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A Master Student’s Experience at UCL

MariaSchizas3 June 2016

As long as I can remember, I have always wanted to attend UCL, and this became a reality when I was accepted to join a diverse group of students for a Master’s degree in Crime and Forensic Science at the prestigious UCL Centre for the Forensic Sciences. The CFS was founded in 2010 and is the first research centre in the world to develop pioneering and holistic forensic science research for the effective interpretation of forensic evidence, and contribute to the prevention and detection of crime

The courses in the MSc programme are challenging but very enjoyable. I never thought I would end up doing a variety of topics from crime scene investigation to psychology. There is more to forensic science, and crime science in general, than I originally thought – but we still need a whole lot of research, because there are so many areas that need exploration, understanding, and communication.

UCL quad (UCL Media Relations)

UCL quad (UCL Media Relations)

My experience at UCL has been an unforgettable one. Firstly, the city of London is out of this world – there are so many things to occupy your time with. Experiencing such a multicultural city opened my eyes in many ways, especially in thinking of the future and the endless possibilities that a world like ours can offer. Secondly, my Master’s has taught me a lot about the subject I chose as my career path, and the multidisciplinary aspects of crime and forensic science. The lecturers and the PhD students are very knowledgeable in what they do, so getting first-hand experience from the experts themselves enabled me to explore a variety of topics in much more detail. Additionally, having guest speakers talk about what they do in seminars gives crime investigation a diverse spin, and enabled me to see things from different perspectives. Seeing the different perspectives is very important, not just in the crime and forensic sciences, but in life too—it empowers you to understand others and this is an essential skill for living in London, or any other multicultural city.

Each individual is different, and everyone copes with stress in different ways but my top 5 tips for surviving UCL are as follows:

  1. Sleep: never go sleep-deprived. Trust me, I learned it the hard way. Sleeping is important for cognitive functions and without functional cognitive processes, you will find it hard to follow the lectures/seminars, which adds more to your ‘to do list’ at the end of the day.
  2. Look out for learning resources: there are great resources out there to help with writing assignments, I found ‘The elements of style’ to be a lifesaver on many occasions – essays were more enjoyable to write and hopefully better for the markers to read
  3. Choose your optional modules wisely: the last thing you want is to choose a module that you do not enjoy. Make sure to go to the first lecture of each optional module to get an overview of the content, and then make a decision!
  4. Get involved: whether this is through volunteering or by joining societies, make sure to explore the city and the university. This is also a great way to network, meet new people, develop as a person and also de-stress from the work overload.
  5. Finally, have FUN: although it is important to study and get all your coursework done, allow time for doing the other things you enjoy—from going to the pub with friends to walking in the park.

I hope that these top 5 tips and my insight have inspired you to do more research and expand your knowledge through further studies. Whether you are looking to apply to this particular MSc programme or to UCL in general, I promise you that there will be many opportunities for you to develop, which will guide you into your future endeavours!