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Student profiles

Masters courses

  • Ana-Maria Dorobat (MSc Telecommunication and Information Systems)

    Ana-Maria DorobatI was recommended the University of Essex by a friend who studied there, and now, I am happy that I have followed her advice. I was intending to apply for an MSc course in Telecommunications and the University of Essex was on my list. The reviews of the University and my friend’s guidance made me choose this Institution as a place to continue my studies.

    The friendly and qualified personnel provided a high standard of information that was always up-dated to industry requirements. The professors provided high-level teaching, always keeping the interest of students alive. They also encouraged research over certain topics, a fact that helped me in elaborating my dissertation project. The laboratories are equipped with trendy devices and the personnel always support you in exploring them. They are always happy to answer to your questions and to provide you with the best explanations.

    When I enrolled as a postgraduate student at the University of Essex, I had some telecom background that I achieved during my undergraduate course at a different University. I remember that the Microwaves and the Antennas subjects during my under-graduate studies were not my favourite subjects at all, because I did not get to really understand these topics. During some laboratories, at the University of Essex, I had to work with microwave devices and to perform many measurements. Moreover, in the second semester, I had to attend the Digital Communication course taught by a very experienced internationally well-known professor (FIEEE), that was covering antennas and satellite communications.

    I can say that these experiences totally changed my perception over these subjects. The lecturer’s explanations made me understand the microwave and antenna principles and, consequently I became determined to do some extra research in this field. As a consequence, my dissertation project consisted of designing a microstrip antenna and now, I am working for a satellite communications company where I am applying the information gathered during my MSc course. If someone told me, before starting the MSc course at the University of Essex, that I would be working with antennas and microwaves, I would absolutely not believe it, but it seems that this University really opens new doors for its students.

    I will certainly recommend the University of Essex whenever I will have the opportunity because I consider that it is the perfect environment for learning, discovering, making friends, and having fun.

  • Kamolwan Kunanusont (MSc Artificial Intelligence)

    Kamolwan KunanusontBeing an international student who decided to study in the UK means you have to consider both study fees and university rankings. The main reasons that I chose Essex was based on those criteria. This university also provided a one-third discount in overall tuition fees for me based on my previous academic results, which helped me to afford both the living expenses and fees at an acceptable rate.

    When I first arrived here I was impressed by all the study facilities that the school of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering provides. There are more than enough high quality machines in the computer science labs for students. Since my Master major was Artificial Intelligence, I was allowed to select up to 5 optional modules. Most of them were interesting and I could not make up my mind to pick only five at the beginning. However, one of the good things about here is that many module contents are available online, therefore I was able to access and decide which were the best five choices.

    Before I came here, I never enjoyed doing research and I understood that it was not my way. Then I met my supervisor and discussed with him about the research topic I did as my Master project and I found that I love this and want to continue doing it. This is the reason why I decided to continue study Ph. D. here (Expected start date: Jan 2017).

    To conclude, one year at Essex passed too fast and I do not want it to end at all. I feel like I am a better student just by having studied here, in both personal and academic ways. The best thing about this place was that I never felt like I am an international student. Colleagues, friends and staffs here behaved the same for both local and non-local students and that made me feel like I was home.

  • Elina Andrikou, MSc Computer Science (since renamed MSc Advanced Computer Science)

    “I chose to study at Essex because the course structure covered in detail my interests in computer science and I was also impressed by the wide range of modules that were offered. This allowed me to study a diverse Masters degree and gave me numerous options for my career. Another factor was the Colchester Campus with its friendly environment and everything you could possibly want in one place: bars, clubs, an art gallery and a theatre. I can say it was one of the best decisions I ever made from both an educational and career point of view.

    I found the courses stimulating, interesting and yes, requiring effort, but definitely worth it. Looking back I am amazed at just how much I learned, not just languages and concepts but whole new ways of thinking. The knowledge I acquired studying for my Masters degree has proven to be invaluable. The lecturers were so approachable and the quality of teaching was very high. They took a great interest in my progress, providing excellent feedback on my coursework and continual advice. Classes and seminars weren’t too large and we were always encouraged to participate without having doubts to express our opinion. The warm and friendly attitude of the staff in the administration deserve particular praise for their care and attentiveness towards the students, their help is certainly invaluable.

    The School offered a vast range of interesting modules. All the ones I took gave me essential skills and confidence. They also helped me to look at things from a different perspective. Every day, I greatly appreciate the knowledge gained throughout my degree.

    The Colchester Campus is compact and very international with a great community atmosphere. I had no problems settling into academic life at Essex. Socially it was really fun with international nights being one of my favourites. Clubs and societies were on offer for every interest imaginable.

    Essex holds some really strong moments for me, while sitting by the lakes, relaxing and enjoying the sunshine with the company of hundreds of students during the lazy summer days. Our great Sports Centre allowed me to keep fit, have fun and make some very close friends.

    My fondest memory was the first week. It was both scary and exciting, every effort was made to make new students feel welcome, especially during the Welcome Week which was a fantastic opportunity to meet new people, join clubs and societies and get involved in the University activities. If I could do it all again I have to admit I wouldn't change anything about my time at Essex. It is truly a perfect stepping stone to start life and build a career. If you want a challenge, quality education, interesting topics and a great time, Essex is the place for you as it was for me and many others!”

  • Shaden Mar'I, MSc Computer Science (since renamed MSc Advanced Computer Science)

    “I come from Jordan, which is a developing country in need of many changes to minimise the gap between it and developed countries such as the United Kingdom.

    After obtaining my BSc in Computer Information Systems from the University of Jordan, my aim was to obtain a postgraduate qualification in the area of computer science to help enhance my career prospects and to enable me to participate in the technological development process my country is undertaking. I could not find a better place than the UK due to its multicultural nature. The people are very welcoming and from all different backgrounds, which I found truly amazing.

    My degree at Essex was quite demanding with lots of assignments and reading to do, but it all paid off as I learned about so many new technologies in a number of computer science fields, introduced through the rich modules the course offers.

    Now, whenever I think of Essex, I remember the long nights I spent at the library or in the labs working on assignments or studying for exams. I also remember the wonderful academic and administrative staff and the beautiful campus landscape. Looking back, I realise that the year I spent at Essex was one of the best years of my life.”

  • Alex Louca, MSc Advanced Web Application Programming

    “I can definitely say that studying MSc Advanced Web Application Programming at Essex offered me so much more academically in one year than any other qualification I have achieved.

    The materials and classes were exactly what I needed to enhance my web programming skills and further my career, and I feel I have acquired an extensive base of relevant knowledge and expertise in all the major areas of web development, thanks to the quality of the course syllabus. I found work as a web programmer within just a few weeks of graduation.

    I found the lectures and seminars to be first class without exception. Everything contained material relevant to my field of work. Both the teaching and administrative staff were knowledgeable, friendly and helpful and I cannot recommend them enough. I immensely enjoyed my time at Essex and will always look back on it as the best of all my academic years.”

  • Peter Mead, BSc Computing and Mathematics, MSc Advanced Web Application Programming

    “Having completed my undergraduate degree here at Essex, I felt this was the perfect place to further my studies as a postgraduate student. The University of Essex has a growing reputation for excellence that is well deserved. The Colchester Campus is compact enough to walk from one end to the other in a matter of minutes, but it's busy enough so that you bump into ten people you know on the way!

    Societies played a big part in my social life. I remember my first Welcome Week where I joined RockSoc on a whim, and one year later I was the President of that society. I held the position for two years, organising rock nights and gatherings for all those who enjoy the genre. Clubs and societies are a great way to meet like-minded people.

    Above all, Essex helped me attain two degrees and also helped me identify the specific career plan I wished to follow. I feel that it has helped me prepare for a long enjoyable career and has provided me with memories which will be hard to forget.”

  • David Bull, BSc Computer Science, MSc Embedded Systems and Robotics

    “The most interesting modules for me were the robotics modules (especially Lego Mindstorms) and the PIC microprocessor module. After completing my undergraduate degree I decided to stay at Essex and study MSc Embedded Systems and Robotics.

    I chose to study the pervasive computing theme which included modules on ambient intelligent and distributed systems. The course was demanding but I enjoyed it and was motivated to work hard. The assignments allowed you to put into practice what had been learned during the lectures. They also required you to read around and find papers expanding your knowledge beyond purely what had been taught in the lectures.

    The lecturers, teaching assistants and other staff are all extremely helpful. The Albert Sloman Library, the Employability and Careers Centre, and the Sports Centre facilities are extremely good.

    I thoroughly enjoyed my four years at Essex and would definitely recommend it to anyone else thinking of coming. The courses are interesting and challenging, the staff are very helpful and the other services and facilities provided by the university are very good.”

Postgraduate research

  • Ana Matran-Fernandez (PhD Computing and Electronic Systems)

    Ana Matran-FernandezI decided to come to the University of Essex after meeting Professor Riccardo Poli (who would eventually become my supervisor) in a workshop in Parma. I contacted him after the workshop and he mentioned the possibility of obtaining a studentship. The School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering has the best equipped laboratory facilities in the UK for my field of research, so making the decision to join such a team was easy.

    Alongside my PhD studies, I was offered the possibility to take part in other activities. I got some experience as a GLA, acted as a peer mentor, and I was a course representative for a year. I was given the chance to broaden my exploration of other related fields through small research projects that my supervisor offered me, and I also got the chance to lead a research team to win a medal in an international competition thanks to a grant awarded by the School.

    But not everything is academic development. In addition to all the resources that the School of CSEE provides, there are many other reasons why the University of Essex is a great place. They pride themselves in being one of the most international universities in the UK, and that means that they are inclusive and welcoming. They have a great centre for start-ups that helped me develop my business idea and transform it into a business and the people in the Essex Business School are also a great resource for entrepreneurs.

  • Mays F H Al-Naday (PhD Computing and Electronic Systems)

    Mays Al-NadayAfter finishing my BSc degree in Communication and Information Engineering from the University of Baghdad, I started looking for higher education opportunities. I chose the University of Essex because it combined three key factors that were important for me: first, it offered the Masters degree in Computer and Information Networks, which had a number of modules that were very much of my interest; second, the tuition fees were more affordable than other universities; and, third, the location of the university in the beautiful eastern cost of the country was very much appealing to me. As I started contacting the university to learn more about the course, I found out that staff interactions where very kind and helpful, which further encouraged me to apply to the University of Essex.

    My master’s course was a big success, during which I have significantly expanded my knowledge base as well as made new, very dear, friendships. This has encouraged me to further pursue my PhD degree in the university. At this point I found my call in life as a research scientist, contributing to emerging projects and making scientific advancements to networking technologies. After finishing my PhD, I filled an interesting position with one of UK’s large service providers, but I couldn’t stay away from the University of Essex and my research group, namely the Network Convergence Group, led by Professor Kun Yang and Dr. Martin J. Reed. So I came back as soon as the opportunity became available, to work as a senior research officer in the POINT H2020 project.

    Living in Colchester and working at the University of Essex has been very interesting, it involved a number of challenges over the years, progressing from well-defined assignments to highly flexible research directions. Colchester itself is a place I call home, the relaxed environment, self-contained campus (with all the essentials), and the kindness of people foster great focus, passion and motivation whether in study or work. The regular activities throughout the year, make it all the more interesting, with the arrival of freshers in October, Christmas celebrations, summer school and many more events, which keep the university and Colchester in general vibrant across the year. At the same time, there are opportunities and spaces to have quiet and focused times, for those who seek it. Looking back over the years, I am glad that I chose the University of Essex to finish my studies and I’m looking forward to make more contributions towards expanding it.

  • Mihail Morosan, PhD Computational Intelligence and Game Balance

    Mihail MorosanWhat made me do a Masters at Essex, you ask? Especially after 3 years of undergraduate study here? It might have been the really awesome people, be they students, lecturers, members of staff. It could have been the opportunity to discover topics I was not familiar with yet, such as neural networks or data mining. I would not fault you if you believed it was the amazing campus itself.

    I'll tell you a secret: it was all of that and more. Essex University is a wonderful little island of knowledge and opportunity, with lecturers that want their students to succeed, societies that offer great activities and rest from the daily grind and sports clubs that keep you active.

    The Masters course itself was a chance to get to know the lecturers better, to learn about topics I had never been curious about and to further my understanding in areas I thought myself already capable. While friends in Romania had hours upon hours of study material to memorise, I had hours upon hours of time to explore the beautiful world of computer science, guided by lecture notes and the extra reading recommended by academics.

    The dissertation was an opportunity to put into practice an idea I had since college. How often are you given a chance to combine compulsory study with something you truly enjoy? At the end of it all, I had a lot of content for my portfolio, a great understanding of a wide variety of topics and a couple of job offers from companies in London.

    And here I am at the time of writing, still at the University of Essex, doing a PhD in computational intelligence and game balance, under the umbrella of IGGI. Because it's really nice here and I get to improve the world of video games and AI. Not only that, but I also have support from academics and other IGGI students, at one of the best institutions in the world when it comes to video games and AI.

  • Shoaib Ehsan (PhD Computing and Electronic Systems)

    Shoaib EhsanComing to the University of Essex for a PhD was like a dream come true for me. It is worth mentioning here that I had declined a fully funded studentship (approximately £75,000) at another top UK university to study at Essex. There were several reasons for this selection: 1) big reputation of the university in general and CSEE in particular 2) the opportunity of being supervised by Professor Klaus McDonald-Maier (who is an international authority in embedded and intelligent systems) 3) the luxury of paying the tuition fees on term basis (rather than paying in full for the whole year) 4) the international environment of the university 5) scholarship opportunities (I was awarded a very competitive scholarship by CSEE to fund my PhD research).

    Before joining the University of Essex as a PhD student, I had worked in industry for nearly five years and had extensive embedded software development experience. However, academic research was a different ball game altogether. Professor Klaus, in his capacity as my supervisor, helped me bridge this gap and guided me at each and every point. He made this transition (from industry to academic research) really smooth for me. I was also fortunate enough to have Dr Adrian Clark as my co-supervisor. To be honest, my PhD thesis was a product of our team work. Not only did I learn the art of research and academic writing from them, Klaus and Adrian were hugely responsible for transforming my outlook as a researcher and always motivated me to achieve the highest research standards. One of the highlights was our paper in Electronics Letters that was selected as a featured article out of 46 papers published in that particular issue. Thanks to them for being so patient with me during those countless enlightening discussions. I could not have accomplished so much (5 papers in top quality journals along with 12 conference publications coming out of my PhD work) without their unlimited and untiring support.

    The CSEE staff were really helpful throughout. They provided support in technical, administrative and financial matters whenever required. For example, CSEE facilitated me to attend DICTA 2009 in Australia by covering all my travel expenses and conference registration fees. In general, every PhD student gets a budget of £1000 (in a period of 4 years) from CSEE for attending conferences which is commendable. Similarly, a printing credit is given to each PhD student by CSEE to facilitate them in their research work.

    All in all, it was a life-changing experience for me at Essex. Not only did I manage to get a PhD degree from a high profile university, I also met lovely people from all over the world and learnt about different cultures. With outstanding sports facilities (such as gym and lush green cricket ground) and multi-faith chaplaincy, Essex proved to be an excellent place for maintaining work-life balance for me.

  • Stephen Dignum, MSc Computer Science, PhD Computer Science

    “My PhD looked at the biases of variation operators for genetic programming (GP), one of a number of evolutionary search methods. The research had a theoretical basis and provided insights as to how GP searches a program space.

    Highlights during my time at Essex included presenting at international conferences where I was fortunate enough to receive a number of best paper awards and nominations. I also enjoyed debating and progressing research ideas with fellow students, a process strongly encouraged by the School.

    After completing my PhD, I worked as a Senior Research Officer for the School before taking up a role as a Data Architect at Lloyds Banking Group. I am currently working as the data lead on banking integration and divestment projects.”

  • Ahmed Kattan, MSc Computer Science, PhD Computer Science

    “The University of Essex is a high profile institution and the School has an excellent reputation, especially in the field of artificial intelligence. The School's academic staff are some of the best researchers worldwide. At Essex, research students get a unique opportunity to join many activities and workshops that help them in their careers. One of the most memorable experiences I found is in organising an annual conference for research students to join, collaborate and discuss their research projects. In addition, Essex is a very international environment which I particularly enjoyed.

    My area is evolutionary computation and my main research interest lies in the applications of genetic programming. To that extent I developed a series of universal compression systems based on genetic programming (GP), referred to as the GP-zip family. In addition, I proposed several new novel algorithms based on the use of GP for several applications such as data type analysis, muscle fatigue prediction and problem decomposing.

    Not long after I was awarded my PhD, I obtained a position as a Research Associate at Loughborough University. I began a project associated with the EPSRC called ‘Designing Mechanisms for Automated Resource Allocation’. I am also a visiting lecturer at Um Al-Qura University, Saudi Arabia, in their computer science department. In addition, I still maintain a research collaboration with my professors at the University of Essex.”

  • Mario Siller, PhD Electronic Systems Engineering

    After finishing his PhD, Mario returned to Mexico and joined CINVESTAV in Guadalajara. This is a leading research centre in the area of technology in Latin America. He is working as a Research Officer and Lecturer.

    “I decided to study at Essex because of its well-regarded postgraduate degrees in the area of telecommunications and electronic systems engineering, and I can now say that it was a very good choice.

    I found the research and teaching staff at the School friendly and helpful. They were always open to sharing both knowledge and experience. My supervisor gave me the time and patience I needed, and supported and guided me throughout my research. This was certainly a key factor for the success of my studies.

    Studying at Essex has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. Essex gave me the opportunity to study at a university with an outstanding reputation, surrounded by a multicultural atmosphere with excellent social life. I met many interesting people and I made life-long friends. Most importantly, I met my beautiful wife who was herself a PhD student in the Department of Government.

    Furthermore, whilst at Essex I got to learn about the people, culture, history, traditions and institutions that make the UK an excellent place to study.”

  • Panitnat Yimyam (PhD Computing and Electronic Systems)

    Panitnat YimyamI obtained a Royal Thai Government Scholarship to study full-time abroad with an extended grant supported by Burapha University Sakaeo Campus. It was a great opportunity to study at the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, University of Essex, which I chose following my work colleague’s advice. She is Asst. Prof. Dr. Surangkana Tharmlikit, who is an alumni of the University of Essex. Her abilities inspired me to study here.

    My PhD research focused on computer vision and genetic programming in order to manage issues of agricultural produce grading. My research can be applied to develop vision machines that are in high demand in the agricultural industry in my country. I would like to express my deep gratitude to Dr. Adrian F. Clark, my supervisor, for his insightful suggestions, valuable help and constant support during my study period. I also wish to thank the staff of the university for their support and kindness which is so important for international students.

    I gained great experiences from studying at the University of Essex. It provides a high level of teaching, with educational materials and facilities to support success. It has a wealth of student activities and is a safe place to study. I would not hesitate to recommend it to other people.