School of Biology

Welcome to the School of Biology. Here you’ll find everything you need to know about starting or returning to your studies.

Scroll to the section that applies to you – ‘new student’ ‘returning student’ or ‘post graduate student’. We’ve also included some helpful links at the bottom to direct you to anything else you might need. 

If you’re a postgraduate researcher, find your faculty welcome and induction information to help you get started. 

I’m a new undergraduate student               

What do I need to do before I arrive?

You’ll need to read the welcome materials from the beginning of September which you can access via your University email account. Familiarise yourself with Minerva and PebblePad by accessing the digital education resources. Download MS TEAMS and Zoom-you can find more information about these digital platforms via the University of Leeds IT webpage. You can read the FBS newsletters written by our student interns; these will be sent to your University email address, and take the opportunity to reach out to your peer mentor. 

You may also want to make use of resources which have been recommended by your Programme Leader, these are designed to prepare you for studying at the University of Leeds, and refamiliarise you with content in preparation for your programme of study. You can find these via the Minerva organisation for Level 1 students in FBS navigating to your programme of study.

What does my welcome week timetable look like?

We will ask you to watch some recordings prior to welcome week so you don’t feel so overwhelmed by all the new content.  Then, your welcome week timetable will consist of live sessions on campus to introduce yourself to your programme leaders and peers, meetings with your academic personal tutor, tutor group and peer mentor, employability talks and community events to help you meet friends on your course and others within your school. Many of these sessions are held within our specialist teaching facilities in the Faculty of Biological Sciences or in lecture theatres on campus. You will also have time to explore the myriad of opportunities available to you from across the University, including the many support groups and clubs and societies we offer to get to know other people.

Will I be required to attend the induction week timetabled sessions?

It is your best interest to attend everything in your welcome week timetable. Welcome week is busy, and we talk about lots of different things that will enable you to navigate life at the University, as well as becoming an engaged member of the Faculty of Biological Sciences Community. The events should mean that you are well prepared for your first week of learning.

How will tutorials/seminars, practical or lab sessions be managed?

Lectures, labs, seminars and tutor meetings will be held face to face on campus. These may be supplemented with some pre-recorded material, in some cases, where it adds educational value, e.g. to support your preparation and as a precursor to face to face delivery of material on campus. Our teaching is designed around active learning approaches (e.g. through seminars, tutorials and practical/field work), which means we expect you to engage with the content so that you maximize your learning. There are multiple opportunities to engage with academic staff and with other students on your course through small group teaching and group work.

How will I meet my academic personal tutor? How will academic personal tutoring work?

You’ll meet your academic personal tutor (APT) in introduction week as a small group on campus, and this meeting will appear in your timetable.  Throughout semester 1 and 2 you will have one-to-one meetings with your tutor normally held in their office or in a faculty meeting room.  You will be advised by your tutor of potential times and dates to attend these meetings. You can prepare for these meetings using PebblePad, a digital platform that asks you to complete workbooks reflecting on specific things such as your strengths, skills set, career development, and personal goals and ambitions.  These then set the agenda for your meeting with your APT in which you will discuss exciting developments in science, your academic interests, ambitions and importantly your progress in adapting to studies and life at Leeds. You can find more about Academic Personal Tutorials and our approach to these using the dedicated pages on the Faculty’s Minerva Pages.

Find out more about academic personal tutoring.

Where can I go for support?

For questions relating to teaching, such as module enrolment, exams, changing of any modules/course, assessment and assignments, contact the Operations team at: fbseducation@leeds.ac.uk. For questions about pastoral support, such as mitigating circumstances, wellbeing of students, mental health services and disabilities, contact the Student Support team at fbswellbeing@leeds.ac.uk.

You can also contact your Academic Personal Tutor (APT) for support, and they will be able to signpost you to University, and Faculty level support services and individuals.

For support with academic content in modules, at first contact the module manager, for broader programme related issues you can contact your programme leader.  The names and contact details of these individuals will be available on Minerva.  You should normally expect a response to an email within 48 working hours.

Finally, Leeds University Union have a help and support available on a wide range of issues that is available and free to all University of Leeds students.

Where do I turn if I need extra academic support?

Academic skills support will be available through the module teaching but for more general support skills@library is the best place to visit. You may also wish to discuss what type of academic support you think you need with your Academic Personal Tutor and they should be able to signpost you accordingly.

How will I find out more about my programme?

Feel free to look at the Faculty of Biological Sciences webpages. During September you will have access to a Minerva organisation for Level 1 students in FBS which will have some more programme information included. You’ll also get lots of detail from your programme leader during welcome week.

How will I get to know other students?

Your course will involve lots of group work activities, so you’ll get to know groups of students studying the same or similar courses as you. During welcome, there are some community events planned which will help you to get to know more students on your course.  You can also take advantage of the myriad of opportunities available to you from across the University, including the many support groups and  clubs and societies we support to get to know other people.

What welcome activities do you have planned to welcome new students?

There will be community events run by students who have already completed year 1 of the courses, plus welcome sessions from programme leaders, academic personal tutors, peer mentors and the student education service.

Are there any specialist software or systems that I need for my programme and where do I find out information about it?

There is no specialist software you need at the moment, if you do, these will be introduced on your course and access given. You just need to be familiar with using Minerva, Microsoft TEAMS, and PebblePad.

Where can I access resources for my degree? 

First of all look at the Faculty of Biological Sciences webpages, then during September you will have access to a Minerva organisation for Level 1 students in FBS which will have some more programme information included. You’ll also get lots of detail from your programme leader during welcome week.

Do I need to provide my core reading texts? 

We have a large number of core reading texts in the University libraries, many of these are also available as e-books. If you wish to buy your own books you may wish to look for good quality pre-owned text books.  For example, UnidBooks (pronounced you need books) is an online marketplace for Leeds students to buy and sell second handbooks.

What facilities are available for my course, and how can I take advantage of them?

We have dedicated teaching laboratories which house our specialised equipment, helping you develop cutting edge laboratory and practical skills appropriate to your degree of study.  You will have access to these as part of your programme. In addition, the University libraries offer individual study space, bookable space for groups, and a variety of text and online resources.

What is the role of course representatives and how do I volunteer?

Being a course representative will enhance your learning experience by voicing and challenging academic issues. The role can help you build relationships with both staff and students so you can work together to provide an exceptional learning experience. You’ll represent students from your course in School meetings (and in other more informal settings), provide positive and constructive critical feedback to University and School staff and work in partnership to develop solutions where issues arise.

The FBS Student Support and Engagement Team will be in touch with further information about applying for this role but if you would like to register your interest now please email fbswellbeing@leeds.ac.uk 

Are there any societies I can join for the school/programme?

Yes, there’s the FOBSOC which is a society for students studying Biological Sciences visit Leeds University Union Clubs & Societies.

Are there any peer mentoring schemes operating in my school?

Yes, we have a group of year 2 and 3 students who will act as your peer mentors, locally we refer to this as our Peer Assisted Learning Scheme (PALS). These students will be happy to talk to you about anything to do with student life at Leeds or the course and act as your peer mentor. There is a timetabled session in welcome week where every student will meet their peer mentor. You will then meet them several times through the first academic year on campus.

How does assessment work on my programme?

All modules have some in course assessment and final assessment. In semester 1 you will have some exams during the semester and you may have some in the January examination period.  Your Module manager will advise accordingly. Examinations in the December/January and May/June exam period will be completed mainly online.  In course assessment will be a combination of in person assessment (e.g. presentations) and assessment types submitted online.

The assessments will include a variety of types, including multiple choice questions, multiple response questions, in-course lab reports, group work plus many more. Your programme leader will give you more details during welcome week. 

I’m a returning student

How will my programme be delivered this year?

We will continue to offer an engaging and effective learning experience, with teaching delivered in-person on campus, supplemented with some digital content where it adds learning value (e.g. as preparation and as a pre-cursor to face to face delivery). We will continue to deliver active learning (e.g. through seminars, tutorials and practical work), which means we expect you to engage with the content so that you maximize your learning. We have given due consideration to the student voice and the feedback you provided on your learning experiences when planning the delivery of your teaching.  

What do I need to do before I arrive?

We suggest you have a look through your course materials from last year and become familiar with the content you covered so we can build on that this year. You would also benefit from familiarising yourself with PebblePad, which we will use for Academic Personal Tutoring. You can access this from the home page of Minerva once you have logged in with your university credentials.

What does my induction timetable look like?

Your welcome week timetable will consist of live sessions with your programme leader and peers, meetings with your personal tutor and tutor group, employability talks and community events to help you meet friends on your course and others within your school. You may also be timetabled to attend our ‘Meet your Mentor’ session if you have volunteered to be part of our Peer Assisted Learning Scheme (PALS). You will also have time to explore the myriad of opportunities available to you from across the University, including the many clubs and societies we support.

Will I be required to attend face to face sessions?

We expect you to attend all sessions in your timetable in both welcome week and throughout the remainder of the academic year. We will be using various ways of recording attendance including QR codes and registers. Poor attendance may result in an informal written warning, or a formal meeting with your programme leader. Poor attendance can also signal a student is having difficulties with their studies, in this case we recommend you first discuss this with your academic personal tutor.    

How will I meet my academic personal tutor? How will academic personal tutoring work?

You should have now met your academic personal tutor (APT) 3-4 times as a minimum. This year throughout semester 1 and 2 you will one-to-one meetings with your tutor. Meetings with your tutor normally held in their office or in a faculty meeting room.  You will be advised by your tutor of potential times and dates to attend these meetings. You can prepare for these meetings using PebblePad, a digital platform that asks you to complete workbooks reflecting on specific things such as your strengths, skills set, career development, and personal goals and ambitions.  These then set the agenda for your meeting with your APT in which you will discuss exciting developments in science, your academic interests, ambitions and importantly your progress in adapting to studies and life at Leeds. You can find more about Academic Personal Tutorials and our approach to these using the dedicated pages on the Faculty’s Minerva Pages.

Find out more about academic personal tutoring.

Where can I go for support?

For questions relating to teaching, such as module enrolment, exams, changing of any modules/course, assessment and assignments, contact the Operations team at: fbseducation@leeds.ac.uk. For questions about pastoral support, such as mitigating circumstances, wellbeing of students, mental health services and disabilities, contact the Student Support team at fbswellbeing@leeds.ac.uk.

You can also contact your Academic Personal Tutor (APT) for support and will be able to signpost you to University, and Faculty level support services and individuals.

For support with academic content in modules, at first contact the module manager, for broader programme related issues you can contact your programme leader.  The names and contact details of these individuals will be available on Minerva.  You should normally expect a response to an email within 48 working hours.

Finally, Leeds University Union have a help and support available on a wide range of issues that is available and free to all University of Leeds students.

Where do I turn if I need extra academic support?

Academic skills support will be available through the module teaching but for more general support skills@library is the best place to visit. You may also wish to discuss what type of academic support you think you need with your Academic Personal Tutor and they should be able to signpost you accordingly.

How will I find out more about my programme?

You should have access to Minerva and can access content from last academic year. During September you will have access to the Minerva organisation for students in FBS which will have some more programme information included. You’ll also get lots of detail from your programme leader during welcome week.

How will I get to know other students?

Your course will involve lots of group work activities so you’ll get to know groups of students studying the same or similar courses as you. During welcome week, there are some community events planned which will help you to get to know more students on your course.  You can also take advantage of the myriad of opportunities available to you from across the University, including the many support groups and  clubs and societies we support to get to know other people.

What welcome activities do you have planned to welcome new students?

There will be community events run by students on your course, plus welcome sessions from programme leaders. There will also be sessions ran by academic staff and students from your wider Faculty community.

Are there any specialist software or systems that I need for my programme and where do I find out information about it?

There is no specialist software you need at the moment, if you do, these will be introduced on your course and access given. You just need to be familiar with using Minerva, Microsoft TEAMS and PebblePad.

Where can I access resources for my degree? 

First of all look at the Faculty of Biological Sciences webpages, then during September you will have access to a Minerva organisation for students in FBS which will have some more programme information included. You’ll also get lots of detail from your programme leader during welcome week.

Do I need to provide my core reading texts? 

We have a large number of core reading texts in the University libraries, many of these are also available as e-books. If you wish to buy your own books you may wish to look for good quality pre-owned text books.  For example, UnidBooks (pronounced you need books) is an online marketplace for Leeds students to buy and sell second handbooks.

What facilities are available for my course, and how can I take advantage of them?

We have dedicated teaching laboratories which house our specialised equipment, helping you develop cutting edge laboratory and practical skills appropriate to your degree of study.  You will have access to these as part of your programme. In addition, the University libraries offer individual study space, bookable space for groups, and a variety of text and online resources.

What is the role of course representatives and how do I volunteer?

Being a course representative will enhance your learning experience by voicing and challenging academic issues. The role can help you build relationships with both staff and students so you can work together to provide an exceptional learning experience. You’ll represent students from your course in School meetings (and in other more informal settings), provide positive and constructive critical feedback to University and School staff and work in partnership to develop solutions where issues arise.

The FBS Student Support and Engagement Team will be in touch with further information about applying for this role but if you would like to register your interest now please email fbswellbeing@leeds.ac.uk 

Are there any societies I can join for the school/programme?

Yes, there’s the FOBSOC which is a society for students studying Biological Sciences, visit Leeds University Union Clubs & Societies.

Are there any peer mentoring schemes operating in my school?

As a Level 2 and 3 student there will be an opportunity to get involved in peer mentoring a group of Level 1 student via the PALS, this helps them get settled into University life, and provide a supportive environment during their first year.     

How does assessment work on my programme?

Most modules have some in course assessment and final assessment. The assessments will include a variety of types, including multiple choice questions, multiple response questions, in-course lab reports, group work, lab reports plus many more. Your programme leader will give you more details during welcome week. 

Examinations in the January and May/June exam period will be mainly completed online.  In course assessment will be a combination of in person assessment (e.g. presentations) and assessment types submitted online.

I’m a postgraduate student

What do I need to do before I arrive?

You’ll need to read the welcome materials from the beginning of September which you can access via your University email account. Familiarise yourself with Minerva and PebblePad by accessing the digital education resources. Download MS TEAMS and Zoom-you can find more information about these digital platforms via the University of Leeds IT webpage. We would also strongly advise you to make use of any of resources which have been recommended by you Programme Leader, these are designed to prepare you for studying at the University of Leeds, and refamiliarise you with content in preparation for your programme of study. You can find these via the Minerva organisation PGT students, navigating to your Faculty and/or programme of study.

How will my programme be delivered this year?

We will continue to offer an engaging and effective learning experience, with teaching delivered in-person on campus, supplemented with some digital content where it adds learning value (e.g. as preparation and as a pre-cursor to face to face delivery). We will continue to deliver active learning (e.g. through seminars, tutorials and practical work), which means we expect you to engage with the content so that you maximize your learning. There will be multiple opportunities to engage with academic staff and with other students on your course through small group teaching and group work. Remember, Masters level study requires a high-level of independence and so we will expect you to prepare for your teaching sessions and read around the material we provide to extend your learning.

What does my induction timetable look like?

Your welcome week timetable will consist of live sessions with your programme leader and peers, meetings with your personal tutor and tutor group, employability talks and community events to help you meet friends on your course and others within your school. You will also have time to explore the myriad of opportunities available to you from across the University, including the many clubs and societies we support.

Will I be required to attend face to face sessions?

We expect you to attend everything in your welcome week timetable. Welcome week is busy, and we talk about lots of different things that will enable you to navigate life at the University, as well as becoming an engaged member of the Faculty of Biological Sciences Community. The events should mean that you are well prepare for your first week of learning.

How will I meet my academic personal tutor? How will academic personal tutoring work?

You’ll meet your academic personal tutor (APT) in introduction week as a small group. Throughout semester 1 and 2 you will one-to-one meetings with your tutor.  Meetings with your tutor normally held in their office or in a faculty meeting room.  You will be advised by your tutor of potential times and dates to attend these meetings. You can prepare for these meetings using PebblePad, a digital platform that asks you to complete workbooks reflecting on specific things such as your strengths, skills set, career development, and personal goals and ambitions.  These then set the agenda for your meeting with your APT in which you will discuss exciting developments in science, your academic interests, ambitions and importantly your progress in adapting to studies and life at Leeds. You can find more about Academic Personal Tutorials and our approach to these using the dedicated pages on the Faculty’s Minerva Pages.

Find out more about academic personal tutoring.

Where can I go for support?

For questions relating to teaching, such as module enrolment, exams, changing of any modules/course, assessment and assignments, contact the Operations team at: fbseducation@leeds.ac.uk. For questions about pastoral support, such as mitigating circumstances, wellbeing of students, mental health services and disabilities, contact the Student Support team at fbswellbeing@leeds.ac.uk.

You can also contact your Academic Personal Tutor (APT) for support and will be able to signpost you to University, and Faculty level support services and individuals.

For support with academic content in modules, at first contact the module manager, for broader programme related issues you can contact your programme leader.  The names and contact details of these individuals will be available on Minerva.  You should normally expect a response to an email within 48 working hours.

Finally, Leeds University Union have a help and support available on a wide range of issues that is available and free to all University of Leeds students.

Where do I turn if I need extra academic support?

Academic skills support will be available through the module teaching but for more general support skills@library is the best place to visit. You may also wish to discuss what type of academic support you think you need with your Academic Personal Tutor and they should be able to signpost you accordingly.

How will I find out more about my programme?

First of all look at the Faculty of Biological Sciences webpages, then during September you will have access to a Minerva organisation for students in FBS which will have some more programme information included. You’ll also get lots of detail from your programme leader during welcome week.

How will I get to know other students?

Masters courses tend to be taught in relatively small groups (in many instances) and involve a large amount of interactivity with academic colleagues and with other students through group activity or discussions in group settings. You will therefore get to know groups of students studying the same or similar courses as you. During welcome week, there are some community events planned which will enable you to get to know more students on your course.  You can also take advantage of the myriad of opportunities available to you from across the University, including the many support groups and  clubs and societies we offer to get to know other people.

What welcome activities do you have planned to welcome new students?

We have community events run by students, welcome sessions from programme leaders and academic personal tutors. There will also be sessions ran by our wider Faculty community.

Are there any specialist software or systems that I need for my programme and where do I find out information about it?

Any specialist software you require for studying your course will be introduced to you during welcome week or as the course progresses.

Where can I access resources for my studies? 

You will be given access to equipment and consumables as part of your degree programme. You may also wish to consider what resources the University libraries offer to support your study.

Do I need to provide my core reading texts? 

We have a large number of core reading texts in the University libraries, many of these are also available as e-books. If you wish to buy your own books you may wish to look for good quality pre-owned text books.  For example, UnidBooks (pronounced you need books) is an online marketplace for Leeds students to buy and sell second handbooks. However, it is important to note, that a substantial part of your reading will be of published peer-reviewed journals instead of text-books. The University library has an excellent collection of online journals and you will be able to access the readings through the online collection.

What facilities are available for my course, and how can I take advantage of them?

We have a variety of cutting edge facilities housing specialist equipment.  You will be able to use these as part of your degree programme.  The University also offers a dedicated learning space for postgraduates.

What is the role of course representatives and how do I volunteer?

Being a course representative will enhance your learning experience by voicing and challenging academic issues. The role helps you build relationships with both staff and students so you can work together to provide an exceptional learning experience. You will represent students from your course in School meetings (and in other more informal settings). You will provide positive and constructive critical feedback to University and School staff. You will work in partnership to develop solutions where issues arise.

The FBS Student Support and Engagement Team will be in touch with further information about applying for this role but if you would like to register your interest now please email fbswellbeing@leeds.ac.uk  

Are there any societies I can join for the school/programme?

Yes there is FOBSOC which is a society for students studying Biological Sciences.

How does assessment work on my programme?

Assessment is primarily through continuous coursework with the exception of a few modules that have end of module exams. Assessment type varies by module and programme and are aligned to the aims of the module and the overall programme ethos. Details of assessment types will have been communicated to you during open days and/or other forms of communications and will be explained further during welcome week.

Where can I find relevant career information for postgraduate students?

A good place to start is our University of Leeds Careers Centre

We also have our own FBS employability team who can provide advice, you will meet them in welcome week.  You might also start a conversation with your APT about careers options, and some of the content in Pebblepad will initiate discussion around careers and employability.

Where can I find opportunities for work to develop my career? 

The University My Career website is a good starting point you can search for volunteer opportunities and/or paid work which will help you develop skills and knowledge in a variety of areas.

Other useful links