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Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Max Stacey BSc Oceanography, 2017

Max Stacey's Photo

The National Oceanography Centre has incredible facilities for work and learning. Just outside you can board Callista, a research vessel, which undergraduate students get to go on regularly for fieldwork. This gives you a feel for real life oceanographic research.

Why did you choose to come and study at Southampton?

After doing some research, I found that BSc Oceanography at the University of Southampton offered a unique opportunity to be taught by experts in Ocean Science at the National Oceanography Centre [NOC]. An Open Day at the NOC allowed me to see the incredible facilities available for the course and the chance to learn alongside world leading researchers.

What is it like studying here?

During the first year the course teaching was split between the NOC and Highfield campus, making life interesting and getting you integrated and used to both campuses. Moving between both campuses allows you to explore the city, which is done easily by bike or bus.

How do you rate study facilities at the University?

The NOC has incredible facilities for work and learning. Just outside you can board Callista, the NOC research vessel, which undergraduate students get to go on regularly for fieldwork. This gives you a feel for real life oceanographic research. There are several computer labs, all installed with specialist software needed for the course. The Highfield library is also open 24/7!

What have been your Southampton highlights?

I really enjoyed focussing on my dissertation, it was a great opportunity to focus my efforts into an area of specific interest for me, and create my own investigation. It also improved my data handling and programming skills, which is a great thing to have when applying for jobs. Outside of academia, a highlight for me was always going to the BUCS surfing competition every year, and representing the university. It was a great break from studying every autumn, and an opportunity to have a great weekend with friends from university and home who are there representing other universities.

What did you enjoy most about your course?

I enjoyed the wide range of topics which oceanography offers. Oceanography is a multi-disciplinary science, and the choice of optional modules over the 3-year course allows you to tailor your learning to your interests. For me, I was able to pick modules that aided my understanding of physical oceanography. My interest in these types of modules was clear, as they were usually where my best marks came from!

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

Yes, particularly during first year, you are encouraged to choose modules from various different faculties, such as chemistry and biology modules. It represents a great opportunity to acquire a wide breadth of knowledge in the early stages of your degree, and a chance to see where your main interests lie.

Did you stay in University accommodation?

Yes, I stayed in Montefiore halls. These are part of the Wessex Lane halls complex, one of the largest in Europe. It was just a short 5 minute bus ride to Highfield campus. There are so many people at the halls complex that it is easy to meet people in the early stages of the year. For anyone studying at the NOC however, I would recommend some of the closer halls to the NOC, such as Mayflower or Archers Road, as Montefiore halls are a 50 minute bus journey to the NOC.

What is the city of Southampton like to live in?

Southampton has great range of options for nightlife, with a variety of different places to go out. The Common is a really nice place to go and hang out when it’s sunny, and is situated very close to the University. Joining societies is the best thing to do to keep you busy and make new friends. I joined the SUSURF, the University's surfing club during Freshers' and went on trips and socials with them throughout my three years. It’s a great way to meet other likeminded people.

What one word sums up how you feel about your experiences at Southampton?


What are your aspirations for the future? How will your degree assist with your ambitions?

My specific interest with oceanography is physical oceanography and meteorology. Having graduated with first class honours, I now plan to seek work experience in this field in the UK or abroad for this coming year, before potentially applying for a masters program in 2018.

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