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Andrew Watson

Applied Sciences

What appealed to you about Northumbria University / studying in Newcastle?

Local hometown and close proximity to where I live appealed to me.  I also had recommendations from family and friends who have studied at Northumbria University.

What was it about the Extended Degree that particularly appealed?

It all started from an enquiry after I had been travelling around Australia for five months. I came back with a different perspective of where I wanted my career to go, so I enquired about courses at Northumbria University. I explained what qualifications I had, though I was told that without A-levels I couldn’t be placed onto a course. However within 3-4 weeks I received a phone call from an advisor suggesting I look at an Extended Degree course (based on me being a mature student) which would then allow me to choose from around 16 different science degrees after I had completed the course.

My first choice of degree was always the BSc Human Nutrition and with this extended degree course that allowed me to pursue that direction.

Being offered the chance to do the Applied Sciences Extended Degree reflected my interest, particularly in nutrition. So this extended degree course was a ‘stepping stone’ to my chosen choice of degree.

What qualifications did you have?


NCFE Sports Coaching Award

BTEC National Diploma in Applied Sports Science

Future Fit Personal Training Qualification

Future Fit Nutrition and Weight Management Qualification

How did you feel during your first week at Northumbria?

I felt nervous, apprehensive, excited and sceptical, many feelings all mixed into one, especially nervous as I was going back to education, albeit I have constantly been in some form of education. I was anxious as I wasn’t sure I would be able to cope with the demands expected of university. However I was also excited and determined to succeed after being given this ‘lifeline’ through the extended degree.

What do you like most about the course?

I like the direction and confidence it give me prior to starting my degree.

Can you give an example of a piece of work you were involved in on the Extended Degree?

There were many areas of work which I was involved in, though having to do my first presentation since I was at college (five years prior) was nerve wrecking though also rewarding.

How do you get on with your tutors?

I got on brilliantly with them throughout and still see some around University. They were always helpful and on hand for guidance and advice.

What did you do after you completed the Extended Degree?

I went on to do the BSc Human Nutrition. The course was brilliant and relevant to what I wanted to gain from a degree course. Undoubtedly the extended degree course helped, if only for the university experience if offered which in hindsight helped me through my degree. The experiences gained from the extended degree e.g. deadlines, how university works, rapports with tutors etc, was like a year long induction into how university life is with all the added pressure of passing modules and finally getting onto my chosen degree.

In what way has working with an employer benefitted you?

The experience of working with an employer as successful and as recognised as Greggs was priceless. You learn all the academic aspects on your course though applying that in a working environment is something entirely different. Having to work on deadlines and on my own initiative has giving me more confidence to support my degree. The contacts gained through my placement and the advice received will support me in the future. I would fully recommend either a summer placement or a 12 month placement. As well as experience, it looks great on your CV that you have manufacturing experience.

What do you do when you’re not studying?

I am a very active person with the gym and football being two of my main hobbies along with going to see Newcastle United play. I write songs and play the guitar, which was always a release from studying. I am also a part time personal trainer at Matfen Hall Hotel where I also take circuit classes.

What do you like about Newcastle?

The people and the city are full of heritage and there is a traditional hard working ethic to the city which is often misinterpreted due to the friendly and relaxed nature of the Geordies. Obviously being a student the nightlife is amongst the best in world and there is so much to do and see with the vast amount of restaurants, shops, music venues, history, culture, art galleries to visit and enjoy.

What’s your accommodation like?

I live with parents, so it was pretty straight forward. I only live 2-3 miles from the city centre so financially it was the most viable option.

What would you like to do when you graduate?

I would like a job in either New Product Development or as a Public Health Nutritionist.

Have you used Student Services during your course?

I have used the Careers Service.

Do you have any advice for anyone applying for your course, or for university in general?

If you are interested in nutrition or food science then it goes without saying this course is for you. It is a tough course though rewarding in the sense that once you’ve finished you can look back and know that you have worked hard and that the course didn’t come for free. Relax in first year and don’t stress, leave the stress for second and final year. Work hard in second year because it may just bail you out in the final year. Learn how to use endnote from day 1 of university as when it comes to the final year its use is imperative. If possible don’t work more than 16 hours - I worked 2; 8 hour shifts a week in the first and second years and 8 hours a week in final year. This was more than enough, as the University work load is the most important thing to concentrate on.

But the most important piece of advice is to enjoy university and look back with no regrets!

What three words would you use to describe your time at Northumbria?

Fulfilling, memorable and fun.

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