From undergraduate to master's at Reading
Abi Ravichanthiran excelled personally and academically while completing the BSc Geography (Human and Physical) at the University of Reading. This made it an easy decision to stay and study the MSc Environmental Management in the Department of Geography and Environmental Science.
“After working and studying at Reading, I knew the lecturers were experts in their fields, who mentor and guide you as you apply your studies to your specific career aspirations. Staff in the Department are very supportive of your personal and academic progression.
"I was also a recipient of the School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science Postgraduate Scholarship, which helped to finance my further studies."
A course aligned with career aspirations
The flexibility of courses in the Department offers students like Abi the chance to adapt their degree to suit chosen interests, while the varied teaching and assessment methods provide the best opportunity to succeed.
“I was able to adapt my MSc Environmental Management course to my desired career aspirations. I chose more practical optional modules such as Environmental Consultancy and Research and Enterprise Micro-Placement, where I developed my skills in report writing, project proposals and data analysis.
"The course gave me a good balance of theoretical and practical approaches to environmental issues. Some of my course mates followed more laboratory-based modules to fit their career paths."
Master's students in the Department of Geography and Environmental Science learn with internationally recognised academics researching and teaching global topics including development, sustainability, globalisation and climate change.
The global thematic issues explored ensure an international perspective and play a part in the driving of a solution-orientated mind-set valued by employers.
“I learned a lot from my lecturers, who guided me throughout the year. My MSc was interdisciplinary, allowing me to grasp different viewpoints on environmental problems from the Department of Archaeology; School of Agriculture, Policy and Development; and Department of Chemistry.
"As well as this, Ecosystem Services and Environmental Economics taught me to be critical of how different stakeholders value services. This has been invaluable in understanding local and national environmental issues in my work.
"Most modules require critical analysis of past and current environmental policies, laws and legislations from international to local scales, which has been pivotal in my understanding of environmental governance.
"On the MSc you study with a diverse group of people of all ages, knowledge and career backgrounds. You learn from each other through discussions, field classes, group work and exam preparation. This learning experience was invaluable to me."
A collaborative course
The University benefits from an international community of students, staff, and alumni working together to help each other reach their potential, with students able to build contacts and professional networking encouraged throughout the course.
“As part of the course I've benefited from working with a PhD student on their research project, which has helped to improve my Geographic Information System skills. External speakers, including Reading alumni, have attended our modules where we've worked together on a thesis and research.
"Through my MSc, I've worked with various organisations in the Loddon Catchment including South East Water and the Environment Agency.”
As well as time studying both at undergraduate and master's levels, Abi has engaged with a range of initiatives and opportunities offered by both the Department and wider University.
“Opportunities at Reading are endless. As a Department representative, I've been involved with the Reading University Students' Union talking about issues and ideas at committee and board meetings with various stakeholders.
"The skills I've gained here are relevant to what I do now. Reading also offers campus jobs which are flexible around your studies. In one of my roles on campus I worked as a Sustainability Projects Assistant – allowing me to apply the theories I learnt from my master's.”
On the sustainability career path
Abi achieved a first-class honours in the MSc Environmental Management, and is now applying her experience and knowledge into a career in sustainability.
“I currently work as an Education, Communication and Outreach Officer at Veolia UK. This includes working to improve waste and recycling in London through local outreach, as well as designing and running regional behavioural change campaigns.
"I hope to continue in this field in engaging with the wider community on environmental issues and working on local and national campaigns.
"My BSc provided me with the stepping stone I needed, while the MSc has developed my waste management expertise for a career in sustainability. In the future I would like to go into further education following some industry experience to further understand the current sustainability issues."