Robert Duca

‘I originally studied an undergraduate degree in electrical and computer systems engineering.  For several years, I worked in engineering and other management roles in Australia.  I felt however that I wanted to try something different and move away from a ‘traditional’ engineering field and towards an area of science that was rapidly evolving.  I also wanted to learn something where I could use these skills to help humankind.

‘I knew I wanted to move away from engineering and towards science but was unsure of the exact field I wanted to pursue.  Initially I was considering perhaps looking at physics, materials, chemistry, or biology but was intrigued when I came across the Postgraduate Certificate in Nanotechnology at Oxford as it incorporated all of these fields!  After doing some initial reading about nanotechnology, I had more questions than answers. I was hooked.

‘Although I was extremely interested in the course syllabus, I initially did not think I was ‘worthy’ of applying to Oxford.  However, after mentioning to my peers that I may have found the course I had been looking for, they strongly encouraged me to apply.  I was subsequently offered a place and have never looked back. 

‘Having completed the Postgraduate Certificate in Nanotechnology, I knew I had finally found the career path I had been looking for. I have now recently commenced the MSc in Nanotechnology for Medicine and Healthcare. I am thoroughly enjoying the coursework and hope to undertake a DPhil/PhD following the completion of my masters in an area closely related to nanotechnology and medicine.

‘Coming from an engineering and technical background, all my previous assessment had been in the form of three hour sit down exams. It was quite a challenge to adjust to essay based assessment.  Initially these seemed quite intimidating as they require discipline, focus and adoption of different thought processes, form of learning and written expression. 

‘On the other hand, although challenging, it did not take long for me to realise that this mode of assessment suited me perfectly.  It is an ideal way to learn and explore my own interests.  I now feel confident, and enjoy exploring new areas of science, reading mounds of academic papers to find interesting and relevant topics, forming ideas and opinions and then expressing them in writing.

‘The most rewarding part of the Postgraduate Certificate, and now the Master’s degree is that I am being exposed to cutting edge technology, where the applications are still in their infancy. This is a hugely exciting area, with many opportunities for future research.  I am also given the opportunity to look into areas of science I did not even know existed a few years ago.   As I complete each module, I am becoming more confident in learning entirely new concepts.  The classes and assessment are also presented in such a way that I am can follow my own unique interests.  I hope that when I finish my masters, I will use the skillset and knowledge I have gained to pursue a research degree.

‘The academic and administrative staff are also extremely approachable and supportive.  I have never felt like I have had so many people interested in watching me achieve my full academic potential. 

‘Following the completion of the Postgraduate Certificate in Nanotechnology, I am now currently studying for the Master of Science in Nanotechnology for Medicine and Healthcare.  When not attending intensive week long classes in Oxford, I am largely based in Australia where I am employed as a Residential Tutor at Trinity College located at the University of Melbourne.

‘I would suggest that if you are at all interested in nanotechnology, don’t hesitate in applying! You may be pleasantly surprised and fascinated by this rapidly evolving field and how it applies to practically all areas of industry!  Since nanotechnology is multidisciplinary and extremely broad, you will most likely find yourself extremely interested in multiple areas of nanotechnology research!’