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The University of Southampton
Economic, Social and Political SciencesUndergraduate study

Lizzie Metcalf BSc Population and Geography

Lizzie Metcalf's Photo

Hi, I'm Lizzie Metcalf and I studied BSc Population and Geography within Social Sciences at the University of Southampton.

I liked the sound of the course because it was different to the basic Geography course that so many universities run and I felt that it may provide more work opportunities after graduation.

I chose to study Population and Geography at the University of Southampton because it's well known for being a very good research led university. I liked the sound of the course because it was different to the basic Geography course that so many universities run and I felt that it may provide more work opportunities after graduation. I was also interested because I liked the sound of the demographic aspects of the course that seemed to correspond to the areas I enjoyed at A-level.

Population and Geography is great because the mix of modules that you can take is very flexible. There are options to take more Geography modules, more demography modules or even other modules from elsewhere in the university. Another nice aspect is that it is a very small course so it is easy to get to know your course mates and lecturers quite well. It is also good to have the flexibility of taking a demography or geography dissertation. It is really useful to have a compulsory statistics module in each year which starts at the basics and works up to give graduates a solid understanding of how to use statistics that is a great transferable skill in many careers. My favourite modules were 'Population and Society' and 'Population and Health' because the content was very interesting and they were taught very well.

I have achieved a lot as part of my course. I have enjoyed all my modules and done particularly well in the statistics modules. My dissertation is titled 'Analysis of how Population Change between 2001 and 2011 has impacted the Geographic Change of Output Areas'. The Office for National Statistics has asked for a copy of my dissertation and may publish it. I have also been a course representative which has given me a chance to attend meetings and voice the views of other students to the academic staff. Although this can sometimes be a challenge, I have found it very rewarding when academics have taken on board my suggestions and made changes to modules or the course.

Between my second and third years of studying Population and Geography, I did a sandwich placement at the Office for National Statistics in Titchfield. I applied after being sent an email by one of the lecturers, had an interview and was informed that I had got a place. I worked for a year at the office on a program called 'Beyond 2011' which was tasked with looking at alternatives to the census. It was a paid placement and I worked with a team of researchers on the statistical options that Beyond 2011 were investigating. This involved discussing ideas with other researchers, carrying out analysis, presenting the analysis in graphs and maps and writing the findings up into a report or presenting them to others. It was a very enjoyable experience and a brilliant place to work. I learnt a lot about national statistics and went on some very interesting training courses and attended a couple of conferences. It was a very valuable experience that gave me a lot of useful transferable skills that I have used in my third year and will go on to use in the future.

I have been on the committee for two societies (student scouts and guides and guild of change ringers) while at university which was very enjoyable and taught me about teamwork and the importance of organisational skills including how to delegate.


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