Meet Maja - Master's student in Marine Science
Maja Piscator Klasén chose the Master's programme in Marine Science to get a broad marine education to improve her chances for an international career. For her master’s degree in marine biology, she studies the reproduction of Corynactis chilensis – a species closely related to corals found off the coast of Chile.
What are you doing right now?
“I am doing my master’s degree project, where I study the reproduction in a small Cnidaria species found off the coast of Chile – Corynactis chilensis. It looks like a small sea anemone, but it’s actually more closely related to corals. By looking at tissue samples, we study reproduction and maturation of gametes. Reproduction is a fundamental process for the survival of a species, something that could be affected by, for example, climate change. Since the Department's research on corals is based at Tjärnö Marine Laboratory on the Swedish West Coast, I have lived at the research station for the last six months to be able to do my project – it's an incredibly beautiful study environment.
Why did you choose the Master's programme in Marine Science?
“I knew that I wanted to study a Master's degree in Marine Science with a focus on biology. I chose the University of Gothenburg because I wanted to get a broader knowledge of the field that could be useful in an international setting. At Stockholm University, I got the impression that most things in the marine area are focused solely on the Baltic Sea, which is a very unique environment and therefore difficult to apply the achieved knowledge outside of Sweden. Now, I could get the opportunity to go to Chile through my degree project, so it turned out to be the right choice to study at the University of Gothenburg.”
What’s it like to study the programme?
“I think it’s a very good programme. A plus is that you mainly get to choose which courses you want to study, so depending on what subject you are the most interested in and want to focus on, you can choose different study routes. I chose marine biology, but there are also marine chemistry, marine geology, and oceanography.”
“I also chose to do a more extensive degree project for a total of 60 credits, which meant that I took fewer courses than some of my classmates, something that suited me very well. Learning from all the formidable and knowledgeable teachers and researchers we have at the University of Gothenburg is a fantastic opportunity, but of course there have been certain parts of certain courses that have required more time and energy for me to understand. I think that's very personal, and depends on what you are interested in, or have a talent for.”
Do you have any tips for those considering applying to the programme?
“Read closely the information available on the universities' websites when deciding on what you want to study, but also contact the study counsellors. They have a lot of knowledge and are super helpful in sharing the programme content and study routes in the different programmes.”
“Another important thing to remember is that everyone comes from different backgrounds to a master's programme. I myself had studied a Bachelor's degree in biology at Uppsala University, and therefore had a little less knowledge about the marine area than others who had studied a Bachelor's degree in Marine Science. Not having the same basic knowledge as others is nothing to feel stupid about, we are all here to learn, which actually means that we shouldn't know everything before we start. The point of an education is to learn by asking questions. I recently heard a podcast where they say: "Ask smart people dumb questions", which I think is a great expression and what studying is all about.”
What is it like to study in Gothenburg?
“I think Gothenburg is a fantastic city for students. It's a big city, but a “small” big city. There are always plenty of things to do in your spare time, and it's easy to get around. Public transport is excellent, but it's also easy to travel on foot, or by bike. One of my favourite things about Gothenburg is that there are both big city activities, and also the opportunity to be out in nature, both by the sea and in the forest.”
What do you want to do after graduation?
“Honestly, I'm not yet sure what I want to do. My plan is to apply for jobs at consulting companies, where you usually mix field work and paperwork, such as reports. Applying for a doctorate is also an option, but I'll probably have to think more about that before I make a decision.”
Interview: Karl-Johan Nylén
Translation to English: Annika Wall