Case study

Masters graduate — Louisa Winch

After completing a chemistry degree, Louisa decided to pursue the MSc Renewable Energy (Engineering) at Cranfield University. She's now secured a role as a graduate engineer in the renewable energy team at engineering consultancy firm WSP

Why did you choose to study this Masters course at Cranfield?

I came to Cranfield straight from my undergraduate degree, with hopes to expand my knowledge in renewable energy engineering and sustainability. I also wanted to learn engineering skills that would help when working in the sector.

During my chemistry course, I became increasingly aware of the impact of different industries on the climate and how the skills and experience I was gaining could be used to help combat this.

With energy production and consumption being the common factor and source of emissions across all sectors, the potential of renewable energy inspired me to want to learn more.

My aim was to build on my existing knowledge and do something that has a direct impact towards building a more sustainable world through technology, community building, awareness and behaviour change. The engineering route of the renewable energy course at Cranfield aligned perfectly with this purpose.

How did you fund your Masters?

I was lucky enough to receive the Brian Meredith Net Zero Scholarship from Green Future Investments Ltd to provide funding for the course.

Tell us a bit about the course and how it was assessed.

The course begins with five months of two-week modules, introducing key renewable energy technologies and engineering skills.

One of my favourite modules was 'Solar Engineering' where we were able to design a concentrated solar power (CSP) plant for a building within our chosen industry, to demonstrate its decarbonisation potential and consider other social, economic and political parameters affecting its feasibility.

The eight modules (40% of the final grade) were assessed through an assignment at the end of each two-week period, which is built on throughout the module.

The lectures are interactive and often involve mini group exercises and short tasks to apply the content to real-world examples.

After the taught modules, there's the ten-week group project (20% of the final grade), assessed by a written report and an oral presentation on a topic of our choosing, supported by a group tutor.

Finally, we had to complete an individual thesis (40% of the final grade), which involves a written report and poster presentation on a topic of your choosing and is often done in partnership with an industrial sponsor.

How did postgraduate life differ to that of an undergraduate?

We were given much more autonomy over our time management and could make choices on topics throughout the assignments.

As postgraduate students, we were encouraged to take the initiative with assignments and forge relationships between ourselves and the lecturers.

What are your career ambitions?

To develop a strong understanding of engineering operations and considerations within renewable energy projects, while becoming an advocate for positive social impact through renewable energy projects and ensure a just energy transition across the globe.

Ultimately, I'd like to work as a project manager on community-based renewables projects.

What tips would you give to others considering a Masters degree in this field?

  • Consider the skills you already have and where most value will be added by doing a Masters.
  • Do you want generalised or more in-depth teaching into specific technologies?
  • Be proactive and don't wait for things to happen for you - take the necessary steps to make them happen. Work consistently throughout the year to save panic and start reaching out to people you are inspired by, to get both career and life advice.
  • Think about what else you'd like to get out of the year. As this is potentially your last year in a university setting, it's a safe place to try different things and build strong foundations, preparing you for the world of work.

Find out more

How would you rate this page?

On a scale where 1 is dislike and 5 is like

success feedback

Thank you for rating the page