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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 2022. 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

Student Representative
• To be appointed democratically

Director of Education (UG and PGT)
• Professor Nicky High

School PGT Director
• Professor Sarah Herrick

Head of Teaching, Learning and Student Experience
• Kerry Mycock

Teaching and Learning Manager
• Kelly Salimian

Student Service, Support & Development Manager
• Helen Johnson

Programme Directors
• Dr Jean-Marc Schwartz

• Dr David Talavera

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.

Programme Information

Aims and Objectives

•  Equip students with an up-to-date knowledge of bioinformatics and systems biology techniques, their usage and the technical background to enhance and develop their skills; enabling them to play roles in the key areas of data integration and interpretation, in the era of high throughput experimental biology.

•  Produce trained and skilled graduates who are able to move easily on from the programme, into academic and industrial settings.

•  Produce graduates who have gained enough basic knowledge and critical understanding of the main areas in bioinformatics and systems biology to quickly adapt to the new requirements in these rapidly evolving fields.

•  To train students in the importance, and methods, of science communication, and to promote an understanding of science in a wider societal context.

Teaching and Learning Methods

During the first 4 months, you will receive approximately 30 hours of assigned teaching per course unit, a total of about 120 hours. Assigned teaching takes the form of lectures

Course Units

BIOL60201 Programming Skills

Credits: 15


This unit aims to introduce basic programming skills to the non-expert, including the unix environment, command line driven computing, and the Python and Java programming languages. Using an online environment, accessible directly from any browser, we will introduce the basics of Python, which is a powerful scripting language that is now ubiquitous throughout bioinformatics and scientific computing. You will test your developing skills on an assessed project that aims to develop a “pipeline” of simple Python programs to address a particular problem in genomics/proteomics. In the second half of the unit, you will be introduced to the Java programming language and more formal object-orientation. This will be assessed via a second project that you will complete individually. Labs are coupled to all the lectures where you will be able to test out your new skills, tackle exercises, and work on your project code where demonstrators and lecturers are able to help you design and debug your code.


This unit aims to:

  • develop relevant IT skills for bioinformatics, including the unix environment
  • introduce both Python and Java programming languages
  • develop skills in writing programs to solve biological data handling problems, both as individuals, and as a group

Learning outcomes

Students will become familiar with use of a range of programming skills useful for writing bioinformatics software and developing biological data analysis solutions in Python and Java. They will gain experience of writing software for individual tasks, and working in small groups to link together programs to form an analysis pipeline. Students will be aware of issues of usability and will know how to deliver data and tools.


Introduction to CoCalc as an online learning environment

Introduction to the unix environment and command line driven computing, including basic commands for files, folders and management, pipes and redirection.

Introduction to the Python programming language. This will cover language syntax essentials, variables, conditional and loops, file input and output, python functions and regular expressions, and modules. All will be illustrated with examples, mostly centred on biological data types.

Python program development and pipelines to solve a challenge in data analysis involving genomic and proteomic data. This will involve development of individual standalone programs, that can also be run as a pipeline for each group. Code, coupled with a short group report are assessed as Project 1.

Introduction to Eclipse and an IDE for development in the Java programming language. This will cover syntax essentials, variables, conditional and loops, classes and object-orientation, exception handling, file input and output, inheritance, data structures, graphical user interfaces.

The Java component  is assessed via a second assessed project, which is completed individually.

Labs are coupled to all the lectures where you will be able to test out your new skills, tackle exercises, and work on your project code where demonstrators and lecturers are able to help you design and debug your code

Teaching and learning methods

Project work: Two programming projects will be completed in a period of approximately 8 weeks during Semester 1, in the practical classes and in the students’ own time.

Employability skills

Group/team workingAs part of one project, the students will work in groups to write a series of computer programmes, ensuring that the inputs/outputs of each programme talk to each other and that the final step produces results that address the overall question.Problem solvingThe first project will ask the students to solve a problem in genomics/proteomics by developing a pipeline of simple Python programmes.Written communicationStudents will complete two written projects. For one of the projects, students will be asked to provide a user guide for a computer programme.

Assessment methods

Two Project reports, software and demonstration of software resulting from the second project.

50% per project.

Project 1 is split 80:20 for individual vs. group work

Feedback methods

Detailed written feedback on projects and reports is provided for each student and group, as well as verbal feedback during labs on scripts and programs as they are written. Students are also provided with optional introductory exercises for Unix and Python and again, direct one-to-one feedback is available for any students attempting these.

Recommended reading

Learning Python, Second Edition, Lutz and Ascher. O’Reilly Media ISBN: 978-1-4493-5573-9 | ISBN 10: 1-4493-5573-0  – Reference

Python for Biologists: A complete programming course for beginners. Martin Jones. ISBN-10: 1492346136 – ISBN-13: 978-1492346135  – Reference – better for complete beginners.

Java Illuminated: An Active Learning Approach. Julie Anderson, Hervé Franceschi, Jones & Bartlett Learning, Third Edition, 2011

BIOL60791 Bioinformatics

Credits: 15


It introduces students to basic practical molecular sequence and structure analysis techniques, tools and resources (including molecular evolution and phylogeny), and provides an overview of transcriptomics and comparative genomics. Emphasis is given to the application of bioinformatics and computational analysis to problem solving in real research scenarios.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the complexity of biological systems & molecular functions
  • Understand a range of bioinformatics & ‘omics analysis tools, resources & databases
  • Understand proteomic, genomic & transcriptomic data-types
  • Understand methods of genome sequencing
  • Understand & apply methods of genome analysis
  • Understand the fundamentals of molecular evolution and phylogeny and apply methods
  • Understand pattern-recognition concepts underpinning commonly used analysis tools
  • Understand the limitations of current databases & analysis tools
  • Understand the importance of synthetic analysis & interpretation of resource outputs
  • Gain hands-on experience of practical analysis of biological data
  • Gain experience in communicating research findings in a short research ‘paper’.

Assessment methods

Sequence Analysis: written report on practical assignment – up to 1,500 words in length – 33 % weighting; Genomics: written report on practical assignment – up to 1,500 words in length – 33% weighting; Phylogenetics and Structural Biology: written report on practical assignment – up to 1,500 words in length – 33% weighting

Feedback methods

At the end of the practical sessions, students complete a series of built-in MCQ tests that cover all aspects of the practical. The MCQs comprise 24 questions, covering a range of bioinformatics concepts across the entire course. For each MCQ, answers are computed and relayed to the student, with information to indicate how many correct answers were obtained and, if mistakes were made, what the errors were and why. If the scores at the end of a particular chapter are poor, students are recommended to re-visit the relevant sections of the practical, to make better use of the background information, to re-do the relevant practical steps, and ultimately to re-take the MCQ test.

In addition, guidance and advice is given throughout the practical work, and especially on how to write up the results (for which separate hand-outs are also provided). Feedback is provided during both group and individual discussions, during which opportunities are also given to receive feedback on draft reports.

Recommended reading

The following books are recommended (those with asterisks were written for this unit):

*Higgs, P. & Attwood, T.K. (2005) Bioinformatics & molecular evolution. Blackwell.

*Attwood, T.K. & Parry-Smith, D.J. (1999) Introduction to bioinformatics. Pearson Education.

Zvlebil, M. & Baum, J.O. (2007) Understanding Bioinformatics. Garland Science (Optional)

BIOL61230 Research Project 1-Bioinformatics

Credits: 60


For Research Project 1 (RP1) of the MSc in Bioinformatics and Systems Biology, students will spend 100% of their time over a 3 month period from February to April working for this unit. RP1 engages the student in several activities designed to develop their research, presentation and report writing skills.

The core activity is research on a project in Bioinformatics and/or Systems Biology, that is assigned in January based on matching student ranked choices to projects provided (via the course director) from University staff. Each project in the list is described by a title, paragraph description and references. In many cases, two or more co-supervisors will be listed, reflecting the inter-disciplinary nature of the research.

The core assessment is the report in the style of a paper for the journal Bioinformatics, thus encouraging students to develop their scientific writing style and become familiar with formatting of the various elements of a research article. The course director provides specific guidance to students on the required report format for RP1.

The style of the report for RP1 contrasts with the longer dissertation style format for Research Project 2 (RP2). Several complementary assessment elements are used for RP1: laboratory performance, oral presentation skills, poster presentation skills. The aim is to develop each of these strands throughout RP1. In terms of progression of writing skills, RP1 can be seen as developing from the reports written for the taught units, which introduce students to combining computational tools with analysis of relevant literature, to the more research-led framework of RP1.

Together with the dissertation format of research and reporting for RP2, the whole aims to put students in a position to undertake cutting edge PhD or other research work, in the general area of computational biology.


  • Introduce students to research project work.
  • Give students experience in carrying out research within an interdisciplinary environment, applying computational skills learned on the MSc course in the context of experimental data.
  • Develop scientific writing skills by producing a project report in a set format of scientific publication.
  • Develop scientific presentation skills both in oral presentation and poster production.

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge on a specific area of current research in Bioinformatics and/or Systems Biology.
  • Formulate and organise a focused research plan with clear aims and objectives.
  • Develop proficiency in the application of computational methods to interpret experimental data.
  • Acquire the experience to communicate research effectively, in: (i) a report formatted as for the journal Bioinformatics, (ii) an oral presentation, (iii) a poster presentation.
  • Develop skills to carry out effective research in an interdisciplinary environment.

Teaching and learning methods

The students will carry out their own research under guidance from their project supervisors.

Assessment methods

Project report (maximum 6000 words and maximum 6 tables/figures): 45/60 credits = 75% weighting within unit

Performance: 5/60 credits = 8.33%

Poster: 5/60 credits = 8.33%

Oral presentation: 5/60 credits = 8.33%

Feedback methods

Feedback will be provided by the project supervisor(s) during the course (performance element) and through written comments on the report after the project has been marked. Specific feedback will be given by staff verbally for the poster and oral presentations.

Recommended reading

Specific reading lists will be provided for each project, included in the list of project descriptions.

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
David Talavera Unit coordinator

BIOL61280 Research Project 2-Bioinformatics

Credits: 60


For Research Project 2 (RP2) of the MSc in Bioinformatics and Systems Biology, students will be working full time over a 3 month period (late May through August). Whereas RP1 engages the student in several activities designed to develop their research, presentation and report writing skills, RP2 is more focussed on the delivery of a dissertation, reporting the research carried out in RP2. The research project in Bioinformatics and/or Systems Biology is assigned towards the middle of Semester 2, based on matching student ranked choices to projects provided (via the course director) from University staff. Each topic in the list is typically described by a title, paragraph description and references. In some cases, two or more co-supervisors will be listed, reflecting the inter-disciplinary nature of the research. Assessment is via the writing of a dissertation. RP1 and RP2, together with the taught course units, are designed to put students in a position to undertake cutting edge PhD or other research work in the general area of computational biology. In some cases work from RP1 or RP2 may lead directly to publishable material. In many cases the type of work performed for RP1 or RP2 leads to consolidation of new collaborations for students and staff, underpinning new combinations of computational and experimental work.


  • Further develop students in research project work.
  • Give students further experience in carrying out research embedded in computational groups working within an interdisciplinary environment, applying computational skills learned on the MSc course in the context of experimental data.
  • Develop scientific writing skills by producing a project report in the format of a Dissertation.
  • Develop students’ collaborative skills within a research environment, enhancing suitability for application to PhD programmes and/or other destinations, including Industrial.

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge on a specific area of current research in Bioinformatics and/or Systems Biology.
  • Learn how to deliver computational biology research in a multi-disciplinary environment.
  • Further develop proficiency in the application of computational methods to interpret experimental data.
  • Acquire the experience to communicate research effectively in a Dissertation format report.

Teaching and learning methods

The students will carry out their own research under guidance from their project supervisor(s).

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Dissertation 91.66%
Practical skills assessment 8.34%

Feedback methods

Feedback will be provided by the project supervisor(s) during RP2 and through written comments on the report after the final project has been marked. The course director will arrange meetings over the summer for students to discuss the progress of their project work.

Recommended reading

Specific reading lists will be provided for each project, included in the list of project descriptions.

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Jean Marc Schwartz Unit coordinator

BIOL65161 Statistics and Experimental Design

Credits: 15


The unit aims to introduce students to the methods and tools used in statistical data analysis and the procedures and tools used in the design of experiments.

Learning outcomes

Students will learn to handle, present and analyse data, to design experiments and understand the limits of experimental evidence. More specifically students will learn to:

  • Test hypotheses and assess the statistical significance of results.
  • Handle data, and the best use of graphics and descriptive statistics.
  • Analyse biological data using classical statistical tests.
  • Analyse data using R.
  • Design successful experiments.
  • Critically assess basic experimental designs and analyses in the literature.


Statistical Data Analysis:

Data and graphics using R

  • Overview of statistics and hypothesis testing, types of data and graphs, descriptive statistics, basics of R statistical programming language.

Probability and statistics

  • Probability distributions, Confidence intervals, Bootstraps, Hypothesis testing using a one-sample distribution.

Classical statistical tests

  • Parametric and non-parametric tests to compare variances, means, proportions and counts in contingency tables. Covariance, parametric and non-parametric correlation.


  • Estimating slope and intercept, statistical significance of regression, regression in R, model assumptions, model checking, and transformation.

Analysis of variance

  • One-way, two-way and factorial anova, model simplification, model assumptions and pseudoreplication.

Experimental design

  • This unit provides students with a foundation in experimental design to ensure that they can design effective and efficient experiments. The topics covered include; standardization, sample size, hypothesis testing, experimental units, controls, replication, randomization, independence, pseudoreplication, covariates and power analysis as applied to basic statistical tests.

Teaching and learning methods

Delivery and assessment will be through lectures, workshops, group discussions and e-learning. Students will participate in computer practical sessions, and submit a plan for the experimental design and analysis of their current research project.

Employability skills

Analytical skillsStudents learn how to test hypotheses, analyse data and its significance using various statistical tests on various programmes and how to present data in terms of graphics.Project managementStudents will design successful experiments and manage the processes involved, taking into account the time needed for rigorous data analysis.Problem solvingStudents will understand the limits of experimental design and ways to overcome these problems.ResearchStudents will critically assess basic experimental designs and analyses in the literature.
Assessment methods

Assessment tasks:

Online multiple choice exam: 1hr 20mins in length – 50% weighting within the unit

Online Statistics Assessments 1 to 5: 5 x 2 hours in length – 25% weighting within the unit

Critical assessment of literature: 25% weighting within the unit

Statistics practical exercises (compulsory): 5 x 3 hours in length – ( – 5%* )

Project review assignment (compulsory): 1 week in length – ( – 5%* )

(*5% will be subtracted from the final unit mark for each incomplete exercise or assignment)

The overall pass mark for BIOL65161 is 65%. Should you fail to achieve this mark, you will be asked to (re-)submit any missing or failed elements and will have to achieve a mark of at least 65% in the referral exam (online multiple choice format). This unit is not compensatable.

Feedback methods

On-the-spot online feedback will be provided on 5 weekly statistics assessed assignments and a formative test. Students are also provided with oral feedback and individual help in understanding course content and in applying what is learnt to the students’ own projects during practicals and discussion groups.

Recommended reading

The following book is compulsory and is provided to all students on the course:

Crawley, M.J, Statistics: An introduction using R. (Wiley, 2005).

BIOL66021 Computational Approaches to Biology

Credits: 15


This unit aims to introduce students to a wide range of computational methods and tools required to carry out interdisciplinary research in the biological sciences.


The unit will start with an introduction to essential mathematical concepts required to understand methods used for biological modelling. Students will be introduced to the Jupyter Notebook system, a widely used online application allowing the development of code for data analysis and numerical simulation based on the Python language, which will be used throughout lectures and practicals.

The core of the unit will be structured along three main sections, each covering a particular set of techniques and applications:

Section 1: Dynamic models

  • Introduction to differential equations-based modelling
  • Classical models in theoretical ecology I: single-species population dynamics and Lotka Volterra competition models.
  • Classical models in theoretical ecology II: Lotka-Volterra models for predator-prey systems.
  • Modelling gene regulatory pathways I: gene transcription
  • Modelling gene regulatory pathways II: cellular signalling pathways

Section 2: Models of large cellular systems

  • Network reconstruction and analysis: protein-protein interaction networks, metrics for network analysis, integration of high-throughput biological data.
  • Logical modelling: Boolean models, logical steady state analysis, applications to cancer systems.

Section 3: Dimensionality reduction and clustering

  • Dimensionality reduction: Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and interactive plotting with applications to visualising single-cell expression data
  • Clustering: hierarchical, k-means and mixture model clustering
  • Non-linear dimensionality reduction methods: GPLVM and t-SNE for non-linear dimensionality reduction and visualisation of single-cell data

Teaching and learning methods

The unit will be delivered as a succession of lectures (1 hour) and practical sessions (2 hours), where each lecture will introduce the theory behind a method/tool, and students will apply the method/tool to solve a particular biological problem in the practical.

Students will be assessed by completing three in-sessional online modules, one for each of the main sections of the unit, taking place during the last practical of the respective section. These modules will consist of a series of multiple choice questions and short questions, some of which will require a short piece of code to be written.

MSc students will additionally complete a research project after the end of the taught sessions. The project will require the construction of a model of a specific biological system and will be assessed through a written report in the form of a research article.

Knowledge and understanding

Students should:

  • Understand essential mathematical concepts required for biological research.
  • Understand and apply differential equations and stochastic modelling of intracellular systems.
  • Understand and apply constraint-based modelling of metabolic systems.
  • Understand and apply network analysis and logical modelling of molecular systems.
  • Understand and apply evolutionary and ecological modelling.
  • Understand and apply Bayesian inference and machine learning.
  • Understand the applications and limitations of different modelling techniques and tools.

Intellectual skills

Students should:

  • Develop problem-solving skills.
  • Construct models and design experiments to test biological hypotheses.

Practical skills

Students should:

  • Use the Python language and develop models using the Jupyter Notebook system.
  • Construct models of signalling, regulatory, metabolic and environmental systems.
  • Use Bayesian methods to infer computational models from biological data.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Students should:

  • Develop computational skills.
  • Develop report writing skills.
  • Learn to communicate computational results.

Assessment methods

Three in-sessional online modules with a duration of 1 hour each – overall weighting of 60%

Research project report of 6000 words – overall weighting of 40%

Feedback methods

Verbal feedback will be communicated during the practical sessions.

Written feedback will be communicated through annotated comments for each online assessment and report submission.

Recommended reading

Specific material will be provided with each lecture.



All students at dissertation level are allocated a Supervisor. Briefly, the responsibilities of the Supervisor include: giving guidance about the nature of research and the standard expected; the planning of the research programme; and pointing the Student towards relevant literature and other sources of information.

The relationship between the Student and their Supervisor is of central importance. Both the Student and the Supervisor have a responsibility to ensure that the dissertation is completed within the prescribed period of the programme. Supervisors and students should establish at their initial meeting clear and explicit expectations of each other in order to minimise the risks and problems of misunderstanding, inadequate supervision and unsatisfactory work.

Progress monitoring meetings must be closely documented. It should be noted that in some instances students may be jointly supervised by staff, and be assigned a principal and second supervisor.

If you have any queries or concerns at any time during your period of study, there is a range of people you can approach:

  • The Programme Administration Team
  • Postgraduate Taught Education Support Manager
  • Your Supervisor
  • Programme Directors
  • Postgraduate Taught Director

Recording Lectures

Please do not assume you can record lectures with a voice recorder or similar device. If you wish to record a lecture or other teaching session, ensure you obtain the prior permission of the lecturer. You may not share any recordings with any other person (including by electronic media) without first being given specific permission by the lecturer.


Programme Management

The programme is managed and operated in accordance with the policies, principles, regulations and procedures of The University of Manchester.

The Programme Directors, have day-to-day responsibility for the management of the programmes and are assisted by the Programme Administration Team.

Programme Committee

The Programme Committee meet 3 times a year. The committee’s functions and responsibilities are to maintain the standards of teaching, to evaluate and revise the programme in the light of feedback, to monitor student progression and to provide a forum for discussion between the University and the students.

The Programme Committee reviews the annual monitoring report and acts on recommendations arising from the annual monitoring process.

The membership of the Programme Committee includes: the Programme Directors; the Programme Administration Team; Teaching Staff and Student Representatives.

The Programme Committee report to the Consortium and School PGT Committee.

External Examiner

The External Examiner for this programme is TBC

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

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 at the Staff Student Liaison Committee and/or Programme Committee where details of any actions carried out by the programme team/School in response to the External Examiners’ comments will be discussed. Students should contact their student representatives if they require any further information about External Examiners’ reports or the process for considering them.


Progress and Assessment


Deadlines for Assessed Work

All assessed work must be handed in at the prescribed time. Dates will be published in advance of the deadline. We recommend that you transfer these dates to your diaries as soon as they are published.

Assignment Word Count (Including Dissertation)

In accordance with the University Policy on Marking:

Each written assignment has a word limit which you must state at the top of your first page. It is acceptable, without penalty, for you to submit an assignment within a range that is plus 10% of this limit. If you present an assignment with a word count exceeding the specified limit+10%, the assignment will be marked but 1% will be deducted from this mark for every 100 words over the limit given.

For an original word limit that is 1000 words and an assignment that is marked out of 100.  If a submission is made that is 1101 words then it exceeded the 10% leeway, and is more than 100 words over the original limit and should receive a 1 mark deduction.

In accordance with accepted academic practice, when submitting any written assignment for summative assessment, the notion of a word count includes the following without exception:

  • All titles or headings that form part of the actual text. This does not include the fly page or reference list
  • All words that form the actual essay
  • All words forming the titles for figures, tables and boxes, are included but this does not include boxes or tables or figures themselves
  • All in-text (that is bracketed) references
  • All directly quoted material

Certain assessments may require different penalties for word limits to be applied. For example, if part of the requirement for the assessment is conciseness of presentation of facts and arguments. In such cases it may be that no 10% leeway is allowed and penalties applied may be stricter than described above. In such cases the rules for word count limits and the penalties to be applied will be clearly stated in the assessment brief and in the submission details for that assessment.

Submitting your work

All assignments must be submitted electronically. The published deadlines for assessments all relate to the electronic submission which is completed via Blackboard, using the Turnitin system in the majority of cases. You must submit by the deadline advertised in your timetable/assessment handbook.

  • Submitting an electronic copy of the work
  • Log onto Blackboard via My Manchester
  • Click on the relevant course unit
  • Go to assessment folder
  • Upload your assignment via the Turnitin process


The University uses electronic systems for the purposes of detecting plagiarism and other forms of academic malpractice and for marking. Such systems include Turnitin, the plagiarism detection service used by the University.

The School also reserves the right to submit work handed in by you for formative or summative assessment to Turnitin and/or other electronic systems used by the University.

Please note that when work is submitted to the relevant electronic systems, it may be copied and then stored in a database to allow appropriate checks to be made.

Please note that you can only upload one document so you cannot save your references/appendices as a separate document.


Guidance for Presentation of Taught Master's Dissertations

The University of Manchester guidance on presentation of taught Master's Dissertations is available at:
Guidance for the presentation of Taught Master's 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 master's dissertation requirements on Blackboard: 


Extensions to Assignment Deadlines

On rare occasions students may need to request an extension to a coursework deadline due to circumstances beyond their control. If you need to request an extension to your assignment submission deadline then you must submit an extension request form which must be accompanied by supporting evidence (medical letters, certificates or other appropriate evidence). The supporting evidence must justify the length of the requested extension.

The extension request form is available via the Student Support Team (

The form should be submitted as soon as possible before the coursework deadline and should be submitted to the Student Support Team.

It is your responsibility to ensure that your request has been received.

You will be notified of the outcome of your request via email as soon as possible. Please note that an extension to a deadline is classed as mitigation. Mitigation can only be applied once to a piece of work. i.e. you cannot have an deadline extension and also apply for mitigation for poor performance due to the same circumstances.


Late Submission Penalty (Including Dissertation)

Work submitted after the deadline without prior approval will be subject to a late penalty in accordance with the University Policy on Submission of Work for Summative Assessment on Taught Programmes.  The penalty applied is 10% of available marks deducted per day/24 hours (from the time of the original or extended deadline), until the assignment is submitted or no marks remain.

Penalties for late submission relate to 24 hours/calendar days, so include weekends and weekdays, as well as bank holidays and University closure days.

The mark awarded for the piece of work will be reduced by:
10% of the available marks deducted if up to 24 hours (1 day) late
20% of the available marks deducted if up to 48 hours (2 days) late
30% of the available marks deducted if up to 72 hours (3 days) late
40% of the available marks deducted if up to 96 hours (4 days) late
50% of the available marks deducted if up to 120 hours (5 days) late
60% of the available marks deducted if up to 144 hours (6 days) late
70% of the available marks deducted if up to 168 hours (7 days) late
80% of the available marks deducted if up to 192 hours (8 days) late
90% of the available marks deducted if up to 216 hours (9 days) late
100% of the available marks deducted if up to 240 hours (10 days) late

If the assessment is submitted within 10 days of the deadline the assessment should be marked and feedback to the student provided. If this mark before the penalty is applied reaches the appropriate pass mark but the applied penalty results in a fail of the assessment, the student should not be required to resit the assessment as the original mark can be taken as the resit mark. Further information and examples can be found in the Policy and associated Guidance documents.

For work submitted more than 10 days late, it is regarded as a non-submission and need not be marked. In this case a mark of zero will be awarded and normal resit regulations will apply.

The sliding scale should only be applied to first-sit submissions. For all referred (resit) assessment, any late submission will automatically receive a mark of zero.

For further information:

Guidance on Late Submission

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


Academic Malpractice

Academic malpractice is any activity – intentional or otherwise – that is likely to undermine the integrity essential to scholarship and research. It includes plagiarism, collusion, fabrication or falsification of results, and anything else that could result in unearned or undeserved credit for those committing it. Academic malpractice can result from a deliberate act of cheating or may be committed unintentionally. Whether intended or not, all incidents of academic malpractice will be treated seriously by the University.

The procedures and penalties for dealing with academic malpractice are covered by the same regulation as apply to Conduct and Disciple of Students (Regulation XVII).

You are responsible for ensuring that you understand what academic malpractice is, and how to avoid committing it. If you are unsure, ask your lecturer or academic advisor.

As further support for students, the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health has developed an Introductory Course. This unit must be completed by all postgraduate taught students and will allow you to test your understanding of what constitutes plagiarism and academic malpractice. You can access the resource via Blackboard. Log in to My Manchester and click on the Blackboard tab. The online resource will be listed under the My Communities heading. The module should be completed as soon as possible after you begin your programmes, but must be completed before you submit your first piece of academic work for assessment.


Feedback for Assessments

The purpose of feedback is to provide constructive comments so that you can improve the standard of your work. Thus, in addition to marks you will receive written feedback on most of your assessed coursework.

Marks awarded for your assessments (i.e. everything which contributes to your final degree classification) are subject to ratification by the examination board and the external examiner at the awarding examination meeting. Consequently all marks given before the final examiners’ meeting has taken place must be regarded as provisional. Shortly after the examinations meetings we will publish results and a breakdown of your marks. These will remain provisional until after the final examination board has met.

The marking process involves several steps to ensure appropriate academic consideration and quality assurance processes have been adhered to. Students will be notified by email once the work has been marked and grades are available. We will endeavour to mark work and give feedback to students 15 working days after the hand-in date. However, occasionally there may be delays as a result of staff illness or other unforeseeable factors. In these circumstances, you will be kept informed of this.

Following graduation you may obtain a detailed official written account of all your examination results (called a transcript) from the Student Services Centre on payment of a small fee. This carries the University stamp and is recognised for such purposes as admission to a further course of study at another institution, membership of professional bodies, exemption from sections of professional examinations etc. If you need an official transcript, contact the SSC on 0161 275 5000.

Unofficial transcripts can be provided by the PGT Assessments Team.


How To Find Your Marks

Once work has been marked and moderated you will receive an email from the Assessment Team to tell you that the marks have been released. Work submitted via Blackboard will usually show a mark along with feedback on the Blackboard system.

You can also access marks by logging into your My Manchester account and going to My Services/Self Service and Student Centre. You can choose ‘Assignments’ from the drop down box and choose the relevant unit. Your Final mark for the unit does not appear until the unit is fully completed and marks have been through an exam board.



Examinations may be scheduled at any point during the academic year. The Assessments Team will provide you with details on when examinations will be scheduled. Please be aware that you may be tested on any topic from within a unit. Do not presume that because a piece of coursework has covered one area of a unit that it will not also appear in the exam. More details will be provided by the individual unit leads. Past papers for some units (where appropriate) are available online:

Do not assume that exams will take the same format as previous years. Academic staff should not indicate what will/ will not feature in an exam as this may not be accurate. Staff may have submitted questions that may not, necessarily, appear on the final exam paper. You should presume that anything can appear on the exam paper unless informed officially by the Assessments Team or Programme Directors.

Students are expected to attend all scheduled examinations. If for any unforeseen circumstances you experience any issues in attending, you must report this to the Programme Administration Team/Programme Director who may recommend that you submit a Mitigating Circumstances application.

Student Representation and Feedback


Election of Student Representative

At the beginning of the year you will be asked to elect a student representative. The student representative will be invited to attend the Programme Committees for parts of the meeting that do not involve discussion of individual students and the assessments. The student representative should make students’ views known to the programme management. In addition, they should report any relevant information back to the students.


Feedback from/to students

The University has a Policy on Feedback to Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught Students in relation to the timely provision of feedback for academic progression.

Students will also have the opportunity to feedback their thoughts on the programme via a series of anonymous evaluation forms. Student feedback questionnaires will be made available via the Module Leads at the end of each module. The information will then be collated to assess the performance level of the programme. It is expected that every student will complete these forms. These feedback questionnaires are produced by the programme and allow students to comment on specific aspects of the organisation and delivery of the taught modules. The information obtained is collated and discussed during the next Programme Committee meeting. The quality of teaching on the programme is monitored in part by student feedback. Thus it is very important that you make your views, good and bad, known.

At the end of each semester, you will be asked to complete an anonymous University generated online evaluation form. This is known as a Unit Survey and will address more general issues with the information obtained being used to inform the teaching strategy of the Faculty/University. You will also receive a Postgraduate Taught Unit Survey form at the end of the semester. Again all students are expected to complete these surveys.

University Regulations

Postgraduate Degree Regulations and exemptions

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

In order to progress to the dissertation/research project you must have satisfactorily achieved the relevant pass mark in taught course units, including by use of resit and/or compensation as outlined in the degree regulations, in order to continue to this element of the programme.

The Pass mark for BIOL65161-Statistics and Experimental Design is 65% but is Pass/Fail and not included in averages.

In order to progress to the dissertation/research project you must have satisfactorily achieved the relevant pass mark in taught course units, including by use of resit and/or compensation as outlined in the degree regulations, in order to continue to this element of the programme.

The University Postgraduate degree regulations can be found online:

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

  • Students have a right of appeal against a final decision of an Examination Board, or a progress committee, or a graduate committee or equivalent body which affects their academic status or progress in the University.
  • Students thinking of appealing should first discuss the matter informally with an appropriate member of staff, in order to better understand the reason for the result or decision and to determine whether the matter can be resolved informally by the School prior to making a formal appeal.
  • Should you wish to proceed to a formal appeal, this must be submitted within the timeframe outlined in the Academic Appeals Procedure to the Faculty Appeals and Complaints Team, Room 3.21, Simon Building, University of Manchester, M13 9PL (e-mail:
  • The Academic Appeals Procedure (Regulation XIX) and associated documents, including the form on which formal appeals should be submitted, can be found at

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 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.

Royal Literary Fellows (Writing Support)

The Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health has two ‘Writing Fellows’: Sarah Jasmon and Frances Byrne, who are funded by The Royal Literary Fund.

The Writing Fellows provide students with free and confidential one-to-one advice on effective writing, including writing essays, lab reports, literature reviews or other coursework. Students can sign up for a one-to-one tutorial (up to 50 minutes) to help you:

  • plan your study time
  • focus your reading for essay, dissertation or thesis writing
  • express your ideas more clearly
  • answer grammar and punctuation questions
  • discover reading to improve your writing and editing skills
  • increase your writing skills with the aim of improving your grades
  • improve any academic writing – essays, reports, dissertations, etc.


Students can make an appointment during term-time with one of the Fellows by emailing them directly. Their availability and contact details are listed below:

Writing Fellow Availability Contact details
Sarah Jasmon Monday & Tuesdays
Frances Byrne Wednesday & Thursdays


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 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.

 * 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