With February rolling in, I have been receiving several queries about choosing the ideal second year university and the offered specialisations. Here’s a guide to what are the absolute necessities to look into when you are choosing your second year, as most often this location will also be your primary target for thesis lookout.
Despite each university stating their specialisations, it is a good idea to take a look at the electives offered and read in-depth about the topics covered. The EIT InnoEnergy website offers a detailed list of electives for each programme, use this as a starting point for your research. The second most important aspect is to read through the course or elective descriptions on the respective university websites. Within Europe, the specialisations offered have different definitions, what modelling refers to in Sweden is very different from ‘modelling’ in France. Similarly, a specialisation in PV can mean many things, it can be oriented towards the industry or into core research of new PV technologies. Hence, a thorough read through will help put things in perspective.
EIT InnoEnergy’s CommUnity platform offers a job portal where thesis and internship opportunities are published. A glance at this job portal gives a good estimate of the cities where your preferred companies or job specialisations are present. Most of the universities have partnerships with labs and start-ups catering to the specialisation they offer, but it is better to check this beforehand. If you are a foreigner, despite the thought of doing your thesis or internship in another country might seem tempting, the Visa procedures take time and often-times companies are not willing to go through this process for a 6-month internship. I am not trying to sound pessimistic here, just putting this information across so you can make an informed decision.
It can be agreed that it takes some time after thesis completion to attain a full-time job that you can be satisfied with. Some countries in Europe (the Netherlands), offer 6-12 month student visa extensions so you can live in the country while looking for a job. If staying back in Europe to look for a job is on the top of your priority, it will be worth your time to look at visa extensions wherever you go for your second year.
Last but not the least, what is student life without cheap beers and lively places to explore! Europe is popular for offering student discounts at cafes, movie theatres etc but some countries such as France have a restriction on the age! It will be way more convenient for you to look into this information before you actually get there! This can also affect your search for accommodation, in case you are not a big fan of the residences offered by the university itself.
Good luck with this decision-making process!
by Malavika Venugopal, Master’s in Renwable Energy