As stated in my founding post for this beer focussed blog, I have future plans to one day establish a modest craft brewery of my own in rural Japan. In order to help achieve those goals I tentatively applied for the MSc Brewing and Distilling By Distance Learning course run by Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.
Learning to brew beer through practice and experimentation is all well and good but I really wanted to understand the science behind the brewing in order to be best prepared to tackle future challenges and ideally preferred to do so in a structured manner, so this course seemed perfect for my needs.
Unfortunately, the soft requirement for entry into the course is an undergraduate degree in science or engineering and my degree in Japanese language and culture fits neither bill so I was apprehensive that I may not be considered. I therefore lined up some former lecturers to provide references if required and penned a passionate accompanying statement ensuring the university that faith in me would not be misplaced.
Fortunately, the soft requirement was indeed soft and without any request for references I have been offered an unconditional acceptance into the course, which I have confirmed! WOOHOOO!!!!! If we're honest, this is probably more to do with harsh financial challenges facing our universities than it was to do with my passionate plea but either way, come September 2020 I shall commence studying in the programme which I think makes my dreams to open my own brewery far more attainable.
Whilst, this is an MSc course, every new student is enrolled in the postgraduate diploma course and opts in to the dissertation for MSc at a later date, should they wish to pursue this. I do not currently have plans to complete the MSc, nor even the PgDip but rather intend to exit after completing 6 courses and attaining a postgraduate certificate (on completion of 4).
My reasoning is that I'm attaining industry knowledge which will then be applied in practice to my own company, as such I am not so inspired to study the courses relating to academic writing and research. This could however change and the course offers me the flexibility to make those choices further down the road.
In recognising that I don't have a science background the offer also included a book recommendation for me to prepare for the start of the course, which shall be studied intently during the coming months.
I am very excited to start, a little daunted by the idea of studying a postgraduate science programme but ready to face the challenges and rise to them!