Print Friendly, PDF & Email



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 Postgraduate Education Support Manager – 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 Directors
• Dr Margherita Bertuzzi

• Professor Michael Bromley

Programme Administration Team

Your first point of call should be directed as follows:

• Student Support

• Assessments

• Curriculum

Student Representative
• Racheal Brockway ( )

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

Welcome to Manchester and the MSc Infection Biology Programme

It is our aim to provide you with the excellent teaching and practical training that you will need to become a successful practitioner of infection-related research in whatever your chosen career path when you leave us. We also hope that during the year you will develop your own personal and transferable skills, as together these elements will give you a flying start for your future career.

You will find the academic and technical staff committed to helping you to achieve this, but the rest is up to you. The programme is intensive and it is hard work. Our programme is unique because our students spend most of their time actually in the laboratory, performing discovery research or learning how to apply state-of-the-art technologies to address exciting research questions.

This handbook provides details of the programme and gives general information that you will find useful during the coming year.


  • Equip students with a detailed theoretical and practical understanding of molecular microbiology and immunology, delivered in-context during laboratory-based research and self-directed research of the literature, and via integration of molecular and cellular information to understand the genetic basis of microbial virulence, host responses to pathogen challenge, and complexity of infectious disease, diagnostics, and antimicrobial therapies
  • Enable students to understand the principles of modelling of host and microbial aspects of infection to characterize the host-pathogen interaction
  • Equip students with an understanding of methods for analysing the biological functions and physiological relevance of microbial virulence factors and host responses to pathogenic challenge
  • Equip students with a working knowledge of mechanistic approaches to problem-solving in molecular and cellular biomedical science
  • Equip students with a working understanding of the application of a wide repertoire of advanced scientific methods at the cutting edge of scientific research, including flow cytometry, single cell technologies, imaging and mathematical modelling
  • Enable students to harness critical thinking and synthesis techniques by integration of data of varying types, and from a range of sources
  • Equip students with transferable skills in critical reasoning and reflection, collaborative team working, communication, use of IT/health informatics, innovation in the application of knowledge to practice and logical/systematic approaches to solving problems and making decisions (Cert, Dip, MSc)
  • Equip students with the core knowledge, critical awareness and skills in a range of specialist areas to enable them to pursue a research career in this discipline
  • Equip students with a critical understanding of the current issues and problems at the forefront of the discipline that will allow them to make independent, informed judgements in relation to these issues
  • Provide graduates who will meet the regional, national and international demands for research staff skilled in infection studies


  • Acquire a detailed and systematic understanding of the principle concepts of infection and antimicrobial immunity
  • Integrate and apply knowledge to synthesise new theories on mechanistic basis of disease
  • Be aware of the practical issues and problems associated with conducting high quality research, including ethical issues
  • Acquire an understanding of the theory and practise of research methods and scientific techniques basic to the discipline
  • Work individually and collaboratively to identify appropriate methodology during experimental planning, interpret and present scientific data, interrogate relevant scientific literature and develop research plans
  • Recognise potential methodological failings and strategize accordingly
  • Understand scientific methodology together with the philosophical contexts within which research is conducted in science and medicine
  • Communicate effectively through writing, oral presentations and IT to facilitate further study or employment in molecular, cellular and physiological science
  • Exercise theoretical and practical knowledge required for employment in a variety of biomedical environments
  • Write and defend research reports, which appraise the results of laboratory based scientific study


Prof Mike Bromley – Unit Co-ordinator BIOL68911 Technologies Workshops


Dr Guoqing Xia – Unit Co-ordinator BIOL66121 Research Project 1


Dr Margherita Bertuzzi – Unit Co-ordinator BIOL68921 Host Pathogen Interactions in Health and Disease and BIOL66132 Research Project 2


Dr Sara Gago – Unit Co-ordinator BIOL68941 Grant Application Writing


Dr Mato Lagator – Unit Co-ordinator BIOL68931 Journal Clubs


MEDN69920 Research Methods

Credit Rating of the Unit

The credit rating is 0 credits.

Screencasts and various teaching and learning material will be available through Blackboard from the end of September. There will be three Blackboard discussion boards – the general board, IT issues and Library issues – to support students. Information will remain available in Blackboard for the whole academic year. Below is the proposed timetable for 10 in-programme taught consolidation sessions.

MSc Infection Biology students will be required to submit assignments for the following:

  • 3 self-assessment multiple-choice questions (MCQs) for library skills, study design and epidemiology
  • “Ethical issues related to clinical research” assignment (1000 words)
  • “Critical appraisal of the medical research article” assignment (1000 words)
  • Statistical assignment (online exam)

BIOL68931 Journal Club

Credit Rating of the Unit

The credit rating is 15 credits.

20 hours face-to-face teaching

40 hours assignment and presentation preparation

90 hours independent study

Journal Club Tutorials

The Journal Club tutorials are designed to support the Technology Workshops and will equip students with a detailed theoretical and practical understanding of molecular microbiology and immunology, delivered in-context through guided group study of the literature. Students will learn to integrate molecular and cellular information to understand the genetic basis of microbial virulence, host responses to pathogen challenge, and complexity of infectious disease, diagnostics, and antimicrobial therapies.

Assessment of the Unit

The assessment for this unit comprises:

Oral presentations of a section of the reviewed paper (60% total mark)

Contribution to group discussions (40% total mark)

The reports are doubled marked by a tutor and the Unit Lead who will assess the presentation and participation separately and then confer to agree a mark. Both will provide detailed feedback to the student.

BIOL68931: Instructions for Journal Club presentations

Oral Presentation Guidance and Assessment

Giving oral presentations is likely to be an important part of your future career, whatever it might be. The aim of the Journal Club oral presentations is to provide you an opportunity to present data, show how well you understand the article, and learn how to handle questions, but also to practise asking questions and participate in scientific discussion. In addition, you will get comments, feedback and ideas for improving your presentations.

Your oral presentation should cover all aspects of the section of the paper you were assigned including a critique (see Instructions for Journal Club presentations).

Structure of the oral presentation

You will be provided a University of Manchester Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health slide template on Blackboard. We strongly advise you to use the fonts and font sizes given on the template (minimum 28 points for main text, 32 points for headers). As a rule of thumb, you are advised you to have one slide per minute of presentation (5 minutes > 5 slides plus a title slide (and if appropriate, reference and acknowledgement slides).

When designing your presentation remember that the slides are a tool for you to present your work orally. The use of bullet points and abbreviated phrases is recommended instead of full prose. Visual elements such as figures, images, flow charts and tables should be a significant component of your presentation. However, you should avoid unnecessary and distracting use of images. All the symbols and abbreviations used should be clarified on your slides.

The main areas that should be covered in your oral presentation are the following.

Adhere to the guidance for the relevant section(s) you are reviewing.

Make sure to cite the main references used to design your research at the bottom of the slide.

Abstract, Background/Introduction and Hypothesis: This section should summarise the background literature and place the study in the context of this literature. It should critique whether the research is novel and why it was required.

Materials and Methods: A brief description of the study design and main methods used, in enough detail that the reader understands the process but not in enough detail to repeat the experiment. Tables, figures, images and flow charts can be used to summarise or clarify the methods. You should provide the reasoning for the choice of methods used by the authors. Citations for methods developed by others can be included at the bottom of the slide.

Results: This section should be a summary of the results in the paper presented in the form of figures, tables and images. It may be that in complex articles or seminal work, this section may be divided amongst more than one presenter. All images and tables should be clear and not too complicated. When giving your presentation make sure you explain each figure in detail so that the listener knows what each graph, symbol, line, bar and table means, and describe any trends that the results demonstrate.

Discussion/Conclusions: This section should focus on what the results mean, whether the interpretations of the results provided are in context of the background information, the limitations of the work and what future work should be conducted. It is important to include your critique of this section. Do not repeat the background or the results.

Oral presentation

You will have 5 minutes to present your section, followed by approximately 3-5 minutes for questions. Be concise but highlight all key points that the audience needs to be aware of. Try not to read your slides word for word. Instead, be prepared to expand on your slides. Prepare in good time and practise the presentation and the timing. When listening to presentations by others, you are encouraged to participate actively and to ask any relevant questions. Your participation will be assessed.

A PowerPoint file of your oral presentation (saved as Student number_first author of paper.pptx) should be uploaded onto the computer in the seminar room 10 min prior to the commencement of the Journal Club tutorial session (if not already done so by the tutor lead). A copy of this file should also be sent to the Unit Coordinator ( at the latest one hour prior to the Journal Club session.

Assessment of the Oral Presentation

Your oral presentation will be marked by 2 tutor assessors (summative) and by your peers (formative). The following criteria will be used: coverage and critique of your section, content, structure and style as well as how well you answer questions and participate in discussions. Please see the Journal Club mark sheet available in the handbook and on Blackboard.

BIOL68931: Instructions for Journal Club presentations

Critical review of the Journal Club Paper

The Journal Club is an interactive learning experience which will provide you with the knowledge and skills to critically appraise, knowledgeably interpret and present research. Tutorials will be run by clinical and non-clinical staff and will include discussion and critiques of research papers. You will be assessed both on your individual and group participation in tutorials (to be assessed by a combination of tutors and peers) and on your presentations (to be assessed by tutors).

Each journal club paper will be assigned prior to the tutorial session. You will be assigned a section of the article, for example, the methods or results, to review and summarise and over the course of the journal club unit, you will have been assigned all sections.

You are expected to present a brief (maximum 5 slides) but comprehensive summary and critical review of the designated section you have been assigned. You must read the whole paper as you will also be expected to contribute to discussions of the other sections of the paper.

The presentation must be submitted by email to the Unit Coordinator ( at the latest by one hour before the start of the Journal club. You also need to bring in an electronic copy of the presentation with you to the Journal club as a backup.

The focus of your review will vary from week to week depending on the type and content of the paper which will support (as much as possible) the technical workshops. If no special instructions are given, follow the general advice below and summarise the relevant section of the paper in your presentation.

 How to get started?

  1. Read the paper straight through and whilst reading highlight terms and concepts that you do not understand or you are not familiar with.
  2. Find explanations to your questions and write brief notes for yourself.
  3. Re-read the paper and make note of the following points:
  1. What kind of a paper is it (original scientific article, clinical trial, prospective case study, retrospective cohort analyses, case report, etc)?
  2. Why was the study done and the paper written? What was/were the aim(s)?
  3. Who wrote it? Are they experts in the field and do they have other publications on the topic?
  4. When was it published? If it is an older paper what has changed since?
  5. Where was it published? What audience was it written for? How does the Journal rank on Journal Citation Reports (JCR)? What is its impact factor?

Presenting a Summary including Critical Review

This advice is only to provide general guidance and can be applied more broadly to other work, including dissertations. Different approaches may need to be used when analysing different types of papers (original scientific articles, clinical trials, case reports) or when comparing two similar papers.

Purpose of a critical review

A critical review (sometimes called a critique, critical commentary, critical appraisal, critical analysis) is a detailed commentary on and critical evaluation of a text. In your presentation you will assess one section of a paper in particular. Assembling the critical review usually requires you to read the selected text in detail and to also read other related texts so that you can present a fair and reasonable evaluation of the selected text. It is important to read and reflect on the other sections of the paper and how the assessed section relates to the others.

What is meant by critical?

To be critical does not mean to criticise in a negative manner. Rather it requires you to question the information and opinions in a text and present your evaluation or judgement of the text. To do this well, you should attempt to understand the topic from different perspectives (i.e. read related texts) and in relation to the theories, approaches and frameworks in your course.

What is meant by evaluation or judgement?

An evaluation is an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of a text. You have to understand the purpose of each section, and be aware of the type of information and evidence that are needed to make it convincing, before you can judge its overall value to the research article as a whole. Each section of a research article has a particular job to do; you need to be clear what each section is meant to do, before you can weigh up how effectively it actually does it. Evaluating requires an understanding of not just the content of the text, but also an understanding of a text’s purpose, the intended audience and why it is structured the way it is.

What is meant by analysis?

Analysing requires separating the content and concepts of a text into their main components and then understanding how these interrelate, connect and possibly influence each other.

 In summary, a good critique should:

  • reflect an understanding of the science presented in the paper
  • reflect the data presented in the paper accurately
  • focus appropriate criticism to relevant sections of the paper
  • be fair and balanced in its criticisms
  • judge the quality of evidence correctly

When reading and analysing a scientific paper, considering the following questions may be helpful.


What kind of a paper is it?

What is the relevant information in the paper?

What is/are the main message(s)? And how do they fit in the context of background information?

Is the structure clear?

Are issues mentioned and described in appropriate sections?

Have Tables and Figures been used in an informative and helpful way?

The abstract:

Does the abstract provide a concise overview of the research?

Does it identify the research problem?

Does it outline the methods used, the main findings and recommendations?

The Introduction Section

Is the problem clearly identified?

Is a rationale given for the research?

Is the literature up to date?

Is the literature relevant to the research?

Does the literature present a balanced view?

Does the literature identify a need for the research proposed?

Are there any gaps in the topics of the literature reviewed?

The Methods Section

Is the study design clear?

Are the methods consistent with qualitative or quantitative research?

Is the approach clearly stated?

Are the methods clearly explained and justified?

Are the methods up-to-date?

Are important details provided, so that the research could be replicated by someone else?

Are details of data collection clearly described and justified?

Does the research seem objective?

Are any ethical considerations described and explained?

Are statistical analyses appropriately described?

The Results Section

Are the results presented clearly and consistently?

Are any graphs or tables clearly presented and coherent?

Is sufficient detail provided?

The Discussion Section

Does the Discussion focus on discussing the results the study?

Is the discussion and analysis balanced?

How logical is the argument supporting the hypothesis? How is the argument supported? Is it supported well?

Are the strengths and weaknesses of the study acknowledged? What limitations are there to the study? Are the results specific or can they be applied more generally?


Are the conclusions supported by the results and are they justified?

Are the implications of the study identified?

Presenting a Critical Review of two or more scientific papers

The same methods, as detailed above, used to review one paper can be used to review two or more papers except for one critical difference: the emphasis in your presentation should be to compare and contrast the papers, rather than provide a critique for each of them separately.

Practical guidance:

  1. Send the presentation to the Unit Coordinator ( latest one hour before the Club. There will be a number of different tutors so make sure you send it to the right person. The tutor of the week is always copied into the email with the Journal Club Paper.
  2. Include your student number, JC date and the bibliographical information (including title and first author) of the paper in the first slide of your presentation.
  3. Use the presentation template available on Blackboard.
  4. Use passive tense instead of first person; bullet points are encouraged rather than full sentences; and include appropriate tables and figures to illustrate important points.
  5. Please make sure to adhere to the maximum 5 slide limit of your presentation; you will be penalised 5 marks for every slide over the limit (not including title, reference or acknowledgements slides).
  6. Focus your presentation on the paper under review but if possible, show that you have read background literature (if applicable). Your presentation should consist of a summary of the section of the paper you have been assigned but also a critique of this section using additional references

BIOL68911 Technologies Workshops

Credit Rating of the Unit

The credit rating is 15 credits.

Technologies Workshops overview

Technologies workshops will provide practical training in advanced research methods. Students will be taught the theoretical basis of advanced technologies delivered in situ in the University’s research facilities and by highly skilled research facility managers. Opportunities to gain hands-on experience via practical demonstrations and real-time experimentation will be included wherever possible. Exemplar datasets and analytical exercises are available on Blackboard to support your learning.

Assessment of the Unit

1500 word FEMS Microbiology Applied Technology mini review (50%)

Data processing, analysis and summary exercise (30%)

Technology Workshop quizzes (20%)

BIOL68941 Grant Writing

Credit Rating of the Unit

15 credits

Grant writing unit overview

This unit will introduce students to the critical reading and writing skills required to author and assess research grants. The exercise will largely reflect the scientific interests of the Medical Research Council.

Guidance will be given on how to critically read research grants and determine whether the experiments presented within a research grant address: the proposed hypothesis; are appropriately designed with suitable controls; and support the stated conclusions.

Students will learn how to critically read and review grant applications to determine: whether the stated hypothesis is timely and interesting; and whether the proposed experiments will address the stated hypothesis and are not overly reliant on each other.

Students will be expected to draw up a 3 page follow up grant application based upon their research project 2.

The unit aims to:

  • Introduce students to the critical reading and writing skills required to assess and author research papers and grants.

This unit will start with an introductory workshop at which students will be introduced to the critical reading and writing skills they will need to assess and author research papers and grants. They will be prompted to examine the proposed hypotheses, the experimental design and the experimental approaches. Consequently, they will draw upon their skills in experimental design to ensure the inclusion of appropriate controls and in the selection of suitable experimental approaches to address a particular hypothesis.

Assessment of the unit

10 minute oral presentation (grant club overview of proposal prior submission)

Written mini grant application-2000 words

Peer review comment -1000 words (500 words on each of 2 projects)

BIOL68921 Host Pathogen Interactions

Credit Rating of the unit

15 credits

Host-Pathogen Interactions Lectures Overview

The unit aims to: provides students with in depth, up to date understanding of the molecular basis of host-pathogen interactions in healthy and diseased settings. Specifically, the mechanisms by which bacteria, fungi, viruses, parasites are able to colonise and establish infections will be addressed as well the pathogen/host interactions that subvert/modify the ability of the host to respond to infections.

Microbial pathogenesis will be explored illustrated by studying selected infections in detail that will serve as illustrative paradigms relating to the wider field. Therapeutic, diagnostic and vaccination strategies will be explored as well as epidemiology and clinical presentation of relevant diseases. Unit will be delivered via lectures and a dedicated seminar series.

Assessment of the unit

Examination comprising of:

  • Online quizzes (40%)
  • SAQ/MCQ (60%)

BIOL66121 Research Project 1

Course Unit Lead

Dr. Guoqing Xia

Credit Rating of the Unit

The credit rating is 30 credits. The literature review and research proposal are equally weighted and both contribute 50% towards the final mark for this unit.

Literature review -150 hours

Research Proposal -150 hours

300 hours – 30 credits

Forms for Supervisor

Three progress forms

Supervisor feedback

Marking forms

Unit Overview

The initial part of Research project 1 is a supervised literature review on an important current research topic in the field. The second part of the unit will involve students formulating a research proposal that arises from their literature studies.

Research project 1 may well be your first serious encounter with research in biomedical sciences. It provides an opportunity to delve deeply into a topic in translational medicine, the underlying basic science, and to imagine how present day research can contribute to improved diagnosis and treatment of human disease.

The starting point for the project will be a topic defined by one or more project supervisors. Your supervisors will provide you with a brief outline of the topic and some starter references. At this stage you will not be given specific project aims as you are intended to develop a hypothesis and aims during the research proposal aspect of the unit. During the first 8 weeks of the unit you will focus on the literature review. You will need to read the background and history of the problem, critically examine previous research that has been reported in the literature, consider the critical unanswered questions in the field and shortcomings of previous research. Your supervisor(s) will help you to fill gaps in your basic knowledge, depending on your background. The methods you learn in the technologies workshops, your lectures, journal clubs and seminars work will all help you to understand the concepts and methodology you encounter. During the weeks you are working on your literature report, you will have regular progress meetings with your supervisor(s).

After you have completed your literature review, you will prepare a research proposal to address a hypothesis you generate based on the gaps in knowledge identified during the literature review. Your proposal should be for a 6 month project, however, it may not ultimately be the exact project you complete during Research project 2; this will be decided by the supervisor based on feasibility and cost.

Developing a proposal is an essential skill for researchers and provides an opportunity for you to formulate a hypothesis and design a research project, using the knowledge gained so far in the course, from undertaking the literature review, and the taught course units. During the preparation of your literature review you will gradually become aware of unanswered questions, gaps in knowledge, controversies and even contradictions in your area of study.

These are the starting points for your research proposal. You will receive training in developing ideas, devising a workable approach, critically appraising the likely advance this project would bring if successful, and presenting a persuasive overall case that would convince an independent body that the research will be worthwhile.

You will start by defining a main hypothesis. This is likely to be broad, leading to several subsidiary hypotheses that might be capable of being addressed in a clinical or laboratory setting in a well-equipped academic centre. Imagining you have all the necessary resources at your disposal, how would you seek to add to knowledge in your chosen topic? Would you seek to increase understanding? How might success translate to the clinic? What can you realistically achieve in 6 months?

Throughout project 1, in preparation for the task of constructing a research proposal, you should give specific attention to areas of your topic that are incompletely understood, as these are the source of emergent research questions. This is a key part of the dialogue that you have with your supervisors, and should be an explicit component of your meetings throughout RP1. Your choice of project 1 will have a major impact on the direction of your MSc, because the research you undertake in project 2 will be related to your study topic in project 1, and will have the same supervisors.

The literature review and research proposal are equally weighted in terms of credit share (both are worth 15 credits). The marking criteria may be found in the mark sheets at the end of this section.

The Aims of the RP1 Unit

The aims of RP1 are to train students in:

  • Literature and database searching
  • Critical analysis
  • Identification, conceptualisation and exposition of unsolved problems
  • Literature review planning
  • Creating and using appropriate images
  • Scientific writing and referencing
  • Research proposal design
  • Critical evaluation and debate
  • Effective time management

Intended Learning Outcomes of the RP1 Unit

Students should be able to:

  • Identify and isolate basic scientific, translational, clinical (and where relevant) epidemiological, demographic and social elements of their research problem
  • Synthesise and analyse data and information
  • Show critical thinking capacity, including abstraction, analysis and critical judgement
  • Report on the current status of research in a chosen area
  • Pose a problem, framing it in a fashion that is amenable to solution
  • Command an appropriate battery of communication skills – written and spoken word, images and electronic media – to engage in constructive dialogue with peers and supervisor
  • Use effective word processing and reference manager software
  • Use library, electronic and online resources
  • Develop appropriate illustrative materials for a report
  • Make a written presentation using language appropriate to a specialist readership
  • Collect and integrate evidence to formulate and test a research hypothesis
  • Plan time effectively, apportioning appropriate energy to literature research and writing while undertaking other essential course activities
  • Meet agreed informal and formal deadlines for writing assignments Unit runs between October and December. Students will work on their literature review and project proposals throughout this period, working around other timetabled units.
  • Milestones and progress meetings with supervisors during the literature review and research proposal are detailed below. The literature review and research proposal should be submitted as a single report. Both must be submitted by 27 January 2022.

Organisation of the Course Unit

Feedback from supervisor(s) on drafts of reports

Literature review: One supervisor should provide written feedback on a detailed plan of the literature review and on one full draft only of the document. If requested, students can also provide a supervisor with a page of text as a ‘style guide’ before submitting the full draft for feedback; this allows the opportunity for feedback on the student’s writing style.

Research proposal: Once there is informal agreement on the topic area and approach (and several stages of discussion and refinement may be necessary), students are expected to prepare their written proposal independently. One supervisor should then finally read and comment on a single draft of the proposal.

 Milestones for Literature Review

8th October 2021 Project is assigned.
11th October 2021 Start project and initial meeting with supervisor(s). Starter references are given.
By 23rd November 2021 Outlines of Literature review and project proposal should be submitted to the supervisor(s) for feedback.
By 4th January 2022 A full draft of the literature review and proposal should be submitted to the supervisor.
Supervisors will aim to provide feedback on the draft report.
27 January 2022 Submission deadline for the literature report and research proposal is 16:00. 6,500 word literature review and 2,500 word research proposal

Guidelines for writing the Literature Review

  • Define the general research area in the context of your research project.
  • Link this topic of research to a scientific endeavour and/or human health and disease.
  • Describe what has been published about the topic. Summarise the work done to address key issues, discussing how it has advanced the field and why you consider specific reports seminal.
  • All sources used must be referenced and included in a bibliography, formatted appropriately (see later formatting section).
  • Aim to use a range of sources, including important historical references and the most up-to-date research of relevance. DO NOT use only review articles. A central core of original papers should be cited and critically examined. References to web pages are acceptable but should be used sparingly. Note the date at which the page was accessed.
  • Discuss any controversial issues surrounding the field, inconsistencies between reports and conclusions made by different groups.
  • The literature review should be written for a researcher with broad knowledge of the field but not necessarily specialist knowledge of the research topic. It is useful to provide ‘signposts’ using phrases such as ‘In brief’ ‘to summarise’ in order to orientate the reader.
  • Diagrams and figures should be included to illustrate key points. Include appropriate reference/credit or make your own originals. A rough guideline for proportion of illustrations is between 10-20% of the report. Prepare concise but informative legends that make the figures understandable without having to consult the main text.
  • Conclude by summarising the key points covered in the literature review and describing deficiencies in current understanding which will then link into your research proposal.
  • The word limit for the literature review is a maximum of 6,500 words, excluding title page, table of contents and references. Tables and figure legends will not be included in the word count and should be kept to a minimum. Students will be penalised for exceeding this word limit as described previously.
  • You should be aware that plagiarism software will be applied to all reports. Guidelines for writing the research proposal The proposal should start from a question or series of questions that have arisen during your literature research that you consider important enough to deserve attention. You will have identified gaps in knowledge and need to generate testable hypotheses to gain relevant new insight. Though you should have in mind a 6 month investigation, this may not ultimately be the exact project you complete during Research Project 2. You should describe the experimental approaches you would use to address your aims, however, you are not expected at this stage to know all the practical details of the techniques to be used, nor are you obliged to specify how long it may take to reach a particular goal (or how many resources you might require). Examples of research proposals submitted by previous MSc students are available on Blackboard for guidance on the degree of detail required. You are encouraged to specify longer (or ultimate) as well as shorter term goals for your project. You will not need to include extensive background literature, as you will have already covered this in detail in the literature review. Your supervisor will be able to provide guidance. The proposal must include the following headings:

 The research proposal should be a maximum of 2,500 words.

  1. Title (including total word count)
  2. Summary of background literature and research problem
  3. Hypothesis
  4. Aims
  5. Experimental approaches
  6. Significance
  7. Lay Abstract (including word count)
  8. Scientific Abstract (including word count)
  9. References
  • The summary of background literature should include the salient points covered in the literature review directly relating to the research problem. This should be no more than 400 words. Figures showing supportive or preliminary data may be included.
  • Make your aims simple and achievable, and link them clearly to the hypothesis and approaches. Include a set of initial aims, leading to more ambitious, extensive interrogation of the research question.
  • The ‘approaches’ section should be a description of the experimental approaches to address each aim, and should include the methodologies to be employed and the proposed analysis methods. Details of subject/sample numbers must be given, including justification of numbers. Potential outcomes should be included for each experimental aim.
  • In the ‘significance’ section, provide a clear summary of how this research will (a) address the aims of the project and (b) impact. These should include short and long term goals, and ultimate goals if appropriate.
  • The lay abstract (250 words) must be written for a non-scientific audience and should be understandable to members of the public.
  • The scientific abstract (250 words) must be written for an informed non-specialist scientific readership.
  • The references at the end for the research proposal are not included in the 2,500 word limit. The assignment will be submitted electronically as a Word document or pdf via Blackboard by the deadline stated.

Formatting of the literature review and research proposal

      1. A title page giving the title of the report, the candidate’s number (the same as the name under which he or she is currently registered at the University), the name of the candidate’s School – School of Biological Sciences, the year of submission, and the word count for each report. The title page is not included in the word count.
      2. The reports should be typed using 1.5 spacing. Single space can be used for figure legends and references. You must use Verdana font size 11, (except where specialised fonts are required).
      3. Page numbering must consist of one single sequence of Arabic numerals (i.e. 1, 2, 3 …) throughout the dissertation at the bottom on the right hand side. Page numbers must be displayed on all pages EXCEPT the title page, though this is counted as page one.
      4. All references must be included in the Bibliography in alphabetical or numerical order. References can use author-date (e.g. Marshall et al, 2014) or numerical citation in the text e.g. (1-3, 5).

Assessment of the Unit

The assessment for this unit comprises a 6,500 word literature review and a 2,500 word research proposal (50% each). The reports are doubled marked by a supervisor and an independent researcher who mark the report separately and then meet to agree a mark. Both provide detailed feedback to the student.

BIOL66132 Research Project 2

Assessment methods

Attendance      5%

Dissertation     80%

Poster presentation 15%

Credit Rating of the Unit

The Credit rating is 90 credits (ECTS credits 45)

Course unit overview

Research project 2 is a major part of the MSc programme. The duration of the research project is a minimum of 25 weeks research work with 2-3 weeks of additional writing-up time. This is a full time project and students are expected to spend 5 full days per week working on it with the exception of attendance at other timetabled taught sessions which may still be running. The research project may be laboratory or clinically based.

Feedback methods

There are a series of timetabled meetings with the Programme Director and Project Supervisor to discuss progress. The meetings are recorded on a form (signed by all present) and are held by the Programme Administrator.

In addition the student is expected to take an active part in all their research group’s lab meetings, which would normally be held weekly. This would include the delivery of oral presentations of their own work.

 Timetable for Research project 2:

7th February 2022 Projects II starts
By 17th February 2022 Initial meeting with supervisor.
By 14th March 2022 Progress feedback meeting with supervisor.
By 13th May 2022 Progress feedback meeting with supervisor.
30th June 2022 Poster presentation
By 16th July 2022

Laboratory based research completed.

Submit draft of research project 2 report to supervisor for feedback.

By 23rd July 2022 Feedback on draft report given by supervisor
4 August 2022 Dissertation submission, 16:00

Progression with the course unit

Research Performance will be assessed one month into Research Project 2. If at that stage achievement is <50% on assessment of Research Performance, the student will be required to attend an additional meeting with the Programme Director and Research Project 2 supervisor. An action plan of support and training and timetable will be agreed. The student must then achieve a mark of ≥50% on assessment of Research Performance two months after the start of Research Project 2. If achievement again does not meet the criteria, the student will normally be referred to the Postgraduate Taught Progress Committee, and may be transferred onto a PG Diploma.

For a PG Diploma, research performed in a 12 week project will be submitted as a 5,000-6,500 word report (9 month exit point).



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


Occupational Health Screening

You are required to attend an occupational health screening appointment. The Programme Administration Team will send you a Occupational Health screening form by email which you should return to Occupational Health directly within two weeks of receipt. The Occupational Health Service will then send you an appointment time.

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 Dr Donna MacCallum, Postgraduate Teaching Lead, University of Aberdeen.

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: 


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 and exemptions

Please be aware this programme has some higher requirements to the University degree regulations and details of these are outlined below:

  • The programme will not permit compensation rules to be applied to Research Project 1
  • Reassessment will be permitted in up to half of the taught units plus Research Project 1 (i.e. 50% of total number of taught units (60 credits) + Research Project 1 (30 credits) = 45 credits)

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