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The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Alex Coleman MSci Geology

Geology student

Alex Coleman's Photo

Hi, I'm Alex Coleman and I studied MSci Geology within Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton at the University of Southampton.

Although the trips train us to be field geologists they also are great fun, and give us a chance to get to know the other students and lecturers really well - maybe that’s why Geology is rated so highly as a subject in student satisfaction surveys!

When I visited Southampton on the University open day, I immediately liked the atmosphere as well as the green and open spaces of Highfield Campus. I knew that as my course progressed I would also spend a lot of time at the National Oceanographic Centre and I was impressed by the facilities and the location right next to the dock. The content of the geology courses offered particularly appealed to me because of the variety; although my main interest is palaeontology I wanted to learn about a broad range of topics before choosing a career specialism.

The lecturers I met at the open day were very friendly and enthusiastic about the subject, and as a student I’ve found them willing to put in time and effort to engage and challenge me. I have a really good rapport with my tutor, who has taken time to get to know all his tutees on an individual basis so we feel comfortable asking for support if we need it.

During the summer I’m doing two periods of paid work experience – one with Cambridge University’s Sedgwick Museum and CASP (Cambridge Arctic Shelf Programme), and one with engineering and development consultants Mott MacDonald. At the moment I’m working with the museum’s collection of fossil specimens and rock samples, helping to sort and catalogue them. It’s a great opportunity to apply the skills learned during lectures and practicals on fossil and facies identification. At Mott MacDonald’s I will be working in the Land Contamination Department looking at the geology/hydrology of land sites for building construction and land use zoning.

I feel I have really progressed in my first year at Southampton and I’m looking forward to the rest of the course. Next year I’m going on a number of field trips to develop more practical skills including stratigraphic logging, mapping, mineral and rock identification. I have already been to Tenby and Dorset, and this year we are going to Ingleton in Yorkshire and then to Spain during the Easter holidays. Next summer I will undertake a five week independent mapping project either abroad or in the UK.

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