Welcome to the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health
We welcome you to the start of your Postgraduate Taught Programme in the School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health at the University of Manchester. The University has a worldwide reputation based on high quality teaching and research, and I am sure that your taught programme will provide an inspirational platform for your future career success.
Within the Faculty, our goal is to create an environment that allows you to excel and reach your full potential. Offering access to first-class facilities and strong links with eminent researchers, commercial partners and regional health-service providers, our postgraduate taught programmes are designed to meet the diverse needs of all our students. The curriculum of our taught programmes provides the knowledge and skills you will need in your subject area and all our Masters programmes include an opportunity to carry out an independent research project on subjects spanning areas of life sciences and biomedical research from molecular to experimental biology and clinical medicine. While subject areas cover a broad range of disciplines, all our taught programmes have a number of common aims:
- To enhance your knowledge, and a critical awareness of your chosen subject. Whether you are a graduate, professional or have a clinical background, the programmes have been tailored based on previous student feedback.
- To obtain a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to your area of research and to develop new skills to a high level.
- To address complex issues with originality and insight.
- To demonstrate self-direction and an independent learning ability required for future career progression.
As a student of the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, you will be expected to take responsibility for your learning, within a supportive environment that fosters your development and helps prepare you for your future career. This handbook will be a useful resource as you progress through your taught programme. It provides programme specific information that I am sure that you will find helpful throughout your study. If however, you have questions or would like some further advice, please do not hesitate to contact the people listed in this handbook for further information and assistance.
I wish you every success as you embark upon your taught programme, and in your future career.
Compulsory Introductory Course
All students are automatically enrolled onto an introductory unit (BIOL62000) that provides information on health and safety, academic malpractice and academic literacy. Completion instructions for each of these sections are clearly defined within the course.
Completion of the academic malpractice and health and safety sections is mandatory for all students. All assessments must be completed as soon as possible after the programme begins, with the academic malpractice assessment completed before the first piece of coursework is submitted and no later than 31 October 2021. Completion of these assessments is monitored by the School.
All students are also strongly advised to complete the academic literacy section.
Key Contact Details
If you have any queries or concerns at any time during your period of study at The University of Manchester, there is a range of people you can approach. Your Programme Administration Team will be your first point of call for general issues. Alternatively, you may wish to contact the Programme Director for specific aspects to do with the course or your Academic Advisor for career development issues. If you wish to raise a confidential matter at School level, you should approach the Deputy Head of Teaching, Learning and Student Experience – contact details below.
Responsibility for overall management of the Programme lies with the Programme Director who has assembled a Programme Committee, which meets regularly, to advise on content, structure, management, student supervision, and regulatory matters such as Programme improvement and refinement. The Committee also includes the student representative who is democratically elected by you to attend these meetings.
School PGT Director
• Professor Sarah Herrick
Deputy Head of Teaching, Learning and Student Experience
• Mrs Kelly Salimian
• Dr Karen Lander
• Dr Bo Yao
Programme Administration Team
Your first point of call should be directed as follows:
• Student Support
• To be appointed democratically
Your contact details
You will be supplied with a student e-mail address. The University will direct communications to you by using your student e-mail address and it is your responsibility to ensure that you can access and read mail from this source. You should check your university email regularly and in turn should send all emails to the University using your student email address.
Blackboard is a web-based system that complements and builds upon traditional learning methods used at The University of Manchester. All course-related materials will be placed on Blackboard so it is essential that you familiarise yourself with the system as soon as possible. Blackboard also offers Discussion forums which you may find a useful resource to share information about assignments and other course-related queries.
Blackboard is available to students.
- Students should access Blackboard via My Manchester
- Queries (technical related) should be directed to the eLearning team
- Queries (course content related) should be directed to: the Programme Administration Team
Computers and printers:
On campus, access to computers, printers, email and the internet is available at several computer clusters within the School including the Multiuser laboratories on the ground floor of the Stopford Building. Additionally, there is a Postgraduate Hub on the 3rd Floor of the Stopford Building.
Food/Drink on Campus
There is a café bar and students’ common room on the 1st floor of the Stopford Building. Also, Innovation Cafe and Starbucks are on the Ground Floor of the Manchester Biotech Incubator Building (which is attached to the Stopford Building and can be accessed using your student card on the ground floor).
The society offers students the opportunity to engage with social events, visit places of interest as well as language support and cultural events.
The University may share appropriate information relating to your health and/or conduct with external organisations such as your professional employer(s) (for example, relevant NHS Trust, Professional and Statutory Regulatory Bodies (PSRB)), placement and training providers and/or regulator. This may occur where concerns in relation to your health and/or conduct arise and the University considers it necessary for them to be disclosed to one or more of the above organisations. The University’s Privacy Notice for Registered Students (which is accessible via this link) includes further information about how the University may use and process your personal data, including the legal basis and conditions which may be relevant to such processing (see section 6 of the Privacy Notice). The University will only disclose special category data (such as data relating to your health) to a third party organisation where one of the additional conditions are satisfied (see section 9 of the Privacy Notice), including where processing is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest.
Staying Safe – Covid-19
Feeling prepared and equipped at the present time inevitably brings thoughts of health and safety. We have followed the advice from Universities UK, Public Health England and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to make sure our campus is a safe and happy environment for you to start your studies.
When arriving on campus, you’ll notice the changes we’ve made to keep everyone safe. For example, our buildings will have clearly marked entry and exit points; we’ll be asking everyone to sanitise or clean their hands immediately on entry; and markings on floors, stairwells and doors will help maintain social distancing.
It’s important for everyone to follow the guidelines on campus to keep themselves and others safe. We have faith that all members of our University community will do the right thing.
Our ‘Staying Safe’ microsite outlines the safety measures that are in place as well as useful information regarding:-
- Face Coverings
- What to do if you, or someone you live with, has COVID-19 symptoms
- How to register with a GP (doctor)
- Keeping yourself and your neighbours safe off campus
- Health and wellbeing support
- Financial Support
Student Frequently Asked Questions is regularly updated online but if you can’t find what you are looking for, please contact your school as soon as possible.
BIOL63101 Advanced Data Skills, Open Science and Reproducibility
Unit Lead: Andrew Stewart
Course unit overview
The topics covered will include:
- The principles of Open Science in the context of replication and reproducibility
- Principles and practice of conducting power analyses.
- Data wrangling and visualisation in R
- Simple linear and multiple regression under the General Linear Model (GLM) in R
- ANOVA under the General Linear Model (GLM) in R
- Writing reproducible reports using R Markdown
- Writing reproducible presentations using xaringan
- Capturing your computational environment using Binder and GitHub
- To familiarise students with a range of advanced, quantitative analytical techniques at a level not normally encountered in undergraduate study.
- To equip students with the confidence and skills necessary to apply the methods to datasets using R.
- To provide sufficient understanding for sophisticated statistical decision-making and interpretation of results.
- To contextualise statistical analysis in the context of the principles of reproducibility and Open Science.
Having attended the unit, students will be able to:
- select the analytic technique(s) appropriate for a range of research questions.
- demonstrate their understanding of advanced psychological statistics and ability to apply the techniques to datasets using R.
- demonstrate their ability to understand and interpret the results of a range of advanced psychological statistics based on the General Linear Model.
- demonstrate their ability to generate reproducible analyses.
Continuous assessment. Two assignments. Each topic will be formally assessed by a written assignment, worth 50% of the marks for this module.
Data Wrangling and Data Visualisation: the form of assessment varies from year to year but will involve using the tidyverse packages to tidy and visualise data using R. You will need wrangle/tidy a data set that will be provided to you and then create visualisations of the dataset in R. Your report will be written in R Markdown. (1000 words equivalent).
ANOVA: the form of assessment varies from year to year. You will analyse and discuss data sets provided to you. You will be asked to carry out the appropriate analyses and for each dataset, write a results section (where you only report on descriptive and inferential statistics) and a brief discussion section (where you interpret the results, based on the analyses you carried out). Your report will be written in R Markdown. (1000 words equivalent).
BIOL63131 Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods
The course consists of lectures and seminars featuring critical discussion and practical exercises relevant to the qualitative methodologies most frequently used by psychologists. Students will be introduced to a variety of approaches of data collection.
This course is aimed to offer a comprehensive introduction to qualitative research methods (along with the practical and ethical advantages of each).
By the end of the course unit, students will be able to:
- choose appropriate techniques for a range of research questions amenable to qualitative approaches and investigation,
- demonstrate an understanding of a range of ways in which to generate and collect data,
- demonstrate their ability to use data generation techniques in a sensitive and appropriate way,
- critically evaluate recent qualitative research and be cognisant of quality frameworks used to assess qualitative work,
- demonstrate a critical awareness of debates within the qualitative field.
Teaching and learning methods
Students will receive formal instruction and engage in group discussion on specific methods and will be set practical exercises associated with these.
- Two equally weighted 2,000-word assessments. These assessments will cover the main required qualitative research skills: data gathering and critical evaluation of research studies.
BIOL63151 Contemporary Research Skills
Unit Lead: Bo Yao
Course unit overview
This unit provides comprehensive training in contemporary research skills for careers in academic, clinical and industrial settings. Students will develop and apply essential research skills in experimental design, literature review, research proposal writing, academic software use, dealing with ethical and data protection issues, and working in clinical and industrial settings. They will also learn to situate research in a broader context, communicate science, engage with society and carry out their social responsibility. Equipped with a range of professional skills (e.g., CV writing, Web presence, social media, oral presentation), students will ultimately produce a portfolio of work to support their career plans.
- To equip students with a good understanding of the research process;
- To equip students with research skills required for academic, clinical and industrial settings.
- The skills to conduct effective literature review, critically evaluate existing research and write a research proposal in different areas of psychology,
- The skills to use contemporary academic softwares and tools to facilitate research,
- The understanding of ethics, governance and data protection in psychological research,
- The skills for science communication, public engagement and social responsibility,
- The professional skills for different careers.
By the end of this course unit, students will be able to:
- Carry out a thorough review of the relevant literature as part of the dissertation research work and write-up,
- Understand the importance of critical evaluation of peer reviewed publications of relevance to dissertation research work,
- Understand the issues of ethics, governance and data protection in psychological research
- Design a work plan integrating a specific research project into a broader research framework,
- Use a collection of academic softwares and tools to facilitate their own research,
- Write a scientific report of their research project in the style appropriate for a peer-reviewed journal in their chosen areas of psychological sciences,
- Communicate research findings to researchers and to the general public,
- Plan their careers and create a portfolio of work to support their career plans.
Students will amass a portfolio of work demonstrating their acquired research skills and supporting their desired careers. The portfolio will consist of three skill components, which include a core skill component (i.e., a research proposal + data management plan) and from the optional skill components (e.g., job application, oral presentation on a chosen research topic, science communication, patient/user involvement plan, public engagement proposal, effective web presence, etc.).
BIOL 63122: Research Methods in Experimental Psychology
Credit Rating: 15
Unit Coordinator: Bo Yao
Course Unit Overview
Psychology is an ever-evolving discipline and it is constantly challenged to question its assumptions regarding research methods owing to difficulties in replication and a heightened scrutiny within academic environments. This unit keeps pace with such advances by describing the rationale, designs and techniques for an array of advanced research methods in experimental psychology, supported by practical skills training in experimental programming.
- To give students a critical awareness of contemporary research methods in experimental psychology
- To equip students with the ability to assess the advantages and limitations of each method and employ methods appropriate to their dissertation research.
- To equip students with the skills to implement each method in actual experiments.
By the end of this course unit, students will be able to:
- Build a range of psychological experiments using OpenSesame.
- Design experiments based on the methodologies taught, and appreciate the technical, methodological, and analytical issues that may arise.
- Be inspired by advances in technology and appreciate the possibilities they offer to future research in psychological sciences.
Teaching and Learning Methods
Semester 2, weekly 2-hour seminars or workshops, providing an explanation of each research method and skills training.
Two assignments. The first assignment (30%) tests your acquired skills in experimental programming. It involves building an experiment against a set of specifications. The second assignment involves a written report (70%), including practical exercises and coursework in two areas (e.g., signal detection theory, eyetracking, advanced reaction times, questionnaires).
BIOL63112 Advanced Statistics Workshop
Unit Lead: Andrew Stewart
Course unit overview
The module will consist of six workshops on: advanced analysis techniques in R (four workshops), MATLAB, and Bayesian statistics.
• The workshops on R will further develop students’ data wrangling, data visualisation, and statistical modelling skills in the R programming environment. They will also provide the opportunity to use a range of advanced R packages including lme4 for (generalised) linear mixed models.
• The workshop on MATLAB will introduce the MATLAB programming environment. It will cover programming and simulation-based statistics. The teaching will be complemented by real-time demos and after-class exercises.
• The workshop on Bayesian approaches to statistics will cover the application of Bayesian models.
- To develop students’ abilities in data wrangling, programming (incl. data simulation) and analysis in R, mixed models, MATLAB, and Bayesian approaches to statistics.
- To provide students working in small groups with the experience of advanced decision-making in the application of psychological statistics.
- To provide students working in small groups with the experience of using software appropriate for each method (e.g., R, MATLAB) and with the interpretation of output files.
Having attended the course unit, students will be able to:
- demonstrate an understanding of the logic underlying the use of advanced linear models and (generalised) linear mixed models in R, programming in R and MATLAB, Bayesian approaches, and the range of circumstances appropriate for their use,
- conduct analysis involving regression, hierarchical linear models, generalised linear mixed models, taking appropriate decisions and approaches and applying specialist software.
Continuous assessment. Two assignments. Each topic will be formally assessed by a written assignment, worth 50% of the marks for this course unit.
Linear Mixed Modelling in R: the form of assessment varies from year to year. Each student will be required, for example, to carry out analysis based on provided data and write a short report of the analysis using R Markdown (1000 words equivalent).
Hackathon: the assessment will require each student to carry out data wrangling, data visualization, and statistical modelling on a large dataset of their choosing (e.g., downloaded from one of the ‘big data’ repositories such as Kaggle, Gapminder, or Google Dataset Search) or a large open dataset from a Psychological research area. The data wrangling, visualization, and modelling will be written up using R Markdown. (1000 words equivalent).
Unit Lead: Karen Lander
Course unit overview
During Semester 1, students will be provided with some suggestions for possible projects and/or project areas, as well as encouraged to use staff web pages to identify areas of research in which the student has an interest.
Students will put forward their ideas for an empirical study, and these will be used to match them up with a supervisor within the School who is familiar with the area and is willing to supervise the proposed project or onethat is similar (project to be agreed between student and supervisor). Then, the student and supervisor will meet (October/November, Semester 1) to arrive at a preliminary outline of a dissertation research proposal.
The student will be required to develop the outline proposal into a fully designed project prior to a meeting (June/July, Semester 2), at which the student and supervisor will finalise the design and all aspects of the conducting of the research (including future supervisory meetings) over the summer. Thus, the supervision period will extend across the whole academic year.
For ESRC 1+3 students, the dissertation will serve as a pilot study for their 3-year PhD research. For other MRes students, it will be a standalone research study.
- Allow students to conduct an independent piece of research on a specific topic (relevant to his/her future PhD topic, in the case of 1+3 students)
- Develop practical research expertise in the area of their MResdissertation
- Develop presentation skills for the written and poster presentation of new research
By the end of the course unit students will:
- Be familiar with the theoretical and practical basis of research methods and techniques
- Have acquired practical experience of developing research questions, and using research methods to answer these questions
- Have a detailed and systematic understanding of the area relevant to their MRes dissertation topic
- Have practical experience of presenting scientific research as a written thesis and as a poster
Students will produce a dissertation (80%), present a poster (15%) and be assessed on their professionalism (5%).
BIOL 63172: Research in Neuropsychology and Clinical Neuroscience
Unit Coordinator: Bo Yao
Course Unit Overview
This unit will guide you through methodological, experimental, practical and ethical issues encountered in cutting-edge neuropsychological and clinical neuroscience research. You will learn about neuroimaging and other neuroscience techniques in a module that combines a basic-science perspective with a number of clinical case-study perspectives. You will examine how theories of cognitive neuroscience can be informed by evidence from converging neuropsychological and neuroimaging findings and explore how they are applied in healthcare settings.
- To give you a critical appreciation of neuropsychological and cognitive neuroscience methods, and the ability to assess the advantages and limitations of each method.
- To be able to select and justify a choice of methods appropriate to a specified research question.
- To deepen your understanding of the range of experimental, practical and ethical issues associated with working with clinical populations and user groups.
- To understand how to address specific experimental, practical and ethical issues in the design of clinical neuroscience research.
By the end of the course unit, you will be able to:
- Demonstrate an understanding and working knowledge of neuropsychological assessment
- Demonstrate a good working knowledge of neuroimaging and complementary neuroscience techniques
- Demonstrate a good understanding of, and ability to evaluate, the relative strengths of different methods in the context of clinical research
- Select and optimise, and justify appropriate research methods for research on a clinical population of choice
- Demonstrate an understanding of, and the ability to address, the experimental, practical and ethical issues associated with working with clinical populations and user groups.
Teaching and Learning Methods
Semester 2, weekly 2-hour seminars, with practical worked examples in class and concluding summary lecture.
Two pieces of coursework each worth 50%: One piece of coursework will focus on one of the research methods, and the other will explore the experimental, practical and/or ethical issues associated with working with a clinical population. Each assignment is worth 50%.
Dissertation information for students
For information on layout and presentation of dissertations see the Guidance for the Presentation of Taught Masters Dissertations.
1. You need to stick to the format for dissertations outlined in the Faculty guidelines. If something isn’t specified in the guidelines (for example, if you want to number sections), try to follow a fairly standard format, for example APA format or the format adopted in University PhD theses.
2. We do not insist on APA format, but you should consult your supervisor. Whatever format you choose, you should be consistent throughout your dissertation.
3. The word limit is between 10,000 – 15,000 words but the ‘norm is approx. 12,000.
The dissertation module follows the University’s Policy on Marking and the Assignment Word Count Guideline which you will find on page 13 above but you cannot exceed the 15,000 word limit.
We suggest as guidance a lower limit of 10,000. In practice, 12,000 words is likely to be appropriate for most people, but this may not be true for all projects. It’s best to talk to your supervisor if your word count is going to be lower to ensure you are covering all the relevant info. Students should be aware that the dissertation forms a substantial piece of work, and as such, the literature review should be thorough and will generally include more information than you might find in a journal article on the same topic. However, we recognise that different types of project have different requirements in terms of the amount of information needed in Methods sections and Results sections, and some may lend themselves to longer Discussions of results than others. You should therefore seek guidance from your supervisors who are experts in your field of research. As your supervisor will also be one of the two markers for your dissertation, they are the best people to consult.
The reason we have strict word limits is to encourage students to write concisely. It should be entirely possible to write both quantitative and qualitative dissertations in 15,000 words. We use the length of a journal article in the field as a gauge here, and it is uncommon to have standard articles of longer than 15,000 words accepted for publication. Consider placing some text (where appropriate) in Appendices.
4. There are no guidelines for the number of words allocated to each section of the dissertation as projects differ widely. However, bear in mind that your Introduction and Discussion are usually related. So if you discuss a wide range of background literature to motivate your study, the reader will expect to see reference to this literature in your Discussion. It would be unusual to introduce a large body of research in your discussion that had not previously been mentioned in your Introduction, or analyses that were not in your Results. Method sections should be succinct but contain sufficient information for someone to replicate your study.
5. You can use footnotes but these will be included in your word count.
6. Your dissertation will be marked by your supervisor and one other person. They will then agree a mark. A selection of dissertations will be sent to our external examiners. Their role is to check that marking is consistent, and to advise us if they think any marks are inappropriate. They always see borderline dissertations (those on the borderline between degree classifications), fails, distinctions, and any where two markers disagree substantially on the mark to be awarded (this rarely happens in practice), plus a handful of others.
7. You do not need to include all of your data in the Appendices, although it might be helpful to include sample data, especially if you have an elaborate coding scheme. It is generally good practice to include (a sample of) your materials, for example if you have designed questionnaires, used a series of sentences or visual stimuli for your task and so on. You do not need to include all your ethics application, but you may wish to include advertisements for participants if you think it is relevant to your project, for example if the advert is likely to have attracted a particular kind of participant that may have influenced your results in some way.
8. You do not have to use Endnote for your references, although of course you may do so if you wish.
9. You must put your ethical approval form in your appendix. If approval was sought by your supervisor prior to working on the project, you will need to ask them for a copy.
10. Finally, the best person to consult for guidance is your supervisor. But if anyone has any other questions, please feel free to email the Programme Directors and they will do their best to advise.
Always check with your supervisor what they are looking for when marking the work. Supervisors will be provided with the guidelines below (subject to change – up to date guidance will be provided during the course of the year):
•15% – Context / Background / Introduction
•15% – Literature Review / Case for the Study
•20% – Design of Study or Methods
•20% – Results
•20% – Discussion
•10% – Presentation and Referencing
All students at dissertation level are allocated a Supervisor. Briefly, the responsibilities of the Supervisor include: giving guidance about the nature of research and the standard expected; the planning of the research programme; and pointing the Student towards relevant literature and other sources of information.
The relationship between the Student and their Supervisor is of central importance. Both the Student and the Supervisor have a responsibility to ensure that the dissertation is completed within the prescribed period of the programme. Supervisors and students should establish at their initial meeting clear and explicit expectations of each other in order to minimise the risks and problems of misunderstanding, inadequate supervision and unsatisfactory work.
Progress monitoring meetings must be closely documented. It should be noted that in some instances students may be jointly supervised by staff, and be assigned a principal and second supervisor.
If you have any queries or concerns at any time during your period of study, there is a range of people you can approach:
- The Programme Administration Team
- Postgraduate Taught Education Support Manager
- Your Supervisor
- Programme Directors
- Postgraduate Taught Director
Please do not assume you can record lectures with a voice recorder or similar device. If you wish to record a lecture or other teaching session, ensure you obtain the prior permission of the lecturer. You may not share any recordings with any other person (including by electronic media) without first being given specific permission by the lecturer.
The programme is managed and operated in accordance with the policies, principles, regulations and procedures of The University of Manchester.
The Programme Directors, have day-to-day responsibility for the management of the programmes and are assisted by the Programme Administration Team.
The Programme Committee meet 3 times a year. The committee’s functions and responsibilities are to maintain the standards of teaching, to evaluate and revise the programme in the light of feedback, to monitor student progression and to provide a forum for discussion between the University and the students.
The Programme Committee reviews the annual monitoring report and acts on recommendations arising from the annual monitoring process.
The membership of the Programme Committee includes: the Programme Directors; the Programme Administration Team; Teaching Staff and Student Representatives.
The Programme Committee report to the Consortium and School PGT Committee.
The External Examiner for this programme is TBC
Please note that it is for information only and it is inappropriate for students to make direct contact with External Examiners under any circumstances, in particular with regards to a student’s individual performance in assessments. Other appropriate mechanisms are available for students, including the University’s appeals or complaints procedures and the UMSU Advice Centre. In cases where a student does contact an External Examiner directly, External Examiners have been requested not to respond to direct queries. Instead, External Examiners should report the matter to their School contact who will then contact the student to remind them of the other methods available for students. If students have any queries concerning this, they should contact their Programme Administrator in the first instance.
The role of the External Examiner
External Examiners are individuals from another institution or organisation who monitor the assessment processes of the University to ensure fairness and academic standards. They ensure that assessment and examination procedures have been fairly and properly implemented and that decisions have been made after appropriate deliberation. They also ensure that standards of awards and levels of student performance are at least comparable with those in equivalent higher education institutions.
External Examiners’ reports
External Examiners’ reports relating to this programme will be shared with student representatives and details of any actions carried out by the programme team/School in response to the External Examiners’ comments will be discussed. Students should contact their student representatives if they require any further information about External Examiners’ reports or the process for considering them.
Progress and Assessment
Deadlines for Assessed Work
All assessed work must be handed in at the prescribed time. Dates will be published in advance of the deadline. We recommend that you transfer these dates to your diaries as soon as they are published.
Assignment Word Count (Including Dissertation)
In accordance with the University Policy on Marking:
Each written assignment has a word limit which you must state at the top of your first page. It is acceptable, without penalty, for you to submit an assignment within a range that is plus 10% of this limit. If you present an assignment with a word count exceeding the specified limit+10%, the assignment will be marked but 1% will be deducted from this mark for every 100 words over the limit given.
For an original word limit that is 1000 words and an assignment that is marked out of 100. If a submission is made that is 1101 words then it exceeded the 10% leeway, and is more than 100 words over the original limit and should receive a 1 mark deduction.
In accordance with accepted academic practice, when submitting any written assignment for summative assessment, the notion of a word count includes the following without exception:
- All titles or headings that form part of the actual text. This does not include the fly page or reference list
- All words that form the actual essay
- All words forming the titles for figures, tables and boxes, are included but this does not include boxes or tables or figures themselves
- All in-text (that is bracketed) references
- All directly quoted material
Certain assessments may require different penalties for word limits to be applied. For example, if part of the requirement for the assessment is conciseness of presentation of facts and arguments. In such cases it may be that no 10% leeway is allowed and penalties applied may be stricter than described above. In such cases the rules for word count limits and the penalties to be applied will be clearly stated in the assessment brief and in the submission details for that assessment.
Submitting your work
All assignments must be submitted electronically. The published deadlines for assessments all relate to the electronic submission which is completed via Blackboard, using the Turnitin system in the majority of cases. You must submit by the deadline advertised in your timetable/assessment handbook.
- Submitting an electronic copy of the work
- Log onto Blackboard via My Manchester
- Click on the relevant course unit
- Go to assessment folder
- Upload your assignment via the Turnitin process
The University uses electronic systems for the purposes of detecting plagiarism and other forms of academic malpractice and for marking. Such systems include Turnitin, the plagiarism detection service used by the University.
The School also reserves the right to submit work handed in by you for formative or summative assessment to Turnitin and/or other electronic systems used by the University.
Please note that when work is submitted to the relevant electronic systems, it may be copied and then stored in a database to allow appropriate checks to be made.
Please note that you can only upload one document so you cannot save your references/appendices as a separate document.
Guidance for Presentation of Taught Masters Dissertations
The University of Manchester guidance on presentation of taught Masters Dissertations is available at:
Guidance for the presentation of Taught Masters dissertations
The guidance explains the required presentation of the dissertation, and failure to follow the instructions in the guidance may result in the dissertation being rejected by the examiners.
There is more information on taught masters dissertation requirements on Blackboard: https://my.manchester.ac.uk
Extensions to Assignment Deadlines
On rare occasions students may need to request an extension to a coursework deadline due to circumstances beyond their control. If you need to request an extension to your assignment submission deadline then you must submit an extension request form which must be accompanied by supporting evidence (medical letters, certificates or other appropriate evidence). The supporting evidence must justify the length of the requested extension.
The extension request form is available via the Student Support Team (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The form should be submitted as soon as possible before the coursework deadline and should be submitted to the Student Support Team.
It is your responsibility to ensure that your request has been received.
You will be notified of the outcome of your request via email as soon as possible. Please note that an extension to a deadline is classed as mitigation. Mitigation can only be applied once to a piece of work. i.e. you cannot have an deadline extension and also apply for mitigation for poor performance due to the same circumstances.
Late Submission Penalty (Including Dissertation)
Work submitted after the deadline without prior approval will be subject to a late penalty in accordance with the University Policy on Submission of Work for Summative Assessment on Taught Programmes. The penalty applied is 10% of available marks deducted per day/24 hours (from the time of the original or extended deadline), until the assignment is submitted or no marks remain.
Penalties for late submission relate to 24 hours/calendar days, so include weekends and weekdays, as well as bank holidays and University closure days.
The mark awarded for the piece of work will be reduced by:
10% of the available marks deducted if up to 24 hours (1 day) late
20% of the available marks deducted if up to 48 hours (2 days) late
30% of the available marks deducted if up to 72 hours (3 days) late
40% of the available marks deducted if up to 96 hours (4 days) late
50% of the available marks deducted if up to 120 hours (5 days) late
60% of the available marks deducted if up to 144 hours (6 days) late
70% of the available marks deducted if up to 168 hours (7 days) late
80% of the available marks deducted if up to 192 hours (8 days) late
90% of the available marks deducted if up to 216 hours (9 days) late
100% of the available marks deducted if up to 240 hours (10 days) late
If the assessment is submitted within 10 days of the deadline the assessment should be marked and feedback to the student provided. If this mark before the penalty is applied reaches the appropriate pass mark but the applied penalty results in a fail of the assessment, the student should not be required to resit the assessment as the original mark can be taken as the resit mark. Further information and examples can be found in the Policy and associated Guidance documents.
For work submitted more than 10 days late, it is regarded as a non-submission and need not be marked. In this case a mark of zero will be awarded and normal resit regulations will apply.
The sliding scale should only be applied to first-sit submissions. For all referred (resit) assessment, any late submission will automatically receive a mark of zero.
For further information:
Academic malpractice is any activity – intentional or otherwise – that is likely to undermine the integrity essential to scholarship and research. It includes plagiarism, collusion, fabrication or falsification of results, and anything else that could result in unearned or undeserved credit for those committing it. Academic malpractice can result from a deliberate act of cheating or may be committed unintentionally. Whether intended or not, all incidents of academic malpractice will be treated seriously by the University.
The procedures and penalties for dealing with academic malpractice are covered by the same regulation as apply to Conduct and Disciple of Students (Regulation XVII).
You are responsible for ensuring that you understand what academic malpractice is, and how to avoid committing it. If you are unsure, ask your lecturer or academic advisor.
As further support for students, the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health has developed an Introductory Course. This unit must be completed by all postgraduate taught students and will allow you to test your understanding of what constitutes plagiarism and academic malpractice. You can access the resource via Blackboard. Log in to My Manchester and click on the Blackboard tab. The online resource will be listed under the My Communities heading. The module should be completed as soon as possible after you begin your programmes, but must be completed before you submit your first piece of academic work for assessment.
Feedback for Assessments
The purpose of feedback is to provide constructive comments so that you can improve the standard of your work. Thus, in addition to marks you will receive written feedback on most of your assessed coursework.
Marks awarded for your assessments (i.e. everything which contributes to your final degree classification) are subject to ratification by the examination board and the external examiner at the awarding examination meeting. Consequently all marks given before the final examiners’ meeting has taken place must be regarded as provisional. Shortly after the examinations meetings we will publish results and a breakdown of your marks. These will remain provisional until after the final examination board has met.
The marking process involves several steps to ensure appropriate academic consideration and quality assurance processes have been adhered to. Students will be notified by email once the work has been marked and grades are available. We will endeavour to mark work and give feedback to students 15 working days after the hand-in date. However, occasionally there may be delays as a result of staff illness or other unforeseeable factors. In these circumstances, you will be kept informed of this.
Following graduation you may obtain a detailed official written account of all your examination results (called a transcript) from the Student Services Centre on payment of a small fee. This carries the University stamp and is recognised for such purposes as admission to a further course of study at another institution, membership of professional bodies, exemption from sections of professional examinations etc. If you need an official transcript, contact the SSC on 0161 275 5000.
Unofficial transcripts can be provided by the PGT Assessments Team.
How To Find Your Marks
Once work has been marked and moderated you will receive an email from the Assessment Team to tell you that the marks have been released. Work submitted via Blackboard will usually show a mark along with feedback on the Blackboard system.
You can also access marks by logging into your My Manchester account and going to My Services/Self Service and Student Centre. You can choose ‘Assignments’ from the drop down box and choose the relevant unit. Your Final mark for the unit does not appear until the unit is fully completed and marks have been through an exam board.
Examinations may be scheduled at any point during the academic year. The Assessments Team will provide you with details on when examinations will be scheduled. Please be aware that you may be tested on any topic from within a unit. Do not presume that because a piece of coursework has covered one area of a unit that it will not also appear in the exam. More details will be provided by the individual unit leads. Past papers for some units (where appropriate) are available online:
Do not assume that exams will take the same format as previous years. Academic staff should not indicate what will/ will not feature in an exam as this may not be accurate. Staff may have submitted questions that may not, necessarily, appear on the final exam paper. You should presume that anything can appear on the exam paper unless informed officially by the Assessments Team or Programme Directors.
Students are expected to attend all scheduled examinations. If for any unforeseen circumstances you experience any issues in attending, you must report this to the Programme Administration Team/Programme Director who may recommend that you submit a Mitigating Circumstances application.
Student Representation and Feedback
Election of Student Representative
At the beginning of the year you will be asked to elect a student representative. The student representative will be invited to attend the Programme Committees for parts of the meeting that do not involve discussion of individual students and the assessments. The student representative should make students’ views known to the programme management. In addition, they should report any relevant information back to the students.
Feedback from/to students
The University has a Policy on Feedback to Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught Students in relation to the timely provision of feedback for academic progression.
Students will also have the opportunity to feedback their thoughts on the programme via a series of anonymous evaluation forms. Student feedback questionnaires will be made available via the Module Leads at the end of each module. The information will then be collated to assess the performance level of the programme. It is expected that every student will complete these forms. These feedback questionnaires are produced by the programme and allow students to comment on specific aspects of the organisation and delivery of the taught modules. The information obtained is collated and discussed during the next Programme Committee meeting. The quality of teaching on the programme is monitored in part by student feedback. Thus it is very important that you make your views, good and bad, known.
At the end of each semester, you will be asked to complete an anonymous University generated online evaluation form. This is known as a Unit Survey and will address more general issues with the information obtained being used to inform the teaching strategy of the Faculty/University. You will also receive a Postgraduate Taught Unit Survey form at the end of the semester. Again all students are expected to complete these surveys.
Postgraduate Degree Regulations
The University Postgraduate degree regulations can be found online:
In order to progress to the dissertation/research project you must have satisfactorily achieved the relevant pass mark in taught course units, including by use of resit and/or compensation as outlined in the degree regulations, in order to continue to this element of the programme.
The nature of your programme and/or project work may require ethical approval.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you have followed the correct ethical procedures, and that you have done this in good time.
Speak to your Supervisor or Programme Director at the earliest opportunity to ascertain whether ethical approval is required.
Tier 4 Visa Census Requirements
If you are a Tier 4 visa holder, you must attend census points throughout the year, in addition to complying with your programme’s attendance requirements. Census checks are at specific times throughout the year and usually take place
- September / October
The School must be able to confirm your presence to the UKVI by the end of each census point in the academic year. If you do not attend a census point when required by the School and you do not provide a valid explanation for your absence you will be deemed ‘not in attendance’. Further information can be obtained from the Student Support Team (email@example.com).
Student Support and Guidance
Academic Appeals, Complaints, Conduct and Discipline
- The University’s Student Complaints Procedure (Regulation XVIII) and associated documents, including a complaints form, can be found at www.regulations.manchester.ac.uk/academic
- The University has separate procedures to address complaints of bullying, harassment, discrimination and/or victimisation - see https://www.reportandsupport.manchester.ac.uk/
- Students thinking of submitting a formal complaint should, in most instances, attempt informal resolution first (see the procedure). Formal complaints should be submitted on the relevant form to Faculty Appeals and Complaints Team, Room 3.21, Simon Building, University of Manchester, M13 9PL (e-mail: FBMHappealsandcomplaints@manchester.ac.uk).
Conduct and Discipline of Students
- General University information on the conduct and discipline of students can be found at https://www.staffnet.manchester.ac.uk/tlso/academic-appeals-complaints-and-misconduct/
- Faculty policies for students on communication and dress code, social networking. and drugs and alcohol can be found at:
- http://documents.manchester.ac.uk/display.aspx?DocID=29038 (Communication and Dress Code)
- http://documents.manchester.ac.uk/display.aspx?DocID=29039 (Drugs and Alcohol)
- http://documents.manchester.ac.uk/display.aspx?DocID=29040 (Social Networking)
- Information on Academic Malpractice and how to avoid it can be found at http://www.regulations.manchester.ac.uk/guidance-to-students-on-plagiarism-and-other-forms-of-academic-malpractice/
- In accordance with the Policy on Submission of Work for Summative Assessment on Taught Programmes, ‘All typed summative assessment, including dissertations, should be submitted online and subjected to plagiarism detection software, where appropriate’.
The University Library has produced online resources to help students in avoiding plagiarism and academic malpractice at:
Students thinking of submitting a formal complaint should, in most instances, attempt informal resolution first. Students can submit complaints to the Head of Teaching, Learning & Student Experience, Kerry Mycock (firstname.lastname@example.org), for the School to respond to.
Grounds for mitigation are unforeseeable or unpreventable circumstances that could have, or did have, a significant adverse effect on the academic performance of a student. Possible mitigating circumstances include:
- significant illness or injury;
- the death or critical/significant illness of a close family member/dependant;
- significant family crises or major financial problems leading to acute stress; and
- absence for public service e.g., jury service.
Circumstances that will not normally be regarded as grounds for mitigation include:
- holidays, moving house and events that were planned or could reasonably have been expected;
- assessments that are scheduled close together;
- misreading the timetable or misunderstanding the requirements for assessments;
- inadequate planning and time management;
- failure, loss or theft of a computer or printer that prevents submission of work on time; students should back up work regularly and not leave completion so late that they cannot find another computer or printer;
- consequences of paid employment (except in some special cases for part-time students);
- exam stress or panic attacks not diagnosed as illness or supported by medical evidence; and
- disruption in an examination room during the course of an assessment which has not been recorded by the invigilators.
If you feel there are circumstances in which you may be adversely affecting your performance on the course or in examinations, you should inform your Programme Director and/or Academic Advisor as soon as possible.
You can then complete a Mitigating circumstances form which can be sent to you by the Programme Administration Team. Requests must be accompanied by appropriate, independent, third-party supporting or collaborative documentation, which will be subject to verification.
If the information, and details of the mitigating circumstances, are considered to be highly confidential, you should submit these in a sealed envelope attached to the Notification of Mitigating Circumstances Form, together with the supporting documentary evidence. Mitigating Circumstances Panels have full regard for the confidentiality of any application they receive.
Mitigating Circumstances forms and evidence must be submitted before the release of any results deemed affected i.e. cannot be submitted once the mark and feedback for the piece of work deemed affected have been released to students. Retrospective mitigation cannot be considered without a credible and compelling reason for not being submitted earlier.
A mitigating circumstances panel will meet to discuss any requests for mitigation. The Panel will determine whether there is substantiated evidence of circumstances eligible for mitigation. It will then decide whether the circumstances will have had or could have had an adverse effect on the student's performance, and, if so, it will judge how significant the effect was likely to have been. If the Mitigating Circumstances Panel judges that the effect was or would have been significant, the mitigation request will be approved. Mitigation requests may be approved for a specific assessment or more general impairment over a number of assessments, or for both. If a mitigation request is approved, this will be noted at the Examination Board who will determine how to apply it, given the student's assessment results.
Following the Examination Board students will receive confirmation of the outcome of their mitigation request.
It is the expectation of the University that postgraduate taught students pursue their studies on a continuous basis for the stipulated duration of their programme. However, it is recognised that students may encounter personal difficulties or situations which may seriously disrupt or delay their studies. In some cases, an interruption or extension to your programme of study may be the most sensible option.
Students who wish to interrupt the programme or extend to write up the dissertation should initially discuss their plans and reasons with the Programme Director.
Students should also provide documentary evidence when appropriate, for example, doctor’s letter, sick note etc.
An application must be submitted to the Programme Director who will either support or reject the request. The form will then be submitted for consideration to the School Interruptions Panel who will make the final decision.
The forms required for formal application are available from the Student Support Team.
Students who are considering withdrawing from the programme should discuss this either with the Programme Director and, if in their dissertation year, with their research supervisor, and make the application by formal letter.
Students may liaise directly with the Programme Administration Team who will communicate this information directly to the Fees and Records Departments of the University.
Occupational Health is a specialised area of medicine concerned with the way in which an individual’s health can affect his or her ability to do a job and to study and conversely how the work environment can affect an individual’s health. Their aim is to promote the physical, mental and social well-being of students and to reduce the incidence of ill-health arising from exposure to work place hazards.
The service provides confidential services to protect the health of staff and students at The University of Manchester.
The counselling service is available for all students. It is free and consists of a team of professional counsellors. The service provides confidential counselling for anyone who wants help with personal problems affecting their work or well-being.
The service is open 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday all year round except public holidays.
Fitness to Practise
Postgraduate students at The University of Manchester who are qualified health or social care professionals (e.g. doctor, dentist, nurse, social worker) registered by a healthcare or social care regulatory body (e.g. General Medical Council, General Dental Council, Nursing & Midwifery Council, Social Care Council) are expected to behave at all times in a way that is consistent with the recommendations or code of practice of the relevant professional regulatory body.
Postgraduate students need to be aware that in the event of misconduct, dishonesty, unprofessional behaviour, or other behaviour or illness (e.g. mental health illness) that raises the possibility that the student’s fitness to practise may be impaired; the University has a duty to protect the public and to inform the relevant professional regulatory body. This means, for example, that where a student has been found to be dishonest (e.g. plagiarism, collusion, falsification of research data or other forms of cheating) the matter may be reported by the University to the relevant professional regulatory body.
Students who are dishonest not only risk failing to be awarded the intended degree, but also place at risk their whole professional career.
Further information on Fitness to Practise related matters can be found online:
Disability Advisory and Support Service
The University of Manchester welcomes students with a disability or specific learning difficulties. The University has a Disability Advisory and Support Service (DASS), who can supply further information, and staff will be pleased to meet you, by prior arrangement, to discuss your needs. Staff will liaise with your School to make the necessary arrangements for your support during your time in Manchester. The office can also provide a copy of the University's Disability Statement, 'Opportunities for Students with Additional Support Needs at the University of Manchester' which sets out the policy and provision for students with a disability.
DASS is located on the 2nd Floor of University Place (see Campus Map)
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone 0161 275 7512; Text 07899 658 790 (only for d/Deaf students);
- Website: http://www.dso.manchester.ac.uk/
- DASS are open from 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday
Students Union Advice Centre
The Students Union has advisors who can help with any matter ranging from finances to housing and beyond.
University Careers Service
As a postgraduate the demands on your time can seem overwhelming. The University careers service can make your life easier by offering a range of services designed to help you. Advice and support for Postgraduates include:
- Help with CVs and applications, practice interviews and psychometric tests
- Drop in quick query advice service
- Personal Career consultations targeted to your needs
- A range of postgraduate employability training opportunities
- 24-hour access to up to date information, advice, vacancies and details of forthcoming events, including a specifically designed section for postgraduates available through our website: www.manchester.ac.uk/careers
- Information on Job opportunities and vacancies through our fortnightly vacancy paper bulletins
Monitoring attendance and wellbeing of students
In order to monitor their progress, students will have regular, scheduled meetings with their academic advisor. Progress forms should be completed at these meetings. These meetings are in addition to the research project supervisory meetings between the student and supervisor, of which there should be a minimum of 10 per academic year.
Students are required to attend ALL lectures.
Attendance monitoring will take place during ALL sessions. It is your responsibility to make sure you have signed the register. Postgraduates are also expected to sit ALL examinations and coursework tests for their degree programme and to submit ALL coursework assignments by the deadline specified.
Attendance is monitored in conjunction with Regulation XX – Work and Attendance of Students.
Absences supported by medical or other appropriate information will not normally be counted towards the assessment of unsatisfactory attendance. Any absences must be supported by a Mitigating Circumstances Form and supporting evidence.
A-Z of Student Services
Here you can find more information on a wide range of topics such as library services, disability support and careers advice.
IT Services and eLearning
IT Services Support Centre online
Details of what IT support is available and how to access it can be found on the FBMH eLearning Support page.
Login to the Support Centre online to log a request, book an appointment for an IT visit, or search the Knowledge Base.
Telephone: +44 (0)161 306 5544 (or extension 65544). Telephone support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
In person: Walk-up help and support is available at the Joule Library, Main Library or Alan Gilbert Learning Commons:
Use Support Centre online for support with eLearning, from where you may make a request, or search the Knowledge Base.
For IT and eLearning support visit:
Blackboard, the University's 'virtual learning environment', will be used for online teaching.
What is Blackboard?
Blackboard is a web-based system that complements and builds upon traditional learning methods used at The University of Manchester. By using Blackboard you can
- view course materials and learning resources,
- communicate with lectures and other students,
- collaborate in groups,
- get feedback
- submit assignments
- monitoring your own progress at a time and place of your own convenience.
Training in the use of software
The Faculty eLearning team have produced a short introduction to Blackboard for new students. The recording is hosted in two places: the Video Portal and on YouTube:
The recording is just over seven minutes long and covers most of the commonly used tools in Blackboard.
The University supports a wide range of religions and will make every effort to support students in observing their religious beliefs.
For centrally timetabled examinations, key dates are to be noted in terms of formally notifying the University on dates in which undertaking assessment will be affected by religious observance. Please contact the Student Support Team with details of any assessments and teaching that may be affected.
Religious Observance and Looking after yourself and your patients during Ramadan
Policy on Religious Observance:
- University Policy
- The Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health has produced guidance for healthcare students on fasting and caring: Fasting and Caring - Looking after yourself and your patients during Ramadan: guidance for health care students.
Library facilities are available across campus including the Stopford Building.
Photocopying is available in The University of Manchester Library. It is important that you abide by the regulations concerning the copying of copyright material.
The Alan Gilbert Learning Commons is a state of the art study and learning centre in the heart of the Oxford Road campus boasting an onsite café, an impressive atrium providing a social meeting space with wifi access and flexible study spaces and environments throughout the building. The Learning Commons is open to students and staff of the University and is open 24/7 during term time.
Additional support for your studies is available through My Learning Essentials.
Online Skills Training Resource
The Faculty has developed a skills training resource to support you through your postgraduate taught programme. This online material should supplement the assessed learning material and activities undertaken in your taught programme.
Accessing the online skills resource
You can access Blackboard through the My Manchester portal (http://my.manchester.ac.uk). The skills training resource is available in an academic community space available to all registered PGT students in the Faculty through Blackboard.
If you cannot see these units in your Blackboard please contact your Programme Administrator.
Full details of all these resources can be found in the introduction to each unit. These resources have been designed to give you formative feedback on your progress through them. If you experience any problems and would like to talk to someone please contact your Programme Director. If you have questions about referencing and how it applies to your own work, please contact your Programme Director or dissertation supervisor/module lead.
|Research Methods*||This course is spilt into 2 units that cover introductions to study design, statistics and dissertation skills. It has a number of online quizzes where you can test your knowledge.|
|Introduction to Statistics*||The course provides a valuable foundation for understanding and interpreting biostatistics. It aims to provide you with the fundamentals of quantitative analysis.|
|Presentation Skills||This short interactive unit is designed to help you to enhance your presentation skills. Regardless of whether you are presenting in public, preparing for conferences, an oral examination or more informal settings this unit will give you the tops tips to improve your delivery. The course also includes a unit on influencing effectively, alongside the presentation and poster information.|
|Qualitative Research Methods*||This unit has been designed to give you an introduction to Qualitative Research.|
|Intellectual Property Awareness Resource||This Intellectual Property (IP) awareness resource has been created in order to improve your understanding of IP. Topics include: Types of intellectual property • Copyright and IP clearance • University policy on IP • IP commercialisation • IP in research or consultancy • IP issues to be aware when dealing with academic materials|
* NOTE: the material in this online resource is for reference and formative learning purposes only. In some of your taught programme you may be required to undertake assessed course units for Research Methods, Qualitative Research or Statistics. If your programme involves taught units then you should refer to the Blackboard material relating to that course unit. Please contact your Programme Administrator if you are unsure which material relates to your assessed work. You will still be able to refer to the online skills resource in later years.
University Proofreading Statement
If a student chooses to approach another person to proofread their written work or seeks to use the services of a proofreading service or agency, they must take account of the following principles:
- it is the responsibility of students to ensure that all work submitted is their own, and that it represents their own abilities and understanding. Any proofreading of work that is undertaken by a third party must not compromise the student’s own authorship of the work;
- proofreading undertaken by a third party must not take the form of editing of text, such as the adding or rewriting of phrases or passages within a piece of student’s work;
- proofreading undertaken by a third party must not change the content or meaning of the work in any way