Graduated with an online Environmental Health MSc

Image: Online Environmental Health MSc Masters Fiona Darmanin TedescoFiona Darmanin TedescoWhich course did you study?

MSc Environmental Health

Why did you choose this course?

I had been changing nappies non-stop for 9 years running, and although I was still working as a Health, Safety and Environmental Manager on slightly reduced hours, I desperately needed to get my brain working again. Although I had tried reading scientific journals, or online articles relating to areas of my interest, I realized that what I wanted was a structured programme to guide me through a training course.

What attracted you to online learning?

With my job during the day at Trelleborg Sealing Solutions, and three young kids to take care of after work, there was no way I was going to reach my goals. Online learning was my solution.

Why did you choose the University of Derby Online Learning?

I received an email from a local training agent (at the time when I was unsure of whether and how to go about a training course) with information relating to an online learning course for a Master’s degree in Environmental Health at UDOL. I clicked the link and found that this was my solution. I could study in my own time after the kids were asleep, extend the programme over 5 years to keep the pressure at a minimum level, get my brain working again, satisfy my craving to learn more about an area relating to my job, and achieve a degree in the process.

What were your goals and aspirations when starting your course? Have they changed during study?

My goals were to learn, get my brain working again, achieve a degree, and be an example to my kids. I wanted them to know that if there was something you really wanted to do, with hard work and planning you could achieve it. My goals remained the same throughout my studies.

How did you balance your study around professional/personal commitments?

Good planning and hard work. I owe a lot to my mum and dad, my two rocks, who helped me out with the kids and instilled the drive in me to achieve challenges, and more importantly to believe in myself.

What did your study environment look like?

My study environment was usually the kitchen table with the dogs and cats curled up around me, with a mess of papers and coffee mugs around the laptop! I also used to work on my laptop in the car whilst the kids were at their ballet lessons, or in the ballet studio in a corner completely lost in my assignments.

How would you describe your online learning experience at Derby? What did you find particularly beneficial?

It was a lovely experience. Although you may feel somewhat detached from university life as you are an online student, you have the benefit of having your tutors just an email away, always ready to offer advice and guidance on how to tackle a problem. I must admit it was hard at times, especially when putting together assignments with pressing deadlines, however if you spread out the programme in a way that suits your personal commitments, it is achievable.

What was your most memorable moment during your time at Derby?

With no shadow of doubt, it was my graduation day! I couldn't believe the day had finally arrived! All those late nights sitting tired at my laptop with coffee, alternating between highs and lows whilst putting together assignments and then the thesis, were finally over! I'll never forget the proud look on my mum's and kids’ faces that day!

How has your qualification helped your career? Has the knowledge you have acquired, complimented previous work experience in any way?

The knowledge I have acquired has certainly been of benefit to my job as an HSE Manager. It has helped me gain a better understanding of legal systems relating to health and safety, environmental health legislation, and areas relating to environmental health, directly related to my job. Other skills that have been improved through this course are time management, efficient research and efficient compilation of reports. I was also able to understand occupational health in much more depth through my thesis.

Can you describe your experience with just one word?


What would you say to anyone considering an online course at Derby?

If you really want to further your studies, UDOL courses are definitely your solution. You can decide on the period of time you plan to extend your course over to ensure you can balance your personal commitments whilst studying, and the tutors will offer you a great deal of support along the way to see you through any problems.