Biology with a Preliminary Year (BSc)
In the Biology degree at Cardiff you will be presented with a broad general approach to the subject in the first two years, which covers micro-organisms, plants and animals.
Often, there are good reasons why able students may not have the appropriate A-levels/AS-levels to directly enter the first year of a science degree programme. If you find yourself in this position, the Preliminary Year at Cardiff University can provide you with the academic background you will need for a science degree.
The programme includes modules in Biosciences,Chemistry, Maths and Physics. On successful completion of the Preliminary Year,you will automatically progress into the first year of your chosen degree programme.
Biology is the study of all living organisms, from bacteria living on the deep seabed, to human beings, and involves different approaches, including:molecular genetics, biotechnology and the study of animal behaviour. Such a breadth of subjects involves a large number of disciplines, and as one of the largest Bioscience departments in the UK with over 100 academic staff, the School of Biosciences at Cardiff University provides comprehensive coverage required. This gives ample opportunity for you to explore your chosen subject in depth, while also discovering aspects of the biosciences that you might not have encountered before.
When you undertake the Biology degree at Cardiff University, you will be presented with a general approach to the subject in the first two years, which will cover micro-organisms, plants and animals. Then, in your final year you will be able to specialise in the area of biology that interests you the most. Throughout, you will be taught by enthusiastic staff, many of whom are internationally renowned scientists in their own particular field, (for example, a previous Head of the School, Sir Martin Evans, won the Nobel Prize for medicine in 2007). In all the degrees, there is the option of taking a professional training year (sandwich year) between your second and third years,where you can go and work for an approved research establishment.
Field courses are a particular strength of the Biology degree at Cardiff,and in addition to locally-based courses, you will have the option of undertaking alternative courses in the UK, France, Tobago or Kenya, or visiting our extensive laboratory,research facilities and tropical field centre at Sabah in northeast Borneo. In your final year you will also be required to undertake an independent research project, during which you will be personally mentored by a member of academic staff. Please note that some field courses are at extra cost to students.
As a school, we are strongly focused on providing learning opportunities that approach the cutting edge of scientific research and which introduce you to the scientific community. Throughout your course, we will emphasise key employability skills that are science specific, as well as transferable for employment in general. By working with academic staff, you will develop these skills as you progress through each stage of your course. The Cardiff School of Biosciences aims to produce graduates who are employable,well-informed and enthusiastic ambassadors for science.
|Entry point||September 2016|
|Studying in Welsh||This course offers elements that are taught through the medium of Welsh. Please contact the Admissions tutor for more information.|
|Typical places available||The School typically has approx 415 places available|
|Typical applications received||The School typically receives approx 2500 applications|
|Typical A level offer||AAB-ABB|
|Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offer||WBQ core will be accepted in lieu of one A-level (at the grades specified)|
|Typical International Baccalaureate offer||34 points|
|Other qualifications||Applications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome.|
Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course.
|QAA subject benchmark|
Dr Andrew Shore, Admissions Tutor
Important Legal Information: The programme information currently being published in Course Finder is under review and may be subject to change. The final programme information is due to be published by May 2016 and will be the definitive programme outline which the University intends to offer. Applicants are advised to check the definitive programme information after the update, to ensure that the programme meets their needs.
On successful completion of the Preliminary Year, students automatically progress into the first year of their chosen degree programme.
Biology involves studying organisms of all kinds, including animals, plants and microbes, and our Biology degree aims to give you a broad coverage of this vast subject. The degree includes a carefully chosen balance of core modules, along with optional modules that allow you to specialise, while still gaining the breadth of knowledge needed for a truly biological perspective.
Your first year will comprise a modern, modular course with stimulating and relevant practical classes carried out in spacious, fully-equipped laboratories. (Continuous assessment is embedded within the year 1 modules and forms a significant part of the overall assessment). You will be given feedback throughout each module, so you can keep a personal check on how you are progressing. You will have end-of-module exams in January and May.
The Preliminary Year programme includes modules in Biosciences, Chemistry, Maths and Physics. The particular modules studied depend on each student's academic background and the requirements of their chosen degree subject, and will be agreed through discussion with staff at enrolment.
The Preliminary Year is not normally a route for students who have failed to achieve the required grades in their A-levels. It is possible to study the Preliminary Year programme on a part-time basis over two or three years. The science and maths modules are taught in the daytime at Cardiff University.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Preliminary Mathematics II||MA0004||10 credits|
|Cells and the Chemistry of Life||BI0001||10 credits|
|Inorganic & Redox Chemistry||CH0004||10 credits|
|Preliminary Mathematics I||MA0003||10 credits|
|The Way The Body Works||BI0005||10 credits|
|Thermodynamics, Kinetics & Equilibria||CH0002||10 credits|
|Chemistry of Organic Compounds||CH0003||10 credits|
|Nutrition, Transport and Signalling||BI0004||10 credits|
|Genetics, Evolution and Diversity||BI0002||10 credits|
|Fundamental Aspects of Chemistry||CH0001||10 credits|
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Medical Imaging and The Human Body||CE3968||10 credits|
|Disease in The Developing World||CE4190||10 credits|
|Structure and Properties of Matter||PX0101||10 credits|
|Motion and Energy||PX0102||10 credits|
|Foundations of Modern Physics||PX0201||10 credits|
|Electricity, Magnetism & Light||PX0202||10 credits|
|Elementary Mathematical Methods||PX0203||10 credits|
|Military Surgery Through the Ages||BI0007||10 credits|
Year one at the School of Biosciences recognises that, as well as making the transition to independence from home, you are also facing new and exciting challenges in your education. You will now be studying in your chosen field and you will need to be fully prepared for the educational opportunities that are waiting for you. During your first week we will start you on this preparation by making sure you know what is different between school and University learning. You will feel part of the School of Biosciences immediately as you will be paired with a student buddy, who will show you the ropes and make you feel part of the student community. You will also meet your personal tutor, who will be on hand to help you with pastoral and academic issues for the whole time you are with us.
Our common year one modular course gives a broad grounding in the Biosciences, the interdisciplinary nature of this integrated course allows students to explore their interests without committing to a degree scheme until the end of the first year. The benefit of our common year one modular course is that if you are not sure that you have chosen the right degree scheme when you join us then you are sure to have a much better idea at the end of our common year one. You then have the opportunity to change to any of our 12 degree schemes according to your interests and career aspirations.
We offer a wide range of learning opportunities from lectures, tutorials, practicals, workshops and seminars where you will come into contact with some leading research scientists. A team of academic staff who are teaching-focused ensure the smooth running of teaching and learning. We also appreciate that some of you will prefer particular assessment methods, and assess in a variety of ways, with emphasis on the practical skills you need to become a scientist. You will receive a range of feedback including written feedback on all coursework, and you have an opportunity to see your exam answer papers so you can improve on your performance next time.
Following on the common year one, where you build a robust basic knowledge and skill foundation within the biosciences, year two allows strengthening and expanding it with natural progression, and crucially the development of knowledge and skills in a context specific to your chosen degree programme. You enrol on modules, which are core to your degree programme, and on optional modules relevant to your degree. Your choice of modules can follow a more generalist approach, or can be rather specific to certain aspects of the discipline (for example, focusing on microbiology, plant science, or genetics). You are given extensive academic advice and support in your choice by personal tutors, degree, module and year coordinators.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Animal Behaviour: An Introduction||BI2110||10 credits|
|Ecosystem Processes||BI2152||10 credits|
|Field Course||BI2154||10 credits|
|Population Ecology||BI2158||10 credits|
|Research Techniques||BI2001||20 credits|
|Microbial Ecology||BI2162||10 credits|
|Plant Development and Physiology||BI2157||10 credits|
|Concepts in Biotechnology||BI2218||10 credits|
|Applied and Human Genetics||BI2220||20 credits|
|Developmental and Stem Cell Biology||BI2258||20 credits|
|Plant Form and Function||BI2115||10 credits|
|Animal Diversity||BI2118||20 credits|
|Microbial Diversity||BI2161||10 credits|
From year two you progress into the research-led final year. Alternatively, you have the option to progress into the Professional Training Year, which supports your learning and maturing in a work environment, thus crucially adding to your employability, experience, independence, subject and generic skills portfolio. Many employers want to recruit new staff who have both a good degree and relevant work experience. If you choose to take the Professional Training Year (PTY) you will be able to offer both. You can switch to this 4-year version of your degree beforehand.
The final year gives you an opportunity to immerse yourself in your chosen field by following a series of advanced research-led modules. These are designed to develop your ability to critically analyse complex experimental or technical data and to expose you to the central concepts at the cutting-edge of your discipline. You also gain experience of contemporary research through attending a selection of the many seminars given within the school by international leaders in their fields. You are asked to produce an original dissertation based either on a laboratory project, an extensive literature analysis or an exercise relating to science teaching/ pedagogic research or public engagement. Through our mentoring of these projects we nurture a range of transferable skills to ensure that you are not only equipped for today's job market but have the adaptability to be successful in the new career paths that will certainly emerge in the future.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Conservation Biology||BI3114||20 credits|
|Plants For The Future||BI3130||20 credits|
|Genetic Models of Disease||BI3216||20 credits|
|Advanced Topics in Animal Behaviour||BI3132||20 credits|
|Aquatic Resource Management and Conservation||BI3134||20 credits|
|Global Climate Change Ecology||BI3136||20 credits|
|Animal Parasitology||BI3127||20 credits|
|Human Infectious Diseases||BI3126||20 credits|
|Cell Cycle and Cell Death in Health and Disease||BI3224||20 credits|
|Advances in Developmental and Stem Cell Biology||BI3223||20 credits|
Your degree course will include a number of different types of learning and teaching, with the aim of the course to develop your skills as an independent learner. Much of the teaching takes place in lectures or seminars, supported by small-group teaching sessions. You will also gain extensive practical experience learning key techniques and approaches required for a career in biosciences. Another component consists of workshop sessions, where you work with members of staff on specific skills, such as: using software packages, developing presentation techniques and practicing problem-solving skills. The library and study facilities in the School of Biosciences allow you to access key textbooks, reviews and original research papers. As you move through your course, you will increasingly use more original research material and the teaching will increasingly focus on cutting-edge research delivered by experts in the fields.
A major component of university learning consists of developing your understanding of the subject and becoming an independent and self-critical learner. To this end, the amount of time spent in self-directed learning increases as you progress through the course and increase your independence. We structure non-contact time carefully to allow you to plan and conduct your personal learning and skill development. The Cardiff School of Biosciences supports this through the use of self-directed learning and also facilitates the development of student-focused learning groups focused on identifying and developing learning resources. These study groups use collaborative ICT tools to develop skills in these current technologies (a key employability skill).
Our lecturers have an open-door policy during non-contact time, and email exchange is encouraged if you have any questions. Lecturers are also available for you to ask questions about the material before and after the classes. Our students rate this support very highly as a crucial part of the overall student experience, as they are enabled to achieve all learning required to progress toward being an independent and reflective learner, ideally prepared for lifelong learning in a professional environment. This achievement is further supported by a scheme for developing all the transferable skills and competencies recognised as graduate attributes, and thus enhances overall employability.
The early part of the degree focuses on your comprehension of the key concepts and background information making up the core knowledge of Biology. Early assessments will focus on testing your understanding of the subject and your ability to identify and use information. As you progress through the course, the focus shifts toward applying knowledge by solving scientific problems, assessing information and criticising your and others original work. In your final year, learning and assessment will be focussed on identifying and applying your original research to key questions in science today. You will be guided toward reading original research papers and also undertaking independent research. By the time you graduate, you will be an experienced independent learner and will possess a critical mind that will continue to ask challenging questions and learn new things for the rest of your life.
As a Cardiff Biology graduate, you can expect a wide range of career options. In the past, our graduates have gone into research and development posts with multinational companies (e.g. AstraZeneca or GlaxoSmithKline) or research institutes (e.g. Centre for Ecology & Hydrology or MRC Medical Research Institute), teaching. Additionally, many graduates enter non-biological fields, such as management, accountancy and banking where employers are looking for well-educated people who can deal with qualitative and quantitative information and think on their feet.
In 2013, 96% of the School's graduates were in employment or further study within six months of graduation while others were taking time out to travel etc. Employers included: universities and hospitals in the UK and overseas, local government departments, museums and organisations such as the BBC and National Museum of Wales.
- Laboratory Researcher
The School admits 140 students each year to its undergraduate Biological degree programmes.
QAA subject benchmark
|QAA subject benchmark|
What are the aims of this Programme?
The Biology degree programme caters for anyone interested in the broad field of biological studies. It ranges from the molecular and cellular levels, through to the whole organism and its interaction with other organisms and the environment, together with the comparative physiologies of animals, plants and microbes.
This version of the degree programme includes a ‘Preliminary Year’ before the first year of the specific Biology degree itself. The Preliminary Year is an access course designed for students who do not have the full scientific background required for direct entry into Year 1 of the course. The Preliminary Year provides an opportunity for students, including mature students and those with qualifications in other disciplines, to gain background knowledge in the biosciences, mathematics and chemistry. Students who pass their Preliminary Year may then progress onto the First Year of the Biology degree.
In the First Year, students follow the School’s common First Year Biosciences programme. This gives a firm foundation in all the bioscience disciplines and subject-specific areas that will provide a firm foundation for subsequent years of study.
This broad approach runs throughout the second and final years, giving the option of taking a general training in biology or specialising in a particular area that appeals to the student.
Biology is essentially a practical subject and all second year modules will have a significant assessed practical component. In the final year the majority of students opt to undertake a practical research project to develop their practical skills further, and to gain experience in planning and running experimental programmes. Recent graduates have gone on to a range of diverse careers in research institutes, environmental consultancies, drug companies, teaching, and many non-biological careers such as banking and management.
At the end of the first year students can choose whether to continue with a three-year degree programme or opt for a four-year sandwich programme.
The programme aims to:
· Provide a broad and balanced perspective of a wide range of aspects of science in general, and to key areas of biology and their underpinning by evolutionary theory.
· Provide a high quality learning and teaching environment within a research-led institution.
· Develop an appreciation of the complexity of biological systems and their analysis.
· Encourage students to develop a habit of intellectual inquiry and to become independent learners.
More specifically, the programme aims to:
· Provide students with a sound basis of knowledge and understanding in a broad range of biological topics.
· Provide students with relevant practical skills to complement their knowledge and understanding of these topics.
· Develop skills of problem-solving, data handling, and critical reasoning, as well as providing training in oral and written presentation, and digital literacies.
· Enable students to gain access (if they so desire) to post-graduate degree courses within the Higher Education Sector or employment within Bioscience-related industries.
Provide students with discipline-independent and generic skills that enable them to find graduate employment either within or outside the Biosciences.
What is expected of me?
Teaching during your course will consist of the following learning activities (each module may contain some or all of these activities):
Lectures: Although these are not compulsory and we do not monitor attendance, it is assumed (and advised) that you will attend all of the lecture sessions for each module you are taking. Failure to do so will mean that you may miss key information or explanations about core material to the module.
Laboratory Practical classes or Field-work: These sessions are compulsory, and attendance is monitored. Since the Biosciences are practical disciplines, and these sessions will teach key skills that are essential, absences are noted. Persistent absence or failure to engage with these activities may lead to the requirement to resit the module in a subsequent academic session.
Tutorials/Workshops: These sessions are provided in most modules to support aspects of the subject material. These sessions are not compulsory, but attendance is very strongly advised.
Clinics/Advice sessions: These are optional sessions that are held to support some of the assignments you will be given (such as statistics assignments, computing packages, presentations and group exercises)
Academic Tutorials: These sessions are held with your Personal Tutor during Year 1 and are compulsory, with attendance being monitored.
Research Seminars: These are sessions presented by academic staff or visiting researchers presenting their research work. You are required to attend a minimum number of these sessions per academic year.
Examinations and In-course assessments: These are either ‘formative’ (i.e. they are for your benefit but do not contribute towards the module mark) or ‘summative’ (i.e. they contribute a proportion of your final module mark). All summative examinations or in-course assessments are compulsory.
Where there are compulsory sessions, attendance is monitored and any absences are noted. Absences due to unforeseen extenuating circumstances (such as sudden illness or compassionate circumstances/bereavement) will need to be reported to the School, and action will be taken to either provide another opportunity to undertake the activity, or some form of remedial adjustment will be put in place. If you have suffered a severe medical or compassionate circumstance that has caused you to miss a significant number of days teaching, then we would recommend an Interruption of Study (halting your course for a period until the circumstances are no longer in effect), as there is likely to be a long-term effect on your learning. Similarly, you should seek advice regarding the impact on your learning of any likely absence due to maternity. In all cases the School will be as accommodating as possible with these situations, but all students must meet specific learning outcomes for each module and year of study, so flexibility may be limited in some cases.
Students with disabilities are supported to the fullest extent possible by the University and the School of Biosciences. If you have a disability or a long-term medical condition which may impact upon your learning experience, then you should arrange for a Needs Assessment with the University Disability and Dyslexia Service. The advisor in this service will discuss your disability with you and identify what actions or materials are required to support you.
All details of disabilities or extenuating circumstances are handled in confidence and are only disclosed to very a small number of essential staff. You may request even stricter confidence if you wish, in which case details are revealed only to the Chair of the extenuating circumstances committee and/or the School’s disability contact.
We require all students to adhere to a basic standard of behaviour and conduct during their degree, which includes respecting the needs and the dignity of fellow students and university staff. You will also be required to be mindful that there are other peers learning with you; any behaviour by individuals that impacts negatively upon others’ learning is not tolerated. You will be required to follow a code of behaviour in laboratory practical classes, field work and during laboratory research experience in the PTY and final year. This requirement is based on essential health and safety considerations for these environments, and you must follow the instructions of the supervising member of staff at all times. Above all you will be required to be proactive in your learning and to take best advantage of every learning activity that is offered to you. A large proportion of learning at University is self-directed, and the overriding aim of your course is to develop you as an independent leaner. You will need to take responsibility for attending classes, submitting timely coursework, acting on feedback and managing your time effectively. You will be afforded the maximum time possible to complete the coursework assignments for each module, and it is your responsibility to plan your time to accommodate these.
We will expect you to arrive promptly to all classes and learning activities. Late arrivals are rude and disruptive to your fellow learners, and to the person leading the class. Late arrival will also mean that you will miss vital information at the beginning of the session.
You will be required to undertake a significant amount of independent and self-directed study at all levels throughout your degree course. Independent study includes the supplementation of your lecture notes and the further development of lecture material through independent reading of textbooks, scientific reviews and primary research articles. Independent study will also include time spent on completing coursework assignments and preparing for examinations and in-course assessments/class tests. It is estimated that you will be spending approximately 70 hours of self-directed study per 10 module credits.
Students are expected to adhere to the Cardiff University policy on Dignity at Work and Study.
How is this Programme Structured?
Please see 'How will I be taught?'
Will I need any specific equipment to study this Programme?
The University will provide all necessary equipment.
What skills will I practise and develop?
Transferable Skills. Ability to:
· Communicate biological ideas, principles and theories effectively by oral and written means.
· Work effectively in a team and as an individual.
· Demonstrate good self-management and organisational skills.
· Use communication and information technology skills to organise and analyse data (databases, spreadsheets, and statistical packages); present results (word processing and presentational packages); as well as information retrieval (through the Internet for example).
· Employ numerical and statistical skills to analyse data.
· Show general problem-solving skills.
· Demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning through engaging in a process of personal development planning.
· Apply analytical thinking to problems in other disciplines.
· Develop independent learning skills.
How will I be taught?
Knowledge and Understanding:
Learning and teaching methods adopt the more didactic approach in the first year with progressively more self-directed learning in Years 2 and 3.
Year 0 (Preliminary Year) modules and Year 1 modules involve lectures and supporting tutorials providing background theoretical knowledge as well as practical classes. Courses provide students with basic IT skills and an understanding of statistical analysis of data. Coursework is used to develop writing and oral communication skills.
Year 2 modules continue the didactic approach supported by tutorials. More extensive laboratory practicals provide practical skills and critical evaluation of experimental data. Set assignments and directed reading is used to promote self-directed learning and the analysis of primary research literature.
Year 3 requires much more independence by the student. All students produce one substantial research-based (laboratory, literature, pedagogic or scientific engagement) report. Research-led lectures are supported by directed reading.
Students are expected to undertake independent study, and increasing independence of learning is expected as the programme progresses.
Learning and teaching strategies fall within the framework described above under Knowledge and Understanding. Intellectual skills are developed in particular through problem-solving workshops in techniques-based modules, through interpretation of data obtained in class practicals and during a research project undertaken in Year 3, and through self-directed learning in all years of the course, but Year 3 in particular.
Discipline Specific Skills:
Learning and teaching strategies fall within the framework described above under Knowledge and Understanding. Discipline specific skills are taught in all years of the course.
Learning and Teaching strategies fall within the framework described above under Knowledge and Understanding. Transferable skills are taught in particular through IT modules and communications modules that require students to prepare both written and oral presentations. Students learn to work individually and as part of a team in practical modules, and in modules in which teams of students prepare and deliver oral presentations.
How will I be assessed?
Knowledge and Understanding:
At Level 3, there are coursework assessments for each module which usually comprise 30-40% of the final module mark. These may take the form of written practical reports, structured (short answer) reports, class tests, structured answer tests, group work, poster and oral presentations and computing/statistical problem-solving exercises. Most assessments are summative and count towards the final module mark, although feedback is provided on all assignments as the module progresses.
At Level 4, there are coursework assessments for each module which usually comprise 30% of the final module mark. These may take the form of written practical reports, structured (short answer) reports, class tests, structured answer tests, group work, poster and oral presentations and computing/statistical problem-solving exercises. Most assessments are summative and count towards the final module mark, although feedback as the module progresses allows students to use them in a formative way. Final examinations at the end of each module comprise a machine-marked structured answer section and a written answer section. Students are required to answer all the structured questions (assessing breadth of knowledge) and one of three written answers (assessing depth of knowledge in specific topics). Final examinations usually count for 70% of the final module mark.
At Level 5, students submit items of coursework for each module (comprising usually 30% of the module mark). Most assessments are summative and count towards the final module mark. Final examinations at the end of each module comprise a structured answer section and a written answer section. Students are required to answer all the structured questions and one written answer. The Research Techniques module and the Field Course module are assessed entirely by coursework.
Level 6 taught modules are assessed by examination (typically, 80% of the module mark), and by extended analytical coursework (typically, 20% of module mark). Practical/library based research projects are assessed by a number of assessments that include, amongst others, a supervisors’ assessment, a written report and oral presentation.
Assessment of intellectual skills falls within the general framework described above under Knowledge and Understanding. Development of intellectual skills is assessed in particular through reports detailing the planning, execution and interpretation of practical and project work, through problem-solving workshops and assessments, and through written and oral examinations for which marking criteria (especially those used in the final year) give particular credit to the use of secondary sources and the ability to analyse and synthesise data.
Discipline Specific Skills:
Assessment of discipline specific skills falls within the general framework described above under Knowledge and Understanding. Module examinations and project reports are marked according to criteria that require demonstration of knowledge and understanding of the discipline specific skills listed under the learning outcomes.
Assessment of transferable skills falls within the general framework described above under Knowledge and Understanding. Communications and project modules are assessed through production by the student of written reports and oral presentations requiring the use of information retrieval systems. Students also produce assessed reports for practical modules and prepare essays and/or deliver oral presentations (either singly or as part of a team).
How will I be supported?
All of the academic staff in the School of Biosciences are experienced researchers in their respective fields and our aim is to guide you towards the practice and culture of scientific research and understanding. The primary interaction you will have with academic staff will be during lectures, laboratory practical sessions, workshops or small-group teaching sessions (tutorials). You will also be allocated a Personal Tutor, a member of the academic staff who will provide pastoral support and academic advice during your course. Your Personal Tutor will also run small-group academic tutorial sessions on subjects related to your degree scheme in the first year, and will oversee your general academic progress throughout the whole of your course. Your Personal Tutor is often the person who will write an academic reference for you at the end of your course, and so you are encouraged to develop a close working relationship with your tutor.
All lecturing staff are contactable by email, and operate either an ‘open door’ policy for students who have specific queries about course material, or a system of booking meeting times. Each degree scheme also has a degree scheme co-ordinator who can also advise on academic issues. Each year of study has a year co-ordinator who can advise on administrative issues related to your course of study. There is also an Undergraduate Office with experienced administrators who can answer most administrative queries immediately.
Lecture sessions in the timetable are designed to take 50 minutes. However, staff are available during the 10 minutes of time either side of the lecture so that you can ask your lecturer specific questions. Academic staff are always happy to explain any aspects of a lecture that you did not understand or for which you would like to deepen your understanding. Academic staff will also answer queries by email, or will be happy to arrange specific meetings outside of lecture time to discuss any issues relating to the course material.
You will be provided with a number of opportunities to reflect on your performance during the degree course. These include:
· Specific comments on assessed work identifying areas of strength or areas that require improvement returned with your assignments.
· Generic comments (e.g. common errors or significant points to consider) on assessed work given to all students on a module.
· Regular meetings with your Personal Tutor to discuss your coursework and exam performances.
· Annual appraisals of your performance through our ‘Annual Progress Review and Feedback’ process where your performance, attendance and engagement with the course are rated.
· Diagnostic tests to assess your level of competency in specific key transferable skills, allowing you to identify areas that need support or development.
· Formative and summative assignments and examinations which will allow you to gauge your progress and level of understanding.
You will also be provided with a number of opportunities to develop study and employability skills during your course. These include:
· Lecture and workshop sessions on study skills, information literacy, digital literacy and exam technique.
· Workshop and practical sessions to support the transition from school to university study.
· Diagnostic tests on key transferrable skills for graduate employment or further study.
· Academic tutorials during Year 1 designed to address key aspects of science and scientific analysis.
Cardiff University operates a ‘virtual learning environment’ (VLE) termed “Learning Central”. The VLE is a dedicated online resource that is designed to hold electronic materials that will support your learning in a module. These may include copies of lecture slides, lecture handouts; hyperlinks to research papers or learning resources; modelling packages or visual representations of molecules or processes; hyperlinks to items of interest in the media. The VLE may also have assignments linked to it, as well as self-test quizzes and class-wide feedback on previous assessments. Learning Central is kept up-to-date and updated frequently, and is the main medium by which announcements about module events are made. You will also be provided with a University email which you will need to check regularly for notifications or updates.
Cardiff University has an extensive library and information-support network, including staff who are national leaders in ‘Information Literacy’. The library staff can advise on book and literature searching, as well as the proper use of primary sources and how they should be referenced in your work. The library collection of text books and research journals is extensive, and the majority of research journals subscribed to by the School of Biosciences can be accessed online from anywhere off-campus.
What are the Learning Outcomes of this Programme?
Graduates from this programme will be able to demonstrate:
Knowledge and Understanding of:
· Key underlying principles of chemistry, mathematics and biology which underpin the Biosciences.
· Biological phenomena, at a variety of organisational levels, based on evolutionary theory.
· The impact of biological developments on society.
· How cells and tissues are regulated to achieve homeostasis of the whole organism.
· Plant, animal and microbial structure and diversity.
· Plant physiology and development.
· The use of molecular techniques in the study of ecology and evolution.
Intellectual Skills. Ability to:
· Plan, execute and present an independent piece of work, in which qualities such as time management, problem solving, numerical skills and independence are evident.
· Apply their subject knowledge and understanding to address unfamiliar problems.
· Sustain a critical argument both in writing and through presentation/discussion.
· Apply the scientific method to formulate and test appropriate hypotheses.
· Integrate material from a range of different sources and identify material which is of relevance to a particular problem.
· Analyse, synthesise and summarise information critically.
· Recognise moral and ethical issues arising from scientific research, and the importance of ethical standards and professional codes of conduct.
Discipline Specific Skills. Ability to:
· Describe the key principles of biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, evolution, anatomy, physiology and biodiversity.
· Analyse numerical data effectively, and apply the appropriate use of statistics.
· Apply a knowledge of the structure of matter to chemical problems.
· Conduct a specific study of plants and/or animals in the laboratory or field.
· Demonstrate skills in handling cells and tissues and applying immunological and cytochemical techniques.
· Identify key groups of animals, plants and microorganisms.
· Apply molecular techniques to the understanding and investigation of biological phenomena.
· Plan and carry out experimental investigations of biological questions.
· Recognise the importance of safe working practices, and the need to undertake risk assessments when working in the laboratory or field.
· Identify ethical issues, and be sensitive to the impact of investigations on the environment, organisms or subjects that may be involved.
· Organise, plan and conduct scientific studies in an efficient manner.
· Collect and record data accurately using a range of practical techniques.
· Appreciate sources of variation in biological data and use appropriate statistical techniques to analyse such data.
· Analyse, synthesise and present findings from practical work and the published scientific literature.
· Recognise that scientific knowledge may be questioned and is provisional, particularly in the light of continuing scientific advances.
The distinctive features of the Programme include:
· The opportunity to develop as a learner within a working scientific community.
· Broad coverage of wide-ranging subject material.
· Opportunity to specialise in research-led fields.
· Good range of skills for the non-specialist.
· A specific programme designed to develop core employability skills and competencies for working in the field of science.
· An emphasis on progression towards independent learning in preparation for life-long learning and continuing professional development.
· A design for the Final Year that is research-led, based around research activities of staff involved in delivery of the Programme.
· The opportunity for students to learn, and be taught in a programme that has been judged as “excellent” by independent Government assessment (Teaching Quality Audit).
· The opportunity for students to learn in a research-led teaching institution serviced by staff rated for research of international quality by independent Government assessment (2014 Research Excellence Framework).
· The opportunities to work in facilities commensurate with an internationally rated research ranking.
· Academic staff with a broad range of experience and expertise.
· A very active student society arranging numerous social, sporting and other events for its members.
· Staff-Student consultative committees (the “Staff-Student Panels”).
· Annual induction and enrolment programmes for new and returning students. Transitional workshops to support the transition between school/college/6th form and University.
· The presence of a modern, well-equipped Learning and Teaching Resource Centre within the School (as well as full access for students to all other resource centres in the University).
· In addition to university-provided PC workstations throughout the campus, a number of which are 24 hr access, the provision of a dedicated Computer Room within the School.
· Recent major refurbishments of teaching labs and lecture theatres.
· Integrated management of teaching and the presence of an “Undergraduate Office” that deals effectively with student issues and concerns.
· A single “Learning and Teaching Committee” that decides on educational policy across the School, that plans educational changes and developments, and that audits teaching activity within the School.
· “Schemes Boards” within Biological Sciences, Biomolecular Sciences and in Biomedical Sciences (with student representation) that are concerned with effective day-to-day running of our science schemes.
· A harmonised “Personal Tutor Scheme” across the School that provides students with appropriate pastoral care and that can provide effective feedback on academic performance.
· A “Classroom Monitoring Scheme” that provides peer assessment of teaching quality for all teaching staff.
· A single Annual Programme Review and Evaluation to assess the quality of all courses.
· The development of a “Pedagogic Research Group” to advance, in a scholarly way, our teaching provision.
· In addition to “Module” questionnaires used by all students, the formulation of an “Exit” questionnaire to enable Final Year students to review the entire degree programme.
· Teaching workshops for staff and a staff development committee responsible for monitoring staff activity are in place.
Criteria-based marking framework for each academic level applied to each piece of assessed or examined work in BIOSI science schemes.
Dr Andrew Shore, Admissions Tutor
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