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Description

Programme Specification for the 2019/0 academic year

MSci (Hons) Biological Sciences

1. Programme Details

Programme nameMSci (Hons) Biological Sciences Programme codeUFX4BIOBIO01
Study mode(s)Level 1
Academic year2019/0
Campus(es)Streatham (Exeter)
NQF Level of the Final Award7 (Masters)

2. Description of the Programme

The BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences programme is a popular and flexible degree programme, giving you the option to design either a broad-based biology degree or a more focused degree specialising in areas of biology that interest you. You will have the opportunity to follow one of three specialisms – animal biology, microbiology and infectious disease or molecular and cellular biology – and graduate with your chosen specialism named as part of your degree title if you wish (ie BSc Biological Sciences (Animal Biology) or Biological Sciences (Microbiology and Infectious Disease) or Biological Sciences (Molecular and Cellular Biology)). After a foundation first year, which covers the range of biology from molecules to ecosystems, you have significant freedom of module choice in your second and final years. Options range from forensic science to the ecology of environmental change; from mammalian biology to the molecular basis of infection; from advanced cell biology to a coral reef field course. You can shape your degree as you wish – following one of the named specialisms outlined above, or in other areas, or keeping your biological choices broad.

3. Educational Aims of the Programme

The general aims of this programme are:

To provide education intended to give you competence in Biosciences, and to encourage you to develop your intellectual capabilities within an institution that is committed to advancing research, scholarship and learning, and to disseminating knowledge.

More specifically, this programme aims:

  • To provide you with knowledge and understanding of biology from the fundamentals to the frontiers of the subject.
  • To provide you with the basic scientific, intellectual, and practical training that will prepare you for lifelong learning, and, if you wish, for a career in biosciences research.
  • To enable you to think critically, evaluate evidence, analyse, challenge, solve problems, work collaboratively, and communicate effectively.
  • To enable you to experience a supportive learning environment that fosters your academic and personal development.

4. Programme Structure

5. Programme Modules

The following tables describe the programme and constituent modules. Constituent modules may be updated, deleted or replaced as a consequence of the annual programme review of this programme. Details of the modules currently offered may be obtained from the College web site

http://biosciences.exeter.ac.uk/current/

You may take optional modules as long as any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.

You may take up to 30 credits of elective modules outside of the programme in the second and third years and up to 15 credits outside of the programme in the final year as long as you have obtained the explicit permission of the Programme Director, any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module. Alternative elective modules at stage 4 may be selected from existing MSc-level modules (level 7).

You are also permitted to take the five, ten or 15 credit Professional Development Experience modules BIO3910, BIO3911 or BIO3912 in the second or final years. Registration on these modules is subject to a competitive application process. If taken, these modules will not count towards progression or award calculation.

Stage 1


120 credits of compulsory modules

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
BIO1331 Animals 15No
BIO1332 Biochemistry 15No
BIO1333 Fundamental Principles for Bioscientists 15No
BIO1334 Genetics 15No
BIO1336 Ecology 15No
BIO1337 Microbiology 15No
BIO1338 Plants 15No
BIO1339 Cells 15No

Stage 2


15 credits of compulsory modules, 105 credits of optional modules

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
BIO2071 Research Skills and Bioethics 15No

Optional Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
BioS S2 BSc-MSci Bio opt 2019-0
BIO2066 Forensic Science 15 No
BIO2074 Marine Biology 15 No
BIO2076 Ecology and Environment 15 No
BIO2078 Medical and General Microbiology 15 No
BIO2081 Coral Reef Field Course 15 No
BIO2082 Animal Ecophysiology 15 No
BIO2086 Metabolism 15 No
BIO2088 Advanced Cell Biology 15 No
BIO2089 Molecular Biology of the Gene 15 No
BIO2090 Analytical Techniques in Biochemistry 15 No
BIO2092 Genomics and Introductory Bioinformatics 15 No
BIO2093 Modern Theories of Evolution 15 No
BIO2094 Molecular Microbiology 15 No
BIO2096 Practical Skills in Field Ecology 15 No
BIO2099 Molecular Plant Science 15 No
CSC2004 Medical Genetics 15 No
PSY2214 Observations and Experiments in Animal Behaviour 15 No
PSY2217 Wild Behaviour 15 No

Stage 3


45 credits of compulsory modules, 75 credits of optional modules

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
BIO3096 Biosciences Research Project 45Yes

Optional Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
BioS SF BSc-S3 MSci Bio opt 2019-0
BIO3037 Ecology of Environmental Change 15 No
BIO3041 Pharmacology and Medicinal Chemistry 15 No
BIO3067 Ecotoxicology 15 No
BIO3077 Frontiers in Molecular Cell Biology 15 No
BIO3078 Cellular Basis of Immunity 15 No
BIO3079 Molecular Basis of Infection 15 No
BIO3082 Science Communication 15 No
BIO3083 Current Issues in Marine Biology 15 No
BIO3085 Horizons of Biochemical Research 15 No
BIO3086 Cell Biology of Disease 15 No
BIO3091 Animal Developmental Biology 15 No
BIO3092 Bioinformatics 15 No
BIO3093 Energy Metabolism 15 No
BIO3098 Biology of Marine Vertebrates 15 No
CSC4003 Psychology Applied to Health 15 No
BIO3097 Living in a Microbial World 15 No

Stage 4


105 credits of compulsory modules, 15 credits of optional modules

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
BIOM518 Research Project 75Yes
BIOM509 Professional Skills 15No
BIOM527 Research Grant Proposal 15No

Optional Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
BioS SF MSci Bio opt 2019-0
BIOM528 Advanced Topics in Biological Sciences 15 No
BIOM514 Secondary Metabolites 15 No
BIOM515 Cellular Basis of Immunity 15 No
BIOM516 Bioinformatics 15 No
BIOM517 Energy Metabolism 15 No
NSCM009 Bioimaging 15 No

6. Programme Outcomes Linked to Teaching, Learning and Assessment Methods

Intended Learning Outcomes
A: Specialised Subject Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

1. Explain broadly all levels of biological organisation (molecular, cellular, organismal and ecological).
2. Describe in detail essential facts and theory in at least one subdiscipline of biology (e.g. molecular and cellular biology or organismal biology and ecology), including any subdiscipline named in brackets in the degree title.
3. Describe and critically evaluate aspects of current research in the biosciences with reference to reviews and research articles.
4. Design and undertake experimental scientific research in a subdiscipline of biology.
5. Develop a rigorous approach to scientific reporting through synthesising information and concepts, exercising evaluative judgement and rational analysis, with respect to a subdiscipline of biology.

Within the programme, teaching and learning activities are designed to encourage a progressive acquisition of subject knowledge and skills by moving from study methods that have a greater degree of support and assistance towards more independent learning.

The programme uses a diversity of teaching and learning methods: lectures, laboratory classes, research projects, group work and may optionally include a residential field course.

Typically a 15-credit module would consist of 15-20 x 1-hour lectures in which the core subject material will be provided. The lecture notes will be available via the University of Exeter Virtual Learning Environment and references to outside reading will be made available. Laboratory classes will normally run for either 3 or 5 hours and you will be provided with a written schedule describing in detail the experimental procedures. You will normally work in groups (2-5 individuals depending on stage) with an expectation that the workload is divided equally.

Some laboratory classes form the basis of assessment and require the submission of a final laboratory report. This will normally require data analysis in the form of tables and graphs. There is also an expectation that the data generated will be used in some subsequent calculations and analysis. Discussion of the findings or answers to short questions will be used to provide evidence of knowledge gained.

The stage 3 research project will normally take place in the 1st term where you will undertake a project in a research group followed by production of a written report in the 2nd term. If the project is literature-based, you will normally receive feedback on a draft report before production of the written report in the 2nd term.

The stage 4 research project is taken by all MSci students, and normally takes place in the 1st and 2nd term. Research will be followed by the production of a written report and oral presentation. This project is conducted alongside a research group but with a greater degree of independence than the stage 3 project. The stage 3 and stage 4 projects may be conducted alongside either the same or different research groups. However, if continuing to work alongside the same research group, the stage 4 project must be sufficiently distinct, and as a minimum be an extension of rather than a continuation of the stage 3 project.

The programme uses a diversity of formative and summative assessment methods such as: essay examinations, short answer and multiple choice tests (MCQ), practical work and reports, quantitative (numerical) problems, project reports, oral presentations.

Intended Learning Outcomes
B: Academic Discipline Core Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

6. With limited guidance, deploy established techniques of analysis, practical investigation, and enquiry within the biological sciences.
7. Apply a range of appropriate skills to produce an independent piece of work informed by research.

See above.

See above.

Intended Learning Outcomes
C: Personal/Transferable/Employment Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

8. Communicate ideas effectively and professionally by written, oral and visual means.
9. Study autonomously and undertake projects with minimum guidance.
10. Select and properly manage information drawn from books, journals, and the internet.
11. Interact effectively in a group.
12. Interact effectively with research staff beyond your peer group.
13. Synthesise information and ideas from disparate subject areas to formulate testable hypotheses.

See above.

See above.

7. Programme Regulations

Programme-specific Progression Rules

To progress to stage 3 you must achieve a credit-weighted stage average of at least 65% in stage 2, otherwise you will be required to transfer to the relevant 3-year BSc programme if progression criteria for this programme have been achieved.

Programme-specific Award Rules

At the end of stage 3, you may be permitted to exit with a BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences provided that you have achieved 360 credits in total, you have taken no more than 150 credits at level 4 and at least 90 credits at level 6 or 7. If you do exit with a BSc (Hons) the award will normally be based on the degree mark formed from the credit weighted average marks for stages 2 and 3 combined in the ratio 1:2 respectively.

You can graduate with specialist named variants of the standard MSci (Hons) Biological Sciences degree. The specialist named variants are Biological Sciences (Animal Biology), Biological Sciences (Microbiology and Infectious Disease), and Biological Sciences (Molecular and Cellular Biology). The conditions for graduating with a named specialism are as follows:

Single Honours in Biological Sciences (Animal Biology)

The programme comprises modules as for Single Honours Biological Sciences, including at least 90 level 5/level 6 (i.e. stage 2 and stage 3) credits from these specialist modules (which must include at least 60 credits from non-project modules) plus at least 75 level 7 (i.e. stage 4) credits:

Code

Title

Credits

BIO2074

Marine Biology

15

BIO2081

Coral Reef Field Course

15

BIO2082

Animal Ecophysiology

15

BIO2096

Practical Skills in Field Ecology

15

BIO3096

Biosciences Research Project*

45

BIO3067

Ecotoxicology

15

BIO3083

Current Issues in Marine Biology

15

BIO3091

Animal Developmental Biology

15

BIO3098

Biology of Marine Vertebrates

15

PSY2214

Observations and Experiments in Animal Behaviour

15

PSY2217

Wild Behaviour

15

Single Honours in Biological Sciences (Microbiology and Infectious Disease)

The programme comprises modules as for Single Honours Biological Sciences, including at least 90 level 5/level 6 (i.e. stage 2 and stage 3) credits from these specialist modules (which must include at least 60 credits from non-project modules) plus at least 75 level 7 (i.e. stage 4) credits:

Code

Title

Credits

BIO2078

Medical and General Microbiology

15

BIO2089

Molecular Biology of the Gene

15

BIO2094

Molecular Microbiology

15

BIO3078

Cellular Basis of Immunity

15

BIO3079

Molecular Basis of Infection

15

BIO3096*

Biosciences Research Project*

45

Single Honours in Biological Sciences (Molecular and Cellular Biology)

The programme comprises modules as for Single Honours Biological Sciences, including at least 90 level 5/level 6 (i.e. stage 2 and stage 3) credits from these specialist modules (which must include at least 60 credits from non-project modules) plus at least 75 level 7 (i.e. stage 4) credits:

Code

Title

Credits

BIO2088

Advanced Cell Biology

15

BIO2089

Molecular Biology of the Gene

15

BIO2092

Genomics and Introductory Bioinformatics

15

BIO3077

Frontiers in Molecular Cell Biology

15

BIO3078

Cellular Basis of Immunity

15

BIO3086

Cell Biology of Disease

15

BIO3092

Bioinformatics

15

BIO3096*

Biosciences Research Project*

45

*Projects do not automatically relate to the named specialisms. If you wish your third and final year project to count towards a named specialism you must take one that has been designated as such. Specialist designation of all modules and projects will be confirmed by Biosciences and may be granted, withdrawn or amended by the Biosciences (Streatham) Undergraduate Education Committee. In matters of specialist designation for MSci Biological Sciences, the decision of the Board of Examiners is final.

Classification

Full details of assessment regulations for all taught programmes can be found in the TQA Manual, specifically in the Credit and Qualifications Framework, and the Assessment, Progression and Awarding: Taught Programmes Handbook. Additional information, including Generic Marking Criteria, can be found in the Learning and Teaching Support Handbook.

8. College Support for Students and Students' Learning

You will be allocated a personal tutor for the duration of your studies. Their role is to both instil in you a sense of academic rigour and thinking, and to provide you with advice and support for the duration of the programme. This includes working with you to decide the appropriate optional module choices, and research project areas, and extends to providing you with details of how to obtain support and guidance on personal difficulties such as accommodation, financial difficulties and sickness. Project supervisors provide further academic and tutorial support once you move on to the research component of the programme in stages 3 and 4. There is also a Programme Director for the MSci (Hons) in Biological Sciences who follows the cohort through to graduation and who will monitor student absences and progress, and meet any students needing additional support. You can also expect reasonable access to individual teaching staff through appointments. The Biosciences website and online Exeter Learning Environment (ELE) includes the student handbook and learning materials, and you have access to computers and printers within the University. You will also have access to the Biosciences external seminar speaker series where leading researchers are invited to give research seminars. The Biosciences Student/Staff Liaison Committee enables students and staff to jointly participate in the management and review of the teaching and learning provision.

9. University Support for Students and Students' Learning

Please refer to the University Academic Policy and Standards guidelines regarding support for students and students' learning.

10. Admissions Criteria

Undergraduate applicants must satisfy the Undergraduate Admissions Policy of the University of Exeter.

Postgraduate applicants must satisfy the Postgraduate Admissions Policy of the University of Exeter.

Specific requirements required to enrol on this programme are available at the respective Undergraduate or Postgraduate Study Site webpages.

11. Regulation of Assessment and Academic Standards

Each academic programme in the University is subject to an agreed College assessment and marking strategy, underpinned by institution-wide assessment procedures.

The security of assessment and academic standards is further supported through the appointment of External Examiners for each programme. External Examiners have access to draft papers, course work and examination scripts. They are required to attend the Board of Examiners and to provide an annual report. Annual External Examiner reports are monitored at both College and University level. Their responsibilities are described in the University's code of practice. See the University's TQA Manual for details.

(http://as.exeter.ac.uk/support/admin/staff/qualityassuranceandmonitoring/tqamanual/fullcontents/)

12. Indicators of Quality and Standards

The programme is not subject to accreditation and/ or review by professional and statutory regulatory bodies (PSRBs).

13. Methods for Evaluating and Improving Quality and Standards

The University and its constituent Colleges draw on a range of data to review the quality of educational provision. The College documents the performance in each of its taught programmes, against a range of criteria on an annual basis through the Annual Programme Monitoring cycle:

  • Admissions, progression and completion data
  • In Year Analysis data
  • Previous monitoring report
  • Monitoring of core (and optional) modules
  • External examiner's reports and University and College responses (reported to SSLC)
  • Any Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body/accrediting body or other external reports
  • Consultation with employers and former students
  • Staff evaluation
  • Student evaluation
  • Programme aims

Subject areas are reviewed every four years through a periodic subject review scheme that includes external contributions. (http://admin.exeter.ac.uk/academic/tls/tqa/Part%209/9JREVISEDPSRSCHEME.pdf)

14. Awarding Institution

University of Exeter

15. Lead College / Teaching Institution

College of Life and Environmental Sciences (CLES)

16. Partner College / Institution

Partner College(s)

Not applicable to this programme

Partner Institution

Not applicable to this programme.

17. Programme Accredited / Validated by

Not applicable to this programme.

18. Final Award

MSci (Hons) Biological Sciences

19. UCAS Code

C103

20. NQF Level of Final Award

7 (Masters)

21. Credit

CATS credits ECTS credits

22. QAA Subject Benchmarking Group

Level 1

23. Dates

Origin Date

10/12/2018

Date of last revision

19/03/2019