I did my undergrad in marine biology here so I knew the department and many of the staff well. The Institute of Aquaculture here has a great reputation too. I also had the opportunity to apply for scholarships here and in the end became SAIC (Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre) funded which meant I could focus on my course and not on how I was going to pay for it.
The department here has great links with industry and so we got to visit a lot of industry sites and also had many guest speakers. This allowed us to get more than just an academic insight into what the industry needs. On top of that the course at Stirling is very international and I found I was learning just as much from classmates as I was from the lectures! I have a job lined up for when I graduate with Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group. I start working for them in September so I’d say my studies directly impacted me getting the job in the first place. A lot of people in the industry also studied at Stirling so I also have a large network of people I can talk to as my career progresses, especially friends I’ve made on the course this year.
After the first semester foundation modules, I was in a small class of two people for the second semester. This worked really well as we got to tailor discussions and assignments to fit around our schedules (we both worked as well) and areas of interest, have in-depth discussions on these areas and were really encouraged to go and research these areas ourselves. We also got to choose our own topics for a presentation as long as it fitted with the themes we had covered in class. The coursework is heavy but assignments are varied so if one style doesn’t suit you, you have the opportunity to do well in another type. It’s not all essays!
Firstly, be prepared to work hard, my course wasn’t easy but as long as you were making the effort, the support was there if you needed it. Secondly, make an effort to get to know your classmates, especially in the master’s course, modules are intense and we really needed each other to make it through and relax outside of uni. I also would make full use of the range of sports clubs Stirling has on offer. I started in first year but have been a part of the underwater hockey and sub-aqua clubs for five years. It’s kept me active and I’ve made friends for life. Finally, if you are coming from somewhere warm, be prepared for the weather, even if it looks sunny bring a rain jacket anyway, I’ve been caught out more than once.