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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. The 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.

Programme Administration Team

Your first point of call should be directed as follows:

• Student Support

• Assessments

• Curriculum

School PGT Director
• Professor Sarah Herrick

Deputy Head of Teaching, Learning and Student Experience
• Mrs Kelly Salimian

Programme Director
• Dr Cheryl Capek

Deputy Programme Director
• Dr Dan Cox

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

Rationale and General Description

The programme is designed for students from a variety of scientific backgrounds (graduate and postgraduate) who wish to use functional neuroimaging in academic or clinical research, medicine, pharmaceutical evaluation/diagnostics or who are interested in careers relating directly to fMRI/EEG methods such as MR physics and computer software design. Students will acquire the necessary methodological and theoretical skills to equip them for high-level functional imaging research using fMRI, PET and EEG. The programme is strongly lab-based and offers extensive practical experience grounded within cognitive and clinical theory. The course is taught by a team of cognitive, clinical and imaging neuroscientists who have established expertise in all the aspects of the programme. The teaching programme combines lecture and small group formats with an extensive series of lab-based sessions designed to ensure a balanced combination of hands-on experience and theoretical debate and understanding.

The programme is full-time and delivered in 3 semesters over a 1 year period.

During the first two semesters of the course, students attend a number of course units covering a wide range of theoretical and methodological areas. This taught element of the course includes lectures, labs and small group activity and discussion. After completion of the course unit assessments, including examinations, in June, students work on their research project exclusively, and submit a research project report by September, 2021. A broad selection of research areas is offered and students choose, and develop, their project work in consultation with their supervisor and advisor.

Programme Aims

Students will become members of a neuroimaging community that leads research and development in this area. The aims of the programme are to provide students with a solid set of skills and a thorough theoretical understanding relevant to cognitive brain imaging. The course aims to prepare students for higher research degrees or employment in the clinical or industrial sectors. The course will produce students who:

  1. have an in-depth knowledge and understanding of current methods used in cognitive brain imaging (including structural and functional MRI, PET and EEG/ERP) and their relative strengths and limitations.
  2. are skilled in processing and analysing MRI, fMRI, PET and EEG/ERP data and who understand how to interpret brain activation data and are able to give appropriate consideration to the specific limitations faced in the interpretation of cognitive brain imaging data.
  3. have an appropriately specialised theoretical background to allow them to develop their skills in cognitive brain imaging, including a working background in cognitive science, cognitive theory as well as in neuroanatomy and issues affecting spatial localisation.
  4. have focused skills in experimental design relevant to cognitive brain imaging. Particular emphasis is placed on providing knowledge-based skills that will ensure careful task analysis and an in-depth understanding of the interactive nature of key features of brain neurophysiology with the physics of the data acquisition method and the experimental paradigm in hand.
  5. have a range of transferrable skills including presentation and communication skills (both oral and written); scientific writing; report writing; analytical skills and to provide students with the opportunity to develop specific time-management, target setting and self-monitoring work skills.
  6. To have a solid grasp of a selection of advanced imaging techniques and to understand some of the mathematical, statistical and neurophysiological factors underlying these advanced methods
  7. Apply an understanding of the research process, methodological, analytical techniques to conduct, analyse and report an original piece of research.

Research Project

The research project involves a student working closely with their supervisor to develop and implement a piece of research drawing particularly on image analysis skills.

Please note: For those students progressing to a 3-year PhD following completion of this MSc, the data collected and/or analysed for this research cannot be used as part of the PhD. However, it is perfectly proper to use the MSc research as a pilot study for the PhD.



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

Course Units:

BIOL62101: Neuroimaging Techniques

Credit Rating: 15

Unit Coordinator: Dr Daniel Cox

Course Unit Overview

This unit will describe the methodological bases of a number of neuroimaging modalities (including MRI, fMRI, PET and EEG/ERP) by exploring the technological features of each modality, the relevant neurophysiology of the brain, and the interaction between the two. In doing this, the specific ways in which each modality generates information about the brain will be described with a focus on the differences between the types of information they can produce and what they can tell us about brain structure and function. The unit will also explore the relative strengths and weaknesses of each modality and ways in which they might be used in a convergent fashion to enhance data acquisition, analysis, and interpretation.


To provide students with a solid grounding in functional and structural neuroimaging methodology. The unit focuses on the technological methods of a number of neuroimaging techniques including MRI, fMRI, PET and EEG/ERP, highlighting their relative strengths and limitations.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will:

  • Have an in-depth knowledge of the technological bases of each neuroimaging technique
  • Have a detailed understanding the kinds of information about each technique provides about the brain
  • Have a general understanding of the ways in which these different techniques can be used to explore brain function
  • Have a good working knowledge of the relative advantages and disadvantages of each technique, based on their strengths and limitations
  • Be able to evaluate the appropriateness of using a particular neuroimaging technique to answer a specific question about brain function

Assessment Methods

  • Examination worth 100%

BIOL62141: Functional Neuroanatomy

Credit Rating: 15

Unit Coordinator: Dr Dan Cox

Course Unit Overview

This unit will provide students with a neuroanatomical overview complemented by focused investigations of some key brain areas. Spatial localisation will be discussed at a gyral level, a cytoarchitechtonic level (Brodmann’s areas), and a voxel level. The advantages and disadvantages of region of interest and voxel-based analyses will be contrasted. The course will explore the factors that influence the level and accuracy of spatial localisation and resolution, including MR related artefact issues. In addition, students will be introduced to a selection of software that is used to aid localisation.


This unit aims to provide students with a solid grounding in general neuroanatomy with a particular focus on factors relating to the localisation of regional brain activity and spatial resolution in functional and structural MRI research.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course unit, students will:

  • Have a strong neuroanatomical knowledge
  • Have a clear understanding of the different levels of spatial localisation
  • Be able to compare across different levels of spatial localisation with relative ease
  • Have a broad knowledge and understanding of the factors that influence spatial localisation in both functional and structural MRI
  • Be able to identify and differentiate brain regions quickly and accurately
  • Be able to discuss how to optimise spatial localisation
  • Be able to use software to explore, identify and illustrate spatial localisation

Assessment Methods

  • Examination worth 100% of the overall mark

BIOL62121: Image Analysis

Credit Rating: 15

Unit Coordinator: Dr Martyn McFarquhar

Course Unit Overview

This unit will explore the image analyses aspects of a number of neuroimaging techniques covering both theoretical and practical perspectives. Students will gain valuable hands-on experience with a number of analysis packages with the aim of consolidating and building upon their knowledge of image analysis theory. In turn, gaining a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the various stages of analysing neuroimaging and electrophysiological data will provide a firm foundation upon which any future image analysis package can be learnt, with relative ease. The unit will also  explore the relative strengths and weaknesses of selecting various imaging parameters and the resulting inferences that can be drawn.


The course aims to provide students with a comprehensive knowledge of functional and structural neuroimaging and electrophysiological methodologies. The unit focuses on the image analyses spects of a number of techniques including MRI, fMRI, PET and EEG/ERP. In addition to gaining knowledge of image analysis theory, students will learn how to conduct various aspects of image analysis through hands-on experience with analyses packages.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Have comprehensive understanding of each stage of image analysis,
  • Have a well-developed knowledge of the advantages and disadvantages of each analysis parameter,
  • Draw appropriate inferences based on the image analysis employed,
  • Evaluate the appropriateness of using a particular neuroimaging analysis method,
  • Consider the various strengths and weaknesses of different analyses techniques,
  • Gain experience of and expertise with all the stages of preprocessing neuroimaging data,
  • Perform both participant- and group-level statistics on neuroimaging data,
  • Analyse neuroimaging data for various designs, such as blocked, event-related and mixed designs.

Assessment Methods

  • Examination worth 50% of the overall mark
  • Laboratory report worth 50% of the overall mark
  • E-learning diary (formative)

BIOL62131: Experimental Design and Optimisation

Credit Rating: 15

Unit Coordinator: Dr Martyn Mcfarquhar

Course Unit Overview

This unit will explore the complex interaction between experimental design variables, the characteristics of the hemodynamic response function and cortical neuronal activity and the demands of MR and EEG/ERP data acquisition procedures, and their respective environments. The course will explore both blocked and event-related designs and will highlight the potential advantages of mixed designs. There will be a strong focus on contrasting different types of experimental design and the relative strengths and weaknesses they bring to an experiment. Confounding factors, control and power issues and the fundamentals of how to set up a good research hypothesis will be explored. The major theoretical component of the course will be complemented by the acquisition of practical experimental paradigm development skills and quantitative statistical analysis skills.


This module aims to provide students with a solid working knowledge and detailed understanding of the key factors involved in the design and optimisation of functional imaging experiments (fMRI and EEG/ERP) and how these impact on data analysis and interpretation. The course also aims to provide the skills required to be able to design an effective and valid fMRI and EEG/ERP experiment.

Learning Outcomes

  • By the end of the course unit, students will be able to:
  • Have a solid understanding of how to set up a good research hypothesis in cognitive brain imaging
  • Have a detailed understanding of the key issues involved in fMRI and PET experimental design
  • Have a detailed understanding of the key issues involved in EEG/ERP experimental design
  • Have a good working knowledge of the relative advantages and disadvantages of blocked, event and mixed designs
  • Have a good working knowledge of various categorical, factorial and parametric designs and issues relating to their interpretation
  • Design and set up an fMRI and EEG/ERP experiment
  • Critically evaluate cognitive brain imaging data in terms of the experimental design
  • Use a computerised stimulus presentation procedure

Assessment Methods

  • Coursework worth 60% of the overall mark
  • Research Paper Review worth 40% of the overall mark

BIOL62112: Cognitive Psychology for Clinical Neuroscience

Credit Rating: 15

Unit Coordinator: Dr Dan Cox

Course Unit Aims

Provide students with a broad grounding in current theories and methods in cognitive psychology. The course will explore detailed examples of behavioural research drawing from areas such as language, memory, attention, perception and action and will highlight their relevance to neurological and psychiatric disorders.

Course Unit Learning Outcomes

Having attended the course, students will:

  • Have a broad knowledge of cognitive psychology
  • Have a broad understanding of the methods used to explore cognitive models
  • Have an understanding of how cognitive psychology feeds into, and interact with, neurology and psychiatry.
  • Be able to critically explore and evaluate cognitive models and their application to clinical disorders
  • Be able to explore potential developments to current research

Course Unit Content

This unit will explore theoretical developments in a wide selection of areas of cognition. It will highlight the role of behavioural experiments in establishing and testing models of cognition. The course will also focus on the contribution made by cognitive psychology to the understanding of clinical disorders in neurology and psychiatry. The differences and interaction between cognitive and clinical approaches will be emphasized with examples drawn from several areas of cognition.


  • Examination 65% of the overall mark
  • Review 35% of the overall mark

BIOL62162: Cognitive and Social Neuroscience

Credit Rating: 15

Unit Coordinator: TBA

Course Unit Overview

The unit will describe a series of studies using functional neuroimaging techniques to explore questions in cognitive and social neuroscience. Examples of areas covered include, language, memory, attention, face recognition, cross-modal processing, sleep, emotion and social cognition. The course will explore and evaluate ways in which different acquisition and analysis techniques have been used to investigate contrasting questions, showing how in some cases they have provided convergent data. The course will evaluate the validity of analytic approaches incorporating personality measures. The unit will also draw on human lesion work to illustrate how functional neuroimaging hypotheses have evolved and how data from functional neuroimaging informs human lesion models.


Provide students with a broad background to fMRI and EEG/ERP applications in cognitive and social neuroscience. Through examples, the course will illustrate a variety of ways in which these techniques can be used to explore the neural bases of cognition, emotion, social cognition and behaviour.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course unit, students will:

  • Have a detailed understanding of how fMRI and EEG have been used to explore cognitive and social neuroscience
  • Understand how questions asked with functional neuroimaging can address issues raised by lesion studies
  • Be able to develop a theoretically relevant hypothesis and examine it using functional imaging
  • Be competent at evaluating research exploring cognitive and social theories using functional imaging

Assessment Methods

  • Essay accounts worth 80% of the overall mark
  • Experiment proposal worth 20% of the overall mark

BIOL62152: Advanced Image Analysis

Credit Rating: 15

Unit Coordinator: Dr Jason Taylor

Course Unit Overview

The course will provide theoretical and practical background to a number of key advanced methods in image analysis including connectivity, diffusion tensor imaging, and EEG/ERP source localisation. This will be complemented by a series of lectures focusing on theoretical issues underlying the methodology such as Bayesian inference and probabilistic modelling, connectivity, coherence analysis, synchronisation and phase analysis, pattern-based methods for fMRI (e.g., MVPA, RSA), and advanced PET methods (e.g., FDG modelling). Lectures will be linked to practical sessions providing introductory hands-on training in a number of advanced image analysis methods. The course builds on the Image Analysis module by exploring advances in techniques and proposed solutions to specific problems and challenges.


To provide students with an introduction to, and a working knowledge of, a selection of advanced imaging techniques, focusing on both acquisition and analysis methodology. In addition, the course will provide some advanced mathematical, statistical, and neurophysiological background to these methods.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this unit students will:

  • Have a solid grasp of a selection of advanced imaging techniques and how they can be used to contribute to research,
  • Understand some of the mathematical, statistical, and neurophysiological factors underlying these advanced methods,
  • Understand the neurophysiological issues that need to be addressed by the advanced techniques,
  • Be able to evaluate the use of advanced image analysis techniques to answer specific questions about brain function,
  • Be able to select the most appropriate technique to address the question in hand,
  • Be able to discuss some of the mathematical and statistical models and assumptions that underlie the methods,
  • Have some specialised analysis skills.

Assessment Methods

Two lab reports each worth 50% of the overall mark

BIOL62172: Clinical and Behavioural Neuroscience

Credit Rating: 15

Unit Coordinator: Dr Cheryl Capek

Course Unit Overview

The unit will describe a series of studies using functional neuroimaging techniques (fMRI, PET and EEG) to explore questions in clinical and behavioural neuroscience. Current research will be explored with the aim of providing an accurate view of the current ability of these techniques to address clinically significant issues and the future potential of the techniques with respect to clinical research questions. Methodological factors particular to dealing with clinical populations and/or those displaying behavioural deficits will be addressed. The course will provide students with the background needed to be able to develop and design an appropriate experiment that will ask appropriate clinical questions while having a solid understanding of the current limitations of these techniques within the clinical arena.


Provide students with a broad background into the ways in which fMRI, PET and EEG/ERP have been used to address clinical and behavioural questions in neuroscience through examples concerning disorders such as dementia, depression, stroke and pain. The course aims to provide a current and future perspective on the clinical and behavioural applications of neuroimaging techniques.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course unit, students will:

  • Have a detailed understanding of how fMRI, PET and EEG/ERP have been used to explore clinical and behavioural neuroscience
  • Understand how questions asked with functional neuroimaging can address clinically and behaviourally relevant issues
  • Understand the limitations and methodological requirements of the functional neuroimaging of clinical populations
  • Be able to evaluate published research
  • Be able to critically evaluate the potential of different techniques to address specific clinical questions

Assessment Methods

Essay 80%

Presentation 20%

BIOL62180: Research Project

Credit Rating: 60

Unit Coordinator: Drs Daniel Cox and Cheryl Capek

Course Unit Overview

Under supervision, students will use their newly acquired brain imaging skills to carry out an investigation into a specific research question that can be addressed using brain imaging data. Students will be required to produce a research report which will include a theoretical background, aims, description of methods, data analysis and results and a detailed discussion of the data and their theoretical and/or methodological interpretation. In addition, students will produce a poster presentation of their research and will be required to present this for assessment.


Provide students with the experience of exploring brain imaging data within the context of an original piece of research. Students will develop abilities to critically evaluate published research, to develop research questions and hypotheses, to explore data in novel ways, to carefully interpret brain activation data within a theoretical and/or methodological context and to develop research-writing and presentation skills.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course unit students will:

  • Have an in-depth understanding of the literature specific to the area of investigation
  • Understand how to identify an appropriate research question
  • Identify and employ the appropriate research methods and analysis techniques necessary to answer their research question
  • Understand how to interpret their data
  • Understand the limitations to their data interpretation
  • Understand the requirements of scientific writing
  • Understand the requirements of data presentation
  • Understand the ethical issues and processes involved in research
  • Be able to critically evaluate literature relevant to the topic
  • Be able to generate timely and theoretically and/or methodologically grounded research questions
  • Show appropriate use of image analysis techniques

Assessment Methods

A 10,000-word (maximum) research report based on a piece of independent research incorporating a substantial component of image analysis. This is worth 90% of the overall unit mark.

A poster presentation (in September) is worth 10% of the overall unit mark.

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 TBC.

Please note that it is for information only and it is inappropriate for students to make direct contact with External Examiners under any circumstances, in particular with regards to a student’s individual performance in assessments. Other appropriate mechanisms are available for students, including the University’s appeals or complaints procedures and the UMSU Advice Centre. In cases where a student does contact an External Examiner directly, External Examiners have been requested not to respond to direct queries. Instead, External Examiners should report the matter to their School contact who will then contact the student to remind them of the other methods available for students. If students have any queries concerning this, they should contact 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.

The MSc Neuroimaging for Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience programme uses page limits for some written assignments. Where a page limit exists, this will be stated in the assignment brief.

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 programme administrator 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