Dept of Biological Sciences | Study here | What our students say
Document Actions

Kate Ruusuvuori

Cert HE Life Sciences allied to medicine

Kate Ruusuvuori had worked as a building surveyor for 11 years, but wanted to change careers and do something that really inspired her.

She’d always been interested in nutrition so began looking at dietetics degree courses, but discovered that she would need A-levels in biology and chemistry, or equivalent. The thought of studying A-levels for two years didn’t appeal to Kate, and by searching online she found out about Birkbeck’s Certificate of Higher Education in Life Sciences for Subjects Allied to Medicine. After attending an open evening and talking to some of the tutors she decided to enrol.

Kate moved into an administrative role, working four days a week, and completed her Certificate in one year. She says: ‘I didn’t struggle to fit study in because I was so fired up with it from the start. It was so important to me that I was able to adjust my life to fit to my studies.’

‘My classmates were fabulous and there was a massive cross-section of people. Before I started I thought that I would be the oldest in the class, and the only person studying in order to change career. In fact, I was neither. I made some great friends who I’m still in touch with three years later.’

‘The tutors were absolutely fantastic and really inspired me to go away from class and to learn more for myself. That passion for learning has stayed with me all the way through the degree in nutrition that I went on to study after Birkbeck and I’m now looking at Master’s programmes. When the tutors were talking about their research in class you could see them light up and they were so passionate about it that it made me realise that was what I wanted to do.’

‘One of the things that I really liked about Birkbeck is that it wasn’t just about the biology and chemistry – they also encouraged us to look at professional development, and it was a really encompassing education.  It was thanks to one of the additional sessions that I attended that I ended up applying to King’s College London to do my degree. The session was about UCAS applications and the tutor encouraged me to apply to King’s, even though I was sure that I wouldn’t get in and that it was beyond my academic capacity. In the end I got a place and went on to get an upper second class degree, but I’d never have applied if it hadn’t have been for his encouragement.’

‘The things I learnt at Birkbeck really prepared me for studying at King's College London.  It gave me a solid understanding of anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, metabolism, genetics and molecular biology which proved really useful during interviews with various universities and especially in terms of attending lectures and preparing coursework.  There were times, especially in my first year at King's, that I seemed to have the advantage over students who hadn't attended Birkbeck in terms of knowing and understanding biology and chemistry basics.  Additionally, I continued to use the recommended textbooks and lecture notes provided by the tutors at Birkbeck right the way through my undergraduate degree.’

‘Studying at Birkbeck definitely changed me and helped me to become a really dedicated and conscientious student. Now I want to get out there and apply my knowledge to a professional situation!’

Find out more about our courses.

'When the tutors talked about their research they were so passionate that it made me realise that was what I wanted to do.'