APS135 Skills For Biologists

Level 1
Semester 1 and 2
Credits 30
Co-ordinator Dr Fiona Hunter
Restrictions Only available to Animal and Plant Sciences Students


The Skills for Biology module introduces students to the fundamentals of scientific writing, presentation skills, practical skills, experimental design and data analysis, information technology, the role of science in society and career development. Concepts will be introduced in a series of lectures and seminars that students will then develop through practical sessions and independent study using printed and online module material and activities. Key transferable skills will then be developed and integrated using small group tutorials.

Aims and Objectives

Students will:
1. gain experience of scientific writing, understanding the scientific literature, preparing abstracts of seminars and papers, experimental design and giving short presentations in small group tutorials. These activities will be supported by a series of seminars including scientific ethics, referencing and plagiarism and science policy.
2. gain key practical skills for biologists via a series of practical sessions.Develop computing and IT skills relevant for a career in biology.
3. Specific skills in data handling, statistical analysis and scientific presentations relevant to biological subjects will be introduced and developed using software packages common in research environments.
4. Have explored career development and career options to enhance their employability within the competitive labour market and maximise their potential to develop a successful long term career.

Students must pass each of the small group tutorial, IT and practical sections in order to pass the module.

At the end of this module the student should:
1. be able to access and evaluate bioscience information from a variety of sources and to communicate the principles both orally and in writing in a way that is well-organised, topical and recognises the limits of current hypotheses.
2. have gained skills in experimental design and critical analysis.
3. have gained core practical skills for biologists
4. be familiar with the computing systems and electronic sources of information available at the University of Sheffield
5. be able to access the scientific literature using a range of methods, write documents in a manner appropriate for scientific reports, prepare and present scientific data, handle and analyse data using scientific software packages and have a thorough understanding of basic descriptive statistics.
6. understand the concept of employability, be aware of the skills that they develop through academic study and the relevance to the graduate labour market, be aware of the range of opportunities available to graduates, understand the graduate recruitment and selection process and be able to market themselves effectively.

DELIVERY METHOD: Lectures, Seminars, Tutorials, Laboratory Sessions and Problem Solving/Example Classes

ASSESSMENT METHOD: Tutorials: Essay, abstract. Careers: Online activities. IT and computing: Online exercises. Practical: Synoptic examination.

FEEDBACK: Students will receive feedback via their personal tutors. Feedback for the other sections will be given online.

Please go to Blackboard for more information on APS135

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