Masters in Biological Sciences - Level 4

The Masters in Biological Sciences degree

The Masters in Biological Sciences (MBiolSci) consists of the existing three-year degree programme (i.e. Animal and Plant Biology, Biology, Ecology, Plant Science, Zoology) with an additional year that is devoted to an extensive research project and advanced courses. It is a classified, named degree and the final degree classification is based on grades achieved at level 2 (20%), level 3 (40%) and level 4 (40%). The majority of the fourth year is spent undertaking two substantial pieces of independent research, one literature based (dissertation) and the other practical (project). The research project and dissertation are undertaken in one of the Department's research groups (see below) and each student works under the supervision of a research-active member of staff in their chosen area of specialisation.

Level 4 Handbook

The Level 1 Handbook can be accessed via this link. It contains important information about your degree programme, assessment, the department and much more. You will need to refer to it frequently, especially at the start of your studies. It is designed to contain the answers to most of your questions and is updated regularly. If you cannot find the answer to your question, then please email

Level 4 General Timetable 2017-18

APS405 and APS407 Timetable 2017-18 - will be available soon

Level 4 list of Important Dates 2017-18

Information about Graduation

Level 4 Deadlines and Events 2017-18

APS407 Media Workshop  - Thursday 26th October and Friday 27th October 2017

Dissertation Deadline - Wednesday 17th January 2018 at 12noon

Presentations - Thursday 3rd May and Friday 4th May 2018

Project Report Deadline - Wednesday 30th May 2018 at 12noon

Submission of coursework through TurnItIn system

Submission of Coursework

When submitting coursework you must now complete and download a unique barcoded coversheet from ensuring that you (a) add your TurnItIn receipt code and (b) add an accurate word count. No other alterations must be made to the coversheet. Then attach the coversheet to your coursework and deposit in secure Black Box which is situated in the Foyer (next to the porters desk) of the Alfred Denny Building before the deadline. Your Coursework will then be scanned and you will receive an email confirmation once your coursework is scanned.

Work that is submitted late will be subject to the standard penalties (5% of the mark awarded is deducted for each working day late). Work submitted without the TurnItin receipt number and word count on the coversheet will not accepted and will be considered as a late submission.

Download a Coversheet
Instructions for Downloading Coversheets

Level 4 modules

Students take five modules at level 4 giving a total of 120 credits.

APS 402 Research Dissertation - 20 credits

This is a critical review of a biological topic of choice. It requires the critical analysis of hypotheses and the quality of the evidence used to support them. It should also identify gaps in our current knowledge and understanding and make suggestions for the future development of the field.

APS 404 Advanced Trends in Biology - 10 credits

This module utilises seminar programmes within the three biology departments at The University of Sheffield to introduce students to the most recent developments in a wide range of biological subjects. It provides an opportunity to evaluate and discuss these topics in informal discussion groups either in open forum workshops or electronically via web based discussion platforms.

APS 405 Advanced Biological Analysis - 10 credits

This module provides training in advanced data management and statistical analysis using the open source statistical programme, R. Through a series of practicals, the student will build on their L1 and L2 training in R to learn how to manage complex data and implement a set of set of advanced statistical statistical tests that include advanced linear models (ANCOVA), generalised linear models, mixed effects models and multivariate tools. Advanced graphing and visualisation is also emphasised and introduced

APS 406 Research Project - 70 credits

This module consists of a laboratory or field based research project in one of the Department's research groups and gives students the opportunity to develop skills relevant to a career in biological research. Each student works under the supervision of a member of academic staff but the student is responsible for formulating the hypotheses and questions to be addressed and for planning and carrying out experiments to test these hypotheses.

APS 407 Research and Study Skills in Biology - 10 credits

This module provides training in the skills necessary to pursue a research career in whole organism biology. The skills covered include: communication (both written and oral); advanced science writing (e.g. journal publications and grant applications).

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