Most of your teaching will be delivered through lectures, which may include practical demonstrations. Individual lecture styles vary considerably, depending on the topic – and the lecturer! In tutorials, a small group of students meets with a member of staff for an hour to discuss and explore topics, or solve problems as a group. Some tutorials will require you to research a particular topic beforehand.
All of our Biological Sciences courses are practical degrees with strong emphasis on lab work and fieldwork.
Your first year exams will mostly be multiple choice and short answer papers, with longer essay-style questions in your second and final year exams. Coursework may include practical lab work, a lab write-up or report, a practical skills test, essays, online multiple choice assessments, a data handling exercise, solo or group presentations, a field journal or critical evaluation of a scientific paper. At the end of each semester in Years 1 and 2 you will be able to judge your overall performance, enabling you to closely monitor your progress and, if necessary, adjust your work pattern.
A significant part of your final year will be spent on an individual research study which will form the basis of your dissertation.
You will have regular meetings with your personal tutor to discuss progress in your studies. Your personal tutor will also provide a sympathetic ear for all matters of personal concern, whether they are academic, financial, housing, career or social issues.
When not attending lectures, seminars or other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. To help with your independent learning, you can access the Library and our social study spaces in halls of residence.
Typical workload hours for Biological Sciences courses in 2016/17:
Year 1: 27% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity
- Teaching, learning and assessment: 324 hours
- Independent learning: 876 hours
Year 2: 29% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity
- Teaching, learning and assessment: 348 hours
- Independent learning: 852 hours
Optional year abroad: If you're spending a year abroad, your contact will vary depending on the institution you're studying at.
Final year: 20% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity
- Teaching, learning and assessment: 240 hours
- Independent learning: 960 hours
While your actual contact hours may depend on the option modules you select, the above information gives an indication of how much time you will need to allocate to different activities for each year of your course.
Our Student Learning Development Team provides help in the following areas:
- study and exam skills
- academic writing
- numerical data skills
- referencing sources
Our AccessAbility Centre offers support and practical help for students with dyslexia or other specific learning difficulties, including physical, mental health or mobility difficulties, deafness, or visual impairment.
You will be taught by an experienced teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. PhD research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader. Our teaching is informed by the research we do. You can learn more about our staff by visiting our staff profiles.