the key skills I’ve learnt."

Learn more about the MSc Ecological Survey Skills with Placement course