Alison Chrystie: Food Science Technology & Management

3rd year

Deciding which programme and university to opt for upon completion of my HND access course in Information Systems at Forth Valley College was one of the most difficult decisions I've ever had to make.

I originally planned to study dietetics and nutrition at another university, however, upon visiting Heriot-Watt I was really taken by both the campus and the range of biological science options available.

I felt that the Heriot-Watt programmes offered a broader range of subjects and topics and therefore would open more doors career-wise upon completion. I visited the campus and department and met with the programme staff in advance of starting and this sealed the decision to opt for Heriot-Watt. The staff were very helpful in outlining what I would be studying and made me feel very welcome.

Lifestyle changes

I originally planned to study dietetics and nutrition at another university, however, upon visiting Heriot-Watt I was really taken by both the campus and the range of biological science options available

Having previously studied at a college local to Heriot-Watt I didn't really have to make many major adjustments to my established routine and arrangements.

I did have to sort out new childcare arrangements for my son, but I got a lot of help from the University with this. With the Heriot-Watt Childcare Fund and funding from SAAS I was able to find and finance a suitable nursery for my son.

I think that the biggest differences between studying at college and university are the greater volume of work and faster pace of study required at university. You have to be prepared to fly through the work and keep on top of the independent study required to get through things.

Career plans

At the moment I am keeping my options open. I thought about taking on a postgraduate programme in dietetics after graduating from the BSc, however, I've recently started to really enjoy the microbiology parts of my degree and this might lead me down a different career path in the future.

At the moment, I intend to get through my programme whilst picking up as much practical experience as I can in order to make the best informed decision when I finish my studies.

I have had help from Heriot-Watt to secure a summer work placement this year and hope to gain more and more experience as I continue my studies. 

Top tips

  • I'd advise all new students to do their research on both the programme and university before making the move.
  • Get a hold of a programme guide before you start so that you have a good idea of what you'll be studying when you start. The programme guide gives you much more detail on the modules you will be studying than you can get from the prospectus.
  • And don't be frightened to ask lots of questions when you start; the staff are easy to talk to!