Wang Peng graduated with an MSc in Biotechnology and Bioengineering in 2017. He is now studying for a PhD at the University of New South Wales in Australia.
What attracted you to this degree at Kent?
The MSc in Biotechnology and Bioengineering matched my interests as well as my experience as a bioscience undergraduate. It takes only one year to get a Master’s degree at Kent, so it’s economically efficient. I liked the location too: Canterbury is a beautiful city – it’s close to London but not nearly as expensive as bigger cities in the UK.
How was the teaching?
Many of the modules were project-based and I thoroughly enjoyed that. The teaching was great and well scheduled with all the learning materials available online. The lectures and tutorials used diverse methods of teaching, such as student-led presentations and teamwork, so it wasn’t just students sitting and listening to academics. Some academics even recorded their lectures which turned out to be very helpful.
Did you get to do research as part of your degree?
Yes – and I really appreciated that opportunity. The dissertation part of the MSc was totally lab-based; we were able to choose an area of research and we had the chance to test our own scientific hypotheses. Also, most of the taught MSc programmes involved short-term lab projects in other modules and these were great tasters for other research areas.
How did your degree prepare you for your role as a funded PhD student?
During the MSc project, we were regarded as real scientists. The training included scientific writing, critical thinking and working on research projects. I believe that what I got out of this training helped me a lot during the PhD interview. And graduating with a distinction helped me to secure my PhD scholarship. I’m studying interactions between HIV capsid and host proteins.
Do you feel you were supported in your career aspirations?
In terms of career advice and encouragement, many people helped me on my journey. The programme director, the teaching staff and the School’s Employability Officer all provided useful guidance, especially when I was applying for the PhD post. I think I received all the support I needed.
Do you have any particular memories of your time at Kent?
Yes, definitely. I’m from China and a year in the UK is a unique memory for an international student like me. I have volunteered on several occasions and these are among the highlights of my time at Kent. For instance, I took part in the recording of the BBC programme Trust Me, I’m a Doctor. Also, I was lucky to make some good friends and we’re still in touch now.
Do you have any advice for students interested in your career path?
Take every assignment seriously and aim for a good average grade. If doing a PhD is your next target, then you should aim to get as much as possible out of every research opportunity.