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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.

Professor Sarah Herrick
Director for Postgraduate Taught Education for the School of Biological Sciences; Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health


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

Programme Director
• Dr Anil Day

Deputy Programme Director
• Dr Maggy Fostier

Programme Administration Team

Your first point of call should be directed as follows:

• Student Support

• Assessments

• Curriculum

Student Representative
• 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


School/University Facilities

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).

International students

The International Society is a busy centre for international students based in the Greater Manchester area. It is located on Oxford Road (see campus map).

The society offers students the opportunity to engage with social events, visit places of interest as well as language support and cultural events.

Sharing Information

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:-

 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.

Programme Information

Programme Aims and Objectives

  • Prepare high calibre students with a background in numerate sciences or life sciences for continuing interdisciplinary research in academia or industry by providing them with research skills and advanced knowledge together with a comprehensive set of professional and transferable skills that will be vital for their future professional development in academia or industry.
  • Instill the advantages of a multi-disciplinary and collaborative approach to addressing key scientific questions, and to encourage them to take a “holistic” approach to their future careers in research or business.
  • Enable students to make an informed decision about their personal suitability and motivation for careers related to research or business development.
  • Provide an individual with the knowledge and skills necessary: to identify and qualify an entrepreneurial opportunity; to build and identify the resources needed to implement an opportunity; to plan how an opportunity will be successfully implemented.
  • Train students to communicate effectively and to be able to exploit the commercial value of scientific discoveries by demonstrating a proven commitment to research, coupled with the entrepreneurial skills and a broad base of multidisciplinary research skills and experience.
  • Develop the individual as a reflective, active, independent and self-directed learner equipped with the necessary skills and motivation to continue to learn and develop beyond this programme fully able to take advantage of opportunities presented to them whether in their professional or their personal life.
  • Foster in individuals an appreciation and awareness of the potential value be it personal, social, environmental or economic, in identifying, creating, developing and exploiting entrepreneurial opportunities.

Teaching and Learning

During the first 6 months, you will receive approximately 30 hours of assigned teaching per 15 credit course unit, a total of about 150 hours. Assigned teaching takes the form of lectures, tutorials, student presentations, problem-based learning sessions, e-based learning and assigned reading. The remainder of your time amounting to a working week of 40 hours will be spent on self-study, preparing course work, carrying out project work, meeting with your academic supervisors, team members and Personal Advisor and revising for your examinations. This programme is designed to encourage students to accept increasing responsibility for their own learning, with help and support from teaching staff, unit co-ordinators and personal tutors.

Course Units

BIOL60780 Intellectual Property in the Life Sciences

Credits: 15

This course involves self-directed study involving research, directed reading and written work and covers the following topics:

  • Recognising Intellectual Property in the Life Sciences
  • Methods for protecting Intellectual Property in the Life Sciences
  • Legal Agreements
  • Progression of a patent
  • IP licensing
  • The use of case studies involving specific patents filed by inventors in FLS


  • to provide students with an understanding of the importance of protecting intellectual property in the life sciences
  • to explain the different types of protection available
  • to understand the rationale behind the processes involved in protecting information
  • to empower students with the skills required to recognise opportunities to protect intellectual property
  • to allow students to search intellectual property data bases for prior art
  • to provide in insight into the process of intellectual property licensing, in relation to the joint development of biotechnology products

Teaching and learning methods

  • Facilitated learning (lectures and workshops): 24  hours
  • Independent study: 132 hours (directed reading, research, written assignments)

Knowledge and understanding

  • recognise opportunities for generating intellectual property in the life sciences
  • apply an appropriate method to protect intellectual property in the life sciences
  • understand the routes available for exploiting intellectual property

Intellectual skills

  • distinguish an invention from a discovery
  • identify relevant prior art in selected CASE studies
  • write claims associated with an invention in the Life Sciences
  • evaluate the strengths and weakness of selected patents

Practical skills

  • analyse an invention and be able to identify the novel and important steps
  • search patent databases
  • understand the use of HOAs, CDAs, MTAs, logos and copyright

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • develop team working skills
  • develop presentation skills
  • develop an understanding of the value of confidentiality
  • develop networking skills
  • develop critical writing skills
  • develop critical business skills
  • develop core IP skills in the life sciences that are transferable to other sectors

Analytical skills
Students will assess the results of their prior art searching, and make conclusions about the importance of documents found from the perspectives of inventive step, novelty and freedom to operate.

Oral communication
Students will prepare and present to the group a formal presentation of their findings relating to the potential to patent a new technology.

Students will research patent databases to identity prior art documents relevant to a new invention.

Assessment tasks:

Written Exam (70%) and Oral Assessment (30%)

Feedback methods

The students will be provided with formative feedback on an outline written answer and oral presentation.

Resources and Recommended reading

  • Staff with ‘hands on‘ knowledge of IP in the Life Sciences
  • Discussions with Colleagues with relevant expertise from Industry
  • Access to patent databases
  • Workshops on IP including FLS staff
  • Directed reading: Specific research articles and patents. Textbook: Friedman Y (2008) Building Biotechnology: business, regulations, patents, law, politics. Science Third Edition, August 2008

BIOL60760 Commercialisation in the Life Sciences

Credits: 45


Biotechnologies can help solve many challenges. Some concern the healthcare arena whether at the front-line in terms of diagnosis and treatment, or earlier in the process, in terms of developing drugs, diagnostics and medical devices. Others are concerned with improving the agriculture/food industries, producing alternative energy sources, or simply with developing new technologies to improve research in the lab.

This is a project-based unit with an emphasis on understanding the influence of market forces in determining what to develop and how to develop it in the fast moving Biotechnology industry. Through a combination of workshop-based activities, enquiry-based learning (EBL) and independent research, teams of students will develop a business plan and presentation for a realistic product/service utilising research/knowledge outputs from the Life Sciences discipline.

Initially students will be put into teams and tasked to carry out two literature reviews, one focussing on the science and their given Biotechnology theme (e.g. stem cells or miRNA) and the other on the business literature in order to identify possible commercial opportunities. Their collective aims will be to identify in that field what advantages and benefits their research outputs could provide them with as well as commercially valuable problems in which those outputs might provide the required solutions.

Working as individuals, each student will then explore a specific avenue to address one of those needs (e.g. using embryonic stem cells, or miRNA to diagnose breast cancer), and to then identify a business context in which to exploit that area of research.

This is followed by a feasibility study looking at both the business case and the technical feasibility study in order to better establish the commercial potential of this idea. The key points of their business case will be communicated in a poster presented to a panel of staff including enterprise professionals.

Following the poster presentation and based on team derived selection criteria, the team will select the business proposal with the strongest potential for successful commercialisation and present that back to a panel. This proposal will form the basis of the team-based project work in semester 2.

The objective of the team work in Semester 2 will be to develop a business analysis report, a written business plan and a business pitch. The business analysis report will provide essential background data and the strategic analysis behind the decisions made for the development of the business plan which will in turn outline the opportunity and the resources needed to implement it. The presentation will be in the form of a pitch for investment, partnership, licensing or similar.

All year, the project work will be supported by classes and workshops to develop the business knowledge and understanding and soft skills and tools required for the project. Students will also have weekly meeting with their SBS supervisor, opportunities for feedback with both SBS and MEC supervisor, and regular points for reflection to support personal and team development


The programme unit aims to allow students to:

  • Examine the processes involved in recognising the potential of university-based research in the Life Sciences to solve commercially valuable problems in the marketplace
  • Gain a deeper understanding of one research area of the Life Sciences
  • Gain awareness of the current industrial landscape in the area of the project worldwide.
  • Develop the competencies needed to recognise, develop and exploit a business opportunity
  • Use a framework to map out and develop a strategic plan to implement and transfer to market an innovative product/service.
  • Research, produce and present a business case for exploiting a scientific idea within a commercial setting at several stages and in different forms: feasibility study, concept presentation, strategic business analysis, business plan and business pitch.
  • Develop a broad range of transferable skills required to effectively carry out, as a team working online or F2F, a real life project with many deliverables using a Problem Based Learning approach (e.g. team working, project management, digital literacy, research, analysis, creative problem solving, critical thinking and review, decision making, negotiation, networking, communication [oral and written]).
  • Reflect on the processes of team working, managing a project and other skills development to support self-development and team development.
  • Articulate and evidence skills development to support employability.


This is a project based unit with its emphasis on the influence of market forces in determining what to develop and how to develop it.

Teaching and learning methods (how the course will be delivered i.e. lecture, seminar, workshop etc):

Course delivery is through a mixture of lectures, case study work, in class discussion and participation in a group project working with an external company. There are also a number of online workshops for teaching the creation of financial statements and a lot of online support material on Blackboard.

Teaching and learning methods

  • Facilitated learning – workshops & tutorials (semester 1 ~25 hours & semester 2) ~ 25 hours
  • Project meetings with supervisors present (semester 1 and 2, about 1 a week) ~ 30 hours
  • Independent / team-based learning activities (semester 1 and 2) ~ 370 hours
  • (including coursework, private study, project work)

The learning strategy will comprise:

  • Workshops in semester 1 in which students will be guided to review leading texts, papers and case studies demonstrating key concepts and best practice in Biotech business planning and innovation strategy. In semester 2 there will be a series of workshops looking at theory and practice of strategic analysis and how that leads to developing strategies that can actually be implemented with a particular focus on the key strategic issues to be found in the commercialisation of Life Sciences research outputs and Biotech start-ups.
  • Tutorials where students will develop the transferable skills needed to manage a project as a team, become an independent learner and critical thinker. Students will also be shown how to maximise their employability and support their personal and team development.
  • Seminars and guest lectures by practitioners and academics, who will illustrate business planning in action with an emphasis on strategic implementation and strategic change.
  • Project work which allows students to put into practice the learning. This project will involve support from tutors and leading experts in the field.

During semester 2, students will undertake the team-based project work with the objective of developing a business plan and presentation for their selected commercial opportunity. This scenario represents a real life open-ended problem and the underpinning learning strategy is that of enquiry based learning (EBL). EBL involves students directing their own lines of enquiry, seeking out relevant evidence and taking responsibility for analysing and presenting it appropriately.

The EBL approach will be one that will be quite new for many students, particularly those from overseas. Therefore semester 1 will not only be used as an opportunity to begin to build up the knowledge base (through the workshops) but also to develop the so-called ‘soft’ skills that will allow students to function more effectively as active, self-directed learners whether independently or in a team (through the tutorials). In order to provide a solid framework to underpin the EBL approach, there are a combination of workshops, primer lectures, hands-on activities and on-line material and exercises (e.g. Blackboard). This will allow the more active, less structured learning to be contextualised by individual students at their own pace and in their own time.

Through weekly team meetings in Semester 2 with the one or both of your supervisors (MEC/FBMH), students will be strongly encouraged to refer to theory to shape their actions. Equally they will be encouraged to put that knowledge into practice and test their conclusions and findings in a real-world context. To ensure that this is the case, they will be directed to identify and contact industry/business experts, practitioners, potential customers, partners and so on, and carry out primary research.

Knowledge and understanding

  1. Draw on the principal concepts and ideas of strategic business planning
  2. Recognise and to act on as appropriate, the internal and external factors affecting an organisation including ethical, social, legal and environmental responsibilities
  3. Draw on a range of managerial decision-making tools recognising the utility and limitations of each when applied to strategic business planning
  4. Recognise the interrelatedness of key functional areas within organisations in order to develop an effective action plan

Intellectual skills

  1. Generate, evaluate and shape ideas
  2. Critically evaluate information in order to improve decision making, formulate objectives, determine strategies and plan actions
  3. Identify the steps and resources needed to establish and sustain a successful business venture with a particular focus on life-sciences
  4. Critically evaluate a business opportunity to assess its commercial potential ,identify the barriers to commercialisation , and develop an appropriate risk mitigation plan
  5. Devise and select appropriate strategies for creating, delivering and capturing value based on an evaluation of stakeholder needs and objectives; available resources and capabilities; and the demands of the external environment.
  6. Propose and justify a fully resourced plan to operationalise a given range of strategies that will meet agreed performance indicators, milestones and objectives
  7. Critically evaluate the commercial value of a given business opportunity from a range of stakeholder / investor perspectives and make realistic judgements on risks, returns and exit routes

Practical skills

  1. Present a feasible business proposal in a variety of formats including a poster, a presentation and a business plan
  2. Utilise business databases, tools and methods for primary and secondary research and to analyse information Think critically and apply theoretical knowledge and practical experience to identification and analysis of business problems.
  3. Analyse various business strategies and create a strategic business plan

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  1. Research, analyse, critically evaluate and utilise information from a variety of sources
  2. Develop, structure and communicate ideas effectively
  3. Develop and utilise creative problem solving skills
  4. Develop and utilise decision making processes or tools
  5. Plan and prioritise work load in order to work effectively whether in a team and as an individual
  6. Use reflection to improve personal and team performance, project management, and for employability by articulating and evidencing skills development
  7. Develop useful networks

Employability skills

Innovation/creativity – Creativity and Innovation

Other – Commercial awareness

Assessment methods

Individual Work

  • Poster – own concept – A2 poster (and possibly presentation recording) – 20% weighting
  • Individual project performance – Ongoing evaluation by supervisor – 10% weighting
  • Personal development portfolio – 16 pages (10 ongoing, 6 summative) – 20% weighting

Team work

  • Business Consultancy report, including a Business Plan – Typically 60-70 pages (not including appendices) – 40% weighting
  • Elevator pitch (business proposal) – 10 minutes for talk and 10 minutes for questions – 10% weighting

Feedback methods

In semester 1 and 2, opportunities for formative feedback will arise during class discussions in tutorials and workshops about case studies or after set tasks, and questions will be answered by the teaching staff during class, via email or Blackboard if appropriate. We often use anonymised previous reports to peer review.

For the enterprise elements of the course, students will have many more opportunities for formative feedback

For the poster: Students will produce a draft and receive feedback from both their supervisors (MEC and FBMH). They will also produce peer reviews of other students’ draft, receive peer reviews and plan how to address the feedback. During poster session, students will peer review more posters and reflect on what they have learnt from this activity, deriving insights for future practice. Peer reviews and reflection will be produced using proformas as part of the ongoing and feedback portfolio.

  • For the consultancy report and business pitch, feedback will be provided at 3 milestones.In week 3, students will deliver a formative concept presentation in front of the whole class
  • In week 8, students will produce a presentation of the consultancy report in front of one or more team.
  • In week 10, they will be able to submit a draft sample.

For the two presentation, students will produce peer reviews and receive feedback from staff and peers via proformas, along with other resources (e.g. sample reports or annotated reports from previous year). They will be asked to produce a reflective log to explain how they will address the feedback. For the draft sample, staff will produce broad feedback on content and look at the writing of one chapter.

Summative feedback will be given electronically and sent to students by email or via Blackboard within 4 weeks of the submission deadline.

Recommended reading

Main Texts

  • “Enterprise for Life Scientists”, Adams, D & Sparrow, J (2007), Scion Publishing Ltd, ISBN 978-1-904842-36-1
  • “The Definitive Business Plan: The Fast Track to Intelligent Business Planning for Executives and Entrepreneurs”, Stutely, R. (2006), Financial Times/ Prentice Hall, ISBN-13: 978-0273710967
  • “Business Development: A Market oriented Perspective”, Sørensen, H. E. (2012), John Wiley & Sons, ISBN13: 9780470683668
  • “The Guide to Business Finance – what smart managers do with the numbers”, Stutely, R. (2007) Prentice Hall, ISBN13: 9780273710950

Further reading

  • “The Definitive Guide to Business Finance: What Smart Managers Do with the Numbers”, Stutely, R. (2006), Financial Times/ Prentice Hall, ISBN-13: 978-0273710950
  • “The Definitive Business Pitch: How to Make the Best Pitches, Proposals andPresentations”, Hatton, A. (2006), Financial Times/ Prentice Hall, ISBN-13: 978-0273708261
  • “Science Lessons: What the business of biotech taught me about management”, Binder, G & Bashe, P (2008), Harvard Business Press, ISBN-13: 978-1-59139-861-5
  • “Science Business”, Pisano, G. P. (2006), Harvard Business School Press, ISBN-13: 978-1591398400
  • “Building Biotechnology: Starting, Managing, and Understanding Biotechnology Companies”, Friedman, Y. (2006), Thinkbiotech, ISBN-13: 978-0973467635
  • “Drugs: From Discovery to Approval”, Ng, R. (2004), John Wiley & Sons, ISBN-13: 978-0471601500
  • “The Business of Healthcare Innovation”, Burns, L.R. (2005), Cambridge University Press, ISBN-13: 978-0521547680
  • “Developing New Business Ideas”, Bragg, A. & Bragg, M (2005), Prentice Hall, ISBN13: 9780273663256
  • “The Strategic Planning Workbook”, Lake, N (2006), Kogan Page, ISBN13: 9780749445096
  • “Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship”, Stokes, D & Wilson, N (2010), Cengage Learning Business Press, ISBN13: 9781408017999

Students will be encouraged and expected to use online resources, the library facilities (general and business sections) as well identifying and utilising their own primary sources.
Additional material will be made available on the Blackboard site for this unit. Students will be encouraged to use online resources, the library facilities (general and business sections) as well identifying and utilising their own primary sources.

BIOL60771 Advanced Biotechnology

Credits: 15


  • The importance and applications of biopharmaceutical and industrial proteins.
  • Bacterial expression systems.
  • Fungal expression systems.
  • Baculovirus-based expression in insect cells.
  • Animal expression systems.
  • Plant and algal expression systems.
  • Vectors for inducible and constitutive expression
  • Compartmentalisation of products in organelles
  • Post-translational processing including folding, secretion and covalent modifications
  • Regulatory issues and equivalence
  • Purification and good manufacturing practise
  • Confirmation of protein size and structure using physical methods
  • Case studies including important steps for commercialisation


To provide an in-depth understanding of biological production systems for biopharmaceutical and industrial proteins

Learning outcomes

  • To understand the importance of biopharmaceutical and industrial proteins
  • To understand the different types of biological expression systems used to produce biopharmaceutical and industrial proteins
  • To critically evaluate and compare biological expression systems using, in part, case studies including important biopharmaceutical proteins and vaccine antigens
  • To understand the importance of regulatory aspects in recombinant protein production of commercial products
  • To be able to understand and analyse original results in the primary literature

Teaching and learning methods

The module requires knowledge and understanding of biological production systems and the analytical skills required to apply this to manufacture biopharmaceutical and industrial proteins. Attendance at the lectures, private study including critical analysis of the scientific literature to address the problem question in the field of biotechnology. Students will be introduced to the primary scientific literature and guided through the key steps required to understand and interpret the information

  • Facilitated learning (lectures and workshops): 20 hours
  • Independent study: 132 hours (directed reading, research, written assignments)

Employability skills
Analytical skills
Students will critically analyse and evaluate data in industry relevant research articles, patents and case studies to compare biological production systems.
Students will design a production system to manufacture a recombinant protein such as a pharmaceutical protein.
Problem solving
Students will be involved in an exercise where they play the role of a company director to address the different steps associated with manufacturing a recombination protein eg. a pharmaceutical protein or vaccine candidate.
Students will conduct dry research to understand industry relevant biologics and expression systems.

Assessment methods

Written Exam (100%)

Feedback methods

Formative feedback will be provided on an outline written answer.

Recommended reading

Reading Lists specific to each lecture will be provided. Scientific articles can be accessed as electronic copies from the relevant publishers via the library.

Background Reading

  1. Primrose, S. B., Twyman, Richard M., Old, R. W.
    Principles of gene manipulation.Edition 6th ed / Sandy Primrose, Richard Twyman, Bob Old.Publisher Oxford : Blackwell Science, 2001.
  2. Lewin, Benjamin.Title Genes VI / Benjamin Lewin, Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1997
  3. Production of Recombinant Proteins: Novel Microbial and Eukaryotic Expression Systems Gerd Gellissen (Editor) Weinheim : Wiley-VCH, 2005

BIOL67672 Disease Modelling and Genome Engineering

Credits: 15


This unit will provide essential and contemporary knowledge on the importance of using model systems to investigate the functional genomics of inherited human diseases. The unit will also review genomic engineering technologies and provide a workshop for the design of CRISPR-Cas9 reagents.

Students will be provided with a number of example engineered models to study human disease and will be able to understand the merits and drawbacks of many of the cell and animal models available to researchers. The ethics of using animal models and the potential of genomic engineering to alter human genomes will also be discussed.

The unit is led and delivered by academics with a wealth of experience in using a wide range of models to study human genetic disease.


  • Provide an understanding of why animal and cellular models are necessary for studying the functional genomics of human disease.
  • Provide an understanding of the different model systems available for studying human disease.
  • Provide an understanding of how to manipulate gene expression in a variety of model systems.
  • Provide an understanding of the genome engineering techniques available, how to design associated reagents, and how to use them.
  • Provide an understanding of the ethical considerations associated with animal models and genome engineering.
  • Be able to use literature and online resources to access information on disease modelling and genomic engineering.
  • Be able to apply knowledge of model systems and genome engineering to critically analyse published data and to design experiments.

Teaching and learning methods

This module will be delivered over a one week period and consists of a series of face to face lectures, interactive seminars, and computer practicals. Lectures are supported with online resources and/or key references.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Use advanced knowledge in how to manipulate the genomic sequence and gene expression of cell and animal models to evaluate models of human disease.
  • Use advanced knowledge in how to manipulate the genomic sequence and gene expression of cells, animals and humans to evaluate therapeutic treatments for inherited human disease.
  • Describe and critically evaluate a range of contemporary genomic technologies to alter the sequence and expression of genes.
  • Debate the ethical arguments about the use of animal models to study human disease and the ethical concerns about being able to alter genomes in vitro and in vivo.

Intellectual skills

  • Critically evaluate the methods and technologies used to generate model systems of inherited human diseases.
  • Critically evaluate the methods and technologies used to generate therapies employing altered gene expression for the treatment of inherited human diseases.

Practical skills

  • Review and critically anayse the scientific literature relevant to model systems and genomic engineering pertinent to inherited human disease.
  • Present a case from the literature on a model system, or treatment, of an inherited human disease.
  • Use web-based tools to design regents to alter the expression of genes or genomic sequence.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Develop problem solving skills through collaboration in group working and debate.
  • Enhance oral and written presentation skills.

Assessment methods

Written assignment (inc essay) 60%
Oral assessment/presentation 40%

Feedback methods

Written Feedback with 15 working days

Recommended reading

  • Housden et al.. Loss-of-function genetic tools for animal models: cross-species and cross-platform differences. Nat Rev Genet. 2017 Jan;18(1):24-40.
  • Mandai et al.. Autologous Induced Stem-Cell-Derived Retinal Cells for Macular Degeneration. N Engl J Med. 2017 Mar 16;376(11):1038-1046.
  • Normile D. iPS cell therapy reported safe. Science. 2017 Mar 17;355(6330):1109-1110.
  • Ledford H. CRISPR, the disruptor. Nature. 2015 Jun 4;522(7554):20-4.
  • Liang et al.. Developmental history and application of CRISPR in human disease. J Gene Med. 2017 Jun 17.
  • Chandrasekaran et al. Genome editing: a robust technology for human stem cells. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2017 Apr 12.
  • Lanphier et al.. Don’t edit the human germ line. Nature. 2015 Mar 26;519(7544):410-1.
  • Ishii T. Germline genome-editing research and its socioethical implications. Trends Mol Med. 2015 Aug;21(8):473-81.

BIOL60770 Research Skills (lab-based research project)

Credits: 90


Students will choose a topic and research project supervisor from a list. The project should be relevant to a student’s interests and long term career goals. Once a project is chosen and in discussion with the supervisor who will have supplied the basic idea and structure of a proposed project the student will research the topic to get an up-to-date understanding of the research area chosen. The student should understand the analytical and practical approaches used and write a literature review. Students will then carry out the research, collect data and analyse the results. The student will give a presentation on their research project to colleagues and staff and then write a report in the format of a full research article suitable for an appropriate scientific journal.


  • To provide students with the experience and training in carrying out a research project
  • To be able to review the scientific literature
  • To enable students to present their ideas clearly and succinctly
  • To gain experience in writing clear and concise reports
  • To identify potential applications of a research project

Knowledge and understanding

Understand the background science of the research area

Intellectual skills

Understand how the planned research will test scientific ideas

Practical skills

Carry out and analyse experiments

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Transfer knowledge between areas and to identify potential applications of their research. Speak and write clearly and concisely.

Assessment methods

  • Literature Review – 2000 – 4000 words excluding Abstract, Figures & Tables (& legends) and References – (20 credits; 22% final mark)
  • Oral Presentation – 15 minutes – (10 credits; – 11% of final mark)
  • Laboratory Performance – (10 credits, 11% of final mark)
  • Written Research Report – 4000 – 6000 words in the format of a research article. Abstract, Figures, Tables, Figure legends, reference lists & supplementary information are not included in the final word count – (50 credits, 56% of final mark)

Feedback methods

Formative feedback will be provided by the PI and research team for the following:

  • outline and draft of literature review
  • research performance including specific details required to ensure the success of experimental procedures
  • oral presentations at group meeting or practise talks
  • outline and draft of the research report


  • Access to databases containing the Scientific literature relevant to the project
  • Lab staff with expertise in the experimental procedures to be used
  • Writing up area with access to advanced knowledge and software required for recording and analysing results
  • Work space to carry out research with relevant experimental materials and equipment
  • Audience and Seminar rooms to present results to the research team
  • PI with advanced knowledge in area of study

Recommended reading

  1. Specific to each project and will be provided by the project supervisor.
  2. Jennifer. Peat Elizabeth Elliott; Louise Baur; Victoria Keena  (2008) Scientific Writing Easy When You Know How. Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Research Projects

Research Projects provide a more solid basis for learning through problem-solving as well as providing important hands-on experience which will enable you to make considered judgements about the suitability of specific techniques for your proposed research. Direct student-staff interaction is also an important feature of learning and development throughout your project work.
The supervised research projects are conducted in the laboratories of the Faculties of Biology Medicine and Health, and Science and Engineering, or in external laboratories. We expect you to read scientific literature and apply problem-solving skills in your research project work.

Choosing your research project

During the taught part of the programme, students are expected to identify areas of research interest. Each student will be given a list of project titles and descriptions of the projects that are available. Students will have the opportunity to discuss projects of interest with potential supervisors. Each student must hand in a form indicating, in order of preference, which three projects they have chosen. The projects will be allocated by the Programme Director so that students overall get their best choices. Once we decide on your project, you will be attached to a laboratory, with a named and approved supervisor and allowed to work there for up to six months including the time spent writing your thesis. All projects will require that you work on your research project full-time on days when you are not working on taught units and be fully trained in the relevant techniques needed to complete the work

Reading Lists

Specific references will be provide in the individual units and students should familiarise themselves with these reading lists. The following textbooks provide background information.

– Enterprise for Life Scientists. David Adams and John Sparrow. Paperback – ISBN 9781904842361 Dec 2007

– Building Biotechnology. Yali Friedman 3rd Edition (2008) Logos Press ISBN 0-9734676-6-6

– Developing New Business Ideas? Bragg, A. & Bragg, M. (2005), FT Prentice Hall, ISBN 0-273-66325-9 3)

– Molecular Biotechnology: principles and applications of recombinant DNA / Bernard R. Glick & Jack J. Pasternak
(2003). Washington, D.C.: ASM, 3rd or other editions. ISBN 1555812694

Panel of Advisors

A panel of advisers comprised of MSc in Biotechnology and Enterprise Alumni and external lecturers provides us with external feedback on the course.

Ishaan Khanna (CEO: Biobank and Diagnostics at LifeCell International Pvt.Ltd, India)
Leopoldo Hererra Rodriguez (Chief Scientific Officer at Biorganix Mexicana, Mexico)
Martin Gisby (Magnetar Health)
Mohammad El Haj (Senior Research Scientist, Protein Technologies, Manchester)



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

Recording Lectures

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.


Programme Management

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.

Programme Committee

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.

External Examiner

The External Examiner for this programme is Professor Jim Dunwell, from the University of Reading.

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 the Programme Administration Team 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: 


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 (

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:

Guidance on Late Submission

Policy on the Submission of Work for Summative Assessment on Taught Programmes


Academic Malpractice

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.

University Regulations

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.

Ethics Procedures

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
  • January
  • May/June
  • July

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 (


Student Support and Guidance

Academic Appeals, Complaints, Conduct and Discipline

Academic Appeals

Student Complaints

  • The University’s Student Complaints Procedure (Regulation XVIII) and associated documents, including a complaints form, can be found at
  • The University has separate procedures to address complaints of bullying, harassment, discrimination and/or victimisation - see
  • 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:

Conduct and Discipline of Students

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 (, for the School to respond to.


Mitigating Circumstances

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

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.


Counselling Service

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:
  • Phone 0161 275 7512; Text 07899 658 790 (only for d/Deaf students);
  • Website:
  • 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:
    • 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

The A-Z of Services can be found on the My Manchester website or here.

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.


Religious Observance

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:


Library Facilities

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 ( 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