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Unit information: Professional Development in 2020/21

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Professional Development
Unit code BIOLM0024
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Ford
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Biological Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences


Students will develop the key transferable skills needed by professionals in life sciences, including many highlighted in the Research Development Statement endorsed by HEFCE and RCUK ( Topics for seminars, lectures and workshops will include:

  • information retrieval and management;
  • academic literacy and scientific writing;
  • self-management including time-management, integrity and critical self-reflection;
  • working effectively with people and developing working relationships;
  • how science is funded;
  • peer appraisal;
  • research ethics;
  • presenting posters,
  • writing grant proposals and understanding the assessment of research grants.

Intended learning outcomes

At the end of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Identify different approaches to undertaking research.
  2. Access and collect information from a range of different sources.
  3. Appraise the quality and reliability of information coming from different sources.
  4. Demonstrate personal qualities needed to be an effective scientist such as enthusiasm, perseverance, integrity, etc.
  5. Practice effective time management to achieve suitable prioritization of commitments, including achieving a suitable work-life balance.
  6. Apply the professional conduct expected in science in relation to aspects such as health and safety, ethics and integrity in recording and presenting findings, and appropriate practice.
  7. Illustrate how science is managed and funded, including the role of peer review in this process.
  8. Assess the balance between publication of science and the commercial exploitation of findings or their application to policy, with the understanding that sometimes there may be conflict between these.
  9. Develop professional skills in presenting scientific ideas in a range of different media to a professional scientific audience.
  10. Judge how to achieve career goals, and entrepreneurship in Biology or Zoology.

Teaching details

Seminars, workshops, lectures.

Assessment Details

Formative assessment: CVs and cover letters.

Summative (numbers refer to assessment of learning outcomes listed above):

  • Two reports on potential future research directions for two topics covered in departmental seminar series that run weeks 1-24: 20% (Tests ILOs 1, 2, 9). To do this students will need to engage with the departmental seminar series.
  • Travel grant application: 40% (Tests ILOs 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 9)
  • Performance in an interview: 40% (Tests ILOs 1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)

Reading and References