School of Earth and Environment

Student Profiles

Kate Massarella

PhD researcher University of York (Environment and Development Graduate, 2012-13)

Having decided to make a significant career change, I wanted to learn more about the challenges and opportunities of global sustainability before moving into a new sector. This MSc offered critical perspectives on a wide range of both environment and development issues and offered a truly global perspective. The opportunity to go to Tanzania to conduct primary research also influenced my decision to take this course over ones offered at other universities.

The MSc has given me theoretical and practical training needed to pursue a research career. I am now doing a PhD in the Environment Department at York University with co-supervision from the School in Leeds where I studied my Masters degree. I would not have had the opportunity to pursue a PhD without having an MSc and this specific masters has given me considerable insight and practical tools for use within my continued research.

It is a great department led by experienced and leading academics. The MSc course I took was well-structured, interesting, varied and loads of fun. You will leave with considerable practical and theoretical knowledge on a wide range of environment and development issues, but will get the opportunity to specialise as the course progresses.

David Christopherson

EPSRC Research Intern, School of Process, Environmental and Materials Engineering University of Leeds (Environment and Development Graduate, 2011-12)

For a long time I have wanted to learn about and ultimately start a career in environmental protection and climate change. Having previously pursued this goal from a very techno-centric perspective (a bachelors in Physics) I wanted to have the opportunity to also engage with the social and economic aspects of these topics and in doing so develop a more holistic understanding of which exact field I wanted to apply myself to in the future. There are lots of courses that offer these kinds of opportunities, so when searching for a course I focused on finding the one with the largest, most inter-disciplinary environmental/energy departments. Leeds was my first choice in this regard; staff members within the School of Earth and Environment have a remarkable diversity of expertise.

I think that the primary reason that anyone should choose to go to university is to learn new things. In this regard, the degree was great - I feel that I have had detailed tuition on a diverse range of topics that were of interest to me.

Another great reason to go to university is to meet new people. Something I have enjoyed about the course is that the student body contains a people of all ages, backgrounds, views, etc. which makes for great debates and I suspect will also be a useful network for a future career in the environment.

I ended up getting 2 job offers in the space of 8 days after handing in my dissertation. The first was a one month post as an Energy advisor for a local NGO, but right now I am happily back at the University of Leeds, this time working as a member of staff. I was lucky enough to be offered a paid internship at with the School of Process, Environmental and Materials Engineering and currently I am working on a project examining the interface between energy modelling and policy in the UK.

Alice O'Rourke

PhD researcher University of Lancaster (Environment and Development Graduate, 2010-11)

I did my undergraduate degree in English and Sociology at the University of Leeds, and wished to continue my studies to help build a platform for a career in the charity sector. The interdisciplinary aspect of the degree attracted me and I could combine my interest in international development and sustainability with my background in social sciences. I was also very interested in the varied modules I could take.

I had the fantastic opportunity to study diverse subjects including the physical science of climate change, development theories, strategies and issues, and environmental governance. I also went on the field course aimed at environment-development students to the East Usambara Mountains, Tanzania, which was an eye-opening experience and encouraged me to build more international experiences.

I have learnt so much that I could not have done otherwise, under support and guidance from tutors. As an English and sociology student previously, I was at first concerned about how challenging the course would be, but students have the chance to guide themselves using their own strengths and interests. I have learnt a lot about myself as well as strengthening my commitment to sustainability.

After graduation I accepted a job as the North West project assistant for an NGO called the Construction Youth Trust, which aims to support and empower young people to enter training and employment in the construction industry in the UK. I was involved with other organisations such as the Youth Justice Board. I have more recently taken on a fully funded PhD at the University of Lancaster investigating the gendered impacts of land grabs in Tanzania.

Search site
What interests you?