UCL Changemakers


Creating a Careers Platform for Natural Science Students

This case study explores a student-led initiative aimed at increasing student accessibility to careers advice and opportunities.

27 July 2021

Case study by Manuela Sadik

What was the aim of your project?

We set out to improve the careers services available for students studying Natural Sciences at UCL. We aimed to do this by creating a website filled with specific careers advice and by improving communication between graduates and current students. 

What did you do?

We had identified, through a survey we distributed, that there was a high and unfulfilled demand for career advice and services among Natural Science students. This was supported by our subsequent focus group discussions, during which many students emphasised their desire for more information on scientific-specific opportunities and how to apply for them. Equipped with this information, we created a website with the aim of using it to promote career opportunities and to give advice. The website included various undergraduate, graduate and PhD opportunities offered by companies in multiple fields. We searched for these opportunities ourselves and made sure to include some that were specific to Natural Sciences students as well as some more generalised science-related ones.

Aside from this, we arranged for a former Natural Sciences PhD student to attend a lunchtime talk, during which she spoke about the experiences and decisions she made that led to her summer studentship and PhD. Following this, we also participated in a careers evening with another alumna, who spoke of her experience with corporate sector careers.

What were the main successes of the project?

Through our focus groups and survey, we have highlighted and emphasised the career-related needs of students studying Natural Sciences at UCL. We have also received an array of positive feedback (from current students) on our website and the opportunities we have organised for students to interact with UCL alumni.

What difficulties did you face during your project? What would you do differently?

A key challenge we faced regarded the amount of work that we set ourselves to complete in the given time frame. Creating more specific goals and being realistic about the amount of time we could dedicate to the project, and what we could accomplish in that time, are things that we would do differently.

What impact has your project had? On whom?

Our project will primarily benefit students studying science-related programmes at UCL, specifically Natural Science students. Aside from the website and the opportunities we have created for alumni and current students to interact, we have also provided advice (e.g. regarding PhD applications) and highlighted the student voice. We hope that with continued work to improve student accessibility to opportunities and training, they will become better equipped to make career decisions and to apply for further education and jobs.

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