Welcome to the University of Manchester and the School of Biological Sciences
Guide to Handbook:
This Handbook holds important programme specific information: (including staff details, degree programme structure information and links to regulations, aims and objectives of your degree programme, course unit details, teaching arrangements, outlines of communications within the school and subject area, work and attendance requirements etc.)
It will be assumed that you have read and understood the contents of this Handbook. Please talk to your Academic Advisor or Student Support Office if anything is not clear to you. My Manchester
My Manchester brings all your online university services together in one place. From My Manchester you can access the student self-service system, which allows you to view your timetable, select course units and access your grades for assessed work. My Manchester also allows you to access University services including Blackboard and your University library account.
You can login to My Manchester at: http://my.manchester.ac.uk
The core goal under Teaching and Learning is as follows: As an institution built on world-class research, we want to share knowledge to challenge and transform our students, giving learners of all ages and backgrounds the chance to contribute to positive change, improving their lives and those of others.
We will inspire learners with challenging ideas, knowledge and wisdom, and help them develop the capabilities needed for a stellar career. Our teachers will be supported to deliver the highest levels of student satisfaction, embracing digital opportunities and placing personalisation at the heart of what we do.
Also see: Your responsibilities as a Biological Sciences student
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 here) 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.
Service level agreement for the Student Support Office
When fully staffed and for at least 95% of cases the following performance standards will be met:
- Respond to all emails within 3 working days. Where this will not be possible, for example, Welcome Week, students and staff will be notified by an automatic reply of the estimated response time if it differs from the normal service level agreement.
- Activate auto-replies when staff are out of the office providing an alternative contact for any urgent queries (this includes staff who work part-time)
- Answer the telephone within 4 rings where possible
- Pick up colleagues phones when they are away from their desk including when they are out of the office/on annual leave
- Set up voicemail messages only when colleagues cannot answer telephones.
- Reception will be manned continously between the hours of 10:00 and 16:00
Important dates in 2022 – 2023
Monday 26th September 2022 – Friday 27th January 2023
Welcome back week with School and programme level introductions: Monday 19th September to Friday 23rd September 2022
Monday 19th December 2022 – Sunday 15th January 2023
Monday 30th January 2023 – Sunday 11th June 2023
Monday 27th March 2023 – Sunday 16th April 2023
Monday 16th – Friday 27th January 2023 (Semester 1)
Monday 15th May – 9th June 2023 (Semester 2)
Examination Result publication dates:
Friday 3rd March 2023 – Semester 1 exam results
Monday 3rd July 2023 – Semester 2 exam results
August/September examination period:
Monday 21st August – Friday 1st September 2023
August/September Examination Result publication date:
Week commencing Monday 11th September 2023
Classification results: TBC
Exam timetables are produced well in advance of examination periods and should be available to you as a personalised timetable on the Student portal/My Manchester. This contains important details of when your exams are to be held. When this is available, please check it carefully against your unit enrolments.
The highest priority for the University examinations scheduling process is to ensure that there are no clashes in your exam time timetable. You should therefore be aware that more than one of your exams might be scheduled on the same day.
Remember – if there are any problems with your exam timetable please contact the Student Support Office.
The University will make every effort to avoid timetabling assessments on religious days or festivals for those students whose commitment to the observance of their faith would otherwise cause them to miss the assessment. If this may affect you, you must fill in an ‘Examination and Religious Observance form’ from the Student Services Centre by the deadlines outlined on the form. More information is available here.
The School’s general aims are to offer undergraduate students a broad and thorough education in biological sciences within an institutional culture of high quality research and scholarship. The School aims to:
- deliver a range of broad and specialist degrees, informed by current research, which will equip students for careers within and outside science;
- meet student requirements for diversity of provision and opportunity of transfer between disciplines within biological sciences by providing a structure of flexibility and choice within the undergraduate programmes;
- provide students with subject-specific knowledge and practical skills linked to generic transferable skills which are integrated within the curriculum;
- ensure students develop skills in independent learning;
- employ a variety of teaching methods and assessment strategies to meet programme aims and needs of students with high entry qualifications;
- provide students with effective induction information, and ongoing academic and pastoral support and advice in order to enhance their progress and academic development;
- provide appropriate academic and support staff, laboratory, library and other facilities to ensure a high quality learning environment and experience;
- operate a management structure which monitors the delivery and quality of teaching provision in order to ensure high standards across our wide range of programmes;
- attract high quality students to undergraduate programmes;
- endeavour to ensure that students progress through programmes and acquire qualifications, knowledge and skills appropriate to their academic abilities.
- endeavour to ensure that students enhance their employability.
Intended Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of their programmes undergraduate students should have:
- a detailed theoretical knowledge, based on a firm foundation, of the appropriate areas of biological sciences developed within an environment of excellent research and scholarship;
- attained appropriate subject-specific and transferable skills in preparation for further study or employment either within or outside science;
- acquired practical laboratory skills in well-equipped teaching laboratories under the instruction of appropriate staff;
- the ability to evaluate biological scientific material and to answer questions through theoretical analysis, hypothesis, experimentation and data analysis;
- developed skills, where appropriate, of fieldwork at sites away from the University in the UK and/or Continental Europe; learned to appreciate the influence of environmental factors on biological systems;
- acquired additional training in mathematics at a level appropriate to the analysis of biological data;
- where appropriate, acquired a suitable training in chemistry sufficient to enable them to study modern biological sciences;
- either become actively involved in laboratory or field-based research in a research group within the School or associated institutions under the supervision of an expert in the relevant area OR have applied their theoretical and practical knowledge to one of a variety of situations ranging from: the development of computer-based teaching programmes for universities, to designing biology programmes for schools; to furthering the public understanding and communication of science; to preparing and presenting a business plan for an enterprising biotechnology project;
- the ability to search the relevant literature both in written and electronic form and to assimilate and evaluate critically the information obtained;
- developed the ability to write a substantial scientific report based on either a literature survey or results obtained from a research project;
- developed skills in computer literacy, IT, oral and written communication, team work and problem solving;
- developed skills in independent learning;
- benefitted generally from an education which has been broadened by the School’s links with other institutions and the experience of working alongside international students.
On completing the four-year placement degrees with industrial/professional experience students will have:
- gained experience of transferring their theoretical and practical skills developed within the University to the workplace;
- developed high quality practical skills and specific knowledge relating to the practice of science in an applied setting;
- developed interpersonal skills within the workplace.
On completing the four-year joint degrees with a language, students will have:
- acquired a sound working knowledge of the target language including aspects specific to biological sciences;
- acquired an appreciation of the culture and institutions of an appropriate country;
- gained experience of research work in an overseas institution.
On completing the four-year MSci programmes, students will have:
- gained experience in the planning and design of research addressing a timely research question;
- developed high quality practical skills and the ability to analyse multiple lines of experimental evidence;
- acquired skills in the presentation of research findings.
The School of Biological Sciences forms part of the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health (FBMH)
Although your main contacts in the School will be your Academic Advisor and Programme Director refer to “Programme Directors and where to find them”, some aspects of your course will be dealt with by the Student Support Office (see below) within the School. Management of Teaching and Learning in the School is the responsibility of the Education Management Team.
Your official contacts in the School of Biological Sciences
Student Support Office – Opening hours: 10:00 – 16.00 Monday to Friday
Room G.483 Stopford Building
Telephone number: +44 (0)161 2751487
Fax number: +44 (0)161 275 1488
By using the chat service (Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm)
Deputy Directors of Undergraduate Studies – School of Biological Sciences
Dr Donald Ward
Telephone number: +44 (0)161 275 5459
Dr Lisa Swanton
Telephone number: +44 (0)161 275 1554
In addition, the following academic roles support the School:
Head of School – Biological Sciences
Professor Judith Hoyland
Finally, the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health has two ‘Writing Fellows’: Sarah Jasmon and Frances Byrnes, 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 and Tuesdayfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Curtis Jobling||Wednesday and Thursdayemail@example.com|
The Programme Director oversees the content of your Degree Programme, agrees your choice of optional course units during Welcome Week and assists your Academic Advisor in giving you advice on academic matters.
|Degree Programme||Programme Director||Programme Director Email|
|Anatomical Sciences||Stefan Gabriel||Stefan.Gabriel@manchester.ac.uk|
|Biochemistry||Andrew Doig/Gino Poulinfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Biology with Science & Society||Robert Nayloremail@example.com|
|Biomedical Sciences||Rebecca Dearman (L1)||Rebecca.Dearman@manchester.ac.uk|
|Tristan Pocock (L2)||Tristan.firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Michelle Keown (L3)||email@example.com|
|Cell Biology||Patrick Galloisfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Cognitive Neuroscience & Psychology||Donna Lloydemail@example.com|
|Developmental Biology||Matt Ronshaugenfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Life Sciences||Patrick Galloisemail@example.com|
|Medical Biochemistry||Tom Millardfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Medical Physiology||Liz Sheaderemail@example.com|
|Molecular Biology||Kimberly Macefirstname.lastname@example.org|
|MSci Programmes||Lisa Swantonemail@example.com|
|Pharmacology & Physiology||Susan Cochranfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Plant Science||Patrick Galloisemail@example.com|
There are maps showing room numbers posted in various corridors around the buildings you are likely to use.
Finding rooms may be difficult at first and if time is short, it is usually quicker to ask the staff at the reception desks found at the front of most buildings. However, here are some guidelines:
In the Stopford Building
- The first number or letter (G., 1., 2., 3.) indicates the floor. G = ground level.
- The second shows how far back in the Stopford building you need to go with 0 being near the Oxford Road entrance.
- Lecture theatres are listed as T or LT, followed by a number e.g., LT1 stands for Lecture Theatre 1.
- Practical classes are held in the Stopford Undergraduate Teaching (SUGT) laboratories. SUGT1 laboratories are located on the first floor of the Stopford Building and SUGT2 are located on the second floor.
- There are 3 computer clusters for student use on the ground floor: Stopford PC Clusters 1-3
Staff may have offices in the Michael Smith Building, the Core Technology Facility, the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, the Stopford Building, AV Hill Building, Carys Bannister Building or Simon Building.
To gain access to these buildings, you must first report to the Reception desk in that building.
Sometimes you will find the room you want inside another one. You will discover which ones by experience! During the free time in Welcome Week it would be wise to visit all of the locations for lectures, tutorials and practicals you are expecting to attend for the rest of the semester so that you feel confident about locating them in the short time between lectures (sometimes less than 10 minutes).
You can find campus maps here.
The Student Support Office is open 10:00 -16:00 Monday to Friday and should be your first stop for queries relating to your programme and general student support. Occasionally the opening times may vary, but we will inform you of this via the email announcement service (see below).
Effective communication between you, the staff of the School and the central administration of the University is vital. There will be many important official notices (including those on timetables, examinations and course assessment marks) for you to read and act upon during the year. There are three important channels of communication: electronic (email via your University email account, announcements, the intranet, text messages and Blackboard); paper (e.g. letters to your postal address); verbal (e.g. announcements in lectures and practicals).
Electronic communication: as part of registration you will be provided with a University email address and will be given a username and password. You must not pass on your username or password to anyone else and must not divulge email addresses of fellow students or staff to anyone else without their permission.
Verbal communication: staff may occasionally make verbal announcements in lectures and practicals that do not appear in any other fashion, so if you are late, or unable to attend something, be sure to check with a fellow student or the staff member concerned that you did not miss an important announcement. This is especially important for practical work as if you are late you may miss health and safety announcements and may be denied entry to the lab.
Email and the Faculty Intranet Announcement Service are the standard methods used to communicate with students so you must ensure that you check your University email messages (including “Announcements” emails) on a regular and frequent basis – at least once a day. If you do not regularly check your email, your inbox may become full and important messages will not then get through to you.
Failure to respond to notices and mail means that you may miss lectures, tutorials or meetings, or it may even cost you money (e.g. library fines).
Email will be the main medium for communication with academic staff, including your Advisor. You will find their addresses in the email address books on the University network and on the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health (FBMH) Intranet.
PLEASE NOTE: email communication will only occur via your University email address and staff will not use or respond to any other email address except in very exceptional circumstances. Furthermore, you should not autoforward University email to a personal email address. Once personal email folders are full, new messages are deleted.
Text Messages: The School will endeavour to send any urgent messages that require immediate notification (such as cancellation of a lecture) via SMS text message to your mobile phone. To ensure that you receive these messages you must ensure that your personal details held by the University are updated with any changes to your mobile phone number. If you do not wish to receive urgent messages in this format, please contact the Student Support Office.
MyManchester: My Manchester is a personalised online space for current students, which provides easy access to learning resources, services, student support and information, all in one place.
If your personal details change (term-time or home postal addresses, phone numbers, etc.) you must update your student record promptly or notify the Student Support Office if you are unable to make the changes via MyManchester. It is also your responsibility to ensure that your programme and unit information are correct and to notify the Student Support Office if changes are required. Any difficulties obtaining emails should be reported to IT Services – http://www.itservices.manchester.ac.uk/help/
All four-year ‘with industrial/professional experience’ and ‘with language’ degrees have been accredited by the Society of Biology. Degree accreditation by the Society recognises academic excellence in the biosciences, and highlights degrees that educate the research and development leaders and innovators of the future (more information is available here). The accreditation criteria require evidence that graduates from the programme meet defined sets of learning outcomes, including gaining a substantial period of research experience. Our School has been successful in demonstrating that these programmes meet these criteria.
In recognition of your time spent on industrial/professional, or with language placement, as a graduate of an accredited programme, you can apply for membership of the Society of Biology at Member (MSB) level after just one year of practice, rather than the usual three years. This will allow you to attain the qualifications of Chartered Biologist or Chartered Scientist two years sooner than graduates from other Degree Programmes. Further information is available from the Society of Biology .
The British Psychological Society (BPS) sets out accreditation requirements for Degree Programmes that provide eligibility for the Graduate Basis for Registration of the Society. These may be important if graduates wish to work as a Psychologist or practise Psychology in their future careers. The Cognitive Neuroscience & Psychology programmes at Manchester are all accredited by the BPS. The BPS requirements stipulate that – in order to be eligible to apply for graduate membership of the BPS – graduates must complete a minimum number of course units in Psychology, pass the empirical project (which must have a significant Psychology component), and graduate with a minimum of a lower second-class degree.
The work that you do this year will require knowledge of and conformity with health and safety rules. It is consequently important for you to gain a wide understanding of the legal and practical requirements for working safely.
The University of Manchester is subject to British and European Community law on health and safety. The University has therefore, a duty to formulate health and safety policies and to promote these. From time to time the University issues its updated “Health and Safety Policy Statement”, as well as Codes of Practice and Guidance Notes. Following the requirements stipulated in the latter, the School of Biological Sciences is required to devise regulations that are suited to its work. These regulations apply to staff, students and visitors to the Faculty. Similar obligations and procedures apply to all employers in the UK, so that preparation and familiarity gained now could stand you in good stead for future employment. Please see the Health and Safety pages on the Faculty intranet.
An important set of regulations that require close attention are those that relate to the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health; the COSHH Regulations. Everyone is required by these regulations to make an assessment of the risks that might arise during the storage or use of the substances that they use in their work. You must ensure that no one will be adversely affected as a consequence of the decisions that you make. During first year undergraduate practicals you will find that all risks will have been assessed for you by the practical coordinators (for specific risks relating to individual practical classes) and by the Teaching Laboratory Technicians (for COSHH also known as single substance risk assessments). Bear in mind that the term substance covers a wide range in relation to risk – biological as well as chemical. See https://app.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/hs/coshhdocuments.aspx
It should be understood that these rules are not designed to prevent potentially hazardous work from taking place, but that they are designed to make sure that the work is done safely. This means that substances that might be hazardous to health can continue to be used when due precautions are taken by those engaged in the work. You are thus obliged to take these things into account yourself. You are entitled to expect that due care has been taken by those responsible for supervising your work, but it is important to remember that your willing co-operation for the implementation of safety measures is required. It is thus reasonable to expect that, so far as is reasonably practicable, you prepare in advance for the work that you will undertake. You are required to take notice of the relevant safety information provided at the start of each practical laboratory class and to wear the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). In all cases this will consist of a white laboratory coat and goggles that must be worn for the full duration of all ‘wet’ practicals. Other items of PPE will be made available as appropriate e.g. gloves. You are required to keep the use of all personal items to a minimum in the laboratory in line with Good Laboratory Practice (GLP). This includes mobile phones and other electronic devices. If digital devices are required then iPads will be provided, which are fully disinfected between classes and do not get used outside of the laboratory to minimise the risk of contamination to other users.
The first stage in the COSHH process is called risk assessment. You are required to refer to published information and, where appropriate, to ask for advice when carrying out this assessment. Manufacturers and suppliers are legally obliged to provide written information about the storage and use of substances. The range of examples to be considered is large, so that each individual substance must be considered, both alone and in conjunction with other substances to be found adjacently e.g. the same cupboard or in a mixture. The fact that a substance is within a container may not provide sufficient protection in all the circumstances that might arise, i.e. you are required to anticipate what could happen in the event of an accident. Flammability is one example of the information to be provided but you would also need to know if a substance became hazardous or more hazardous upon heating (physically and/or chemically): i.e. would it become explosive; how it might react in combination with other things? Then, what safety precautions and remedies must be provided?
The next stage is to decide how and in what circumstances a substance might be used safely, even if there is a risk. If there is a risk or the consequences of an accident could be serious, it would be necessary to consider the use of a satisfactory substitute. Someone in authority must decide this.
The principles of risk assessment cover all forms of activity in the place of work, and every activity should be assessed before you start work. A person in authority will normally have carried out this assessment on your behalf, and it is important to adhere to the protocol you have been given. You must be familiar with the contents of the relevant Risk Assessment before you start any form of work, and you must not make any changes to work procedures without the permission of your supervisor. Risk Assessments for most common procedures can be found at on the Faculty intranet.
Finally, a decision has to be made by a person in authority, e.g. your supervisor; about who should do the work and in what circumstances should the work be done. You can expect to be informed about any particular hazards and methods that apply in a laboratory, so please take note during the safety briefing at the start of any practical class. Please note that if you are pregnant or breastfeeding you should inform the relevant member of academic staff (e.g. Practical Unit Coordinator or Supervisor) immediately, so that an individual risk assessment can be undertaken. Please be assured that your confidentiality will be maintained and the outcome of the risk assessment will be handled with discretion.
It is important that all students should have the best possible learning experience throughout their course and that this should not be disrupted by fellow students. To ensure this happens,
we expect you to:
- Show consideration in your behaviour towards other students, and towards the University staff, including administrative, technical and academic staff and occasional lecturers.
- Participate fully in all timetabled practical teaching/examining sessions.
- Show respect for the professional team of Teaching Technicians who prepare your practical classes and support your learning experience. It is important for your own safety and the safety of your fellow students and other laboratory users that you adhere to laboratory safety rules and behave in a professional and respectful manner at all times. Any student found to be behaving in a way that it not deemed acceptable will be excluded from the laboratories immediately and further action will be taken by the Technical Manager.
- Ensure that you do not commit yourself to other activities (e.g. part-time work) which interfere with your ability to devote sufficient time to your studies. The maximum amount of part-time work recommended by the University is 15 hours per week, but you should consider carefully whether this will interfere with your studies. If possible try to obtain work which is flexible such that you can reduce your hours near to examination periods.
- Maintain good communications with the administration of your degree programme. This will be via the Student Support Office, your Academic advisor and your Programme Director. In addition, you should check your email account on a daily basis. You should make sure that any change of address is notified promptly.
- Attend all labs, clinics and associated sessions; all are compulsory. If you are unable to attend, for instance because of illness, then you follow the appropriate notification procedures (See Section Guidelines on Ill Health). You should arrive on time and remain within each session until told that you can leave.
- Attend lectures: this is the best way for you to understand the unit content and the context of the material you are expected to cover. Lecture notes only show a small part of the material, and the background explanations, being presented by the lecturer. Make use of the supplementary material available via Blackboard..
- Behave in lectures, labs, clinics, and in the learning support areas of the University in an appropriate manner. e.g. arriving on time, not talking in lectures, not using mobile phones or tablets to make calls, send texts/email, and use social media sites..
- Respect the general health and safety requirements that apply to all work in laboratories and clinics, and any additional advice given to you in relation to particular procedures. You should ensure that you wear clothing appropriate to the laboratory.
Basic rules for laboratory practical work
- No personal items to be used in the laboratory
- Use of mobile phones are prohibited
- On entering the laboratory , laboratory coats must be worn at all times as a mandatory requirement
- No consuming food or drink this includes chewing gum
- No open toe shoes or flip flops must be worn in the laboratory
- Safety Spectacles must be worn at all times in wet practical classes
- Long hair should be tied back.
- No loose clothing that could present a hazard i.e. headscarves must be tucked down inside lab coat.
- Avoid touching bare skin whilst wearing gloves.
- Ensure you have read and understood the health and safety documentation associated with the practical and your aware of the risks
- Don’t touch personal items such as coats and bags while wearing gloves
- Always wash hands when exiting the laboratory
The life sciences are observational and experimental sciences concerned with living systems. Therefore, some of the projects may require the use of invertebrates or tissues or cell components from vertebrates, including humans. If you have any reservations about participation in projects using animals or their tissues, you should discuss them with you Programme Director before registration.
Within teaching sessions and tutorials there will be increasing use of interactive eLearning resources, therefore you should bring your own mobile device for use in these sessions. Help configuring your devices for use with the University applications will be available during Welcome Week for first year students and through the Library helpdesk for all years.
The university has an automatic lecture capture system, that allows you to re-visit your lectures as podcasts at a later date to supplement your learning and allow you to revise. For more detailed information on the service, you can see the podcasting home page here.
Important Points of Note
- The podcast system allows any member of staff to “opt out”, hold back or remove recordings if they see fit. Additionally on rare occasions a podcast may fail to complete properly and therefore not become available at all. For these reasons, it is essential that you continue to attend all lectures and use the podcasts for revision or to assist you to catch up in the case of an unavoidable absence.
Should a podcast not be available for any of the above reasons, there will be no way for you to re-visit a missed lecture.
- For students who are DASS registered, please remember to take a look at the information available to you here on the podcasting service.
Safeguarding your work
You must ensure that you back up your work on a regular basis to safeguard against loss, machine failure or theft. In addition to saving your work regularly to the secure University system in your ‘my documents/P: drive’ (for further information on P:drives please refer to the IT Services website.), you should back up your work on an external hard drive, USB memory stick, cloud storage, etc. (which you are advised to keep secure and separate from your computer). Do not save your work on the hard disc of Stopford PC cluster or other networked computers. Loss of data (i.e. your work) will not be accepted as a valid reason for extension requests or for late submission of work as this is deemed to be a preventable occurrence.
Do you need more space to save your files?
As academic submission deadlines approach, you may find that you need additional space in your “My Documents” area. Should you find that this is the case then please contact the IT Service Desk.
NOTE: Access to “My Documents” will cease when you leave the University.
A number of societies run by students and covering a range of interests are affiliated with the Students’ Union and several of these concern the life sciences, in particular the School of Biological Sciences Society (SoBSSoc). These societies are open to students and staff of the University. They usually provide a series of lectures, social or sporting events. You are likely to be canvassed for a subscription, and invited to participate in social and sporting activities, during Welcome Week.
The University of Manchester has a student record system which allows you to complete most of the registration process online from home. We strongly recommend that you complete the 10-step registration process online before you arrive in Manchester. Please refer to the University’s Student Services Webpage here. . Registration help is available online via the Welcome Site · Student Services and Registration Helpline +44 (0)161 275 5000.
You should already have completed our early course unit selection survey outlining your choice of optional units. You will be automatically enrolled on your mandatory units and will need to enrol yourself on your optional units via the Student System.
The final stage of registration is conducted by members of staff from the Student Services Centre. You will be issued with a Student Card, which you need to access the Library and the Stopford Building, and must also be taken to all examinations. It is very important that you look after this card and have it with you every day – without it you will not be able to enter the Stopford building for practicals or lectures.
The programmes are built on a unit (modular) structure. You will take:
You will complete a seven month research project during Year 4 which is worth 120 credits.
You must ensure that you take 120 credits for each year of study – this is most important and your responsibility. You should take no more than 60 credits per semester (maximum exception of 70 credits allowed, and only with Programme Director consent) and no less than 50 credits as specified in the University’s Manual of Academic Procedures.
For each programme there are mandatory units that define your Degree Programme plus a range of optional units (Section Course unit profiles). You may choose your optional lecture-only units from those provided by the School of Biological Sciences (coded BIOL) and some units from outside the School. No more than 20 credits of your lecture-based units should be taken from units without a BIOL code (this will differ for programmes such as Biology with Science and Society, and Cognitive Neuroscience & Psychology – in all cases please refer to your Programme Structure). You should carefully read the unit descriptions before deciding upon your optional units and also take account of potential timetable clashes between your chosen options (see Section Units that clash (Level 1) (Level 2) (Level 3)). Guidance on your choice of units should be sought from your Academic advisor or Programme Director. It is recommended that you do 4/5 lecture units in each semester in Year 1 and 2. Failure to balance your lecture units in this way could significantly increase your workload in one semester relative to the other. In Year 3, it is recommended that you take 4 lecture units in semester 1 and 2 lecture units in semester 2 to balance your workload. Note that units taken from outside the School may have coursework components that are unlike those offered by units from within the School.
The University has a system of credit rating of all course units. It is intended to give you an indication of the proportion of your time that all the work of a unit is expected to occupy and is based on a full year’s work being 120 credits. This figure assumes 30 weeks’ work at 40 hours per week. Therefore, you can expect to spend ~100 hours on a typical 10-credit unit. This time includes, for example, reading, eLearning materials, writing and revision, as well as direct contact hours.
Tutorials are held in small groups of 10-12 students. These occur at times convenient to your Advisor and the students in the group, which may be 8.00-9.00 or 17:00-18:00.
Changing optional course units: You may change any optional units in Year 1 and 2 (except field courses in Year 1, RSMs in Year 2, and language units that run for the full academic year), at the beginning of each semester (during the first two weeks). Year 3 students may change optional units as follows:
- Semester 1, first two weeks of semester one.
- Semester 2 units – week 2 of semester two.
To do this you will need to log into your Student System in the same way as you did when you completed course unit selection. Further instructions can be found in the Course Unit Selection section. Please note that you must ensure that you do not drop or swap any course unit that is a mandatory course unit within your programme regulations. You must ensure that any changes you make to your course unit selections still satisfy your programmes academic advisement rules. Academic advisement rules can be found at the following link here.
If you feel that you no longer wish to continue on a MSci degree programme at the end of Year 3, it is possible to exit with a BSc degree. If this is the case, you should discuss the possibility of exiting at the end of year 3 with your Programme Director and/or Academic advisor and inform the Student Support Office of your decision to exit with a BSc degree. Note: if you inform us of your intention to graduate with a BSc at the end of year 3 after the end of semester 2, you will lose the opportunity to be considered for promotion to a high final degree classification if your final degree mark falls within the borderline range.
Items of coursework, such as essays and write-ups, will normally have strict deadlines. It is YOUR responsibility to ensure that you know when the deadline for each submission is. As your programme is preparing you for the world of graduate employment, where deadlines are often very strict indeed, you should treat School deadlines like train departure times (just a few seconds after the time has passed, it is very likely you will have missed the train!).
Any work that has been submitted after a deadline has passed is classed as late except in cases where an extension has already been agreed via mitigating circumstances procedures and DASS extensions. A student who submits work at 1 minute past a deadline or later will therefore be subject to a penalty for late submission; a reduction of 10 marks per 24 hours past the deadline. If the work is submitted more than 10 calendar days late, then it is considered as a non-submission and a mark of zero applied. Submission dates and times are in UK local time, and it is the responsibility of students to ensure that they check the relevant time zone. Students who submit referral assignments after the deadline will be automatically subject to a mark of zero. The full policy can be found here. Exceeding the specified page limit will result in a deduction of 20 marks per page or part thereof.
Coursework will normally have a specified content limit. This will normally be a number of pages, but in some cases may be a number of words – it is YOUR responsibility to ensure that you understand exactly what the limits are and how they are to be achieved. Again, in post-graduate work you will usually find that documents, such as applications for grants, reports etc., have stringent word or page limit requirements – with line spacing, font, margins etc. specified. The standard School of Biological Sciences instructions for coursework including essays, reports and write-ups follow, but it is YOUR responsibility to ensure that you are aware of any alternative requirements for a particular piece of work:
The [submission] must not exceed [x] pages of text excluding the list of references. Text must be in Arial, 10 point, one and a half line spacing, with margins of at least 2.5 cm all around the text. ALL supporting material, such as figures, tables, text boxes etc. must be included in the page limit, and you are advised to ensure that any such items are sufficiently large enough to be read and understood with ease.
You should conform to the format that has been specified. If the work needs to be converted to a PDF for submission you must check very carefully that the conversion is accurate and conforms to the guidelines well in advance of the submission deadline.
A penalty of 20 marks (out of 100) will be applied to all SBS coursework that is incorrectly formatted (i.e. does not follow the specified guidelines on spacing, margins, figure position, sections etc). Existing penalties for lateness (10 marks per day or part thereof) and length (20 marks per page or part thereof) will continue to be applied as noted above. Where an assignment is incorrectly formatted and up to one page over length, then a single 20 mark penalty will be applied.
Some deadlines may be shortly after the delivery of the material, some quite a way off, and this may well differ for different cohorts of students. This mixture mirrors the graduate world of work, and the requirements of your final year programme, so you are advised to plan ahead! Anticipate a few days of ill-health that might impact on your ability to complete assignments on time and start work early on items with far-off deadlines. Mastering time management is one of the most essential goals you should set yourself. To help you, every course where there are assessments/assignments/deadlines will have all the deadline dates available to you within the ‘Assessments’ area of Blackboard in the left-hand menu. Any non-course-specific deadlines, such as essays, can be found in the Tutorials courses on Blackboard. Please note that it is possible that some dates may be adjusted throughout the semester at the Unit Coordinator’s discretion, therefore you should check your deadlines for each course regularly and complete work as early as possible.
These topics form an important part of the first stage of the Writing and Referencing skills modules but general guidelines and advice are given hereunder.
Plagiarism is a serious offence – it is treated as seriously as cheating in exams.
- As a student, you are expected to cooperate in the learning process throughout your programme of study by completing assignments of various kinds that are the product of your own study or research. Coursework, dissertations and essays submitted for assessment must be your own work, unless in the case of group projects a joint effort is expected and this has been indicated by the Unit Coordinator. For most students this does not present a problem, but occasionally, whether unwittingly or otherwise, a student may commit what is known as plagiarism, or some other form of academic malpractice, when carrying out an assignment. This may come about because students have been used to different conventions in their prior educational experience or through general ignorance of what is expected of them or of what constitutes plagiarism.
- The guidance below is designed to help you understand what we regard as academic malpractice and hence to help you to avoid committing it. You should read it carefully, because academic malpractice is regarded as a serious offence and students found to have committed it will be penalized. At the very least a mark of only 30% would be awarded for the piece of work in question, but it could be worse; you could be awarded zero (with or without loss of credits), fail the whole unit, be demoted to a lower class of degree, or be excluded from the programme, depending on the severity of the case.
Academic malpractice includes plagiarism, collusion, fabrication or falsification of results and anything else intended by those committing it to achieve credit that they do not properly deserve. This also includes submitting work which you have previously submitted for credit – this is self plagiarism. You will be given exercises and guidance on plagiarism/academic malpractice in tutorials and if you are unsure about any aspect of this you should ask your Academic advisor for advice. In addition, further guidance is available on the intranet (see ‘Plagiarism – Resources for avoiding Plagiarism’ which includes helpful exercises and explanations relating to plagiarism and referencing on the web. There is also information in My Learning Essentials. It is well worth visiting these sites in your spare time to ensure that you fully understand.
You should be aware that all teaching materials and examination papers are subject to copyright by the University. If these are shared externally, then you will be subject to academic malpractice procedures, and possible legal action.
All students are required to confirm that they have read and agree to the University’s declaration on Academic Malpractice as part of the online registration process.
Further information on Academic Malpractice and how to avoid it can be found here.
The University uses electronic systems for the purposes of detecting plagiarism and other forms of academic malpractice and for marking. Such systems include TurnitinUK, the plagiarism detection service used by the University.
As part of the formative and/or summative assessment process, you may be asked to submit electronic versions of your work to TurnitinUK and/or other electronic systems used by the University (this requirement may be in addition to a requirement to submit a paper copy of your work). If you are asked to do this, you must do so within the required timescales.
The School also reserves the right to submit work handed in by you for formative or summative assessment to TurnitinUK 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.
You will be given an opportunity within the tutorials to submit a draft essay through this system, and it is very much in your best interests to do this so that you understand how it works.
Please see the document Guidance to students on plagiarism and other forms of academic malpractice.
As a student at the University of Manchester, you will find that many of your units contain sections of work that you have to complete online (known as electronic (e)Learning). The University uses a website-like environment for this called Blackboard.
Online eLearning support for your course means that it is easy to fit your learning into your everyday life, as you can complete the work from almost any computer in the world with an internet connection. We are encouraging the use of students’ own mobile devices to support teaching and learning in lectures and tutorials. However, if the session requires a mobile device and you do not have one, one will be supplied.
Your eLearning work will often have strict deadlines and marks will be awarded for successful completion of assessments. Every Blackboard course is different, so read the rules regarding the course before you start, to ensure that you don’t miss any work.
Technical support from the eLearning team is available between 9:00 and 17:00 on all working days. This is accessible by selecting ‘Technical Support’ from the menu bar on the left of your online courses and following the on-screen instructions; the eLearning team will reply to your University email address.
More information on eLearning in the Faculty of Biology Medicine and Health can be found here.
Although work submitted in tutorials in Year 3 is assessed for formative purposes only, it will prepare you for your two degree programme-specific papers. You should make the most of the opportunity that this tutorial work affords you to prepare for these papers, as the two programme papers are significantly different to the lecture-unit examinations you will sit.
All examinations will be conducted online within a 48 hour window.
The Year 3 Examinations consist of online written examinations, in each of the third-level lecture units. They will normally include two special programme papers in which essay writing and problem-solving and data handling/analysis are tested. Training for these papers is given in programme-based tutorial time.
Written exams will be sat during the examination period at the end of the semester in which the unit is taught (i.e. January or May/June). Units that run across both semesters will normally be examined in the May/June exam period. Units taken from other Schools may be examined at a different time.
Attendance at all appropriate examinations is compulsory.
To prepare for examinations, you are encouraged to use any quizzes and practice exercises posted on Blackboard and to look at copies of past examination papers and any mock examples available. These can be obtained from the My Learning tab in your MyManchester portal, where you can search for papers by Faculty, School, exam name or code, year or semester. If the unit has no past papers the Unit Coordinator should make questions that are representative of the kind that will be set in the examination available at least 6 weeks before the exam which will be representative of the kind that will be set in the examination. Please note that there are no past problem papers, although example questions will be made available through programme-based tutorials.
Criteria for marking theory papers is available on the Faculty intranet: https://app.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/public/downloads.aspx?docId=131640.
MSci students will not complete a research project during Year 3. Instead, you will take the below units that will prepare you for your research project during Year 4. These units will provide you with research skills that are essential for a modern biological science researcher. Depending on your programme you will be required to do one, two or three of MSci Bioinformatics Tools and Resources, Computational Approaches to Biology, or Reproducible Data Science..
- MSci Research Project Proposal (10 credits).
This unit will provide you with the scientific knowledge and the critical reading, writing and experimental design skills that will underpin your final year project. You will be informed of your MSci project supervisor (allocated in consultation with students and their Programme Directors) at the start of the year. You will first write a Literature Review in semester 5, followed by a Research Proposal in semester 6. The Literature Review and Research Proposal are each worth 50% of the unit mark. At the start of each semester, you will attend plenary sessions and workshops that provide guidance and training on how to critically analyse primary literature, evaluate experimental approaches and design experiments to test a hypothesis. During the remainder of each semester, you will work with your supervisor to identify a research topic/question that will form the basis of your final year project, to write a review of the relevant literature (the Literature Review), and develop a proposal for your final year research project (the Research Proposal).
- MSci Bioinformatics Tools and Resources (10 credits).
This unit will introduce you to a wide range of bioinformatics tools and resources, including online databases, search algorithms, and basic scripting techniques. The unit will be delivered through a series of eLearning modules, with supporting lectures and weekly computer lab sessions.
- Introduction to Bioinformatics: The importance of bioinformatics and computers in modern biology; generating and analysing large datasets; range of tools and resources covered in the unit.
- Command line basics: Introduction to Unix systems; the Unix/Linux/Mac OSX command line; directories and files; manipulating text files.
- Scripting for bioinformatics: Introduction to the Perl programming language; scalars, arrays and hashes; operators, functions and loops; reading and writing files.
- Sequence searches: Manipulating sequence data; BLAST searches and variants; other tools for protein sequence searches.
- Protein databases: Protein domains and databases; Interpro, Pfam, PRINTS, PROSITE; domain searches; structure databases.
- Genome analysis: The UCSC genome browser; comparative genomics; Galaxy tools and workflows.
- RNAseq and differential expression: RNAseq for transcriptomics; mapping and counting reads; estimating transcript relative expression; Tophat, Cufflinks, Cuffdiff pipeline in Galaxy.
- Functional pathway analysis: Gene Ontology; KEGG pathways; assessing functional enrichment of gene lists in DAVID.
- Structural bioinformatics: Manipulating protein structure information; predicting the effects of mutations on protein structure and function.
- Phylogenetics: Understanding phylogenetic trees; multiple sequence alignment; inferring and visualising trees; distance, parsimony, and maximum likelihood methods.
Completion of each eLearning module will be assessed by a MCQ quiz (2% each), delivered through Blackboard. After all chapters have been delivered, you will be given a gene or protein sequence tailored to your MSci degree programme, and asked to find out all you can about it using the taught range of tools and resources. The outcome of this research will be written up as a 7 page report (80%).
- MSci Experimental Skills Module (20 credits).
You will complete a group research project within this unit. You will be placed in groups of up to eight students and will be given an experimental problem that is appropriate to your MSci degree programme. You will be expected, with the rest of the group and the support of a member of academic staff, to design the appropriate experiments to test the problem. You will be expected to explore the range of different experimental approaches available, select the most appropriate approach and plan the suitable controls; these experimental approaches will include state of the art techniques that are supported within the core facilities within the Faculty. Then you will be responsible for executing one part of the plan and to produce data for your part of the project. Your experimental planning and findings will be assessed through the following:
- a 2 page write-up describing the technique, experimental design and statistics to be used to complete your component of the eoverall experimental plan (10%).
- laboratory performance (10%)..
- a 5 page write-up of your results, presenting data in an appropriate style for publication along with a short introduction and conclusion (30%). This component can also include deposition of data into an appropriate database.
- preparation of a group A1 poster that is suitable for an international scientific conference (30%).
- a 15 minute presentation of the poster as a group at a poster session for all MSci students (20%).
- Computational Approaches to Biology (10 credits)
This unit will introduce you to essential mathematical concepts used in biological modelling. You will also be introduced to the Jupyter Notebook system, a widely used online application allowing the development of code for data analysis and numerical simulation based on the Python language.
The core of the unit will be structured along four main sections, each covering a particular set of techniques and applications:
- Modelling of intracellular signalling and transcription pathways. This section will introduce you to the mathematical approaches used to model cellular signalling pathways and biological noise.
- Techniques for modelling of large cellular systems. This section will introduce you to the mathematical approaches used to model protein-protein interaction networks in both normal and disease situations and to model metabolic systems.
- Ecological and evolutionary modelling. This section will introduce you to the mathematical approaches used to model population dynamics and evolution.
- Probabilistic modelling and machine learning. This section will introduce you to the mathematical approaches to model sequence data and expression data
The unit will be assessed by completing four online modules, one for each of the main sections of the course. These modules will consist of a series of multiple choice questions and short questions, some of which will require a short piece of code to be written.
- Reproducible Data Science (10 credits)
This unit will provide students with the skills needed to engage in reproducible data science. Students will learn how to wrangle data, build data visualisations, and model their data using the open source data science software, R. Each of the sessions will be run as a combined seminar and hands-on coding workshop. Students will learn how to use a reproducible workflow to generate reproducible analysis. They will also learn about general computational skills such as using git and GitHub for version control, and Binder for building reproducible computational environments. Graduates with data science skills are in high demand, with skills in using R particularly desirable to employers across the academic, industrial, and business sectors. This unit will provide students with a grounding in data science using R and the knowledge to build on this foundation for the development of more focused skills (such as machine learning using R).
The unit will be assessed by a single R-based assignment using R markdown worth 100%
During Year 4 of your MSci degree, you will complete a seven month research project based on one of the two research project proposals you wrote during Year 3. Through this project you will receive a comprehensive training in relevant research methods, data analysis and interpretation of results. You will also learn how lines of scientific research are developed and how it can be necessary at times to adapt your initial hypothesis in the light of results. You will present your project and results as a scientific talk, meeting abstract, poster presentation and a report in the format of an appropriate journal.
Aims of research projects
To allow you to gain experience in:
- analysing complex biological processes at cellular, whole organism or ecosystem levels to generate novel and timely hypotheses
- designing experimental approaches to address these hypotheses.
- interpreting complex experiments.
- using diverse experimental approaches.
- interpreting multiple lines of evidence to test a hypothesis.
- problem solving.
- working independently or as part of a group/team as required to address a particular bioscience question or topic.
- current life science methodologies appropriate to your MSci degree programme.
- developing critical and creative thinking skills (develop ideas, data analysis and evaluation skills)
- literature searching and critically reviewing the literature in a particular field, and relating your own research to that in the existing literature
- project management (managing your time, planning, meeting deadlines and milestones, addressing challenges, producing deliverables)
- communicating your results as a scientific talk, meeting abstract, poster presentation and manuscript.
Before entering year 4 of the Msci degree programme you should have completed and handed in a Project Preference Form at the end of Semester 6 in your third year to indicate which of the two project proposals you want to pursue as your research project during Year 4. This selection should have been done in consultation with your Programme Director. If you didn’t complete and hand-in a Project Preference Form by the appropriate date, you will be allocated a project with one of the two supervisors with whom you have completed your research project proposals. We will endeavour to allocate students to their first choice of project.
Content, assessment and penalties
Detailed information on the content and assessment criteria can be found on the Blackboard page for BIOL40010 MSci Research Project. Your work will be marked by your supervisor and moderated by another member of staff. Over-length submissions will be subject to a penalty of 20 marks per page (or part thereof) over the limit. Submission dates are given on the front page of this handbook. Late submission will be penalised; if you miss the deadline you will lose 10 marks per day (or part thereof). N.B. Printer or computer failures are NOT valid reasons for seeking an extension see section Submission below). The same applies to theft of pcs, laptops, discs, memory sticks, etc – always back up your files on the p-drive, in cloud storage, or keep back-up copies in a location distant from your computer.
Projects involving humans and other animals
You should have completed a brief Ethics Survey for each of your Research Project Proposals to determine whether your project requires ethical approval.
Any project using human tissue or data relating to humans MUST be covered by ethical approval. This takes time, and it is YOUR responsibility to ensure that the survey, and any subsequent application, is submitted in a timely fashion and that NO work on humans is carried out until approval has been given. Further information and the relevant forms are available on the Blackboard page for BIOL33000 MSci Research Project Proposal.
In other projects, you may need to undertake techniques that are covered by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act, 1986. It is your responsibility, and that of your supervisor, to ensure that you have a Personal Licence under the Act and that all necessary techniques are detailed on that Licence.
Amount and timing of the work
It is important that you spend an appropriate amount of time on your Research Project. It is recommended that you spend at least 35-40 hours per week on project work. Also, as the Research Project is a 120 credit unit, you should expect to spend a total of 1200 hours on project work. Students must liaise closely with their Supervisor(s) regarding periods that can be spent actively performing experiments (either ‘wet’ or computational). This is because undergraduates MUST be supervised by a member of University staff AT ALL TIMES when working in any laboratory. You may work on University campus after normal hours (i.e., after 17.00hrs) but you MUST written permission and be supervised by a member of University Staff. You will need to discuss with your supervisor obtaining the required permission to work outside of normal working hours. NB. In Semester 8, your supervisor CAN give permission for lone working subject to confirming that their student is competent, the Risk Assessment is in place and that the work is low risk.
N.B. All laboratory-based projects must be subject to a risk assessment, prior to starting work – see section Health and Safety and also https://app.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/hs/coshh/default.aspx.
Suggested Stages to your project
- Meet with your supervisor during Welcome Week to discuss starting of your Research Project.
- Complete Lab Induction including reading and signing all COSHH and risk assessment forms for work you will be undertaking before starting ANY work.
- Begin work on your project in week 1 of semester 7; this may involve shadowing staff, learning how to use equipment or software, growing plants or culturing cells, making up solutions, etc.
- Seek support: at the outset of practical work you may need day-to-day help from post-docs, postgrads, your supervisor or other staff; eventually you should become more independent. Also, talk about your work to fellow students and think about what you are doing and why you are doing it.
- Attend supporting seminars. Ensure that you are aware of the dates of relevant research seminars, workshops and/or lab meetings, plus submission deadlines, and attend seminars appropriate for your project type
- Perform a literature survey and continue looking for new literature relevant to your project throughout the academic year. Keep detailed records of all the sources you consult (see Section Plagiarism, collusion and other forms of academic malpractice). References are best stored using bibliographic software like Endnote. If you have not used this before, or have forgotten how, you can consult the archives for BIOL10741 Writing and Referencing Skills unit on Blackboard. You must be aware of copyright restrictions on the use of images in your project and reference images accordingly, or acknowledge the sources of images that are freely available under a Creative Commons copyright license.
- Record your progress daily in your Lab book (experimental details, notes from meetings, ideas, to-do lists, progress, challenges etc). Write critical comments on your results. Draw conclusions and plan future work. Your supervisor will probably want to see your Lab book and discuss your progress and results. Analysing data and assembling figures as you go along, where appropriate, will help you to plan the next stage of the project.
- Review progress with your Research Project at regular intervals. Try to generate your own ideas for your research if appropriate, but always discuss these with your supervisor before you do the work. Plan ahead especially if you have a number of concurrent tasks to deal with.
- Meet with your supervisor regularly. Make appointments to discuss your ideas, progress and results with your supervisor at regular intervals.
- Finish your project work before the end of March if possible in order to allow sufficient time for report writing and obtaining feedback on a full draft of your report.
If, for reasons beyond your control, your project fails to give adequate results, you will not be penalised or disadvantaged.
All types of projects include an element of formative feedback – an opportunity for you to submit material, e.g., an outline, and get feedback from your supervisor that will allow you to improve on submissions for summative feedback (observations and marks which contribute towards your final marks). It is in your best interests that you seek an appointment specifically for this purpose and your responsibility to arrange it at a mutually convenient time.
Deadlines of assessments are available on the BIOL40010 Blackboard Unit.
The deadlines will be strictly enforced. Late submission will not be permitted without an approved extension accompanied by appropriate documentation. Your supervisor CANNOT grant an extension for submission of a literature review or project report – this can only be done by the Senior Advisor. It is your responsibility to familiarise yourself with any additional submission requirements of your project.
Your Research Project will be assessed through the following:
- a News and Views style summary of a relevant paper and completion of the MSci Journal Club programme (15%)
- a 10 minute scientific talk followed by 5 minutes of questions, describing the background and aims to your project, the results you have obtained, and the conclusions you can draw from your work (10%)
- preparation and presentation of an A1 format poster that is suitable for an international scientific conference (20%)
- project performance (5%)
- a 25 page project report in the format of an appropriate journal for your MSci degree programme (50%)
Feedback is a broad term, which can be interpreted in different ways. The purpose of this section is to define the activities associated with feedback mechanisms, as they relate to lecture-based BIOL units so that you are aware of the feedback available for any unit which you decide to take.
Lecturers are expected to provide general guidance to students on appropriate reading material and other learning resources for the unit in advance of the start of the unit on Blackboard.
We encourage you to ask questions through any appropriate medium. However, if the lecture course has finished, then we suggest that you seek confirmation of the answer to your own question. What do we mean by this? Lecturers are unlikely to respond favourably to questions phrased along the lines of ‘Can you tell me the answer to this?’ Thus, if you want to ask a question, particularly by email, please make sure you include your own interpretation of the answer, including the literature sources that you used, and ask only for confirmation that you are correct. For example:
Wrong format: Can you tell me the primary role of voltage-gated sodium channels?
Correct format: It is my understanding that voltage-gated sodium channels are primarily responsible for the depolarising phase of the action potential. I used Kandel’s Principles of Neuroscience to obtain this information. Is this correct?
For students in Year 4 of the MSci degree programme a summary of feedback will be available on Blackboard.
NB: The School does not normally publish marking schemes or answers to examination questions – you are expected to deduce these yourself using text books, peers, and PASS sessions.
In addition to providing the mandatory level of feedback, Unit Coordinators may provide more detailed feedback on your work. You should consult the feedback entry within the unit description in this handbook for further details on the additional feedback provided.
Students have a right to receive feedback on their examination performance from Unit Coordinators. This may be done in a number of ways. A Unit Coordinator may:
- publish a general feedback document outlining how questions were answered, addressing general strengths and weaknesses of students and giving a general indication of how well the questions were answered.
- hold a feedback session, to which students are invited.
- review an answer paper for a student and summarise his/her feedback via email.
- provide online feedback.
Students will be able to view marker’s comments on essay-based exam answers submitted to Turnitin after the exam results have been released. For handwritten (paper) exams, students may seek individual feedback, in which the Unit Coordinator will obtain their exam scripts and report feedback on their answers including, where appropriate, any written comments recorded on the manuscript. A student does not, however, have the right to challenge any academic judgements on the quality of the answer. This means there is NO opportunity for papers to be re-marked.
The degree regulations for students can be found on the University website.
classification weighted to 120 credits
weighted average (0 to 100 mark range)
|Boundary zone weighted
|First class||70.0||68.0 to 69.9|
|Upper Second class||60.0||58.0 to 59.9|
|Lower Second class||50.0||48.0 to 49.9|
|Third class||40.0||37.0 to 39.9|
Note, unlike the BSc degrees, it is not possible to attain a 3rd class for an MSci degree. Consequently, MSci students who obtain a final mark of less than 50% will fail the MSci degree. However, you will be able to graduate with BSc(Hons) degree based on your performance during your first three years.
The award of a MSci Degree in the School of Biological Sciences involves assessment of first year units (6%) second year units (19% of total), third year units (37.5%) and fourth-year project (37.5%). For examination purposes, your third year work is divided into 12 units, each contributing 3.125% (total 37.5%) to the final degree marks. The total allocation of marks is as follows:
|Special Programme Problem/Essay papers||6.25% (2 units = 20 credits)|
|Lecture units||12.5/15.625/18.75% (4/5/6 units = 40/50/60 credits)*|
|BIOL33000*, BIOL33011*, BIOL33012 & BIOL33021 & BIOL33031
|12.5/15.625/18.75% (4/5/6 units = 40/50/60 credits)*
*Depending on degree course and unit selection
The are no resit opportunities for Level 3 lecture and practical units. Consequently, if you fail to obtain an average of 60% or better in Year 3 of the MSci Degree Prorammes, you will be considered for an award of the Degree of Bachelor of Science.
Progression rules for students on Integrated Masters (MSci) Degrees
In addition to the above progression criteria, you must also fulfil the following criteria to progress on the Integrated Masters (MSci) Degrees:
- pass all year 1 mandatory units at the first attempt with a mark of at least 40% in both the January and May/June examination and obtain an overall mean mark of at least 60%
- obtain a mark of at least 70% obtained in a tutorial assignment for Writing and Referencing skills (BIOL10741) that is attached to the tutorial unit (BIOL10000).
- pass all year 2 units at the first attempt with a mark of at least 40% in both the January and May/June examination and obtain an overall mean mark of at least 60% (excluding marks obtained for tutorial assignments).
- obtain an overall mean mark of at least 60% to progress to the final year project and marks of at least 40% in 2/3 of total credits including all non-compensated units and at least 30% in the remaining 1/3 of credits.
Please note that the requirement to pass mandatory units at first attempt cannot be avoided by changing to a programme where they are not mandatory.
If you fail to meet any of these requirements, you will be transferred to the appropriate three-year BSc degree by the Board of Examiners at the next appropriate Exam Board, and you will be unable to continue on the integrated Master’s programme. If after Year 3 your average is below 60%, then you will be considered for an award of the Degree of Bachelor of Science.
Note: you cannot continue on the integrated Masters programmes, if your year 3 average was initially below 60% but your final degree mark was within the borderline range (58.0 – 59.9%) and was then raised to a 2i overall at the Exam Board.
If you feel that you no longer wish to continue on an integrated masters programme and would like to transfer to a standard three-year BSc degree, please discuss this with your Programme Director and/or Academic advisor. A completed Degree Programme Change Request should be submitted to the Student Support Office if you do decide to transfer off the programme but must be submitted by the publicised deadlines.
Following the Board of Examiners meetings all degree classifications will be published by the date advertised in the front cover of this handbook and will be communicated through the My Manchester Student Portal; details on how to access them can be found at http://www.exams.manchester.ac.uk/.
Results for individual examinations will be published on the date advertised in the front cover of this handbook (for semester 1 examinations). Practical assessment and other coursework marks may be published on an ongoing basis.
Precise publication dates and times for certain groups of degree programmes may occur before this and full details will be published nearer to the examination boards.
The University has implemented a secure online document service called e-Docs. This system allows graduates to access their documents online and allows employers to verify the authenticity of these electronic documents via a secure website hosted at The University of Manchester. This allows you to manage the release of your documents to a third party, e.g. a prospective employer, electronically, effectively allowing them to verify the information via the University’s secure website. This removes the need to entrust your original documents to the post and speeds up the communication process considerably. Please refer to http://www.graduation.manchester.ac.uk/for further information.
The University uses electronic systems for the purposes of detecting plagiarism (including self-plagiarism) and other forms of academic malpractice and for marking. Such systems include TurnitinUK, the plagiarism detection service used by the University.
As part of the formative and/or summative assessment process, you may be asked to submit electronic versions of your work to TurnitinUK and/or other electronic systems used by the University (this requirement may be in addition to a requirement to submit a paper copy of your work). If you are asked to do this, you must do so within the required timescales.
The School also reserves the right to submit work handed in by you for formative or summative assessment to TurnitinUK 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.
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 relating to programmes within the School of Biological Sciences will be shared with student representatives at the Student/Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC), where details of any actions carried out by the School in response to the External Examiners’ comments will be discussed. You should contact your student representatives if you require any further information about External Examiners’ reports or the process for considering them. External Examiners’ reports and the School’s responses to them can be found here.
The External Examiners for each programme are as follows:
|Anatomical Sciences||Dr Meenakshi Swamy||University of Newcastle|
|Biochemistry||Dr Paul Curnow||University of Bristol|
|Biology||Dr Catherine Kidner||University of Edinburgh|
|Biology with Science & Society||Dr Catherine Kidner||University of Edinburgh|
|Biomedical Sciences||Prof Rachel Ashworth||University of Worcester|
|Biotechnology||Dr Karen Robinson||University of Nottingham|
|Cell Biology||Dr Ben Abell||Sheffield Hallam University|
|Cognitive Neuroscience & Psychology||Dr Kate Ellacott||University of Exeter Medical School, College of Medicine & Health|
|Developmental Biology||Prof Guy Tear||King’s College London|
|Genetics||Prof Guy Tear||King’s College London|
|Immunology||Dr Catherine Lawrence||University of Strathclyde|
|Medical Biochemistry||Dr Paul Curnow||University of Bristol|
|Microbiology||Prof George Salmond||University of Nottingham|
|Molecular Biology||Dr Ben Abell||Sheffield Hallam University|
|Neuroscience||Dr Kate Ellacott||University of Exeter Medical School, College of Medicine & Health|
|Pharmacology||Prof Michael Randall||University of Nottingham|
|Pharmacology & Physiology||Prof Michael Randall||University of Nottingham|
|Medical Physiology||Prof Michael Randall||University of Nottingham|
|Plant Sciences||Dr Catherine Kidner||University of Edingburgh|
Please note that it is inappropriate for students to make direct contact with External Examiners under any circumstances, and 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 will report the matter to their School contact who will then contact the student to remind them of the other methods available for students. If students have any queries concerning this, they should contact the Student Support Office in the first instance.
Your Academic Advisor monitors your work and attendance throughout the course. This monitoring is for your own benefit: (1) to make sure that you are coping with your programme and keeping up with any continuous assessment elements; and (2) to confirm that you are actually attending the University. In practice, only a small number of students contravene these regulations and are called to account for their actions.
You are expected to engage with all the lectures for the units for which you are registered, and to be familiar with their content. During your degree your attendance for Tutorials (BIOL10000, BIOL20000 & BIOL30000) is compulsory and attendance including online attendance will be monitored.
You must submit all associated work (e.g. data handling assessments, essays, practical reports) by the dates stipulated. You will also be required to fulfil any special requirements, e.g. attendance at Field Courses and submission of appropriate reports. Attendance at all appropriate examinations is compulsory.
If your work or attendance gives cause for concern you will, in the first instance, be asked to discuss your position with your Academic Advisor. If you continue to fail to meet the work and attendance requirements, you will be issued with a written warning. This warning will inform you that should your work and attendance not come up to the required standard, you will not be allowed to sit University examinations.
On receipt of a warning letter, you will meet with the Senior Advisor or the Deputy Senior Advisor to discuss your position. Additionally, the receipt of this warning letter may impact on your ability to undertake a laboratory-based final year BSc project. The issuance of two such letters during your University undergraduate career will automatically preclude you from this type of project. You will, instead, be required to undertake a non-laboratory-based BSc project.
If you are refused permission to sit an examination or undertake a final year BSc laboratory-based project, you have the right to appeal. Information on Academic Appeals, including the full Academic Appeals procedure, can be found here.
The University policy on monitoring attendance and wellbeing of students can be found here.
If you need to be absent from a practical class or tutorial, including online teaching sessions, for reasons other than ill health, you must supply documentary evidence to your Academic Advisor or Tutor and the Student Support Office strongly supporting your reasons for absence well in advance of the occasion in question. If you are granted leave of absence, your attendance will be recorded as a permitted absence. For practicals, the Unit Coordinator MAY be able to make arrangements for you to attend a replacement session. DO NOT JUST TURN UP AT A SESSION FOR WHICH YOU ARE NOT TIMETABLED.
If religious observance affects your attendance at normal teaching and learning activities including any assessments in ways that will cause problems, you should discuss the issue with one of the Senior Advisors. The School will give sympathetic consideration to your problems and will try to make reasonable adjustments. However, adjustments can only be made provided they maintain the standard of your degree (e.g. you will not simply be excused from parts of the programme affected by your religious observance or from satisfying overall attendance requirements). If religious observance means that you miss a lecture or other class, supporting material may be provided via Blackboard. However, if you want further notes from the lecture you must make your own arrangements to copy them from another student. Please note we cannot guarantnee availability of podcasts. Similar principles apply if religious observance affects your attendance at assessments (e.g. presentations or practical tests). Because lectures, practicals and assessments for the semester are scheduled in advance, you must notify one of the Senior Advisors of your requests for allowances for religious observance by the Thursday before the start of teaching each semester, and the School will use its best efforts to reschedule the assessment to accommodate your needs (e.g. by changing your scheduled slot in a programme of assessed presentations).
Deadlines for handing in assessed work will not normally be extended to allow for religious observance, and you must therefore plan your work accordingly.
For guidance on the University’s examinations and religious observance policy please visit this site where you can also download an Examinations & Religious Observance form.
You must register with a local General Practitioner (GP, this is what we call local or family doctors in the UK) who is willing to provide evidence in the form of letters, or comments and a signature on a self-certification document. You should register with a GP as soon as you know your term-time address. GPs provide a range of non-emergency services by appointment – including examinations, medication prescriptions, vaccinations and referrals to other medical specialists. Registering with a GP is also one of the ways you can get a COVID-19 vaccine.
- You can register with The Robert Darbishire Practice, which is located in Crawford House near south campus (shown on the Campus map here as Building 31), using their online portal. Find out more about the service on the Robert Darbishire Practice website.
- Alternatively, you can use the NHS Find a GP website to find a list of practices near your address. This will direct you to the GPs’ websites to find out how to register as a patient.
According to guidance issued by the General Medical Council it would not be regarded as good practice for a family member to be the registered GP or to offer treatment, except in the case of an emergency.
You should always consult your GP (or for emergencies the Accident and Emergency Department of a hospital) if your illness is severe, if it persists, or if you have any concerns about your health. Your Academic Advisor or one of the Senior Advisors will give you guidance on the effect of any absence from your studies and your options if you consider your illness has affected your studies. If you have repeated episodes of ill health that are affecting your attendance and/or studies, the School may refer you to the Student Occupational Health Services.
Absence due to illness affecting attendance at compulsory classes/tutorials
If you are unwell and feel unable to attend the University to take a compulsory class or attend a tutorial, including compulsory online teaching sessions
It is a regulation of the Faculty that if students are unwell or unable to attend compulsory tutorial/plenary or practical sessions, they are required to complete and submit this self-certification form to the Student Support Office, via email to firstname.lastname@example.org before or on the day of the session you miss*. If you have any queries about completion or submission of this form, please contact the SBS Student Support Office for advice. If an illness is longer than 7 days, a doctor’s note is required. Student who are absent due to funerals are required to submit copy of death certification or order of service.
You must ensure that you keep a copy of both the email itself and the confirmation of reading the email, as there may be serious implications of being absent and consequences for your academic progress. You must do this as soon as possible, so that all options can be considered, and certainly no later than the day and start time of your compulsory class.
If you do not do this then you will normally be considered to have been absent from the class without good reason in which case you will be recorded as having an unauthorised absence. Until your return to University you must also inform us of any further missed compulsory classes.
* If you are so unwell that a friend or family member has to contact the Student Support Office on your behalf, it will only normally be possible for them to provide information for you – they will not be able to learn of the implications of your absence on your academic progress, which you must discover for yourself on your return to health. School staff will not engage in any dialogue with third parties (including parents) regarding your studies without your explicit, written consent.
If illness keeps you away from the University for more than 7 days including weekends, you must consult your GP. If you do consult a GP and he/she considers that you are not fit for attendance at the University, then you should obtain a note from the doctor to that effect. You email this to the Student Support Office as soon as you return to University and no later than 7 days after your return. A GP may make a charge for such a letter.
Absence affecting submission of written work
If, as a consequence of illness or other mitigating factor, you wish to seek an extension to a deadline for submitting written coursework for a course unit or a tutorial assignment, you must submit an Assessed Coursework Extension Request form with appropriate supporting evidence to the Student Support Office. The application for extension must be made BY 10:00am THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY OF THE DEADLINE and NOT retrospectively. Extensions can be requested using the following online form https://www.qualtrics.manchester.ac.uk/jfe/form/SV_0eRb24OqogBkZiC
If you are unable to provide evidence at the time of application for the extension, you can apply for an extension pending evidence. The Assessment & Progression Office will set you a deadline to submit the evidence by. Failure to submit the evidence could incur application of a late penalty to the piece of work.
You should not assume that an extension has been approved until you receive written (e.g. email) confirmation from the Student Support Office. If you have been granted an extension to a deadline it is normally not possible to claim further mitigation for this work unless it is for a different reason.
Absence affecting eLearning assessments
Note that eLearning assessments are usually open for at least one week and close at 4.00pm on the published end date. Students should anticipate a possible period of illness during this time and complete the assessments as soon as they open. Students failing to submit by the deadline will receive a mark of zero for that assignment. Only in exceptional circumstances, such as prolonged illness, will a request for mitigation be considered. To request mitigation you must submit a mitigating circumstances application by the advertised deadline. Details of how to apply and the deadlines can be found below under the Mitigating Circumstances Committee section of the handbook.
Absence from examinations due to ill health
You should make every effort to participate in all examinations. It is often surprising how well candidates who are ill can perform in written examinations, and a mark of just 40% will avoid the automatic referral in August/September (level 1 and 2 only, there are no referrals/re-sits for level 3 students). It will not be possible to make special arrangements to take the exams in an alternative location, unless this has been arranged through the DASS.
If you are so ill you are unable to take an exam, you must contact the Student Support Office as soon as possible, and certainly no later than the day and start time of your examination. You should complete a Mitigating Circumstances application which must be accompanied by appropriate independent third-party supporting or collaborative documentation such as a letter signed by your GP or a letter from your health care professional. Further guidance on the type of evidence you might include is available here.
Please note some doctors surgeries can take 2 weeks to provide you with a letter of evidence, so it is important to organise this as soon as possible. If your evidence will not be available until after the deadline, you must ensure your application is submitted on time and notify the Student Support Office when they can expect to receive the evidence.
If the information is of a highly confidential nature, you may submit your evidence in a sealed envelope, marked for the attention of the Chair of the Mitigating Circumstances Committee. If due to an emergency you have attended a hospital Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department, you must obtain written confirmation of attendance either from the hospital or subsequently from your GP confirming your attendance and stating the nature of the emergency. A hospital attendance card alone will not be accepted as appropriate evidence of illness.
2022/23 DEADLINES for submitting your mitigating circumstances form
Semester 1 – Monday 30th January 2023 by 4pm
Coursework and Other Assessments with a submission date on or before 14th April 2023 the deadline for mitigating circumstances applications and supporting evidence is Monday 17th April 2023 by 4pm
Exam/Coursework and Other Assessments after 14th April 2023 the deadline for mitigating circumstances applications and supporting evidence is Monday 12th June 2023 by 12 noon
Resit Period – Monday 4th September 2023 by 12 noon
Requests for mitigation submitted after this date for the end of an examination period cannot be considered. Students would need to go through the Appeals process and provide a credible and compelling explanation as to why the circumstances were not known or could not have been shown beforehand.
If you miss a unit examination through illness, you will be required to take the examination again in the August/September examination period (level 1 and 2 only). Provided that you have followed the procedures described above, this re-examination will normally be counted as your first attempt and the referral fee will be waived.
Mitigating Circumstances Forms can be found online https://www.qualtrics.manchester.ac.uk/jfe/form/SV_5hjPzO7cACK91GK
Applications for mitigating circumstances must be submitted using the above link. Paper forms will not be accepted.
Illness not resulting in absence from examinations
You may be unwell but able to proceed with an examination, but feel that your performance will have been impaired. If you wish this to be taken into account, you must follow the same procedures as in Section Absence from examinations due to ill health by applying for mitigation. Note that long-term chronic conditions or suffering from stress, anxiety or feelings of panic would not normally be considered a mitigating circumstance. If you anticipate or experience any of the latter problems you are strongly encouraged to contact the Counselling Service (see Section Counselling) or the Disability Service.
Interruption of Studies
It is the expectation of the University that students complete their programme in one continuous period of uninterrupted study. It is understood, however, that students may encounter personal difficulties or situations which may seriously disrupt their studies. In such instances, students may be granted a temporary interruption to their studies. If students have been, or are being, affected by mitigating circumstances that have lasted or are expected to last for a significant period, or that may impact upon a significant number of units, it may be better for students to apply for an interruption to their studies.
If an application to interrupt a programme of study is approved, it would normally be to help students recover from medical problems, or problems of a personal or financial nature which are having, or may have, a negative impact on performance. However, the School has the flexibility to consider and make decisions on whether to approve requests for interruption in relation to other circumstances too, e.g. work placements.
In the first instance students should speak to members of staff within the School – Academic Advisor, Programme Director, Student Support Office, Senior Advisors – about whether a period of interruption would be the most appropriate course of action. If students decide to make an application, they need to make an appointment (via the Student Support Office) to meet with either one of the Senior Advisors who will provide the application form and go through it with students. Students will need to include evidence to support their application, e.g. medical evidence, confirmation of work placement.
Mitigating Circumstances Committee
Sometimes circumstances or events beyond your control may adversely affect your ability to perform in an examination/assessment to your full potential. The University defines mitigating circumstances as ‘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; or worsening of an ongoing illness or disability, including mental health conditions (please see the DASS webpage for examples of disabilities);
- the death or critical/significant illness of a close family member/dependant;
- significant family or personal crises or major financial problems leading to acute stress; and
- absence from the University for public service, for example, jury service.
Circumstances or events that would 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
- the act of religious observance
- 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
- disruption in an examination room during the course of an assessment which has not been brought to the attention of, or recorded by, the invigilators (including instances such as fire alarms or other noise disruption).If you are unable to take an exam you must contact the Student Support Office as soon as possible and certainly no later than the day and start time of your examination. You will need to complete a Mitigating Circumstances application which must be accompanied by appropriate documentation such as a Doctor’s note or letter signed by your GP or a letter from your health care professional. Full information on supporting documentation, please check this document.
Please note some doctors surgeries can take several weeks to provide you with a letter of evidence, so it is important to organise this as soon as possible. If your evidence will not be available until after the deadline, you must ensure your application is submitted on time and notify the Student Support Office when they can expect to receive the evidence. If the information is of a highly confidential nature, you may submit your evidence in a sealed envelope, marked for the attention of the Chair of the Mitigating Circumstances Committee.
We advise you to make every effort to attend all examinations. If necessary, special arrangements can be made to take the exam in an alternative location; if you cannot write (e.g. due to a broken arm), it may be possible for someone to write for you. If you feel you might experience any examination difficulties, you must inform the staff in the Student Support Office at the earliest opportunity.
Applications for mitigating circumstances must be submitted using this link https://www.qualtrics.manchester.ac.uk/jfe/form/SV_5hjPzO7cACK91GK
2022/23 DEADLINES for submitting your mitigating circumstances form
Semester 1 – Monday 30th January 2023 by 4pm
Coursework and Other Assessments with a submission date on or before 14th April 2023 the deadline for mitigating circumstances applications and supporting evidence is Monday 17th April 2023 by 4pm
Exam/Coursework and Other Assessments after 14th April 2023 the deadline for mitigating circumstances applications and supporting evidence is Monday 12th June 2023 by 12 noon
Resit Period – Monday 4th September 2023 by 12 noon
Please be aware, mitigation will NOT result in the changing of any marks, unless penalties for late submission are waived after an assignment has already been marked. Instead, mitigation may result in some marks being disregarded and the assessment being excused because it was adversely affected. You may also be given a mark for a whole unit based on your performance in the parts that were not adversely affected. Mitigation may also mean treating your overall performance as borderline even though the marks you obtained would not normally be high enough, and so considering you for a more favourable result such as a higher degree class.
To ensure that you are progressing well throughout each semester, the completion of e-learning assignments on Blackboard and tutorial and practical attendance will be monitored. If you have failed to attend several tutorials or practicals or to complete eLearning assignments, you will be asked to meet with your Academic Advisor to ensure that there are no underlying problems that the School needs to be aware of.
Academic Appeals are a way of asking the University to review a recent decision taken by an Examination Board or equivalent body, which affects a student’s progress or status (e.g. where a student is expelled or excluded from the University, or transferred to a programme for a lower qualification). However, appeals cannot be made simply on the basis of disagreeing with a mark, or as a challenge to academic judgement. They must instead be based on one of the grounds for appeal detailed in Regulation XIX Academic Appeals.
Full details are available here.
The purpose of this regulation is to safeguard the interests of students and may only be used when there are adequate grounds for doing so which are outlined in the regulation. It may not be used simply because you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your assessment or other decision concerning your academic progress.
An appeal which questions the academic or professional judgement of those charged with the responsibility for assessing a student’s academic performance of professional competence shall not be permitted. This means that you may not challenge marks or grades awarded unless you believe that they may have been affected by factors under i-iv below.
The accepted grounds for appeal are as follows:
(i) Circumstances affecting your performance of which, for good reason, the board of examiners or committee may not have been aware when the decision was taken, and which may have had a material effect on the decision. Note: if students wish to appeal on such grounds, they must give credible and compelling reasons with supporting documentation explaining why this information was not made available prior to the decision being made.
ii) An administrative error or procedural irregularity in the assessment process or in putting into effect the regulations for the programme of study such as to cause significant doubt as to whether the decision might have been different if the error or irregularity had not occurred.
(iii) Evidence of prejudice or bias or lack of proper assessment on the part of one or more of the examiners.
(iv) The supervision or training in respect of research for a dissertation or thesis or equivalent work was unsatisfactory to the point that your performance was seriously affected.
Appeals based upon provisional decisions of the School cannot be considered. This means that you will not be able to submit an appeal until after your marks have been ratified by the Board of Examiners and the results have been released. All recommendations for mitigating circumstances must be approved by the Board of Examiners, and any appeal cannot be considered until after the Board of Examiners has met in June/July/September.
The University encourages students to try to resolve the issue with their School in the first instance and only when this process has been concluded to proceed to the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health (formal) appeal, if necessary. Please contact email@example.com with informal queries.
Please note you can only appeal on your own behalf. If you want a representative (e.g. a parent) to appeal for you, you must send a letter (or email) with your appeal explaining that you have given them permission to act on your behalf. Students can contact the Students’ Union Advice Service for assistance in drafting an appeal.
For further information on submitting an appeal, please contact the Student Support Office, email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Conduct and Discipline
The Conduct and Discipline of Students, Regulation XVII not only covers academic malpractice/plagiarism (see section Plagiarism, collusion and other forms of academic malpractice (Undergraduate) but also behaviour and actions.
The Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health (FBMH) has its own policies for students on communication and dress code, social networking, and drugs and alcohol. Policy documents can be accessed below.
Information on Academic Malpractice and how to avoid it can be found here. If you find yourself the subject of a disciplinary procedure you are strongly advised to take advice from the Students Union.
If the allegation relates to an incidence which occurred in a Hall of Residence, then you should consult the Code of Conduct for living in Halls of Residence which can be found here.
Once you have been through the full process within the University, if you remain dissatisfied, you may be entitled to take your complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator.
Additional information on support and services are available here.
Every student in the School is assigned an Academic Advisor. Your Academic Advisor (normally the same person throughout your course) offers you advice on academic matters, personal problems (if needed), and is your main link to the School and the University.
The role of the Academic Advisor is to:
- assist students with the process of induction and orientation into academic life and the University community and respond promptly to any communication from him/her;
- work with students to build personal academic relationships;
- retain an interest in their students’ personal and general academic and professional development throughout their academic careers while at the University, providing information and guidance on academic choice;
- monitor both academic performance and student engagement in a proactive manner and advise on constructive strategies to enable improvement, for example through the use of a personal portfolio or personal development plan;
- offer general academic advice to their allocated students on their general progress and development towards the fulfilment of the Purposes of a Manchester Education, and to signpost relevant careers and skills development provision to enhance employability;
- listen and offer students help and advice about pastoral/non-academic matters and to signpost students to other student services for further assistance if necessary;
- ensure that a note is kept of discussions at each meeting (with the student) and any follow-up actions agreed with the student;
- provide references.
The University’s aim is that by engaging with their Academic Advisor, students will:
- know that their advisor cares about their progression, academic success and future plans;
- feel that they belong and are valued regardless of their background, personal strengths and weaknesses;
- know who to contact if they experience difficulties either personally or academically;
- work to enhance their academic and personal self-efficacy as a result of setting and reviewing goals and reflecting on their experiences;
- gain and grow in confidence and skills in developing professional relationships.
You must meet your Academic Advisor at regular intervals (at least twice per semester where at least one meeting is face-to-face) during your degree and should prepare for each meeting by starting to fill in the appropriate meeting form on “My intranet”. Students are expected to attend and prepare for all arranged meetings with their Advisor and respond promptly to any communication from their Advisor. During these meetings, you may agree a series of actions with your Advisor and it is a good idea to keep a record of these actions.
We recommend you speak to your Academic Advisor about any problems that you are having that are affecting your work (see also Section Work and Attendance Regulations (Level 1) (Level 2) (Level 3) and Section Guidelines on Ill Health). We encourage students to take the initiative in raising problems or difficulties (academic or personal) at the earliest possible opportunity so that staff can provide appropriate guidance and support. The expectation is that students will then make appropriate use of all the support and guidance offered at the University.
When you are making applications for summer work, placements, jobs, or further degrees, your Academic Advisor should know you well enough to write an informed reference. There is a mechanism within the intranet meeting forms for you to provide your Academic Advisor with a CV, which you should update regularly, especially towards the end of your Degree Programme. Please see Section Employability skills.
There is also a team of Senior Advisors for the School who are available (via the Student Support Office) to discuss any particularly serious problems, or anything you would rather not discuss with your Academic Advisor (including the situation where you may feel it necessary to request a change in Academic Advisor). The team of Senior Advisors can be contacted via email at email@example.com
You will have regular small-group tuition in groups of between 5 and 10 students with an Academic Tutor. You will see several Academic Tutors with different areas of expertise during your undergraduate career. Normally your Academic Advisor will also be your Academic Tutor for the first year, which gives you a chance to get to know each other. Attendance at ALL of the academic tutorials and the production of satisfactory work are requirements of all Degree Programmes see also Section Work and Attendance Regulations (Level 1) (Level 2) (Level 3).
The Programme Director oversees the content of your Degree Programme, agrees your choice of optional course units during Welcome Week and assists your Academic Advisor in giving you advice on academic matters. A list of Programme Directors can be found in Section Programme Directors and where to find them (Undergraduate).
The University Counselling & Mental Health Service offers you help in understanding, dealing with, or overcoming the many sorts of difficulties that may prevent you getting the most out of your life and studies at university. These may include problems at home, pressures from personal relationships, and difficulties in coping with stressful events, now or in the past, such as examinations, separation, bereavement or forms of abuse. There are also some group sessions/workshops on specific issues, e.g. confidence and self-esteem, managing low mood, managing exam stress, coping better with academic pressure, speaking out in groups, etc.
Please check the Counselling & Mental Health Service website for further details on what support the service can offer.
Students’ Union Advice Centre
The Students’ Union Advice Service offers free and confidential information and advice to students on personal and academic issues. It is run by professional Advisors who are independent of the University.
Please see the Students’ Union webpage for more information on how to access their service.
Students with additional support needs
The University of Manchester welcomes students with additional support needs arising from a specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia, an unseen medical condition, or a disability or impairment. The University has a central Disability Advisory and Support Service (DASS). Further information can be found here. In order to access the full support that the University can offer, you should contact the DASS to discuss your support requirements.
Please see the Disability Advisory and Support Service webpage for more information on how to access their service.
If you are a student who has, or suspects they have, support needs and have not yet informed the DASS, then please contact them in the first instance. In addition to this, the School of Biological Sciences has a Disability Coordinator, who liaises with the DASS to organise your support in the School. They can be contacted by email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Stopford Building has car parking spaces reserved for blue badge holders, wheelchair access and an adapted lift at the car park end of the building.
The University recognises the importance of the health and wellbeing of all students. Occupational Health Services aim to promote the physical, mental and social well-being of students and to reduce the incidence of ill-health arising from exposure to workplace hazards.
You can access advice and guidance by going to see the Service or by visiting their website below. Some students will undergo regular health surveillance as required by their School etc, but you can also refer yourself for an appointment.
Where necessary the Service works closely with other services at the University; e.g. the Disability Advisory and Support Service (DASS) to support students with health problems or disabilities.
The Occupational Health Service does not deal with medical or first aid emergencies and cannot diagnose or provide treatment. If there is a serious medical emergency you should phone (9)999 for an ambulance, remembering to call University Security (69966) immediately afterwards so that they can assist the ambulance in getting to you.
You will need an appointment to see an Occupational Health Adviser or Physician as the Service does not have the capacity to see you as a ‘drop-in’.
Please see Occupational Health’s website for more information about accessing the service.
Night-time telephone advice/listening service
The Students’ Union runs Nightline, a telephone advice and listening service operated by students that offers a point of contact throughout the night. Please see Nightline’s webpage for more information about how to access the service http://manchester.nightline.ac.uk
Discrimination and Harassment
Information and University policies on discrimination and harassment can be found here.
If you have been a victim of some form of harassment, please use the reporting system available here. Students can report anonymously or speak to an advisor.
All members of the University community are required to treat all students, staff and local community in a friendly, courteous and dignified manner. Bullying, harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination and victimisation are contrary to the Equality Act 2010 and the values of the University as set out in the Equality and Diversity Policy.
Students have a right to complain in confidence if they are being harassed whilst studying. No student is expected to tolerate what they genuinely and reasonably believe to be bullying, harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination or victimisation, whether by a member of the University community or a third party such as a supplier or visitor to the University.
The University’s policy on bullying, harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination or victimisation is called the Dignity at Work and Study Policy and covers students, staff and the wider community.
The University has a dedicated team of advisors that students can speak with. Students can also report an incident anonymously if preferred. Further information on how to report an incident and to obtain support can be found here. The Students’ Union Advice Service can also provide free, impartial and confidential advice. You can also make an appointment to meet with one of the Senior Advisors via the Student Support Office or by contacting directly at email@example.com.
The Student Services Centre
The majority of the University’s administrative services for students (except Accommodation Services) are available from our centralised Student Services Centre, off Burlington Street.
Please see the Student Services webpage for details on how to access their service including contacting the Service Delivery Team via email.
The Accommodation Office provides information and guidance on a range of issues including ways to deal with any problems that students might encounter over accommodation choices, special needs, existing accommodation difficulties, accommodation for students with families and on temporary accommodation, including provision available outside semester time. Please refer to the Accommodation Office website for further details at http://www.accommodation.manchester.ac.uk/
For private sector accommodation see the Manchester Student Homes website. Manchester Student Homes (MSH) is owned, managed and funded by the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University and their respective Students’ Unions.
The Students’ Union Advice Centre is also an excellent source of help and advice on problems with private accommodation.
The International Society (ground floor of the Students’ Union), offers advice, information and a social base for students. The Society offers trips, language classes, events and activities and volunteering opportunities. Please see the International Society webpage for further information.
If you are a UK student for fees purposes, you can apply to Student Finance for a Student Loan for Maintenance and a Student Loan for Fees. Payments for the Student Loan for Maintenance are made directly into your bank account. If you choose to take one, the Student Loan for Fees is paid directly to the University. Some students may also be eligible for a non-repayable grant and your Student Finance will assess you for this. If you get into difficulties while you are a student, the Student Services Centre on Burlington Street can help with money advice and budgeting. Further information is available here.
If you are experiencing unforeseen circumstances or financial hardship, students may be eligible for the Living Cost Support Fund which can provide financial support to help overcome food insecurity, supporting with utility bills, and addressing any other issues arising from financial hardship. It is open to ALL students, regardless of level of study, nationality, or social background and is open all year round and can award grants to help you overcome financial hardship or unforeseen expenses. The fund cannot assist with the cost of tuition fees for any student. Further details are available here. The Students’ Union Advice Service can also provide guidance on financial support.
Security on campus
The University Security Service should be contacted if you have concerns about personal security or theft (0161 275 2728) or wish to speak to a member of the security staff. You can also contact the Police Liaison Officers on 0161 275 7042 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Information on safety can also be found in the My Wellbeing section of MyManchester.
SafeZone is our mobile app designed to give you extra peace of mind on campuses across the city or living in accommodation.
The SafeZone app is free to download and easy to use. You can use it to:
- ‘Check in’ any time of day– tell us where you are on campus 24/7
- Quickly and discreetly call for assistance– whether it’s for first aid or in an emergency
- Keep up to date– notifications sent directly to your phone if there is an incident on campus
You can use SafeZone to call for help in areas of Fallowfield and Victoria Park, The University of Manchester campus, Manchester Metropolitan University campus and University of Salford campus. Any student can use the SafeZone app to get assistance on any of these campuses – no matter which university you attend. The app will directly connect you to the appropriate safety/security team or first responder for that area, who will provide the assistance you need. This is known as the ‘Manchester SafeZone Alliance.’
Further information is available here.
During the course of your Degree Programme, you should develop a range of employability skills. These include skills in written and oral communication, organisation of information, presentation skills, teamwork and leadership. The unit descriptions outline the employability skills that have been identified for each unit.
Your tutorial unit also aims to help you develop employability skills. A detailed list of employability skills and how these can be developed through tutorials is provided in your tutorial handbook. As part of the tutorial unit, you will take part in plenary sessions run by the Careers Service that focus specifically on employability (topics such as CV-writing, interview skills and tailoring a CV to a particular application). Your Academic Tutor will inform you when these tutorials will take place and further information is available in the tutorial handbook and on the tutorial unit on Blackboard.
In the first semester of Year 2, you will be asked to submit a copy of your CV to your Academic Advisor for discussion in one of your one-to-one tutorial meetings. You will receive guidance on how to write a CV in Year 1 and the Careers Service website has a large amount of information to help you with this:
You should keep your CV updated as you progress through University and as your skills and experience develop.
The School organises a number of events during the year to help you to enhance your employability and you are encouraged to take part in these. Information about these events will be advertised to you via email. These complement a wide range of events organised by the central Careers Team, which will also be promoted to you via email and which can also be found on their web pages: http://www.careers.manchester.ac.uk/events/
Weekly CV/Application Surgeries (one-to-one appointments) are run by the School during term-time for Years 2, pre-final and final year students and appointments can also be booked directly via the Careers Service (all years). Students can also book Careers guidance appointments and practice interview via the Careers Service.
The Careers Service: We are here for you
Becoming a Manchester Graduate starts with your degree, but the secret to future career success is using your time as a student to explore options, build your connections and reflect on what you learn. Working in collaboration with the School of Biological Sciences, other partners in the University and with organisations across the world, the Careers Service can help you reach your potential – but it all starts with you. What can you do to improve your chances of getting into the kind of work you’d love to do?
This year you have faced the challenge of Covid-19 and the impact it has had on your daily life, and on study. As a service, we can help you make sense of your options, and offer advice and guidance to enable you to move forward with your career.
Making the most of your time at Manchester
Actively seek out opportunities to build your experience; this could be work experience, voluntary work, being active in a University society or developing new skills. Careers Service research proves that students who do so move swiftly into the kinds of careers they want after they graduate. Covid-19 will mean a change to the activities on offer, with some moving online, but there will still be opportunities to be active as a Manchester student!
The Careers Service has a dedicated FBMH Faculty Careers Team and your link Careers Consultants are Suzanne Creeber and Dr Sarah Ashworth. We offer a programme of activities for Biological Sciences students, organised in collaboration with the School’s employability team and the Alumni Relations Team. This includes the Biological Sciences Careers Fair in Semester Two, employability plenary lectures as part of the tutorials programme, special sessions on looking for work experience, and interview training for placement students. Optional events are advertised internally by the School of Biological Sciences and promoted on the Bioscience Careers Facebook group: www.careers.manchester.ac.uk/facebook/
If you want to work in science, make getting relevant work experience your priority.
If your degree programme doesn’t include an Industrial/Professional placement, there are options like Summer Research Studentships. If you are looking for work experience, start by checking out the Careers Service website, and also our specific science careers pages. www.careers.manchester.ac.uk/whichcareer/science/
Build and broaden your connections
Learn from other people, including people like you, i.e. other students in your School, PASS leaders, house-mates, lab demonstrators, people you work with and people you socialise with. Talk about careers and options, your ideas and aspirations; share ideas and connections. Our research shows that people who do this are more likely to make a smooth transition to work or further study after their degree.
The Careers Service organise an extensive programme of events throughout the year for all Faculties, from lunchtime talks to large recruitment fairs. This year, many will be delivered online, enabling you to participate safely. We also run workshops and interactive training sessions, sometimes with employers, where you find can out about jobs from the people who do them every day. www.careers.manchester.ac.uk/events/
Events like “Meet the Professionals” organised by the Alumni Relations team and your School are great opportunities to find out what Biological Science graduates did after their degree. www.careers.manchester.ac.uk/myfuture/explore/ We also offer support to help you engage with online networks such as LinkedIn, via our LinkedIn Academy sessions and online workshops. www.careers.manchester.ac.uk/applicationsinterviews/linkedin
Your Future Toolkit
The My Future Self Reflection Tool is a short online questionnaire and report, developed exclusively for University of Manchester undergraduates. It can help you figure out what to do next, to put you on target for a successful future. You’ll find it on My Manchester when you log in. www.careers.manchester.ac.uk/myfuture/
The Careers Service is open all year round, including vacation time. The Atrium in University Place is usually where students access face-to-face Careers information and guidance. NB. in 2020, some of our services will be delivered online and you can visit our virtual walk-up helpdesk on our website. (tel: 0161 275 2829, email: email@example.com).
The Information Team can help you research your options and (when fully open) there is information on reference and to take away. You can book a guidance appointment with a Careers Consultant to explore options and ask for feedback on applications and interviews from an Applications Adviser (some services may delivered over Zoom or by email/telephone).
The Careers Service Website contains information, advice and interactive services. Explore tailored sections for each year of study and international students, plus general sections on job hunting, career options and applying for jobs.
Your Careers Account “CareersLink” lists job vacancies and careers events. You can also choose to receive email alerts about relevant jobs and events. We advertise thousands of vacancies each year: everything from summer internships and part-time jobs, to industrial placements and graduate jobs and internships.
Use Social Media? Check out our Facebook page, Careers Blog and Twitter feeds. Join the Careers Facebook Group for Biological Science students to stay on top of careers and for specific tips and advice for Biological Scientists.
Obtaining a reference for employment
Most applications require you to cite one or more referees, and you should normally seek permission from your Academic Advisor to cite him/her as your main/first referee. If you need another referee, this should be a staff member familiar with your relevant work. If this is your research, this should be a supervisor of your practical work, placement, summer or final year research project. Additional referees could include your final year or second year Academic Tutor, or dissertation supervisor. It is essential to approach the members of staff concerned before citing them, to ensure that they are willing and able to provide a supportive reference.
You are welcome to make comments about any aspect of your Degree Programme at any time. If you have difficulties or suggestions please be aware that they should be raised promptly, and that the resolution of problems is likely to be most effective via face-to-face interaction. You should feel free to comment on unit content, delivery or assessment direct to the lecturer or practical coordinator in the first instance. If you feel this is not appropriate, you are encouraged to discuss matters with the Unit Coordinator. If you are still not satisfied, you should seek advice from your Programme Director or Academic Advisor.
The structure of the School of Biological Sciences is intended to give you opportunities to express your views and to influence School and University policy. Specific problems should be dealt with by the Unit Coordinator or your Academic Advisor, but from time to time matters of a general nature may arise which will benefit from being discussed in a wider, more formal setting. In addition, the School values your views on academic and organisational matters and welcomes the contributions you can make to the work of its committees. You also have established rights to participate in the work of certain School and University committees. So if you feel you could serve as a student representative for your Degree Programme please discuss this important and rewarding role with your Programme Director as early as possible. Training is provided by the Students’ Union for Student Representatives.
The Student/Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC) is the main student-focused forum for discussion of matters related to teaching. The committee consists of the Programme Director and one student representative from each year of every Degree Programme. This committee usually meets three times during each academic year and considers questions and concerns of a general nature (rather than those specific to a particular Degree Programme). The name of the SSLC representative for your programme can be found through the Intranet. You can access the list of representatives, dates of meetings and minutes of previous meetings online at – https://app.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/education/studentsupport/studentreps/default.aspx
The Biosciences Teaching Board meets about four times a year and is open to all staff who teach on Bioscience programmes. The Biosciences Teaching Board reports directly to the UG Education Leadership Team, chaired by the Director of UG Studies. The Board consists of academic teaching staff, a final year and postgraduate taught student representative from each Degree Programme.
In the University more widely, your representation is co-ordinated by the Students’ Union. This is run by students who are elected annually, and guided by policy that is passed at referendums twice a year. The structure of the Students’ Union provides a number of different forums, groups and assemblies for students to raise any type of issue, whether specific or general. These can then be acted upon by an elected officer, taken to a referendum or you could be supported in taking an issue forward yourself, for instance with the backing of an action group on a specific issue.
The Executive runs the Union on a day-to-day basis. Executive members sit on various committees within the University, from University wide committees such as Senate (the highest academic body in the University), through to committees specific to Biological Sciences.
If you wish to be a representative in the union at any level (i.e. Volunteer or paid) you can stand in the elections which usually take place in the second semester. Please visit http://manchesterstudentsunion.com/ for more information.
There is provision, therefore, for you to be represented from your specific Degree Programme all the way through to the university wide level. Students are elected to other School committees, e.g. eLearning, at the beginning of each academic year at the first Student/Staff Liaison Committee.
Towards the end of each semester, students will be asked to complete an anonymous Unit Survey about the content and delivery of each School-run unit on which they are enrolled. Unit Surveys are part of the University’s commitment to listen to students and to seek annual improvements in the quality of the students’ teaching and learning experience.
The process seeks to highlight units that achieve high levels of satisfaction so that the School can identify and disseminate best practice; the process also seeks to identify units that achieve low levels of satisfaction so that the causes of dissatisfaction can be remedied. The academic staff involved in coordinating the units will review the survey results and individual comments for their specific unit(s) and are required to complete a ‘comments and response’ form to address any issues raised. Links to the forms for each unit surveyed can be found at http://elwiki.ls.manchester.ac.uk/groups/unitevaluation/.
Action taken as a result of the issues raised in the unit surveys may also be reported back to students via the Student/Staff Liaison Committee.
During the year your Programme Director will seek your views on the year as a whole. You will have the opportunity to comment on all aspects of your year of study.
As part of its commitment to ensuring the standard and quality of its programmes of study, services, and facilities, the University has established a Complaints Procedure to deal with complaints from students. Complaints provide useful feedback information and, where appropriate, will be used to improve services and facilities.
The University’s Student Complaints Procedure (Regulation XVIII) and associated documents, including a complaints form, can be found here.
The University has separate procedures to address complaints of bullying, harassment, discrimination and/or victimisation further information is available here.
Students thinking of submitting a formal complaint should, in most instances, attempt informal resolution first with the Head of Teaching, Learning & Student Experience, firstname.lastname@example.org. Formal complaints should be submitted on the relevant form to FBMHappealsandcomplaints@manchester.ac.uk).
Computing facilities are available to students within the School of Biological Sciences in three computer clusters situated on the ground floor: Stopford PC Clusters 1-3. Although these clusters are used for scheduled classes, the School tries to ensure significant free time on these computers for student use. Standard word processing, spreadsheet and database software is pre-installed (Microsoft Office Suite), as well as any software related to your studies. Printing facilities are available in each cluster and technical help can be obtained via the IT Service Desk.
In addition, the University of Manchester provides several large public computer clusters based around the campus, which are available to all students. All the PC clusters run the same operating system and have the same software installed. Visit http://www.itservices.manchester.ac.uk/students/pc-on-campus/ for the location of these clusters and availability.
Guidance notes for students wishing to access their University email accounts outside the University can be found here.
The intranet (https://app.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/) is a service provided for staff and students in the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health. Like any other electronic medium there may be occasional outages caused by power surges beyond the control of the School and/or malfunctions, so its operation cannot be guaranteed. Any material on the intranet, as well as that on any other platform, should be accessed well in advance of any deadlines. Non-availability of the service for 48 hours or less would not be considered a circumstance to mitigate against non-completion of an assignment.
The University of Manchester Library provides you with the resources and support you need throughout your Biological Sciences programme. The Main Library and Stopford Library house all of the essential textbooks. The Library also has an extensive collection of eBooks, databases and journals available online.
The My Learning tab in My Manchester has quick links to all of the Library’s resources and services available to students.
All the information you need to get started at the Library is found on the student page of the library website. You will need your student card to access all library sites around campus. Many of our services and resources also require you to confirm that you are a registered student, this is usually your central username and password.
There is a library guide for Biological Sciences students giving all of the latest information on resources and learning and research services available. This is a good starting point if you are looking for any library resources or information related to your course.
Your course unit in Blackboard may include an online reading list, so you can quickly check availability and directly access e-books, digitised chapters and e-journals or articles.
The Main Library
The Main Library holds the principal collection of Biological Sciences books and journals available. Biological Sciences textbooks are available on Floor 2 of the Blue Area. Books and periodicals in other related subjects such as Biology are located in other areas of the Main Library. The Library Search facility will let you know what items are available and where to find them including eBooks and online journals. All the main biological science databases are available including Web of Science, Biosis Previews, Biological Sciences, Medline, Embase, Scopus and Zoological Record. These can be used to discover what has been published on a particular subject. The electronic resources can be accessed both on-campus and remotely.
The Main Library offers group study rooms, individual study space options and computer clusters. WiFi is available throughout the building and a cafe lounge can be found on the ground floor. The Library has long opening hours and extends these during exam periods. Please check Locations and Opening Hours for full details.
The Stopford Library
The Stopford Library is a smaller site library for Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy and Biological Sciences and holds multiple copies of all new editions of core and useful texts. Full details of what is available can be found using Library Search or asking a member of customer service staff. In addition to books, Stopford Library also has half skeletons, anatomical models and iPads available for loan.
The Stopford Library also has a computer suite, wifi and 6 group study rooms. Bookings can be made via My Manchester or at the customer service desk in the Stopford Library.
Please check Locations and Opening Hours for full details.
The Alan Gilbert Learning Commons
The Alan Gilbert Learning Commons is a state-of-the-art learning environment. The Learning Commons has flexible open learning spaces with multimedia facilities, computer clusters and bookable study rooms. Study spaces are available from 10am to 4pm.
Please check Locations and Opening Hours for full details.
My Learning Essentials
My Learning Essentials is the Library’s comprehensive programme of online resources, workshops and drop-ins designed to support you in your personal and professional development.
Workshops and drop-ins are held throughout the year and include special sessions during exams and the summer. Our online resources are available at all times, providing flexible support for your development from undergraduate to postgraduate level and beyond.
Full details of workshops and online resources can be viewed on the My Learning Essentials website.
The My Learning Essentials programme is run by The University of Manchester Library in collaboration with other services across campus.
The Manchester Museum is part of The University of Manchester. It has a distinctive role in engaging the public with the work of the University. The Museum has the third largest natural sciences collection in the UK, with 4.5 million specimens, from birds and plants collected by Charles Darwin to specimens of new species collected and classified by present curators. Many of the collections can be searched from the Museum’s website (www.museum.manchester.ac.uk). There are also numerous additional resources, such as library materials and associated archives. The Museum has around 500,000 visits per year and over 20,000 visits by schoolchildren. The Museum is currently closed to the public until February 2023 but you can access their digital content online here.
- Museum staff work to make the collection available for teaching, research and public engagement and are always keen to explore new opportunities to engage students with the collection. Many museum staff teach on lecture courses and field courses, practicals and research skills modules. They also offer a number of studying opportunities, including final year projects, industrial placements, use of the Museum resources in PhD and Post-Doctoral work and co-supervision of PhDs. These may involve the collections or the specialist interests of staff. You are encouraged to contact museum staff to self-arrange projects.
- The Museum is heavily involved in local biodiversity, climate change and sustainability work and helps to deliver the Biodiversity Action Plan and Climate Change Action Plan (A Certain Future) for Manchester.
- The Museum can help you develop employability through its many volunteering opportunities, particularly useful to those who wish to enter careers in public communication, education and, of course, museums.
- Anyone—staff or student—can visit collections that are not on display. This is done by arranging a visit with the appropriate curator (details below) or by arranging to visit the Collections Studio. The collections are a wonderful source of inspiration and information for research on scientific subjects and the history of science.
- The museum is starting a new capital development project, hello future, which will bring new gallery spaces and a new exhibition hall.( https://mmhellofuture.wordpress.com/). The natural history galleries remain open, with a busy programme of events and are free to enter.
Zoology: internationally important collections of many groups of animals, particularly birds, mammals, skeletons, molluscs and many other invertebrates, around 250,000 specimens.
Contact Rachel Petts, Curatorial Assistant (zoology): email@example.com
Botany: an internationally important collection of 750,000 specimens of worldwide plants, mostly herbarium sheets. Contact Rachel Webster (email: Rachel.E.Webster@manchester.ac.uk), Curator of Botany.
Entomology: internationally important collections of over two million insects from most taxonomic groups. Contact Dmitri Logunov, Curator of Arthropods, who has a particular interest in spiders, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Earth Sciences: one of the five regional Earth Science Collection centres in the UK; one of the largest mineral collections with over 30,000 specimens and important collections of fossil plants and animals, with over 100,000 specimens. Contact David Gelsthorpe, Curator of Earth Sciences, email: email@example.com.
Vivarium: a unique collection of live animals with over 270 specimens of 40 species. Contact Andrew Gray, Curator of Herpetology, who has a particular interest in tropical frogs, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also humanities collections, notably an important Egyptology collection and Archaeology collection.
To book a visit to the museum Collections Studio telephone 0161 275 2643 or email email@example.com
The University Centre for Academic English provides courses and language learning resources for students from a wide variety of disciplines wishing to include a modern languages element within their studies. It also offers a wide range of courses and services for international students for whom English is not a first language
Offered as part of the University Centre for Academic English institution-wide language programme (LEAP), these courses are available to students from across the University and may be studied on a credit or on a non-credit basis to complement your degree. Currently there are 13 languages offered, ranging from the main international languages to a number of less-widely taught languages:
For more information on the full range of languages and levels that are available, please consult the University Centre for Academic English website at University Centre for Academic English – LEAP courses – School of Arts, Languages and Cultures – The University of Manchester
English Language Support: Academic Success Programme
Our Academic Success workshops are available to all students registered at the University of Manchester. Writing and speaking Academic English can be challenging, even for native speakers. Our team of experienced tutors are here to support you, and will help boost your confidence to work independently in English through a series of interactive workshops.
To find out more visit our website:
Face to Face – This is an informal reciprocal language learning scheme, in which students can meet with native speakers of the language they are learning. International students find that this is a good way to meet home students and to become more integrated into the University. Home students can prepare themselves for study abroad by finding out about their partners’ home universities and cultures. For more information, please enquire at the University Language Centre library reception.
Open Learning Facilities – The University Centre for Academic English open learning facilities, situated in the Samuel Alexander Building, offer:
- A well-stocked library of materials in text, audio, DVD and CD-ROM formats
- Materials in some 81 languages
- Two suites of dedicated multimedia PCs for computer aided language learning, viewing of online TV channels, multilingual word processing and DVD viewing
- Booths with LCD screens for group viewing of DVDs
- A conversation room for group work and voice recordings
- Support and advice for learners from expert staff and through on-line resources
A full guide to the University Centre for Academic English courses, services and its language learning resources is available at: www.manchester.ac.uk/languagecentre
Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) are operated by second, third and final year students to assist first year students in the transition to University life. Groups of first year students will be assigned 2 PASS leaders by PASS scheme student coordinators and the School Sabbatical Student Intern at the start of their programme and will be scheduled to meet with their PASS leaders at regular intervals during the year. Any queries about PASS should be addressed to the Student Intern responsible for the scheme (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The aims of the scheme are to:
- enable a clear view of course expectations
- promote a non-threatening environment
- provide an effective method to:
- assist learning
- develop interpersonal/transferable skills (communication, team working, problem solving)
- develop self confidence
- increase responsibility and motivation
- increase peer interaction
- obtain inside knowledge
- allow students to give real-time feedback
- generate real-time feedback for the teaching staff
- challenge the barrier between year groups
Additional information on the PASS scheme can be found at http://www.peersupport.manchester.ac.uk/.
Textbooks and other requirements
Included in most of the unit descriptions and on the Blackboard sites for each unit are the text-book(s) recommended for the unit, and any other special requirements. You are advised not to purchase textbooks until the Unit Coordinator has had a chance to discuss these with you, and perhaps show you samples – sometimes there is a choice of recommended texts, depending on the other units that you are taking. Copies of all recommended texts are in The University of Manchester Library and multiple copies are available for overnight loan.
Where no ‘recommended reading’ list has been provided in the unit description or on Blackboard, it can be assumed that there are no set texts that cover the unit or that would be useful to read before the unit begins, and that reading material will be recommended once the course has started.
White lab coats and safety spectacles are required for all practical classes and will be provided at the start of the academic year – it is your responsibility to ensure that you bring your lab coat and safety spectacles to each practical. A pocket calculator will also be necessary.
NB: Calculators capable of storing and retrieving text (or having a full alphabet keyboard) are not permitted in University examinations. Please refer to the “Guidance on the use of calculators in examinations” for further information.
Academic Advisement sheets can be found on the intranet at the following link: https://app.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/education/cm/academicadvisement.aspx
All returning students must complete self-service enrolment on all optional course unit in line with the programme structure for their degree of study.
Should you require assistance with this process, please contact the Student Support Office:
School of Biological Sciences – Student Support Office
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday: 10:00 – 16:00
Please remember to include your Student ID number in all communication.
Course Unit Selection Guidance:
Final year BIOL units run for a period of 5 weeks as opposed to 12 weeks. This means that final year BIOL units are classed as either ‘early’ or ‘late’, depending upon whether they run in weeks 1-5 semester 1 (early), weeks 2-7 semester 2 (early) or weeks 7-11 (late) of each semester. The following unit descriptions have ‘(E)’ or ‘(L)’ following the unit title to denote whether their timetabling is ‘early’ or ‘late’ in the semester.
If you have any questions about a unit once it has started, you should approach the lecturer directly, or consult the Unit Coordinator.
Level 4 MSci students will be enrolled onto BIOL40010 Msci Research Project.
The University College for Interdisciplinary Learning presents an opportunity for students to broaden their educational horizons. It offers courses that showcase the research and knowledge found at the University and encourages student to go beyond the boundaries of their Degree Programme.
See the University College website for further information on available course units http://www.college.manchester.ac.uk/courses/. Students wishing to enrol on University College units can do so by self-selection via the Student System.
Campus Solutions Glossary of Terms
This Glossary describes terms used in the Campus Solutions Student System and describes general usage including University of Manchester terminology.
|Campus Solutions Term||University Of Manchester Usage/Definition||Alternative Terminology|
|Academic Career||Study path e.g. Undergraduate, Postgraduate Taught||Career/Study Level|
|Academic Group||Any body that can offer a course be it Faculty, School, Division, Subject Area||School/Faculty|
|Academic Plan||A plan of the programme especially where there are specialisations||Programme|
|Academic Programme||A course of Study made up of one or more course units which leads to an award||Programme|
|Class||A scheduled instance of a course unit||Session|
|Class Enrolment||Choice and enrolment of both mandatory and optional course units||Course Unit Selection|
|Course||An individual study unit of the programme||Course Unit or Module|
|Degree||The award normally achieved at the end of the programme||Award|
|Emplid/ID||The number generated by Campus Solutions unique to the individual, whatever the role. For students it will also be their registration number.||Person ID/Registration Number|
|Facility||Class or meeting venue||Building|
|Matriculate||The process by which applicants are converted to students.||Roll Forward|
|Session||A session can be either one of the two semesters or the full term||Semester|
|Term||Academic year running from September to June||Academic Year|
|Term Activate||The process by which the system is informed that admitted and matriculated students are eligible to enrol on classes in a particular term||Expected to register|
|Units||An award is achieved by attaining a mandatory amount of units (units are earned by completion of a course)||Credits|
Campus Solutions Progression Terminology
- ACTV (Activate) – progress normally or complete successfully
- REVW (Review)
- ACTR (Activate Pending Re-sit Results)
- RYIA (Repeat Part Year in Attendance)
- RYOA (Repeat Year Out of Attendance)
- SPCL (Special Circumstances)