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.

Undergraduate

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.

Academic Induction

We look forward to meeting with you in induction week, in the activities listed in the table below. As well as providing you with information and an opportunity to discuss your programme, these will enable you to meet each other and your Programme Coordinator. Some events will be held on campus (with online students joining remotely). Others will be hosted in the Meeting Room (Blackboard Collaborate) in the MyAberdeen Organisation page "Biological Sciences Student Information for Taught Undergraduates" (you will have access to that page shortly before induction week).

If you have any admin questions that are not answered by the various registration web pages, please contact sbsteaching@abdn.ac.uk.

Date

Time

Event

Staff

Location

Tuesday 21st September

15:00 - 16:00

Welcome to SBS- Overview of SBS and MyAberdeen Organisation Documents

Michelle Pinard

Blackboard Collaborate

Wednesday 22nd September

15:00 - 16:00

Meet with Programme Coordinators

Programme Coordinators

Location TBC

Thursday 23rd September

13:30 - 14:00

Friends of Cruickshank Gardens- Plant Giveaway

FCBG/Martin Barker/Mark Paterson

Cruickshank Botanic Gardens

14:00 - 16:00

Personal Tutor Meetings

Personal Tutors

Location TBC

Friday 24th September

12:00 - 14:00

Picnic in Gardens (bring your own)/ Meet our Societies 

Programme Coordinators + Society Presidents

Cruickshank Botanic Gardens

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 Taught

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.

Academic Induction

Welcome to your MSc studies in the School of Biological Sciences. We look forward to meeting with you in induction week, in the activities listed in the table below. As well as providing you with information and an opportunity to discuss your programme, these will enable you to meet each other and your Programme Coordinator. Some events will be held on campus (with online students joining remotely). Others will be hosted in the Meeting Room (Blackboard Collaborate) in the MyAberdeen Organisation page "Biological Sciences Student Information for Taught Postgraduates" (you will have access to that page shortly before induction week).

If you have any admin questions that are not answered by the various registration web pages, please contact sbsteaching@abdn.ac.uk. If you have any questions related to the content of your programme please get in touch with me or your Programme Coordinator (see table below) or bring them along to our meetings next week.

School of Biological Sciences Welcome Week Events

Welcome Week is fast approaching and we have put together a timetable of events that are important for you to attend:-

Date 

Time 

Event 

Staff 

Location 

Tues  

14:00-15:00   

Introduction to Masters teaching in School of Biological Sciences  

Sarah Woodin 

Blackboard Collaborate (online) 

Access via the MyAberdeen Organisation page “SBS PGT Information”, or via this link

Weds  

13:30-14:30  

 

 

Getting Started – Introduction to your programme and people, with your Programme Coordinator and classmates 

Programme Coordinators & Tutors 

MSc Ecology and Conservation: ZG18 (ground floor lecture theatre) - or online 

MSc Applied Marine & Fisheries Ecology and MSc Marine Conservation - ZG11 (ground floor lab) or online

MSc Environmental Science, MSc Environmental Management, and MSc Environmental Pollution and Remediation: ZG09 (ground floor lab) or online

MSc/MRes Soil Science: ZB17 (basement) or online 

With online links in Blackboard Collaborate, go to MyAberdeen Organisation page SBS PGT Information

Thurs  

10:00-14:00  

 

Local walk and botanic garden picnic*, including pot plant give-away (13:00-13.30)!

*please bring your own lunch 

 

Programme Coordinators & Tutors 

MSc Applied Marine & Fisheries Ecology and MSc Marine Conservation meet at Seaton Park car park at 10:00.

Everyone else meet in Cruickshank Botanic Garden (between Zoology and Cruickshank) near the Little Lighthouse at 10:00.

Fri 

14:00-15:00 

 

 

Academic Writing  

Sarah Woodin 

Blackboard Collaborate

Access via the MyAberdeen Organisation page SBS PGT Information or via this link

 

Meantime, please select courses in MyCurriculum to complete your registration, but don’t worry about your choices as you can change them later. And please note that the information in MyTimetable is not complete yet as some courses are still getting rooms allocated. Please visit the MyAberdeen Organisation page SBS PGT Information to read more about our Masters teaching and some exciting extracurricular opportunities.

It is also important to note that at Aberdeen a key method of communication between students and staff is email. Group messages may be sent out through the virtual learning environment (VLE) called MyAberdeen. However, individual messages for you will generally come via your student email account. Therefore, it is crucial that as soon as you access your email account after registration that you start checking your email account regularly. We will start communicating with you almost immediately.It is very important to attend these events as this is where you will get useful information about your MSc and meet key staff who will be teaching you and coordinating your programme. You will also meet your fellow students on your MSc programme. We will send you a follow up message once all meeting locations have been confirmed.

We hope that you take advantage of the opportunities during Welcome Week to get to know us, the university’s facilities and student organisations. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us on sbsteaching@abdn.ac.uk.

 

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). For group work we will facilitate any students who are having to study online to be fully integrated with students who are on campus.  We have good experience of student presentations being successfully delivered both on campus and online.

Practicals and fieldwork

Practicals

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

Field trips

We will run field trips within courses, using local sites which we can access on foot. We will also go to sites within Aberdeenshire – including three National Nature Reserves – if we can, dependent on Government guidance on shared transport at the time. We hope that it will be possible to run our residential field courses at Easter 2022. If not, we will provide courses that combine day trips and virtual field trip experiences.

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.