Sport and Exercise Sciences student at University of Leeds

Robin Layton

Robin studied Sport and Exercise Sciences at Leeds and is now completing a PhD here in Medical Engineering.

Why did you choose the University of Leeds?

When looking at league tables, the University of Leeds consistently ranks amongst some of the best universities in the UK. Similarly, Sport and Exercise Science at Leeds is highly regarded in comparison to other universities. I loved the fact that the Leeds is such a big university, yet it is confined to one campus. This means lectures, seminars and university social spaces are just walking distance apart. Finally, Leeds is a great city! It is a young, vibrant city that is growing every year.

What have been the highlights of your time at the University of Leeds?

During my time at undergraduate level, I specifically enjoyed the biomechanics module. Biomechanics is concerned with the mechanics of human motion and its influence on both performance and injury. The knowledge and lab skills I gained through this module have allowed me go on to study for a PhD in medical engineering. Socially, my time playing sport at Leeds was a highlight. It was a chance to compete against other universities and meet new people at organised weekly socials.

How have the facilities (libraries/labs etc.) helped you get the most out of your degree?

There are a number of libraries at Leeds, all of which have great facilities for both individual and group study. The Sport and Exercise Science labs are particularly beneficial. During the course, I had the opportunity to complete a number of research assignments, using cutting-edge equipment. This gave me an insight into the research skills and techniques within biomechanics, physiology, psychology and motor control.

Why did you choose to take a Masters? 

I completed a Masters in Sport Science, however at the time this was not integrated with my undergraduate course. In my experience, the Masters allowed me to take ownership for a research project and work with more self-direction and independence. I feel that I benefitted from this time as it was a chance to develop a number of important skills, which ultimately allowed me to apply for a PhD.

Have you joined any student societies/sports clubs at the university? If so how has this enhanced your time at the University?

I played university football throughout my time as an undergraduate. This was a fantastic opportunity to make the most of the fantastic sports facilities at Weetwood and play at a competitive level against other universities. I also played football for the Sport Science football team and was a member of the Biological Sciences Society. Joining one of the many societies on offer, is a great way to meet likeminded people and increase your network of friends.

What key aspects of your experience of Leeds would you highlight to students thinking about coming do the same course?

Regular lab practicals were a great chance to get hands on and learn how to use scientific equipment. Following on from this, the 3rdyear dissertation stands out as a highlight for me. You have the choice from many topics across any of the sport science disciplines. The dissertation is a chance to explore a scientific question and engage in every part of research, from data collection through to statistics.

What are your ambitions for the future? Do you have specific career plans? Has the Faculty (careers centre/lecturers etc.) helped you with these goals in any way?

Following the completion of my PhD, I plan to work within the medical technology sector. My current work focuses on joint replacements, so that would be a perfect career pathway.  Sport and Exercise Science lecturers have advised and supported me to help me to reach the position I am in now. I would advise final year students to meet with lecturers who work in the area that interests them and discuss potential career paths.