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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

Rozel Hopkins MSci Zoology, 2020

Rozel Hopkins's Photo

I chose Southampton due to its’ reputation as a Russell Group, meaning that it offered links to research areas that I was interested in perusing in the future. I also liked that there was an option to change between the Zoology and Biology degree subjects in first year, giving me more flexibility. When I arrived at the university for an open day I immediately fell in love with the campus – I liked that the campus was slightly separate from the city itself but still accessible by bus or walking. The Spanish field course in 1st year was also another main reason I chose to study Zoology here rather than at another university – most other places do not offer an included field course to an international destination.

I chose Southampton due to its’ reputation as a Russell Group, meaning that it offered links to research areas that I was interested in perusing in the future. I also liked that there was an option to change between the Zoology and Biology degree subjects in first year, giving me more flexibility.

What is it like studying here?

Southampton offers many different opportunities to its Zoology students if they know where to find them – I have taken a broad variety of modules in the 3 years of my degree, have studied abroad in Tasmania for a semester and have been able to travel both locally and to Spain to gain practical experience in fieldwork.

I like the city itself as it has a large student base meaning that lots of shops, restaurants, bars and clubs are aimed at students with student-friendly prices! It’s also nice that the student union organises lots of different types of activities for Freshers week and that they have many other events on during the rest of the year as well.

What have been your Southampton ‘highlights’ so far?

The Zoology/Biology field course to Spain was definitely a highlight of my course. It was fun gaining some practical field experience and it helped me to get to know my course-mates better. 

Studying abroad in Tasmania for a semester was another highlight. It was fun both travelling around the island and studying at the uni there. The modules also gave me a different perspective of my degree and helped me to decide what direction I wanted to take after finishing at university.

How has your time at Southampton helped you to grow as a person?

Southampton and the opportunities arising from studying here have both increased my knowledge of previously-known subjects and given me an insight into other potential careers that I didn’t even know existed before coming to uni. I’ve become much more confident in public speaking and interacting with both my peers and lecturers. Studying has also helped to develop my organisational skills through planning for my dissertation and other assignments as well as organising the things required for my semester abroad.

Do you have the opportunity to study modules outside of your core subject area?

I’ve been able to take a couple of Marine Biology modules (Introduction to Marine Ecology, Marine Vertebrates) which I’ve found very interesting. When I studied abroad I took a law module on Antarctica which was fascinating and helped me to improve my literature skills as the coursework was a lot more essay-based.

What is the city of Southampton like to live in?

There is always something to do in Southampton, both in the city and out of it. I like that the university is slightly away from the main city centre and that around the university and Portswood there is a more student-y feel. It is also nice, though, to easily travel into West Quay and the surrounding area to go shopping or have a meal out. Bournemouth and the New Forest are both very close by and accessible with a car, meaning that it’s easy to spend a day at the beach or go for a walk in a National Park if the weather is nice.

What three words sum up how you feel about your experiences so far at Southampton?

Insightful, challenging and memorable

What are you enjoying most about your course?

I like that there is so much flexibility with my 3rd year dissertation, I’ve enjoyed the lab work and having more freedom to make my own decisions during lab work. I also enjoy that there is a broad range of modules to take for Zoology – you have the opportunity to study anything from evolution to ecology to physiology and further.

Being able to expand my horizons both through studying abroad and taking options that are outside my area of study has been useful in helping me to decide which career path I would like to take in the future.

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