Student Perspective | Katie Mahon | MSc Environment Science and Climate Change

Having the opportunity to work with the Botanical Gardens and Department of the Environment, Sustainability, Climate Change and Heritage has been amazing.
25th January 2024

What brought you to the University of Gibraltar?

The location of Gibraltar is amazing, situated right on the Mediterranean coast. It is also an amazing place for the course to take place, being able to have nature right on your doorstep from the Rock encompassing a multi complex variety of terrestrial species, to studying next to the ocean and rocky shore habitats. It is the first year the course is being run, I am excited to be part of its journey and be the first within the cohort.
Languages has never been something I have excelled in, so having the option to live abroad and ability to speak English while having my own independence was a major factor. Additionally the climate also played a nice role, it is definitely better than England!

How has your experience of the programme and the university been so far?

My experience so far during the programme has been amazing and I have truly enjoyed every minute of it (even the stressful deadline parts). By undertaking the Environmental Science Masters it has allowed me to build on my knowledge from my undergraduate in Marine Geography (Cardiff University) while also learning new information on terrestrial environments, to create a more rounded view of the implications to ecosystems. The course is accessible to anyone regardless of previous background level as during the beginning weeks basic concepts were explained in depth making sure everyone had full understanding. I have really enjoyed having small class sizes, this is a very small university but in my opinion much better than being in a class with 300 other students. It allows the time for engagement with the lecturers and to really be able to gain the most out of your experience. Lecturers are always on hand to help you out, friendly and always approachable. Having small class sizes also has allowed me to know everyone really well and I have enjoyed learning about other cultures and places.

“The course is accessible to anyone regardless of previous background level as during the beginning weeks basic concepts were explained in depth making sure everyone had full understanding.”

As much as it is in British territory, it is a very multinational community. Not just this but you will know everyone throughout the whole university and it helps build such a strong sense of community. So far I have completed 4 modules and by far my favourite aspect has been the placement opportunity this course has as part of the ecology module. Also during this module we learnt the reasons for biodiversity decline such as habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change, overharvesting and invasive species which help build on what we learn during the placements. Additionally for other modules we focus more on marine issues such as marine spatial planning and marine protected areas however these concepts can be taken and applied to the terrestrial environment, it really helps with your thinking process when looking at the assessments and working out how they can be linked. The lectures themselves are set out really well with activities to keep everyone engaged with lots of class feedback. During this time we have participated in Journal clubs which has helped gain confidence in synthesising papers and public speaking. This really helps early on with some of the assessments which involve presentations as many people find this challenging it’s a very beneficial exercise. Additionally we have learnt multiple research skills from physically performing methodology in the field to statistical analysis to help with our final project. During the term we had the ability to undertake field week where we gained multiple new skills in a variety of areas including quantifying mammals behaviours, evaluating public perceptions on the environment and assessing the impact and changes with urban bird diversity.

As part of your degree you have spent some time on placement; what was that like?

The placement has been the best part of the course for me, I hate sitting inside just learning and would rather be outside. Having the opportunity to work with the Botanical Gardens and Department of the Environment, Sustainability, Climate Change and Heritage has been amazing. We have been able to cover a variety of different topics out in the field allowing a mixed learning environment, while also putting skills to use. What we learn is great because many of the methodology’s can be adapted to different situations or different species which can be used once we leave university. We have had a wide range of activities including building our own bug hotel, vegetation surveys, raptors, primate behavioural assessments and camera trap methodology.

How have you found student life at the University of Gibraltar?

Gibraltar is not that big of a place, however it has everything you need from basic shops and easy transportation. The buses run very regularly and always on time making travel around very easy. There is so much you can get involved in if you look for it either alongside your course from environmental clean ups of bird watching or to joining one of the many sports clubs in Gibraltar. A lot of the time it will be what you make of it so go out and find the time to explore the Rock and the fantastic beaches. Additionally going over to Spain or Morocco is easy so make the most of it while you are here there is so many places to discover. For Christmas my cohort all got together to prepare a Christmas meal and sing Christmas songs to celebrate the end of term.

What would you say to someone interested in studying at the University of Gibraltar?

Go for it! I fully believe this is a once in a life time opportunity and you won’t regret it!
  • MSc

    Master in Environmental Science & Climate Change

    Green skills are essential for the transition towards a Green Economy. Designed and delivered by expert academics and scientists and in conjunction with local stakeholders, this full-time interdisciplinary programme blends theoretical study with practical, field-based work.[...]

    1 Year

    Yes Placement option

    Full Time

    View Course