Rachel Samuel – MGeol Geology graduate

Rachel Samuel

Current Job Title: Graduate Geotechnical Engineer 

Current Employer: Capita Property and Infrastructure

Current Location: Carlisle

Year of graduation: 2016

“If I were to start over from first year I would tell myself to find the right balance. I think arranging a placement year or spending a summer in industry would have been a good idea in hindsight. This sort of experience really sets your apart from the next candidate when applying for jobs.”

Since graduation...

The last few months of my studies were a bit of a whirlwind. After finishing my degree, I relocated to Carlisle to work full time as a Graduate Geotechnical Engineer. My role involves contributions to highways projects in North West and North East England, and Scotland. I have also contributed to slope stability, bridge replacement and flood alleviation projects.

I have travelled to some beautiful parts of the Lake District and been fortunate enough to supervise and shadow on some major ground investigations. There’s never a dull moment as an engineer, you’re certainly kept on your toes both on site and in the office. Honestly, I would not change anything. The working world is very different to university life but the experiences and skills I have gained so far have been invaluable.

Rachel's experience at the University of Plymouth...



“The modules you undertake on the geology course are wide-ranging, and having those options available made me realise what I really liked – engineering and geohazards. The course is accredited by the Geological Society of London and this was an important factor for me choosing the University of Plymouth.”


The range of fieldwork offered with the course was fantastic. I have seen some beautiful outcrops of geology in the south-west of England, Cyprus, Spain and the Isle of Skye. There’s nothing like being able to test your skills and see real geology. Plymouth was also a beautiful location to study. The campus is based on one site which is something I also found convenient.

During my third year, we received some Engineering Geology practicals in the Brunel labs which really helped develop my knowledge of geotechnical testing methods. I was able to carry those basic skills into my job which was great. Generally, I was exposed to a range of interdisciplinary subjects throughout my Geology degree and this ultimately allowed me to find what I wanted to do long term. In terms of real-world skills, Plymouth is where I learned to become an independent adult.

The overall experience at the University of Plymouth was great – I have seen some fantastic geology outcrops both in England and Europe. Plymouth itself is a beautiful, sociable city and there is a lot on offer if you enjoy the outdoors. The Career Fairs offer great networking opportunities and exposure to various industry roles.



I really enjoyed living by the sea. Getting the ferry boat from the Hoe was an experience; I often took day trips to Kingsand with my friends which were particularly nice during the summer. Wembury and Bigbury Beach are beautiful and Haldon Forest Park is close by which makes for a nice day of activities or even a study break. The field trips to Spain and Cyprus were definitely my favourite memories of the course.



Having a 24 hour library available was great for me – I was able to study at any time of day. Having access to private rooms was fantastic for group work and for general quiet studying during peak times. This was particularly important during my final two years. During my fourth year, we also had access to the postgraduate computer room in Fitzroy building which was useful for using specialist software and private study. The SUM:UP service there was handy as it allowed me to go and find help with any maths problem.

Inspired by this story?

For more information about studying MGeol Geology, please visit our MGeol Geology page. For more information about our range of courses within the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, please visit the school page.

Want to find similar alumni?

If you would like to find out what other relevant alumni are currently doing, please visit the marine, earth, geography and environment interest area.