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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. Your Programme Administration Team will be your first point of call for general issues. Alternatively, you may wish to contact the Programme Director for specific aspects to do with the course or your Academic Advisor for career development issues. If you wish to raise a confidential matter at School level, you should approach the Deputy Head of Teaching, Learning and Student Experience – contact details below.

Responsibility for overall management of the Programme lies with the Programme Director who has assembled a Programme Committee, which meets regularly, to advise on content, structure, management, student supervision, and regulatory matters such as Programme improvement and refinement. The Committee also includes the student representative who is democratically elected by you to attend these meetings.

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 Director
• Dr Joe Swift

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

Programme Aims and Learning Objectives

It is recognised by the Research Councils, by Universities and by employers that a gap has opened up between the skills possessed by new graduates and the skills normally expected on entry to a higher research degree or an industrial research career. The MSc has been specifically designed to bridge this gap.
The programme is entitled MSc Tissue Engineering for Regenerative Medicine (TERM). The 1-year programme is structured around a 2:1 split between research projects and taught elements.

Aims of the programme are to:

  • Equip students with the knowledge and skills to enable them to pursue a career in academic or industry-based research, or other research-related posts relevant to the field of study
  • Provide graduates who will meet the regional, national and international demands for scientists with a broad range of research methods
  • Provide highly qualified researchers to contribute to and enhance the excellence of the Faculty’s research programmes

Intended learning outcomes.

On successful completion of the programme students will:

  1. Knowledge and Understanding:
  • Understand scientific method together with the philosophical contexts within which research is conducted in the field.
  • Be familiar with the theoretical and practical basis of the research methods and techniques used in the major sciences basic to medicine.
  • Have acquired an understanding of the theory and practise of research methods and techniques.
  • Be aware of the practical issues and problems associated with conducting high quality research in medicine, including ethical issues; informed consent; storage of patient information
  • Have a detailed and systematic understanding of a chosen area of medical science

2. Intellectual (thinking) skills:

  • Adopt a reflective and inquisitive attitude to the analysis and evaluation of research in the field.
  • Recognise, define, formulate and prioritise research questions that are pertinent to the field.
  • Analyse, interpret, objectively evaluate and prioritise information, recognising its limitations
  • Understand and be able to critically appreciate methodology, including the appropriate selection of quantitative or qualitative methods
  • Recognise the importance of rigour in collecting, analysing and interpreting data
  • Exhibit creativity and resourcefulness in their professional learning, scientific endeavour and research formulations

3. Practical Skills:

  • Apply appropriate methodologies to specific research questions
  • Demonstrate competence in practical laboratory or clinical skills to enable sound and reproducible collection of data
  • Present information clearly in written, electronic and oral forms, and communicate ideas and arguments effectively
  • Retrieve, manage and manipulate information by all means, including electronically

4. Transferable Skills:

  • Effectively manage time resources and set priorities
  • Monitor and realistically evaluate their own performance and personal capability
  • Be aware of career opportunities and begin to plan a career path
  • Demonstrate scholarship in research
  • Demonstrate a capacity for self-directed, independent learning and adopt the principles of reflective practice and lifelong learning
  • Deal with uncertainty and work within a changing environment

Programme Structure

The Programme comprises of a number of compulsory units:

  1. Health and Safety and Academic malpractice course unit (formative)
  2. Research Methods course unit
  3. Laboratory Skills course unit
  4. Tutorial course unit
  5. Masterclass course unit
  6. Research project 1 course unit
  7. Research project 2 course unit

Credit Requirements

Course Units


BIOL64101 Masterclass Unit

Unit Lead: Joe Swift

Introduction to the Course Unit

For students to obtain specialist knowledge of tissue engineering/regenerative medicine, they require a sufficient understanding of the general methodology and philosophy of research within these disciplines and its relationship to clinical therapy and commercial application. To this end, the Masterclass unit will provide students with the principles of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine through a series of combined seminars and discussion sessions with experts in the field. This unique teaching method aims to generate a multidisciplinary training environment and transfer knowledge in specialist areas.

The unit is delivered by academic and clinical-academic staff from across the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, and Faculty of Science and Engineering to ensure a truly multidisciplinary approach. As seminars are delivered by staff members who are internationally recognised experts in their field, you will receive a state-of-the-art overview of new developments and emerging concepts and technologies in this rapidly developing field. Furthermore you have the opportunity to learn about research being carried out in the various Faculties and thereby apply a broad overview of different disciplines to your research. Seminars are also delivered by external experts to ensure students understand how research is commercialised and translated. Students should participate in group discussion and will be encouraged to ask questions at the end of each seminar. Students are required to complete an on-line MCQ assessment and participate in a group oral presentation.

The unit will run from September to December. The majority of lectures will be delivered face-to-face in lecture theatres. Assessments will be held online in November.

Aims of the course unit

The aims of the course unit are to:

  • provide the student with a detailed understanding of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine through a broad range of multidisciplinary topics,
  • develop in the student the ability to learn key facts and concepts after attending a verbal and/or audio-visual presentation and to assess the relevance of the work,
  • prepare students for a future career in the field by acquiring the knowledge and the skills to understand concepts, formulate ideas and translate these to clinical situations.

Learning outcomes of the course unit

After completing the course unit, the student will:

  • have a broader understanding of the principles of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine and the methodology used,
  • have acquired the skills to learn new facts and concepts from an oral presentation, workshop or site visit whilst at the same time discussing the specific topic in the broader context of tissue engineering,
  • merge, inter-relate and apply several research disciplines and technologies to address specific research problems leading to clear clinical outcomes

Organisation of the course unit

The course is organised into 4 modules which cover the core issues that encompass tissue engineering and its application to regenerative medicine. These will mainly be in the format of seminars. Module 1 investigates the range of biomaterials available to the tissue engineer, their properties and methods of fabrication. Module 2 will discuss tissue development, structure, repair processes resulting in scar formation and how embryos and certain species of adult animals are able to repair with complete regeneration. Module 3 covers the cellular aspects of tissue engineering in particular the application of stem cells, while Module 4 details methodology to investigate engineered constructs through in vivo preclinical and ultimately clinical testing, as well as the problems encountered when moving from the laboratory to the clinic.

Assessment of the course unit

There are two types of summative assessment of the course unit:

  • multiple choice or extended-match question on-line assessment based on the information provided in masterclasses from Modules 1 to 3 (50% assessment weighting).  Students should complete the assessment in one sitting and will not be able to view other sites or return to the assessment at a later date.
  • team challenge consisting of a group presentation (50% assessment weighting) based on information provided in all modules. Each group (approx. 4 students) is required to present an innovative solution to a major clinical problem using a tissue engineering/regenerative medicine approach. Groups will be provided with a challenge and should arrange to meet beforehand to brainstorm ideas and practice showcasing their unique concept. Each group will deliver a PowerPoint presentation to the assessors and should be prepared to answer questions and discuss ideas. Each team should prepare PowerPoint slides with each team member producing and presenting several slides each.
  • Suggestions for points to be addressed include the following. However, as each problem and solution is different, it is not essential to cover every point in the list, or to give each point equal weighting:
  1. Background to the clinical problem – cause, pathophysiology, significance e.g. number of people affected, costs, etc
  2. Current treatments and their limitations to explain unmet need
  3. Innovative idea for new treatment strategy using a tissue engineered approach (design, materials/cells required and development)
  4. Proposed preclinical (in vitro and in vivo) testing and potential routes to clinical translation
  5. How the new treatment is better than current/previous methods

Each group will have a maximum of 15 minutes including questions. Therefore, presentations should be approximately 10 and not more than 12 minutes to allow time for questions.

A title slide (at start) and references slide (at end) should be included in the presentation.

Marks will be assigned to the team as a whole, not individually, but it is expected that all team members contribute equally.

The Credit Rating of the Masterclass unit

The course unit comprises teaching and learning time of 150 hours or 15 credit units for the course.


Attendance is compulsory at all Masterclass lectures/assessments and will be monitored.

MEDN69910: Research Methods

Unit Lead: Vitalia Kinakh

Course Unit Administrator: Christie Finegan

The Research Methods Course/Unit is an interactive blended learning unit and is worth 15 credits. It will give you a comprehensive introduction to key information and skills required for the design, execution, interpretation and dissemination of medical, scientific and clinically-related research.

The Research Methods (RM) course is an integral part of your experience whilst undertaking your degree. It will help provide you with the strongest grounding possible to carry out successful research, whether as part of your course (e.g. in a dissertation) or/and in the future in academia, industry or a medically-aligned profession.


This unit aims to prepare you for postgraduate research. Specifically, it will:

  • Introduce you to the skills and knowledge required to critically design, effectively implement, ethically conduct and knowledgeably interpret research in medical, scientific and clinically related sciences.
  • Provide you with life-long critical appraisal skills that you will be able to apply to any research evidence that comes before you.
  • Develop your competence in key transferable skills, particularly written and oral communication of research and time and project management in the research setting.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit successful students will be able to:

  1. Unit Overview and How to Ensure Research Ethics/Integrity.
  • To be able to use Blackboard and maximise your research methods knowledge/learning using the research methods online resources.
  • To fully understand how you will be assessed and what it takes to successfully complete the unit.
  • To understand the importance of research integrity and how to avoid plagiarism, fraud, and misconduct
  • To raise awareness of the research governance framework that underpins robust, ethical research and consider case studies when research has gone wrong.
  1. Research Study Design
  • To understand key concepts and epidemiological study design
  • To understand the basic principles of project and time management.
  • To be able to apply project planning tools to establish and execute a successful research study with maximum research impact.
  1. Dissertation Skills
  • To be able to critically appraise a research paper.
  • To understand the principles of effective academic writing.
  • To be able to produce a high-quality dissertation and prepare a well-structured research abstract.
  1. Introduction to Statistics
  • To be able to appropriately describe and present quantitative data.
  • To understand the principles underlying hypothesis testing, sampling, estimation and confidence intervals.
  • To be able to carry out statistical analyses using statistical software.
  1. Research Communication Skills
  • To understand how to effectively communicate your research ideas and findings to a wide audience.
  • To be able to produce an effective research poster with high visual impact.
  • To be able to confidently deliver a research presentation and defend/field questions.

Teaching and Learning Methods

This is a blended course and combines guided independent study (making use of online resources) and taught sessions. Blackboard RM online resources, including reading and varied visual materials, are designed to cover topics relating to critical analysis of research integrity, scientific/medical research literature, study design, basic statistical analysis, research presentation skills and scientific writing skills. Blackboard RM online resources include self-assessment exercises and quizzes to formatively assess your learning.

In addition, taught sessions will be held to allow students to consolidate their learning and to support the summative assessment aspects of the unit.

MEDN66111: Laboratory Skills

Course Unit Lead: Dr Susan Taylor

Administrative Contact: Christie Finegan

The Laboratory skills unit aims to equip students with the theoretical understanding and practical skills relating to laboratory-based biomedical techniques to enable them to undertake, interpret and accurately record experimental research in the biomedical sciences.

The unit will consist of a welcome session, instruction on health and safety and good laboratory practice, and workshops that provide theoretical and hands-on experience of the laboratory environment.

  • Induction (online) – Basic laboratory guidance, including health and safety regulations, keeping a laboratory notebook. Biological Safety, Laboratory Health & Safety, risk assessment and management.
  • Workshop 1 – Results/ data recording, scientific report writing (including methods, figures, figure legends and referencing)
  • Workshop 4 – Staining techniques: histological staining, immunohistochemistry
  • Workshop 6 – Nucleic acid techniques (real-time PCR)
  • Microscopy masterclass
  • Mass spectrometry masterclass


The unit aims to equip students with the theoretical understanding and practical skills relating to laboratory-based biomedical techniques to enable them to undertake, interpret and accurately record experimental research in the biomedical sciences.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit successful students will be able to:

Category of outcome Students should/will be able to:
Knowledge and understanding
  • Develop awareness of current best practice in laboratory health and safety and understand how to keep themselves and those around them safe within a laboratory environment.
  • Develop an understanding of the principles of a range of practical techniques used in the biomedical context and understand how to employ and adapt these within their own research applications.
Intellectual skills
  • Develop critical understanding of the limitations of particular techniques and their applications.
  • Develop an understanding of how to solve problems arising from unexpected results.
Practical skills
  • Acquire the practical skills to enable them to follow written standard laboratory methods and achieve expected outcomes.
  • Acquire technical competence in a range of biomedical and computational techniques.
  • Learn best practice for recording experimental procedures and outcomes in a standard laboratory notebook.
Transferable skills and personal qualities
  • Be able to carry out laboratory techniques alone or in partnership with others safely and efficiently.
  • Demonstrate the ability to record experimental procedures in written form and to interpret experimental results obtained.

Teaching and Learning Methods

The learning and teaching processes will take the form of lectures, practical laboratory classes, laboratory demonstrations and e-learning (completion of on-line formative assessments).

BIOL66102 Tutorial Unit

Unit Lead: Brian Bigger:

Introduction to the Tutorial Course Unit

The Tutorial course unit is a 15-credit unit that runs in semester 2 after the Christmas break. The theme of the course unit is to encourage students to develop the ability to critically-assess scientific output. One of the major mechanisms of medical scientific output is to publish research findings in medical and scientific journals. In the Tutorial course unit, students will be given specific journal articles to read and study. In addition to learning to evaluate the scientific content of these papers, the students will be required to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the research, to define how you might further pursue a particular topic or piece of work at the level of research-based science, and to assess critically the relevance of the work in other research disciplines. The Tutorial unit will provide the students with the skills to communicate complex ideas both verbally and in writing.
The Tutorial unit also give you the opportunity to learn about the interdisciplinary research being carried out in the various Faculties and thereby to acquire a broad knowledge of current issues related to tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

The Aims and Intended Learning Outcomes of the Tutorial Course Unit

The aims of the MSc Tutorial course unit are to:

  • increase breadth of understanding in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine
  • understand current issues and controversies in the field
  • provide critical analysis skills and the ability to debate on important developments
  • improve communication skills

The Learning Objectives of the Course Unit

After completing the course unit, you should:

  • be better able to critically review research reports that appear in peer-review publications, both in scientific content and in the methodology used,
  • be better able to present the findings in a research paper to a group;
  • be better able to appreciate the relevance of a scientific study in the context of the broad area of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

Structure of the Tutorials

In total, three tutorials will run in 2-week intervals. The first two tutorials will be based on a critique of a research paper by individual oral presentation followed by a group discussion. The third tutorial will involve a critique of a research paper in the format of an individual written assignment followed by a group discussion.

Relevant research, academic and clinical-academic staff from across the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, and Faculty of Science and Engineering have been invited to propose a tutorial topic. Each tutorial group will comprise approximately 4 – 6 students. Times and venues for the tutorials have not been arranged, but will be scheduled to fit in with the availability of the tutors. The Programme Administrator will notify the students of the date and venue of their respective tutorial. A seminar room (with overhead projector and screen), will be booked by Programme Administrator. Group members will be changed for each tutorial.

Tutorial material

For each tutorial, the tutor prepares a title and supplies ONE research paper for the first part of the tutorial. Tutors will be encouraged to provide a paper that can be grasped in the absence of detailed background knowledge. An accompanying review article may also be provided. The tutor will also guide the group discussion for the second part of each tutorial.

Preparation for the tutorial

Part 1: Tutorials 1 and 2 – Each student should work independently to prepare a maximum 10-minute oral presentation that critiques the whole of the research paper provided. The presentation should start by summarising the background, aims, results and discussion of the paper, but it is essential that the presentation demonstrates evidence of critical appraisal. To achieve this, students should focus on the originality and novelty of the data and the strengths and weaknesses of the approach taken. For example, a core learning objective might be to understand why a particular technique has been developed and applied (e.g. gene therapy, bioinformatics, nanotechnology), or to understand a biological process (e.g. differentiation of bone marrow derived stem cells into chondrocytes) depending on the focus of the manuscript. While it is acknowledged that students will not have background knowledge of the field, it is important they learn to understand what is novel about the manuscript and how it adds to the field, as well as be able to critique its limitations. Each student should work through the paper provided by the tutor and other papers they have identified through their own searches (should be no more than 10 extra key papers). This part of the tutorial will reinforce their knowledge and understanding of the work, raise issues of validity and identify strengths and potential weaknesses. It is the responsibility of each student to prepare up to a maximum of 15 high quality PowerPoint slides to convey their critique of the paper to the rest of the group and the tutor. Each student should prepare independently and should not discuss the paper with other group members.

Part 1: Tutorial 3 – Students will be supplied with a manuscript before the tutorial which may have been submitted to a journal and be undergoing peer review, or may be unpublished and not have undergone peer review. Each student should work independently to submit a written critique of the manuscript provided by the tutor. Critiques should be no more than five A4 pages (excluding title page and references), with 1.5 line spacing and standard margins (minimum 2.5cm on each border). Text should be Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman or Verdana, all font size 12. Critiques should be sub-divided to break up the text and can (but are not expected to) contain figures or tables.

It is essential that written reports provide constructive criticism of the manuscript and do not merely summarise its content. When reviewing a paper adopt a positive, impartial, but critical attitude toward the manuscript under review, with the aim of promoting effective, accurate, and relevant scientific communication. Criticism should be presented dispassionately; offensive remarks are not acceptable.

It is useful to structure your review as an initial short summary of what has been done in the paper, and the overall recommendation. Recommendations are “accept without change”, “accept with minor corrections”, “major corrections required”, “reject”. It is rare that papers submitted to journals for first review will be accepted without change, so it is likely that manuscripts provided for the Tutorial will have areas for improvement.

The remainder of the review should explain in detail why you have reached your recommendation i.e. provide a detailed description of major criticisms highlighting the main shortcomings and minor criticisms referencing to page and line numbers. Your criticisms, arguments, and suggestions should be carefully documented. Do not make dogmatic, dismissive statements, particularly about the novelty of the work. Substantiate your statements with references. You are not required to correct deficiencies of style, syntax, or grammar, but any help you can give in clarifying meaning will be appreciated.

While it is acknowledged that you will not have any experience in the field of the manuscript you are provided, you should consider the following aspects when reviewing the manuscript:

Significance to the target scientific community i.e. does it represent something that advances the field
Originality i.e. how similar is the manuscript to other published papers
Appropriateness of the approach or experimental design i.e. are the experiments appropriate to prove the hypothesis
Appropriateness of the statistical analyses e.g. are a range of qualitative and quantitative approaches used and have statistical analyses been employed appropriately
Appropriate literature citations i.e. are there any seemingly obvious papers that have been omitted
Adequacy of experimental techniques i.e. are a good range of techniques used and do they provide compelling evidence to prove the hypothesis
Soundness of conclusions and interpretation i.e. can the conclusions been drawn from the data provided or do the authors overstate the findings
Relevance of discussion i.e. have they discussed all relevant aspects, or ignored limitations or gaps in the data
Organisation i.e. are the data logically ordered. Please note, some journals present the methods after the results and discussion, so this should not be addressed.
Adequacy of title and abstract i.e. do they reflect the key findings of the study, or overstate the findings
Appropriateness of figures and tables i.e. are they well composed and high quality

There are many reasons to reject a paper. In general, if there are serious flaws in experimental design, incorrect interpretation of data, extensive additional experiments required, or any organizational or English usage flaws that prevent critical review of the manuscript, then recommend that the manuscript be rejected. If you feel that the deficiencies can be corrected within a reasonable period of time (1 to 2 months), then recommend accept with minor corrections. If you think the work is sound, but more data is required or more substantial changes are required to the formatting or content of the manuscript then recommend major corrections.

Part 2: Tutorials 1, 2, 3
The second part of all 3 tutorials involves a group discussion focused on the wider implications of the research paper and how it moves the field of tissue engineering/regenerative medicine forward. It is each student’s responsibility to prepare beforehand and to be able to explain and debate their own review during the group discussion.

The tutorial
The students and the tutor attend the tutorial at a mutually agreed venue and time (usually 7-10 days after the research paper has been provided). The students arrange (with the tutor if necessary) for a computer to be available for PowerPoint projection. For tutorials 1 and 2, each student will initially present their critique of the paper in turn and be prepared to answer any questions from the tutor. Each group member produces relevant PowerPoint slides that are legible and aid discussion of the topic. For tutorial 3, students must submit their written critique 2 days before the tutorial via the Blackboard assessment post box.
The group discussion of each tutorial is driven largely by the students and involves an open discussion. An important aspect of the tutorial is that the tutor does not control the direction of the tutorials but acts as a facilitator giving guidance only when necessary. It is the duty of all students to be active participants in the tutorials. All students should be expected to discuss the topic of the paper in a wider context as suggested in the following points:

  • How is the paper relevant to the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine?
  • How does the presented paper relate to other publications on the topic?
  • What is the main contribution of the paper to the field?
  • Is the paper original or derivative from other publications?
  • What work would you have done to “increase” the scientific value of the paper?
  • Discuss the applicability and translation of the paper to clinical practice?

Assessment of each tutorial

The mark awarded to each student for each tutorial is comprised of two parts:
The first part (50% of the overall mark) involves the tutor awarding an individual mark to each tutee for their oral presentation (Tutorial 1 and 2) or written critique (Tutorial 3).
The second part (50% of the overall mark) involves the tutor awarding an individual mark to each tutee for their contribution to the group discussion.
These marks (out of 100) will be communicated to the Programme Administrator.

The students attend a tutorial approximately every 3 weeks, and so it is important that the students receive informative feedback from tutors as soon as possible so they improve with each tutorial.

Tutorial Timetable 

Tutorials will be held in the second semester; a full timetable will be made available at this time.

Credit Rating of the Tutorial Course Unit
Tutorial Course Unit comprises 3 tutorials with 48 hours of directed reading and private study and tutorial preparation, plus 2 hours participation in the tutorial.
Hence 50 hours x 3 tutorials = 150 hours = 15 credits for the unit.

BIOL66121 Research Project 1

Course Unit Lead: Adam Reid and Joe Swift

Introduction to Research Project 1 (RP1) Course Unit

At the start of semester 1 you will be assigned a Research Project and supervisor (based on your choices from a list of projects provided, assuming you haven’t self-arranged a project). Your choice of project 1 will have a major impact on the direction of your MSc, because the research you undertake in project 2 will be related to your study topic in project 1 and will have the same supervisors.

Research project 1 comprises two components: a literature review and a research proposal. Research project 1 may well be your first serious encounter with research in tissue engineering/regenerative medicine. It provides an opportunity to delve deeply into a topic in tissue engineering/regenerative medicine, the underlying basic science, and to imagine how present-day research can contribute to improved treatment of wound healing and degenerative complications.

The starting point for the project will usually be a topic defined by supervisor(s). This may be an interesting gene or protein, a basic physiological process or pathway, a known pathology, a promising prospective mode of treatment or a set of clinical or laboratory observations. Your supervisors will provide you with a brief outline of the topic and some starter references. At this stage you will not be given specific project aims as you are intended to develop a hypothesis and aims during the research proposal aspect of the unit. During the first 10 weeks of the unit you will focus on the literature review. You will need to read the background and history of the problem, critically examine previous research that has been reported in the literature, consider the relevant molecular, cellular and tissue-level processes, and any clinical implications. Your supervisors will help you to fill gaps in your basic knowledge, depending on your background. The theoretical and practical knowledge you have gained from other modules will all help you to understand the concepts and methodology you encounter. During the weeks you are working on your literature report, you will have regular progress meetings with your supervisors. It is not a requirement that both supervisors are involved in every meeting.

After you have completed your literature review, you will prepare a research proposal to address a hypothesis you generate based on the gaps in knowledge identified during the literature review. Your proposal should be for a 6-month project; however, it is important to note that the project you describe in your research proposal should be designed by you and does not need to be the same as the project you will actually complete during Research Project 2. Developing a proposal is an essential skill for researchers and provides an opportunity for you to formulate a hypothesis and design a research project, using the knowledge gained so far in the course. Although the majority of your research proposal will be completed in the New Year, during the preparation of your literature review you will gradually become aware of unanswered questions, gaps in knowledge, controversies and even contradictions in your area of study. These are the starting points for your research proposal. You will receive training in developing ideas, devising a workable approach, critically appraising the likely advance this project would bring if successful, and presenting a persuasive overall case that would convince an independent body that the research will be worthwhile.

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

Throughout project 1, in preparation for the task of constructing a research proposal, you should give specific attention to areas of your topic that are incompletely understood, as these are the source of emergent research questions. This is a key part of the dialogue that you have with your supervisors, and should be an explicit component of your meetings throughout RP1.

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

The Aims and Intended Learning Outcomes of the Research Project 1 Unit

The aims of Research Project 1 are to train students in:

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

Intended Learning Outcomes of the Research Project 1 Unit

Students should be able to:

  • Identify and isolate basic scientific, translational, clinical (and where relevant) epidemiological, demographic and social elements of their research problem
  • Synthesise and analyse data and information
  • Show critical thinking capacity, including abstraction, analysis and critical judgement
  • Report on the current status of research in a chosen area
  • Pose a problem, framing it in a fashion that is amenable to solution
  • Command an appropriate battery of communication skills – written and spoken word, images and electronic media – to engage in constructive dialogue with peers and supervisor
  • Use effective word processing and reference manager software
  • Use library, electronic and online resources
  • Develop appropriate illustrative materials for a report
  • Make a written presentation using language appropriate to a specialist readership
  • Collect and integrate evidence to formulate and test a research hypothesis
  • Plan time effectively, apportioning appropriate energy to literature research and writing while undertaking other essential course activities
  • Meet agreed informal and formal deadlines for writing assignments

Organisation of the Course Unit

Research Project 1 runs between October and January, following selection of a research topic and supervisor(s). Students will work on their literature review throughout this period, working around other timetabled units (research methods, practical skills, masterclass). The literature review should be largely complete by mid-December.

After the Christmas break, there are 4 protected weeks during which students should focus on their research proposal. During this time weekly supervisor meetings are recommended.
Milestones and progress meetings with supervisors during the literature review and research proposal are detailed below. The literature review and research proposal should be submitted as two separate reports.

Feedback from supervisors on drafts of reports

Literature review: One supervisor should provide written feedback on a detailed plan of the literature review and on one full draft only of the document. If requested, students can also provide a supervisor with a page of text as a ‘style guide’ before submitting the full draft for feedback; this allows the opportunity for feedback on the student’s writing style.
Research proposal: Once there is informal agreement on the topic area and approach (and several stages of discussion and refinement may be necessary), students are expected to prepare their written proposal independently. One supervisor should then finally read and comment on a single draft of the proposal.

Milestones for Literature Review

By 6 Oct – Students select projects in order of preference and inform the Programme Administrator using Project Selection Form. Unit lead and Programme/Deputy Directors assign projects to students.

Beginning 11 Oct – Students notified of project allocation. Start project and initial meeting with supervisor(s). Starter references are given. Complete Progress Form 2

Around 8 Nov – Literature review outline, comprising headings and subheadings, should be submitted to the supervisor(s) for feedback.

Around 15 Nov – Student supplies supervisor with one section for writing style feedback.

By 6 Dec – A full draft of the literature review should be submitted to the supervisor. Supervisors will aim to provide feedback on the draft report before the Christmas break and complete Progress Form 5. We strongly advise that the report be complete by the January return to give sufficient time to focus on the research proposal.

Timeline for progress in literature review and research proposal (RP1)

Students should refer to the TERM logbook for specific guidance on dates and deadlines. Progress Forms can also be found in the logbook.

Early October – Students select projects in order of preference and inform the Programme Administrator using Project Selection Form. Unit lead and Programme/Deputy Directors assign projects to students.

Mid-October – Students notified of project allocation. Start project and initial meeting with supervisor(s). Starter references are given. Complete Progress Form 2

Early November – Literature review outline, comprising headings and subheadings, should be submitted to the supervisor(s) for feedback.

Mid-November – Student supplies supervisor with one section for writing style feedback.

Early December – A full draft of the literature review should be submitted to the supervisor. Supervisors will aim to provide feedback on the draft report before the Christmas break and complete Progress Form 5. We strongly advise that the report be complete by the January return to give sufficient time to focus on the research proposal. Page 19

Following Christmas break – Students meet with supervisor(s) for discussion of research proposal. Complete Progress Form 6.

Mid-January – A full draft of the research proposal should be submitted to the supervisor for feedback. End of January – Exact date and time of final submission to be advised.

Guidelines for writing the literature review

  • Define the general research area in the context of your research project.
  • Link this topic of research to a scientific endeavour and/or human health and disease.
  • Describe what has been published about the topic. Summarise the work done to address key issues, discussing how it has advanced the field and why you consider specific reports seminal.
  • All sources used must be referenced and included in a bibliography, formatted appropriately (see later formatting section).
  • Aim to use a range of sources, including important historical references and the most up-to-date research of relevance. Do NOT use only review articles. A central core of original papers should be cited and critically examined. References to web pages are acceptable but should be used sparingly. Note the date at which the page was accessed.
  • Discuss any controversial issues surrounding the field, inconsistencies between reports and conclusions made by different groups.
  • The literature review should be written for a researcher with broad knowledge of the field but not necessarily specialist knowledge of the research topic. It is useful to provide ‘signposts’ using phrases such as ‘In brief’ ‘to summarise’ in order to orientate the reader.
  • Diagrams and figures should be included to illustrate key points. Include appropriate reference/credit or make your own originals. A rough guideline for proportion of illustrations is between 10-20% of the report. Prepare concise but informative legends that make the figures understandable without having to consult the main text.
  • Conclude by summarising the key points covered in the literature review and describing deficiencies in current understanding which will then link into your research proposal.
    The word limit for the literature review is a maximum of 6,500 words, excluding title page, table of contents and references. Tables and figure legends WILL be included in the word count and should be kept to a minimum; however content of tables and figures themselves will NOT be counted. Students will be penalised for exceeding this word limit by more than 10% as described previously.
  • You should be aware that plagiarism software will be applied to all reports.

Guidelines for writing the research proposal

The research proposal should be a maximum of 2,500 words (including abstracts).
The proposal should start from a question or series of questions that have arisen during your literature research that you consider important enough to deserve attention. You will have identified gaps in knowledge and need to generate testable hypotheses to gain relevant new insight. Though you should have in mind a 6-month investigation, this may not ultimately be the exact project you complete during Research Project 2. You should describe the experimental approaches you would use to address your aims. You should demonstrate an understanding of how individual experiments work together to create a coherent and complete study (think about the types of experiments conducted in the papers you read for the literature review); however, you are not expected at this stage to know all the practical details of the techniques to be used, nor are you obliged to specify how long it may take to reach a particular goal (or what resources you might require). Examples of research proposals submitted by previous MSc students are available on Blackboard for guidance on the degree of detail required. You are encouraged to specify longer (or ultimate) as well as shorter term goals for your project. You will not need to include extensive background literature, as you will have already covered this in detail in the literature review. Your supervisor will be able to provide guidance.

The proposal must include the following headings:

  1. Title (including total word count)
  2. Summary of background literature and research problem
  3. Hypothesis
  4. Aims
  5. Experimental approaches
  6. Significance
  7. Lay Abstract (including word count)
  8. Scientific Abstract (including word count)
  9. References
  • The summary of background literature should include the salient points covered in the literature review directly relating to the research problem. As a guide, this should be ~400 words (but can be longer as your discretion). Figures showing supportive or preliminary data may be included.
  • Hypotheses should be clearly stated, testable and formatted as a statement, not a question
  • Aims should be simple and achievable and linked clearly to the hypothesis and approaches. Include a set of initial aims, leading to more ambitious, extensive interrogation of the research question.
  • The ‘approaches’ section should be a description of the experimental approaches to address each aim and should include the methodologies to be employed and the proposed analysis and statistical methods. Details of sample (N) numbers must be given. It is also important to demonstrate your understanding of the key features of approaches/techniques described. Potential outcomes should be included for each experimental aim.
  • In the ‘significance’ section, provide a clear summary of how this research will address the aims of the project and provide impact. These should include short and long-term (ultimate) goals.
  • The lay abstract (strictly no more than 250 words) must be written for a non-scientific audience and should be understandable to members of the public. Keep language and concepts simple.
  • The scientific abstract (strictly no more than 250 words) must be written for an informed non-specialist scientific readership. Technical terminology and concepts should be used.
  • The title page and references at the end for the research proposal are not included in the 2,500-word limit, but the word count does include sub-headings, figure/table legends (but not content) and both abstracts. Students will be penalised for exceeding this total word limit by more than 10% as described previously and strict abstract word limits also apply (250 words each).

Formatting of the literature review and research proposal

The reports will be submitted both electronically as a Word document or pdf via Blackboard by the deadline stated.

  1. A title page giving the title of the report, the candidate’s number (the same as the name under which he or she is currently registered at the University), the name of the candidate’s School – School of Biological Sciences, the year of submission, and the word count for each report. The title page is not included in the word count.
  2. The reports should be typed using 1.5 spacing. Single space can be used for figure legends and references. You must use Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman or Verdana, all font size 12 (except where specialised fonts are required). Standard page margins (minimum 2.5cm) should be used throughout.
  3. Page numbering must consist of one single sequence of Arabic numerals (i.e. 1, 2, 3 …) throughout the dissertation at the bottom on the right-hand side. Page numbers must be displayed on all pages EXCEPT the title page, though this is counted as page one.
  4. All references must be included in a Bibliography in alphabetical or numerical order. References can use author-date (also known as Harvard style e.g. Marshall et al, 2014) or numerical citation in the text (also known as Vancouver style e.g. 1-3, 5). Where Vancouver style is used, in-text citations can be in square [1-3, 5] or round (1-3, 5) parentheses at the end of a sentence or superscript attached to the final word of the sentence without parehteses1-3,5. In-text citations will be included in the word count. The use of a referencing software package is recommended. A detailed guide, with information on referencing software is available at:

Assessment of the Unit

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

Credit Rating of the Unit

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

Literature review -150 hours
Research Proposal -150 hours
300 hours – 30 credits

BIOL66132 Research Project 2

Introduction to the Research Project 2 Course Unit

Research project 2 is a major part of the MSc programme. The duration of the research project is 25 weeks research work with additional writing-up time. This is a full-time project and you are expected to spend 5 full days per week working on it with the exception of attendance at the Tutorial module sessions or other timetabled activity. The location of the project may be away from the main University campus.

Aims and Intended Learning Outcomes of the Research Project 2 Course Unit

  • Equip students with knowledge and practical skills to pursue a research career in the field.
  • Develop practical research expertise in chosen areas relevant to tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
  • Develop written and oral presentation skills.

Intended Learning Objectives of the course unit

  • Be familiar with the theoretical and practical basis of research methods and techniques.
  • Have acquired practical experience of developing research questions, and using research methods to answer these questions.
  • Have a detailed and systematic understanding of a chosen area relevant to tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
  • Have practical experience of presenting scientific research in oral form.

Organisation of the course unit

You will work in the same group as for Research Project 1; however, while your primary supervisor will remain the same, you may be assigned a laboratory-supervisor who may be a PhD student or post-doctoral research to support you day-to-day. Under supervision, you will carry out a piece of empirical laboratory-based research. Initial discussion with the supervisory team will involve a process of refinement of ideas into a project that addresses a problem, the solution to which is feasible with the time and resources available. Training and mentoring will be given to achieve the unit aims, including regular meetings with supervisory team and appropriate training in methods and experimental design and in data interpretation. Bear in mind that, as this is an empirical research, the aims may change during the duration of the project as results are generated. Feedback on research performance will be provided at formal progress meetings throughout the project, as documents in the Log Book.
Research performed in the project will be reported in a dissertation of between 10,000 and no more than 13,000 words which will include background, aims, results and conclusions of the study aimed at addressing a specific but limited research question in the area of clinical and/or biomedical sciences. It will consist of a clear description of methods and analysis of data appropriate for addressing research hypotheses and logical interpretation, presentation and discussion of the findings. Students will also present their findings as an assessed oral presentation towards the end of the project.

Timeline for progress in Research Project 2 (RP2)

Students should refer to the TERM logbook for specific guidance on dates and deadlines. Progress Forms can also be found in the logbook.

Beginning of February – Research project commences.

Early February – Initial meeting with supervisor. Complete Progress Form 7.

Late March – Progress feedback meeting with supervisor. Complete Progress Form 8.

Late May – Progress feedback meeting with supervisor. Complete Progress Form 11.

Mid-July – Laboratory based research completed.

Mid-July – Oral presentation at TERM Symposium.

Mid-July – Submit draft of research project 2 report to supervisor for feedback

Late-July – Feedback on draft report given by supervisor. Complete Progress form 13.

Beginning of August – Exact date and time of final submission to be advised.

Credit rating of the unit
Research Project 2 course unit comprises: 900 hours = 90 credits for the unit.

Important information
Ethical and Research Governance Issues
Any research that involves contact with human volunteers, either patients or the general public or human material must be subject to appropriate ethical approval. You should check with your supervisors whether this has been granted BEFORE you start the project. Some projects involve working with animals and require a Home Office license. Again, you should check with your supervisors whether this is required/has been granted BEFORE you start the project and you should discuss appropriate training. The Programme will arrange and pay for appropriate in-house training in working with animals for those students whose projects require it. This training is usually undertaken in January, but must be booked in advance, therefore it is essential you seek agreement with your supervisor in semester 1 if this training is required and inform to programme director and administrator as soon as possible.

Health and Safety
In laboratories, you will come across potential hazards. Prior to starting work in any laboratory, you should undergo a Health and Safety induction by the safety officer of your laboratory project – it is your responsibility to ensure that this happens. You must ensure that you read any relevant literature relating to Health and Safety given to you at this induction or at any other time in the programme. Refer to the on-line Health and Safety course unit that you completed at Induction. Laboratory coats must be worn in laboratory areas and will be provided by your supervisor. Project work must be carried out according to the particular guidelines and COSHH regulations in the laboratory in which the project is undertaken. Any accidents occurring in laboratories should be immediately reported to your project supervisor or the laboratory staff member responsible for H&S. You need to make sure that you have signed appropriate risk assessment forms.

Out of Hours Working
You may need to work out of hours on occasion in the evening or at weekends. If this is the case, you should first consult your supervisor about this as you will need prior written approval. Permissions are granted locally via your supervisor and cannot be granted by the course administrator or programme/deputy directors. Ensure you complete any required documentation and contact the relevant building reception desks so that you are not denied building access.

Assessment of the course unit

The RP2 project is assessed in three ways, the main project report, an oral presentation, and on laboratory performance. A successful researcher aims to publish their work in peer reviewed research journals and present it at conferences as both oral presentations. An important part of the research project is training in both these areas and assessment reflects this. There is also assessment of general research performance. This follows formative feedback on your performance at supervisor meetings.
Assessment is divided as follows:

  • Written research project 2 report – 80%
  • Oral presentation – 15%
  • Assessment of research performance – 5%

Progression with the course unit

Research Performance is assessed using forms 8 and 11 in the Logbook. The initial assessment will be one month into Research Project 2. If at that stage achievement is <50% on assessment of Research Performance, the student will be required to attend an additional meeting with the Programme Director and Research Project 2 supervisor. An action plan of support and training and timetable will be agreed. The student must then achieve a mark of ≥50% on assessment of Research Performance two months after the start of Research Project 2 (supplementary for 8(ii) in the Logbook). If achievement again does not meet the criteria, the student will normally be referred to the Postgraduate Taught Progress Committee, and may be transferred onto a PG Diploma.
For a PG Diploma, research performed in a 12-week project will be submitted as a 5,000-6,500 word report (9 month exit point).

Research project 2 Dissertation

One aim of the MSc course is to provide you with training in communicating your work in writing. An essential skill is to be able to describe your work concisely to both an expert and the broader readership. The dissertation (research project 2) should be written in a journal-style format and should be 10,000 up to a maximum of 13,000 words which is counted from the start of the introduction to the end of the discussion, including sub-headings, in-text citations and figure legends/table titles. It does NOT include title page and contents, declaration, copyright statement, figure and table content, references or appendices. You should have a concise Introduction describing the broader topic and how it relates to your research project. The Methods, Results and Discussion should be separate sections. The precise balance will obviously depend to some extent on how your project has progressed. Look closely at how Figures and Tables are designed and annotated. Plan each section beforehand and agree your plan with your supervisor.
Note: The word limit range for this dissertation is minimum 10,000 to maximum 13,000 words. There is a strict maximum word limit of 13,000 words with NO 10% leeway above this allowed. Any dissertations above 13,000 words will be subject to penalty.

You should be aware plagiarism software will be applied to dissertations. Please refer to Academic Malpractice section of this handbook.

You should expect some help from your project supervisor in writing the report. ONE project supervisor will be expected to read and comment on ONE draft of the whole report. You should however provide your supervisor with adequate notice when submitting your draft report since they have many calls on their time. You will find it helps to prepare figures and to work on aspects of your report during the lab work, rather than waiting for the lab work to end before you start writing.

Keep in mind that an aim of the MSc degree is to provide research training. It should be clear to the examiners what training the project has provided. The projects are short and the examiners will know that the students are unlikely to produce a finished piece of work or to have accumulated large quantities of data. There should, however, be a clear demonstration that new skills have been acquired. It is important to remember that one of your markers will not be closely aware of your project. It is therefore important to provide a clear and concise write-up. Given that projects will vary in the number and size of figures/images, the fairest and most consistent method to standardise the length is to impose a word limit. This is also excellent preparation for scientific writing; most journals impose strict and exacting word limits.

Detailed guidelines for the presentation of a dissertation

Introduction and aims: This section should provide information about the background to the project. The main aim of the Introduction is to inform the reader of why the area of research is important, and how the project contributes to the research field. This section should end with clearly stated hypotheses and aim – these can be listed numerically or be part of a paragraph(s) of text, but the hypotheses and aims must be clear. The Introduction should be self-contained and should not require the reader to access additional material in order to understand it. Neither should it be a leisurely review of the field. The referencing of reviews to cover large areas of literature is appropriate. However, research that is directly relevant to the project should be referenced in full as primary research papers. The use of figures to illustrate concepts or previous work is encouraged. It is best that figures are originals. Where unavoidable figures may be copied or adapted from journals, in which case they must be cited in full within the legend. It is important to avoid any issues with repetition of material from the RP1 Literature Review and Research Proposal. As all reports are uploaded onto the Turnitin software, any sentences or paragraphs that are direct copies of the literature review will be highlighted as self-plagiarism. It is therefore important to ensure that the text of the introduction is distinct from that of the literature review.

Specific Guidance

  • The literature review had much broader coverage of the general topic and probably contained a greater level of detail in many areas. The introduction should be more focussed and tailored to the specific project conducted.
  • It should be similar in format and organisation to the introduction in a paper, focussing on the key background literature in a concise manner. The goal is to provide sufficient relevant information such that the hypothesis and rationale for the study can be understood by someone external to the field.
  • You will undoubtedly need to include some information that was presented in the literature review; this is fine but it needs to be re-written rather than directly copied.
  • Although there are not defined word limits, we recommend that the introduction is relatively short (recommendation of no more than a third of the total dissertation), so that more of the word allowance can be conserved for the thorough discussion of the research findings.

In summary, it is important to identify in the Introduction:

  • The research topic or area;
  • The question or questions being addressed, and why they are important;
  • The purpose of the project. In most cases, the project should seek to test a hypothesis, or at least to generate reagents that should allow the testing of a hypothesis. Some projects may be more observational, in which case it is important to identify how these observations will be utilised to advance the field.
  • The aims of the work: what did you try to do, how would the experiments allow you to test the hypothesis?

Materials and Methods:  This should provide a description of the experimental systems and designs employed to obtain data, the materials used (including suppliers), and the methods of data and statistical analysis. Detail should be sufficient for others to repeat the work and to demonstrate that the student has understood the methods used. The key here is to appreciate which methodologies require detailed descriptions and which standard procedures can be dealt with quickly by referencing previous publications or manufacturers’ instructions.

Results: A detailed description of the results and findings. These should not endlessly restate the aims of the project but should provide sufficient information to allow the reader to ascertain the aim of each experiment/method development and what the result was. The reader should be able to do this without getting bogged down in details. Tables and Figures should be self-contained with appropriately detailed legends and it should normally not be necessary to describe every aspect of the table/figure in the text. There may however be occasions when you want to draw the reader to specific components of the Table/Figure (for example, “note differences between columns X and Y in Table II”, or “note the asterisked bands in lane 6 of Figure 4” etc). The results are often best divided into sections, each with a theme.
The text should be supported with figures and tables. These should be placed in the appropriate position within the main body of the report, i.e. immediately following the first reference to each table or figure, and not all put at the end of the report. Unless there are special reasons, do not present the same data in more than one form.
Tables should be numbered consecutively. They must have an informative heading and an explanatory legend. These should make the general meaning comprehensible without reference to the text. Consider the layout carefully so the significance of the data can be grasped readily. Statistics should be quoted where appropriate. Units in which the results are expressed should be given at the top of each column.
Figures should also be numbered consecutively and should contain appropriate headings, annotations and legends. Do not make the figures over complicated by presenting too many sets of data. On graphs, each line should have a separate symbol and error bars should be shown where appropriate. Gel lanes should be easily identified from the annotations. Micrographs should include scale bars.
Discussion: The Discussion should not be a paraphrasing of the results and is normally headed only by a brief summary of your findings. The Discussion should consist of a logical flow of arguments and reasoning that explains and expands upon the results in simple English and identifies their relevance to published findings. You will be expected here to refer mainly to primary papers in the literature. The Discussion also provides an opportunity for you to defend your conclusions, identify how experiments could have been improved upon, and to discuss how the project might develop given more time. A final conclusion should be given at the end.
References. These should use a numerical (Vancouver style) citation in the text. This is to avoid impacting on the word count by using author names. However, Harvard style referencing is acceptable and this should be discussed with your supervisor. The use of a referencing software package is recommended. A detailed guide, with information on referencing software is available at:

References must be cited in full at the end (all author names and initials, date, title, journal, volume, pages). The format for references to papers and books is as follows:
Adrian ED (1932). The Mechanism of Nervous Action. Humphrey Milford, London.
Lipp P, Egger M & Niggli E (2002). Spatial characteristics of sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ release events triggered by L-type Ca2+ current and Na+ current in guinea-pig cardiac myocytes. J Physiol 542, 383-393.
Buchan AMJ, Bryant MG, Polak JM, Gregor M, Ghatei MA & Bloom SR (1981). Development of regulatory peptides in the human fetal intestine. In Gut Hormones, 2nd edn, ed. Bloom SR & Polak JM, pp. 119-124. Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh.
Appendices etc: Appendices are useful ways to include supplementary data (e.g. DNA sequences) without breaking the flow of the dissertation. Buffer compositions are best described in parentheses within the Methods section, but their inclusion in an appendix is acceptable.

General information on submission

The dissertation will be submitted electronically as a Word document or pdf via Blackboard by the deadline stated. Research project 2 report will be assessed after submission and will be double marked by the main supervisor and an independent assessor. Both will mark the report separately and then meet to agree a mark and the feedback.

Guidelines and Assessment of Oral Presentation

The aim of these presentations is to help you to refine skills that are likely to be crucial in your future career. You are strongly advised to seek your supervisor’s help with your presentations.
The oral presentation should be limited to approximately 10 and not more than 12 minutes and should consist of research completed in project 2. It should be prepared using PowerPoint. There will be 3-5 minutes for questions after each talk.
Your presentation does not have to contain all your data and it is more important to provide a clear and concise summary of key findings than to try and demonstrate how much data you have generated. Assessors are aware that you may not have finished all your experimental work by the day of the symposium and volume of data is not part of the assessment. Instead it is your ability to present, describe and discuss the data you have generated to date.
Where possible, you should practice your presentation in lab/group meetings. You are advised to save your presentation in a number of different formats and to make sure that it will open and run properly on the assigned computer. You should refer to the information on Effective Communications in the Research Methods Unit before you give your oral presentation; however, some guidance is also provided below.

Presentations will be assessed by 2 assessors. You will be provided with feedback from the assessors. The marks from the oral presentation will contribute to your final mark for research project 2.

Structure of presentation:

You should aim to have 10-12 slides for your presentation although this may vary depending on exactly what you have on each slide. Your supervisor/lab members should run through your talk with you and give feedback. Ensure that your presentation does not take longer than the required time as you may be penalised, and over-running will decrease the time available for questions.

Your presentation should include:
Title slide – The title slide should include the University of Manchester logo – in top left corner; title of your talk; your name; your supervisors.
Introduction – You should give a brief introduction to your area of research. You will need to set the scene for your research and talk about why it is important. You should state the hypothesis you have tested and/or the main aims/objectives of your project.  Remember most of the audience will not know your project so you need to guide them through the background in simple terms – what is the question/problem, what is known, what is not known etc.
Experimental approach – You should keep these as simple as possible; however, it is up to you to judge what details it is necessary to include. For example, if you are using a well-established method you will not need to go into much detail about it; however, if your project is to develop a particular method then obviously more detail is required.
Results – You should present your data in a clear and logical manner that can be followed by people outside this area of research. You should not leave it to the audience to interpret your data but take them through exactly what you think your data may mean.  Results should be clear i.e. axis on graphs should be legible, figures and images large enough to see from distance. If you have lots of data you may not have time to present it all so just present main/interesting results and just say due to time limitations you are unable to show all the findings.
Conclusions – Make sure you draw clear conclusions which are based on the data you have presented. You may want to say why you think this is important and how your findings relate to what was previously known – take home messages need to be clear. You may want to consider mentioning ways in which your findings could be developed in the future.
Acknowledgements – You should thank all who have helped you on your project and any funding bodies.

Make sure you prepare well for questions which will be asked by reading around your subject area. If you do not understand the question ask for it to be repeated. If you do not know the answer to a question, say so.

Slides should be kept as simple as possible. Make sure that you think about colours, font type and size and background used. Think carefully about the clearest way to present information – schematics and images are better than lots of text. You should make sure that everything on your slides can be seen when projected on a screen. It is usually clearer to introduce only one concept per slide. You may want to use animation in your presentation but make sure that it enhances it rather than detracting from the points you are trying to make. Use the header on each slide to help convey the key message(s).

Make sure that you are well prepared for giving your talk. You should know exactly what you want to say about each slide and you should NOT read from a script. You should speak clearly and coherently. Think about your body language and make eye contact with your audience. Be prepared to answer questions either during your talk or at the end of it.

Guidelines and Assessment of Research Performance

An important part of research project 2 is training and development of research skills. Many students embarking on an MSc programme have not undertaken any significant research project work previously. As such, many students may not have adequate hands-on research skills at the beginning of research project 2. We do, however, expect students to learn and develop these skills during the progression of the project, during which formative feedback of research skills and performance will be given. Failure to achieve a mark of ≥50% on Assessment of Research Performance, one month after the start of Research Project 2 will result in:

  • A meeting of the student with the Programme Director and Research Project 2 supervisor, resulting in an agreed action plan and timetable.
  • The student must then achieve a mark of ≥50% on assessment of Research Performance two months after the start of Research Project 2.
  • If achievement does not meet this criterion, the student will normally be referred to the Postgraduate Taught Progress Committee, and may be required to submit for a PG Diploma.

At the end of the research project summative assessment of performance will be undertaken (5% of the total marks for the 90-credit Research Project 2 unit).

What are good research skills?
There are many good research skills which need to be developed during the course of the project. Whilst some of these are specific to the project itself – for example ability to conduct a specific experimental technique – some are generic in nature. Good researchers need to be fully engaged in the research programme. They should be organised, hard-working and highly motivated. While they need to demonstrate that they can follow instructions carefully and accurately follow experimental protocols they should also contribute to project organisation, design and development. This necessitates constant evaluation of the project both with respect to practical progress, data obtained and available and emerging literature. The contribution of this should increase as the project progresses. Good researchers should be able to recognise when they need help in performing a procedure/experimental technique but they should, with support, be able to troubleshoot and develop the skills needed to carry these out independently.

How are research skills developed and feedback given?
You will meet with your project supervisor during the first week of your project. At this meeting (which must be documented on Form 7) he/she will discuss with you the aims and outcomes of the project and the specific approaches to be taken. Health and safety issues will also be discussed and you must read any relevant literature which is supplied surrounding this. At this meeting you should also discuss the proposed research skills with your supervisor and you should highlight any which you think you may need extra support and training in developing.
You will have additional timetabled progress/feedback meetings during your project with your supervisory team at which you will be given formative feedback on how your research skills are developing and where there is a need for further improvement. These should be detailed at 1 month on Progress Form 8 and at 4 months on Progress Form 11. At these meetings agreed actions for the development of these skills will be set. If you feel you need any additional support or training you should raise it with your supervisor and possibly contact the Programme Director (s) for further guidance. At the end of your project, you will be formally assessed on your generic research skills performance. This will contribute 5% of the total marks for research project 2.

Marking scheme
Your final assessment will be completed by two assessors and will be based on your research performance at the end of the project. If you have two supervisors, this should be done by both supervisors independently. If you only have one main supervisor, your supervisor will nominate a senior member of the group who will act as second assessor. This will be someone who is aware of the work you do during the project. The second assessor will be nominated at the start of the project and will be aware that they will be required to assess your performance.



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

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

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

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

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


Occupational Health Screening

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

Recording Lectures

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


Programme Management

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

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

Programme Committee

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

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

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

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

External Examiner

The External Examiner for this programme is Dr Tina Chowdhury (Queen Mary University of London)

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.

Postgraduate Degree Regulations and exemptions

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

  • The programme will not permit compensation rules to Research Project 1 (BIOL66121)
  • Reassessment will be permitted in up to half of the taught units plus Research Project 1 (50% of total number of taught units (60 credits) + Research Project 1 (30 credits) = 45 credits)

The University Postgraduate degree regulations can be found online:

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

Ethics Procedures

The nature of your programme and/or project work may require ethical approval.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have followed the correct ethical procedures, and that you have done this in good time.

Speak to your Supervisor or Programme Director at the earliest opportunity to ascertain whether ethical approval is required.


Tier 4 Visa Census Requirements

If you are a Tier 4 visa holder, you must attend census points throughout the year, in addition to complying with your programme’s attendance requirements. Census checks are at specific times throughout the year and usually take place

  • September / October
  • January
  • May/June
  • July

The School must be able to confirm your presence to the UKVI by the end of each census point in the academic year. If you do not attend a census point when required by the School and you do not provide a valid explanation for your absence you will be deemed ‘not in attendance’. Further information can be obtained from the Student Support Team (


Student Support and Guidance

Academic Appeals, Complaints, Conduct and Discipline

Academic Appeals

  • 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