For many school leavers , traditional science degrees remain a popular choice.
Many undergraduate programmes allow those with a spark for biology and chemistry, for example, to explore their interests in more depth and develop a taste for the direction they would like to follow after graduating.
However, with such a broad spectrum of onward careers to choose from, and many requiring additional training to enter them, specialising can be a daunting prospect.
Robert Gordon University currently runs a quartet of courses which help provide safe passage for science students seeking entry into the highly skilled instrumental analytical science (IAS) professions.
Designed and delivered in close collaboration with industry, the MSc programme allows students to specialise in the use of modern analytical equipment within the fields of DNA Analysis, Proteomics and Metabolomics, Drug Analysis and Toxicology, Oilfield Chemicals or Environmental Analysis.
The courses are at RGU’s School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences – over 45 weeks full-time or up to three years part-time – and comprise a combination of lab-based work, study visits, guest lecturers, workshops and a masters research project, some of which are hosted in or undertaken in collaboration with industry.
Uchenna Chukwuma-Ezike commenced study on the MSc IAS Oilfield Chemicals course in 2006 and graduated in 2007 with distinction. He joined the course directly after completing an undergraduate degree in Applied Biochemistry.
During his Semester Two research project, the School provided Uchenna with the opportunity to carry out his research in an oil servicing company in Aberdeen.
He was retained immediately after graduation and worked for the company as a crude oil analyst within the hydrocarbon allocation section for two years, where he gained further laboratory experience in support of offshore petroleum production services.
This led to a position as a technical support engineer, specialising within the petroleum production chemistry. During this time, Uchenna was involved in several offshore oilfield chemical selection and applications for matured and new fields, chemical field trials, field optimisations, troubleshooting and oil field chemical application.
Uchenna is now an account support manager for Champion Technologies where he is responsible for providing daily offshore petroleum production chemistry and chemical services for North Sea operations.
Looking back at his career so far, Uchenna said: “I am pleased I chose to pursue my interest in the oil industry through such an applied route of learning.
“While I enjoyed my undergraduate degree very much, the MSc programme allowed me to build on my knowledge, equipping me with the skills to achieve my aim of becoming an oilfield professional.”
MSc IAS programme leader Dr Graeme Kay comments: “Today’s postgraduates face a challenging job market, where employers look more and more to the technical skill set that accompanies each applicant.
“Our MSc courses in Instrumental Analytical Science are designed to reflect this demand for applied knowledge. Our postgraduates are equipped not only with the underpinning scientific theories, but the relevant hands-on experience to enable them to ‘hit the ground running’ when they enter employment”
Information on the MSc Instrumental Analytical Science programmes can be found online at www.rgu.ac.uk/ instrumental