The University of Southampton
Engineering and the EnvironmentUndergraduate study

Angus Lawrence MEng Civil and Environmental Engineering

Current student

Angus Lawrence's Photo

I chose Civil and Environmental Engineering specifically as it matched my personal interests and the teaching staff at Southampton include world-renowned coastal engineers who I was keen to learn from.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Southampton?

As I was relocating from Australia, it was very important to me to visit each of the universities I had applied to, to gain a feel for the course, the environment and the people. When I visited Southampton for a UCAS Open Day, I met friendly staff and students who answered all my questions and guided me round an inspiring campus, and this strongly influenced my decision. The course structure offered by Southampton was more aligned to my style of learning than other universities, with opportunities for hands-on experience through activities such as Constructionarium and the SUCCESS Scholarship Scheme.

Why did you choose to study your course?

Throughout my time at high school I thoroughly enjoyed science and mathematics which translated well into engineering. I also undertook several activities related to the environment, and this sparked my keen interest in coastal engineering and its potential impact on low lying communities and coastal erosion. I chose Civil and Environmental Engineering specifically as it matched my personal interests and the teaching staff at Southampton include world-renowned coastal engineers who I was keen to learn from.

What has been the highlight of your time here so far?

My time at Southampton has been full of highlights, both personal and course related. I am privileged to be the current President of the University’s Civil Engineering Society (CivSoc), a position that allows me to work towards getting the best for all Civil Engineering students by providing site visits, talks from industry experts and social events to meet other civil engineers. Another highlight has been the work experience. Through the SUCCESS Scholarship Scheme I have worked with Raymond Brown Construction during the last two summers on two very different site based projects experiencing on site management and supervision and how a construction site works.

What do you enjoy most about living in Southampton?

Southampton is perfect for student life. It is compact and easy to do anything that you could want to do. The bus service, Unilink, connects all university buildings and key amenities such as Wide Lane Sports Complex and the West Quay shopping centre making it easy to get around. Living in Southampton also allows you to live in a student neighbourhood where you are only a short walk from campus, while still far enough away to feel you have left the University after a long day.

What have you enjoyed most about your course so far?

The diversity within the course provides so many opportunities to experience new ideas and challenges. Although at the time of writing I am only halfway through my third year, I can already see how the extensive material taught in the initial years is coming back into the course to help build towards a final understanding of civil engineering, which for me is both enjoyable and rewarding. The opportunity to tailor my subjects in my final two years to match my interests is a real positive. The Constructionarium was also an enjoyable experience which gave an initial taste of how the course would come together before the first year was finished.

What are your lecturers and supervisors like? Have you find them supportive?

The transition from high school to university also brought a change in the relationships between student and lecturer. To get the most out of the people who provide the learning material meant being more proactive about meeting with them. This is something I realised very quickly and has led me to feel more supported and informed thanks to the lecturers and my supervisor. This would be a practice I would strongly recommend for any student, both prospective and current.

Can you provide an outline of your project? How are you finding your project so far?

I am currently in the process of completing my dissertation for which I am completing a historical analysis of coastal flooding for the coastline between Portsmouth and Dover. This involves analysing high tide data and examining if these high tides resulted in coastal floods. From this I will be able to make suggestions for ways to mitigate coastal floods and deal with the growing threat of them. Up to now, I have found being able to conduct my own research as a breath of fresh air and incredibly rewarding. I can already tell that once it is completed, the sense of achievement will be incredible.

How have, or will, the resources and facilities available at Southampton help you with your project?

My project is mainly conducted off campus, however, for the elements I need to conduct on campus, every resource and facility is accessible and useful. The library provides a quiet and motivating space while the Design Studios give the chance to explore new ideas of design and experimentation.

If you could offer prospective students one piece of advice, what would it be?

University doesn’t last forever, so make the most of it and take any opportunity you are given with two hands. As can be expected the work also becomes increasingly difficult and time consuming as you progress through the years, so take the first year to explore the University, what it has to offer, and all the people who come with it.

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