Andrew Masters

Co-ordinator of MSc Dissertation Projects

Andrew Masters is a Professor of Chemical Physics at the University of Manchester
Andrew Masters

We are unique in the UK in the range of topics on offer for MSc projects.

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How do you make sure that the course is up-to-date and relevant? What have you had to update this year?

The MSc projects are new each year. With the arrival of new staff, new projects in a wide variety of areas are now on offer, covering topics such as process design, methods of crystallisation, rheology, catalysis and many others. We continually revise our procedures for project allocation and  assessment guidelines in response to student feedback. 

What kind of balance do you strike between teaching facts and developing skills?

The MSc dissertation requires a large number of skills. Planning, time management and technical writing are all crucial, as well as the ability to master the experimental and/or theoretical methods needed to achieve the research outcomes.

How does research feed into the syllabus?

Typically a MSc student will be doing original research under academic supervision, often interacting with members of the supervisor’s research group. Research is a key element of the MSc dissertation.

What structure does your course have? Any shared modules with other courses? What kind of lectures or practical work will students be involved in?

In December, students hand in a ranked list of their preferred supervisors and projects. The allocation if done in January, balancing student wishes against a fair distribution of students between supervisors. In Semester 2, students prepare a 15-credit research proposal, which sets out the background and plan for the project. This is supported by regular meetings between student and supervisor. The project itself (60 credits) runs from the end of June to early September and again is supported by regular meetings with the supervisor and often further supported by the supervisor’s research group.

What are the key features of your course?

This gives students the opportunity to do their own research and display both originality and independence, while being fully supported by a research-active supervisor. As well as this grounding in cutting-edge research, students practice essential skills such as planning, time-management, critical reading and writing a structured report.

What kind of employment can graduates go into following this degree?

Most MSc students go into employment in the chemical industries, though a proportion choose to do further research and start a PhD.

Why do graduates from your course stand out in the job market?

Manchester has a long-standing excellent reputation in running MSc programmes. The training we provide is seen, by our employment statistics, to provide excellent opportunities in the job market.

What kind of industry relations do you have? How do students benefit from them?

The School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science has strong links with UK and international industries. Our staff have around 100 such contacts in total. MSc projects will frequently have an industrial angle connected with the contacts of the individual supervisor.

What distinguishes this course from similar ones in other institutions?

We are a large School with a wide range of research activities. We are unique in the UK in the range of topics on offer for MSc projects.

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