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1. Personalised approach to your learning

Lectures are delivered in small class sizes (currently 20 or fewer students depending on the course), so that there is plenty of scope for discussion and debate with both your lecturer and your fellow students, allowing everyone to learn from each other. A good example of this is when studying fermentation in MD5005: Microbiology, involving the research of fermented foods from around the world, with our international students introducing us to new experiences, occasionally with surprising results

2. Practical sessions are an integral part of course delivery

Biotechnology is a practical discipline and the acquisition of practical skills is therefore important for your employability. Most courses in your first two years of study involve laboratory-based practical sessions and you will have up to two of these four hour sessions each week. In these, you work in pairs (to support each other) but each student is expected to perform the experiment themselves. Furthermore, at the end of the second year, you will undertake a module (MD5006: Applied Laboratory Skills) which involves intensive laboratory work (currently 40 hours per week over a 4 week period) in which you conduct a series of mini-research projects. While students are often daunted by this experience at the outset, they usually end up enjoying the experience.

3. Greater emphasis is placed on coursework assessment than exams

We place more emphasis on coursework, rather than formal examination for your assessment, which more closely mirrors real-life situations. Indeed in many modules, assessment is now based on coursework alone. Coursework assessments are varied and include critical essays, oral and poster presentations, practical write-ups, case studies and blogs, and in the third year these offer considerable scope for you to pursue your own interests. A particularly pertinent example of this is where one student chose to present his case study assessment on SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which is caused by the SARS coronavirus, in the optional third year module, MD6015: Pathogenesis of infectious disease.

4. Full academic support is available throughout the three years of study

Students receive support to successfully complete all their assessments. Our students come from diverse backgrounds with a range of different experiences so that not all of them come equipped with the skills necessary to complete assignments. To help students prepare for their assessments, we run a standalone first year module, MD4304: Research methods, which helps equip students with all the basic information and skills that they need to successfully complete their assignments. Study skills are further embedded in all courses and there are many opportunities to receive feedback on draft submissions, which can really help students progress with their studies.

5. Your studies culminate in a research project 

This forms the capstone of your study at UCS. For the module MD6001: Research dissertation, which is a double module, you have the opportunity to perform an independent laboratory-based research project to answer a basic or applied scientific question, which can be geared to suit your particular interests. This can allow you to gain extensive experience of a highly specialised laboratory technique, such as mammalian cell culture, and there are opportunities to perform this in conjunction with industry. For example, several students chose to look at essential oils as alternatives to antibiotics, in collaboration with a local animal feed manufacturer, whereas other students have performed their research project with the local NHS Assisted Conception Unit, looking at how the freezing of blastocysts in in vitro fertilisation procedures influences pregnancy outcome.

If you would like to find out more about being a student at University Centre Shrewsbury, you can chat to one of students here

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