We are delighted to welcome you to the School of Biological Sciences. You are joining an active student body and a vibrant teaching and research community. We will do our best to support and inspire you as you undertake your learning experience. We are delighted to champion the fact that nature is on our doorstep and as you begin to travel to Aberdeen we will send you prompts and advice to make sure that you are able to enjoy our surroundings.

Postgraduate Taught

January 2022

IMPORTANT - Induction activities in Welcome Week

It is essential that students starting their studies in January 2021 are on campus from Tues 18th January to attend some induction sessions and academic skills training (18-20th Jan) and the masters project fair which launches student selection of research projects (21th Jan). Courses then start on Mon 24th Jan.

Engagement with peers & staff

You will meet regularly with other students and teaching staff on your courses and will also have opportunity to meet individually with your Programme Coordinator when you wish to.

We will be teaching seminars, tutorials, practicals and lectures to smaller classes on campus, and there will be day field trips during courses and residential field courses in the Spring vacation. Some larger lecture classes and computer classes will be taught synchronously online (due to lack of teaching rooms with sufficient capacity to accommodate large classes with social distancing). We have gained a lot of experience of doing this very successfully during the past year, using breakout rooms to enable students to interact with each other and also get one-to-one help from staff and PhD student demonstrators.

Reading Lists

If you would like to do some background reading/study before starting your MSc (this is not compulsory) you may find the following recommendations helpful; feel free to browse all categories, whichever MSc you are doing. Many texts will be free to access online once you have your University of Aberdeen login.

Statistics

Marine topics

  • Levinton J (2017) Marine Biology: Function, Biodiversity, Ecology. A good introductory text.
  • Kaiser MJ, Attrill MJ, Jennings S (2020) Marine Ecology: Processes, Systems and Impacts. A newly revised overview (released on 6 Aug), 2011 edition still OK).
  • Probert PK (2017) Marine Conservation


 
Environmental/soil topics

  • Duarte, A.C., Cachada, A., Rocha-Santos, T.A.P. (Eds.), 2017. Soil Pollution: From Monitoring to Remediation. Academic Press.
  • Blume, H.-P., Brümmer, G. W., Fleige, H., Horn, R., Kandeler, E., Kögel-Knabner, I., et al. (2016). Scheffer/Schachtschabel Soil Science. Berlin: Springer Verlag

General ecology/conservation

  • Begon, Townsend and Harper (2006) Ecology: From individuals to ecosystems. Blackwell (other editions with slightly different titles and order of authors are also fine). A good introductory text.
  • Crawley, Michael J (1997) Plant Ecology. Blackwell Science
  • "Popular" reading about current ecology, conservation and rewilding issues in the UK: Tree, Isabella (2019) Rewilding: The return of nature to a British farm. MacDonald, Benedict (2020) Rebirding: Rewilding Britain and its birds.  
Assessment

Our PGT assessments are mainly coursework, with a few online tests (but no exams). If any students have to study online due to exceptional circumstances, we will make special arrangements for their participation in on campus assessment activities such as groupwork and presentations.

Practicals and fieldwork

Practicals

As far as possible, practicals will be held on campus, with social distancing being observed in laboratories and computer classrooms.

Field trips

We will run day field trips within courses. We plan to run our residential field courses in the Spring vacation 2022.

Things to do in Aberdeen

We are excited to be welcoming our new students to Aberdeen over the next couple of months. We are aware that many of you might arrive in Aberdeen before the start of the Semester and would like to share our handy Nature on our Doorstep guide for information on things to do and see in and around Aberdeen.

Undergraduate

September 2021

Engagement with peers & staff

We are planning for our campus to be open and for most students to be with us in Aberdeen. We plan to teach seminars, tutorials, practicals and lectures to small classes on campus, and field trips in the local area. Larger lecture classes and large computer classes will be taught synchronously online. We have gained a lot of experience of doing this very successfully during the past year, using breakout rooms to enable students to interact with each other and also get one-to-one help from staff and PhD student demonstrators.

Any students who are not able to get to Aberdeen due to travel restrictions will be able to follow courses online, with all course materials - including lecture recordings - provided to all students in our virtual learning platform "MyAberdeen". Students in this position are welcome to join us in Aberdeen at any time during the year, as travel rules allow.

Whether you are studying with us on campus or online, there will be regular opportunities for you to meet other students and key staff, such as your Programme Coordinator, Course Coordinators and lecturers.

Reading Lists

Reading lists for individual courses will be available through MyAberdeen later in the summer. In the meantime, you can brush up your study skills and learn more about the University at our award-winning Toolkit website.

Some specific suggestions for readings are as follows: 

Level 2

(For BI2020 Ecology) Schilthuizen, M (2008) The Loom of Life:  Unravelling Ecosystems.  Springer-Verlap, Berlin

(For BI2017 Genes and Evolution) Carey N (2012) The Epigenetics Revolution:  How Modern Biology is Rewriting Our Understanding of Genetics, Disease and Inheritance.

 

Level 3

(Animal Behaviour, Behavioural Biology) Budiansky, B (1999) The Convenant of the Wild:  Why Animals Chose Domestication.  Yale University Press. 

(Zoology, Biology, Biological Sciences, Ecology, Conservation Biology) Coyne, J (2010) Why Evolution is True.  Oxford University Press, Oxford.  (For ZO3011 Animal Evolution and Biodiversity)

(Marine Biology) Kaiser, M.J., et al. (2011) Marine Ecology: processes, systems, and impacts. 2nd edition. Oxford University Press, Oxford. (For ZO3306 Marine Ecology and Ecosystems)

(Environmental Science) Blume, H.P. et al. (2016). Soil Science. Berlin: Springer Verlag. (For EV3001 Global Soil Geography)

(Plant and Soil Science) Gregory, P.J. and Nortcliff, S. 2013. Soil Conditions and Plant Growth. Wiley-Blackwell, 472 pp. SBN: 1405197706 (Pl3009 Soils for Food Security)

 

Level 4

Your project supervisor can provide you with suggestions.

Assessment

In SBS for the first half-session, the majority of assessments will be through coursework although some courses will include online tests as part of the assessments.  A very few courses will have an end of course exam but these exams will be open-book with some flexibility over when they need to be completed.

Practicals, fieldwork and placements

Practicals

We are planning to hold practicals on campus, subject to any social distancing constraints imposed by the Government at the time.

Field trips

At this point there is some uncertainty about what the institution will allow for field trips but in SBS we are expecting that we will be able to run field trips as part of our courses in the first half-session if government restrictions allow and we can effectively mitigate risk.  It may be that we need to limit the number of students on coaches and run repeat trips to have enough capacity for all of the students in a class who are in Aberdeen.

Things to do in Aberdeen

We are excited to be welcoming our new students to Aberdeen over the next month. We are aware that many of you might arrive in Aberdeen before the start of term and would like to share our handy Nature on our Doorstep guide for information on things to do and see in and around Aberdeen.

 

Postgraduate Research

As well as being a Postgraduate Research Student in the School of Biological Sciences you are also part of a wider PGR community through the Postgraduate Research School

Orientation

Student Orientation - You could win £200 Amazon Vouchers

We are looking forward to welcoming you to campus to start your research journey with us. As a Postgraduate Research student you will have the opportunity to attend a University wide induction in addition to your school induction.

The University of Aberdeen Orientation programme has been designed to take you through all of the essential information you will need for your student life. You can get started now by working through the interactive modules.

There are a series of modules that you can work through before you arrive. Once you have registered you can access the remaining modules and complete your mandatory training programme through your bespoke PGR training platform on our virtual learning environment.

There will be a school welcome event for Postgraduate Research students. This will provide an opportunity to meet Postgraduate coordinators and PhD supervisors. There will also be time to answer any questions you may have. Further details regarding the welcome event will follow in due course.

Audit Master‘s Courses

As a PGR student you may have the opportunity to audit Master‘s courses to augment your research training. Please discuss this with your supervisor and check out the postgraduate taught pages above.

The PGR School also offers a comprehensive training programme to support your research journey.

Timelines and Milestones

The PGR School training and development programme offers academic, professional, and personal development through a number of training workshops, resources and opportunities, all intended to support the PGR community at the University of Aberdeen.

Find out more here.