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.

Make sure you read the ‘all students’ info first – this covers things like tasks you need to complete before the start of term, safety procedures on your course and where to go for more information or support.

Then scroll to the section that applies to you – new student or returning 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.

All Students

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 by accessing the digital education resources. You can also read the weekly newsletter, which will be sent to your University email address.  

If you’re an existing student 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 (just because it’s been a while!) 

Will I be required to attend face-to-face sessions? 

In semester 1, most of the teaching activities will be delivered online. There may be some group teaching of small groups delivered on campus if it’s safe to do so. However, we anticipate that teaching will be largely or fully online at the start of term with the hope of face-to-face small group teaching in the following weeks. 

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

How will practical or lab sessions be managed? 

In semester 1, we’ll use recorded demonstrations, videos and simulations to introduce key practical techniques online. You’ll be designing experiments, conducting these online, capturing results and analysing data as you would in the laboratory. You will be working independently and within groups with support from academic staff. In semester 2 you will then be applying the skills you have developed in the online environment, in the laboratory, if it’s safe to do so adhering to government guidance.  

How will I be able to provide feedback on the delivery of my modules? 

You can do this through your student representative, or through the online discussion boards on each module, and at the end of the semester you will be asked to complete a survey about your experiences on each module.  

How will I have my say on my programme and school? 

We always welcome any feedback on the programmes and modules. There are several ways to let us know what you think. You can feed back via online discussion boards in Minerva, talking to your academic personal tutor or your course and school representatives, who will highlight your feedback in a Student:Staff forum which takes place each semester.  

I’m a new student 

What does my induction timetable look like? 

Your induction timetable will be a mixture of pre-recorded presentations, live sessions to introduce yourself to your programme leaders 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.

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

You’ll meet your academic personal tutor in induction week as a small group. This will be via our established digital platforms such as Microsoft TEAMS group. Throughout semester 1 and 2 you’ll have one-to-one meetings with your tutor to discuss exciting developments in science, your academic interests, ambitions and importantly your progress in adapting to studies and life at Leeds.  One-to-one tutorials will initially be online and then transition to face-to-face as soon as it’s safe and to do so.  

How will I find out more about my programme? 

Feel free to look at the Faculty of Biological Sciences webpages and then by the 14th of 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 induction week. 

How will I get to know other students? 

Your course will be predominantly online and 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 induction week, there are some community events planned which will help you to get to know more students on your course.  

What welcome activities do you have planned to welcome me to the Faculty of Biological Sciences? 

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

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, and Microsoft TEAMS. 

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 or SportsSoc for students studying sports science, visit Leeds University Union Clubs & Societies.

Are there any peer mentoring schemes operating in my school?  

Yes, during induction week, we will introduce you to a group of year 2 and 3 students who will act as your peer mentors. 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 initial peer mentors.  

How does assessment work on my programme and what support is provided with academic skills? 

All modules have some in course assessment and final assessment. In semester 1 this year, all examinations will take place during the semester, there will be no examination period in January as we are hoping we can do some induction activities on campus face-to-face.  

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 induction week.  

Academic skills support will be available through the module teaching but for more general support skills@library is the best place to visit.  

I’m a Post Graduate student 

How will my programme be delivered this year? 

In semester 1, most of the teaching activities will be delivered online in an interactive and stimulating way. There may be scope for small group teaching to be delivered on campus if safe and practical to do so in line with social distancing rules. However, we anticipate that teaching will largely or fully be online at the start of term with the hope of face-to-face small group teaching occurring in the weeks that follow. 

How will my learning experience be different to last year?  

Most of the sessions in semester 1 will be delivered online. There will be a mixture of pre-recorded materials tailored to the online teaching style, with activities and interaction embedded in this method. Some lectures will be delivered live, with pre work, group activities to complete and appropriately designed assessment. Where possible we will try to deliver some face-to-face teaching when the government and University guidance allows.  

Will I be required to attend face-to-face sessions? 

We will do everything we can to make the campus a safe place for students to return to. However, we appreciate that you still may not be able to return to Leeds, and with this in mind the Faculty are currently working to make sure that we can deliver teaching resources and remote support for you if you are unable to be on campus this semester.   

Will I meet my academic personal tutor face-to-face? 

Your tutorials will be online initially. We hope we can transition to face-to-face personal tutorials as soon as possible.  

Where can I go for support? How is this different from last year? 

Support will still be provided by the FBS Student Support and Engagement Team, you can contact them using fbswellbeing@leeds.ac.uk. Personal tutorials will still take place and for semester 1 these will be online through MS TEAMS, you’ll be added to the Team of your personal tutor by the start of term. The University has a wealth of support services and these will all be available to you, if in any doubt about where to go to for help please contact fbswellbeing@leeds.ac.uk  

What do I need to do before I arrive? 

Read the welcome materials sent out by the University 

From beginning of September access your University email account 

Access the digital education resources so you are familiar with accessing Minerva 

Read the weekly newsletter sent to your University email address by the Faculty of Biological Sciences  

What does my induction timetable look like? 

A mixture of pre-recorded presentations, live sessions to introduce yourself to your programme leaders and peers, meetings with your personal tutor and tutor group, and community events to help you meet friends on your course  

Will I be required to attend face to face sessions? 

In semester 1, teaching activities will be delivered online in an interactive and stimulating way. We intend to deliver some face to face teaching during the first semester if safe and practical to do so in line with social distancing rules in place at the time. The balance between remote teaching and face to face teaching will vary by degree programme, details of which will be communicated to you by your parent School. For students who are unable to arrive in Leeds at the start of term due to e.g. complexities of travel arrangements, caring responsibilities or health-related issues, we will continue to ensure students are able to engage with teaching and learning at distance during this period  

How will practical or lab sessions be managed? 

This will depend on your programme of study. In some cases, we have restructured the programme so that practical provision will be delivered later on in the semester or in semester 2 to maximise opportunities for hands-on face to face practical provision. In other cases, we will use recorded demonstrations, videos or  simulations to introduce key practical techniques online, supplemented by face to face sessions. Overall, our intention is to deliver the content of the course as described to you during open days or through other communications..  

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

You will meet your academic personal tutor in induction week as a small group. This will be via our established digital platforms such as Microsoft TEAMS group. Then throughout semester 1 and 2 you will have one to one meetings with your tutor to discuss exciting developments in science, your academic interests, ambitions and importantly your progress in adapting to studies and life at Leeds. One to One tutorials will initially be online transition to face to face as soon as it is safe and practicable to do so.  

How will I find out more about my programme? 

Feel free to look at the webpages on www.fbs.leeds.ac.uk and then by the 14th of September you will have access to a Minerva organisation for Level 1 students in FBS which will have some more programme information included. You will also get lots of detail from your programme leader during induction 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 induction week, there are some community events planned which will enable you to get to know more students on your course.  

What welcome activities do you have planned to welcome me to the Faculty of Biological Sciences? 

Community events run by students, welcomes sessions from programme leaders and academic personal tutors. 

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 induction week or as the course progresses.  

How will I have my say on my programme and school? 

We always welcome any feedback on the programmes and modules. There are several routes to engage with this, via online discussion boards in Minerva, talking to your academic personal tutor and engaging with your course and school representatives who will highlight your feedback in a student staff forum which take place each semester.  

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 or SportsSoc for students studying sports science.  

 How will I be able to provide feedback on the delivery of my modules? 

You can do this through your student representative, or through the online discussion boards on each module, also at the end of the semester you will asked to complete a survey about your experiences on each module.  

How does assessment work on my programme and what support is provided with academic skills? 

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 induction week. Academic skills development will be available through the module teaching but for more general support skills@library is the best place to visit.  

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