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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.

Dr 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 section 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 17 July 2019. 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 Study Advisor 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 Study Advisor for career development issues. If you wish to raise a confidential matter at School level, you should approach the 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
• Dr Sarah Herrick

Education Support Manager
• Miss Anne Pinkerton

Programme Directors
• Dr Angela Davies

• Miss Frances Hooley

Study Advisor
• Melissa Wright

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


Programme Information

Programme Overview

Our Postgraduate certificate in Clinical Bioinformatics, is delivered completely online. The course is structured to include real-world clinical case studies and will focus on providing the necessary bioinformatic skills to analyse clinical genomic data.

The course will equip you with:
• The knowledge and understanding of the theory and practice of clinical bioinformatics.
• A critical understanding of how data generated by clinical genomic laboratories is used to develop a clinical diagnosis, and how this information can be logically and systematically employed to deliver effective clinical management of genetic conditions.
• Relevant knowledge and critical understanding of theoretical frameworks and advanced skills to help you contribute to innovations and service developments in clinical science.
• The knowledge of best practice in clinical bioinformatics to enhance your career development as well as helping you build essential lifelong learning skills.

Learning Outcomes

• Demonstrate a knowledge human biology in relation to the genetic diseases being studied.
• Display knowledge and understanding of the ethical, sociological and service frameworks that support professional practice and delivery of effective patient care
• Display informatics knowledge and understanding of the skills and tools needed by all professionals in modern healthcare systems to provide safe, secure, high quality, effective patient-centred services.
• Display knowledge of the wide range of tools and resources that are used in bioinformatics to capture this knowledge, and how such tools are used by clinical scientists to support patient centred care, diagnosis and treatment.
• Display a knowledge and understanding of how bioinformatics strategies can be employed and applied to genomic and genetic data to generate information that contributes to patient care and care pathways
• Demonstrate an understanding of the techniques needed to follow best practice in assembling genomic data from the current version of these technologies, and will provide trainees with tools and strategies for converting these data into clinically useful information.
• Display a critical understanding of the regulatory processes and practices involved in conducting research in a health service or academic setting.
• To systematically and critically employ the knowledge and understanding obtained during the taught component of the programme to address an original research question through the design and undertaking of a comprehensive research project and production of a dissertation.

Programme Structure

The PG Cert consists of four course units (see further information below).

All four units are 15 credits and all required to be eligible for a PG Cert. Individual units will also be available for CPD. In order to undertake Introduction to Next Generation Sequencing (BIOL60130), students should first have completed Introduction to Clinical Bioinformatics and Genomics (BIOL60100), or be able to demonstrate that they have relevant work experience, such as clinical scientist or genetic counsellor.

Course Units

BIOL60100: Introduction to Clinical Bioinformatics and Genomics

Unit code BIOL60100
Credit rating 15


This module will provide students with a background knowledge of human genomics, with a particular emphasis on the application to the clinical setting. We will focus on the application of next generation sequencing technologies in the clinic and how they are transforming patient care. We will introduce the basic concepts of next generation sequencing and how the resulting genomic data is analysed. We will introduce bioinformatics tools, databases and the methodology that will help to make sense of all of this clinical genomic data.


This module will provide students with a background knowledge of human genomics, with a particular emphasis on the application to the clinical setting. We will focus on the application of next generation sequencing technologies in the clinic and how they are transforming patient care. We will introduce the basic concepts of next generation sequencing and how the resulting genomic data is analysed. We will introduce bioinformatics tools, databases and the methodology that will help to make sense of all of this clinical genomic data

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

  1. Discuss the governance and ethical frameworks in place within the NHS and how they apply to bioinformatics.
  2. Discuss and justify the importance of standards, best practice guidelines and standard operating procedures: how they are developed, improved and applied to clinical bioinformatics.
  3. Describe the structure of DNA and the functions of coding and non-coding DNA.
  4. Discuss the flow of information from DNA to RNA to protein in the cell.
  5. Describe transcription of DNA to mRNA and the protein synthesis process.
  6. Understand the process of meiosis and mitosis, inheritance and de novo mutations.
  7. Discuss the role of variants in Mendelian and complex disorders and give examples of variants involved in genetic disease.
  8. Describe appropriate bioinformatics databases capturing information on DNA, RNA and protein sequences.
  9. Explain the theory of sequence analysis and the use of genome analysis tools.
  10. Describe the reference genome.
  11.  Explain fundamental bioinformatic principles, including the scope and aims of bioinformatics and its development.
  12.  Discover resources linking variants to disease processes and discuss and evaluate the resources that are available to the bioinformatician and how these are categorised. Identify appropriate references where published data are to be reported.
  13. Describe the biological background to diagnostic genomic testing and clinical genomics, and the role of bioinformatics.
  14. Describe the partnership of Clinical Bioinformatics and Genomics to other clinical specialisms in the investigation and management of genetic disorders and the contribution to safe and effective patient care

Intellectual skills

  1. Critically analyse scientific and clinical data
  2. Present scientific and clinical data appropriately
  3. Formulate a critical argument
  4. Evaluate scientific and clinical literature
  5. Apply the knowledge of clinical bioinformatics to address specific clinical problems

Practical skills

  1.  Present information clearly in the form of written reports.
  2. Communicate complex ideas and arguments in a clear and concise and effective manner.
  3. Work effectively as an individual and part of a team.
  4. Use relevant literature and electronic resources to collect, select and organise complex scientific information
  5. Perform analysis on DNA data and protein sequence data to infer function.
  6. Perform sequence alignment tasks.
  7. Select and apply appropriate bioinformatic tools and resources from a core subset to typical diagnostic laboratory cases, contextualised to the scope and practice of a clinical genetics laboratory.
  8. Compare major bioinformatics resources for clinical diagnostics, and how their results can be summarised and integrated with other lines of evidence to produce clinically valid reports.
  9. Interpret evidence from bioinformatic tools and resources and integrate this into the sum of genetic information for the interpretation and reporting of test results from patients.
  10. Perform the recording of building or version numbers of resources used on a given date, including those of linked data sources, and understand the clinical relevance of this data.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  1.  Present complex ideas in simple terms in written formats.
  2. Actively seek accurate and validated information from all available sources.
  3. Interpret data and convert into knowledge for use in the clinical context of individual and groups of patients.
  4. Work in partnership with colleagues, to create clinical reports suitable for presentation to a clinician.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Contribution to discussion boards 20%
Report 30%
Oral assessment/presentation 50%

Recommended reading

Molecular Biology/Genetics textbooks – look for the latest edition

  1. Human Molecular Genetics, Tom Strachan and Andrew Read, Garland Science Chapters 1, 2 and 13
  2. New Clinical Genetics, Andrew Read and Dian Donnai, Scion Publishing

Journal papers


  1. What is a gene, post ENCODE? History and updated definition

Gerstein, MB et al (2007) Genome Research 17:p669

  1. Non-coding RNAs: key regulators of mammalian transcription

Kugel, JF and Goodrich, JA (2012) Trends Biochem Sci 37(4):p144

  2. RNA splicing, disease and therapy

Variant interpretation

  1. Standards and guidelines for variant interpretation doi:10.1038/gim.2015.30
  2. Human genotype:phenotype databases

BIOL60110: Introduction to Health Informatics

Unit code BIOL60110
Credit rating 15


The aims of this module are to introduce the main areas in health informatics that ultimately influence the delivery of healthcare.  The module will focus on the electronic patient record and the different informatics areas and concepts including the importance of coding healthcare delivery consultations; challenges and benefits of sharing data across the health system; and the human an organisational factors that are considered when introducing information/informatics solutions into the healthcare system.

Teaching and learning methods

This unit is delivered entirely via distance learning, including assessment. The course runs over 10 weeks, with a nominal 15h/week of student work.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

  1. Explain the use of electronic patient records.
  2. Evaluate the complexities and problems in capturing clinical data.
  3. Appraise and interpret ethical and privacy issues surrounding health data governance.
  4. Assess the importance of the theoretical underpinning of coding schemes and data sharing protocols.
  5. Critically evaluate health care literature around EPRs.
  6. Explain the challenges with the process of medical coding.
  7. Assess the processes involved in mapping between different coding schemes.
  8. Evaluate the processes and standards involved in health data sharing.

Intellectual skills

  1. Discuss and apply theoretical underpinnings of identified health informatics key issues.
  2. Critically think, analyse and evaluate healthcare systems, in relation to the identified core issues
  3. Recognise problems and devise appropriate informatics solutions
  4. Justify principles and methods used in health informatics work

Practical skills

  1.  Identify and access appropriate bibliographical resources, archives and other sources of relevant information to investigate a topic
  2. Prepare, present and effectively communicate and defend complex ideas in documents and discussion forums
  3. Write reports to a professional standard
  4. Work collaboratively in an inter/multi-disciplinary team
  5. Reflect upon their learning and apply to own work
  6. Self-direct learning.
  7. Solve complex problems

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Contribution to discussion boards 20%
Written assignment (inc essay) 50%
Oral assessment/presentation 30%

Recommended reading

Guide to Health Informatics, Third Edition Paperback – 12 Mar 2015 by Enrico Coiera

BIOL60120: Introduction to Programming

Unit code BIOL60120
Credit rating 15


Bioinformatics and physical science in medicine are fast moving areas. It is often the case that specific tools and resources that would be useful in a clinical setting are not available commercially. Therefore the ability to be able to develop safe and effective code for use within the trainee’s organisation is an important part of the skill set of an effective information scientist. This module will provide trainees with a sound introduction to programming and safe and effective software development practice.

Teaching and learning methods

This unit is delivered entirely via distance learning, including assessment. The course runs over 10 weeks, with a nominal 15h/week of student work.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

  1.  Explain the relationship between UNIX and Linux operating systems (Ubuntu, Red Hat etc).
  2. Connect commands together using pipes and filters and develop shell scripts to analyse biological data.
  3. Be able to express a clear understanding of the basic principles of the Python programming language.
  4. Explain the features of Python that support object-oriented programming
  5. Create functioning and well documented Python code.
  6. Explain the need for repositories to manage code.
  7. Construct a Git repository to manage Python code.
  8. Critically evaluate the Agile and Waterfall software development models.

Intellectual skills

  1. Critical thinking – capacity to think about programming problems in an abstract way and make critical judgement regarding programming decisions.
  2. Problem solving – ability to solve programming problems in an efficient and effective manner.
  3. Planning, conducting and report on a programming problem

Practical skills

  1.  Developing programming skills
  2. Planning and executing the development of a programming project
  3. Using electronic and online resources
  4. Using reporting skills

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  1.  Computer literacy – ability to use computing skills in the development of a programming assignment
  2. Presentation skills – capacity to make presentations, using appropriate media for a target audience.
  3. Teamwork – recognising and identifying views of others and working constructively with them
  4. Time Management – ability to schedule tasks in order of importance

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Contribution to discussion boards 20%
Written assignment (inc essay) 30%
Oral assessment/presentation 50%

BIOL60130: Introduction to Next Generation Sequencing

Unit code BIOL60130
Credit rating 15


Advances in genomics are leading to a better understanding of genetic variation and the role that such variation plays in human health and disease. Such insights are important in predicting inherited disease risks, understanding and classifying cancer, predicting individuals’ responses to drug treatment, or better understanding the spread of drug resistant pathogens.

This module will build on the Introduction to Clinical Bioinformatics unit. It will extend the knowledge of the wide range of bioinformatics pipelines, tools and resources that are used in bioinformatics to process genomic data, and how such tools are used by clinical bioinformaticians to support patient centred care, diagnosis and treatment. A strong emphasis will be placed on ethical and confidentiality issues that arise with such sensitive data.

Teaching and learning methods

This unit is delivered entirely via distance learning, including assessment. The course runs over 10 weeks, with a nominal 15h/week of student work.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

  1.  Describe how NGS techniques have impacted the patient experience by ending the “diagnostic odyssey”.
  2. Explain the scope and application of genetic testing and sequencing technologies, in particular massively parallel sequencing.
  3. Critically appraise sequencing platforms and approaches and their uses in clinical diagnostics.
  4. Evaluate gene and disease information in the design of a gene panel.
  5. Evaluate different NGS bioinformatics software used in the analysis of variant data.
  6. Describe the development, implementation strategies and operation of bioinformatic analysis pipelines.
  7. Critically evaluate the lines of evidence used to triage variants.
  8. Explain key issues relating to confidentiality and disclosure of genetic data.
  9. Explain  the ethical and governance framework in which clinical NGS  is carried out.

Intellectual skills

  1.  Ability to critically evaluate variant data, weighing different lines of evidence to determine a variant classification.
  2. Problem solving skills regarding the problems of large data sets from next generation sequencing.
  3. Planning, conducting and reporting on NGS data analysis
  4. Decision making skills in the design of bioinformatic pipelines and which tools to incorporate.

Practical skills

  1.  Developing bioinformatic skills.
  2. Planning and executing the development of an NGS workflow.
  3. Integrating information from electronic and online resources to inform clinical pathways.
  4. Developing reporting skills from the delivery of verbal and written reports.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  1.  Bioinformatics skills – ability to combine bioinformatic tools to develop an NGS workflow.
  2. Computer literacy – ability to use computing skills in the development of an NGS bioinformatics pipeline.
  3. Presentation skills – capacity to create presentations, using appropriate media for the  target audience.
  4. Discussion – recognising and identifying views of others and working constructively with them within discussion boards.
  5. Time management – ability to schedule tasks in order of importance and worked towards a deadline.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Contribution to discussion boards 20%
Report 30%
Oral assessment/presentation 50%

Programme Specific Induction

An online programme induction will be held….

Deadlines for Assessed Work

The deadline for any piece of assessed work is 16:00pm (UK time) on the due date. Please refer to your timetable for any due dates you may have.

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 Administrator.

Programme Committee

The Programme Committee meet 2 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 Administrator; Teaching Staff and Student Representatives. The Programme Committee report to the Consortium and School PGT Committee.

External Examiner

The External Examiner for this programme is Professor Edward Tobias who is based at the University of Glasgow .

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 Study Advisor 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.

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 your Study Advisor. The form should be submitted as soon as possible before the coursework deadline and should be submitted to your Study Advisor. It is your responsibility to ensure that your request has been received. In the event that your Study Advisor is not available, please contact the Education Support Manager to deal with your request. 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 Study 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 your Programme Administrator.

How To Find Your Marks

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.

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.

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, Emma Hilton Wood (, 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 Study Advisor as soon as possible. You can then complete a Mitigating circumstances form which can be sent to you. 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 your Study Advisor.


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 Administrator who will communicate this information directly to the Fees and Records Departments of the University.


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

Students will have regular contact with the Study Advisor. Students are are expected to read and engage with all of the compulsory teaching material on Blackboard. The reading list provided on Blackboard makes clear which reading is recommended and which is compulsory. Students are also expected to complete ALL compulsory assignments for their programme and to submit ALL coursework assignments by the deadline specified. As part of the assessment for each course unit, students will be required to take part in compulsory discussion board postings. The requirements for the frequency and content of these postings will be specified in the unit information on Blackboard. Any absences from compulsory assignments must be supported by a Mitigating Circumstances Form and supporting evidence.

If you are experiencing any issues that are making it difficult for you to engage fully with the requirements of the course, you should contact the Study Advisor in the first instance to discuss your options.

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 your Study Advisor with details of any assessments and teaching that may be affected.

Religious Observance and Looking after yourself and your patients during Ramadan 

Policy on Religious Observance:

University 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.