A PhD Student’s Experience of Studying a MRes Molecular Engineering

Written by Fei Gao, an alumnus from the cohort of Class 2020 at Molecular Engineering MRes, and now a PhD student in the department of Chemistry.

I was facing the uncertainty of what I would do after graduating with my undergraduate degree. Before the pandemic, my plan was straightforward – pursuing a master’s degree and then start looking for a PhD position. The breakout of COVID-19 interrupted my plans, I had no idea where my life would be. Luckily, I received two university offers! One offer was from the Molecular Engineering MRes from Imperial College London and the other offer was an MSc course from another university based in London. I had to make a decision between the two offers or whether should I defer my study or not due to the pandemic.

After careful consideration, I decided to pursue Molecular Engineering MRes at Imperial without deferment. I would like to share my experience and thoughts and hopefully, this blog can help students who are aiming to gain more experience in research or are thinking about pursuing a PhD degree in the future.

About Molecular Engineering MRes

Molecular Engineering MRes is an interdisciplinary programme which combines the courses of Engineering and Molecular Science together. This is to give students an opportunity of exploring their research interests and develop a multidisciplinary insight into the cutting-edge research courses at Imperial College London. It’s a one-year course, which provides you with seven taught core modules and a six-month research programme. Students have the chance of choosing their favourite research programme and collaborate closely with researchers and professors at Imperial. Speaking from my own experience, Molecular Engineering MRes has its unique advantages over the MSc course, especially for students who are interested in doing research and are curious about life as a researcher in Materials, Chemistry, or Engineering.

Why did I choose to study the Molecular Engineering MRes?

I graduated in Chemical Engineering with my undergraduate degree, and I had two research experiences working on electrochemical supercapacitors and the pyrolysis of biomass. Thanks to those research experiences, I had the chance of collaborating with a PhD student and some fellow students for a published piece of work in 2020. I also gave an oral presentation for my second research programme at a conference in 2018. Those research experiences pushed me to continue my research and would lead me to pursue a PhD degree in the future. When I looked through the course list on Imperial’s website, Molecular Engineering caught my eye immediately. Pursuing a master’s would give me more opportunities of working on research and could broaden my research interests and options.

Waiting for my offer was daunting and felt like a long time to hear back from Imperial but when I finally got my offer, I knew it was worth the wait!

How I progressed from my MRes into my PhD?

After joining the research programme, I started to look for a potential PhD position. I contacted several potential supervisors (including my PhD supervisors now) to ask if there were available opportunities. Luckily all of them replied to me and were extremely friendly.

The student life and experiences I’ve had at Imperial are unique, and I am very inspired by my fellow students and supervisors. I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog and good luck with your future journey!

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PhD student and friends sitting together in a park

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