The University of Southampton

Spending a research year at CERN

On a tour of the CMS underground cavern
On a tour of the CMS underground cavern

I chose to study at Southampton because the University offers a flagship degree course for top performers to spend a year abroad at CERN which, as a young physicist, really interested me! I’m pleased to say that I did go onto study this programme and spend the final year of my course at CERN.

Out on the slopes skiing
Out on the slopes skiing

My time at CERN was incredibly exciting, challenging and busy. After a steep learning curve, I became immersed in the research and I was quickly able to make valuable and novel contributions. I enjoyed working at such a scientifically significant place, which has a uniquely collaborative and intellectual atmosphere.

Outside of work, I found time to explore Switzerland by bike and train, and more importantly, go skiing a fair few times.

With my course mates Alex and Leo
With my course mates Alex and Leo

Studying here at Southampton is very rewarding. The physics course is well designed and the lecturers are excellent. There are lots of opportunities to get involved with things you enjoy, or to learn something new. You get out what you put in!

Throughout my time at Southampton, I’ve become more confident in both my academic and social ability. Aside from the vast number of skills I’ve learnt from my Physics degree, taking part in music and sport has ensured I’ve developed a wide range of transferable skills.

The Business Innovation Programme

I took part in the Business Innovation Programme, which helped me combine the problem solving from my physics degree with the commercial aspects of business. This was an eight-week scheme where I worked in and led a small group of students to help a local business with a commercial problem. In my case it was a local cabling manufacturer trying to break into new markets. We produced a proposal to accomplish this and presented our ideas to the business. They were thrilled with it and happily I was later nominated for the Business Innovation Award at the Southampton Employability awards evening.

Ultimately, this helped me get the job I wanted. I’m now training to become a patent attorney at a law firm in London.

William Smith
MPhys Particle Physics with a Research Year Abroad, 2019

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