What to expect from your course

How the typical University course is structured, personal tutors and the academic support available to you.


Course structure

You must attend all timetabled course activities unless your absence has been approved.

In most departments, you'll be expected to attend lectures, seminars or tutorials. In the science and engineering subjects, lab based practical sessions are common.

Fieldwork and practical classes are also common in archaeology, architecture, journalism, engineering and geography.


In most courses, you can expect to attend traditional lectures. These provide a broad introduction to a subject and are not usually interactive.


Tutorials are linked to most lecture programmes. You'll be placed in smaller groups to discuss the content of lectures in greater depth.

We expect you to participate in group work or individual presentations and contribute to discussions based on the assigned readings.


Some courses have seminars in addition to or instead of lectures.

We run these like tutorials but they are purely interactive and require greater independent work from you.

We expect you to participate in group work or individual presentations and contribute to discussions based on the assigned readings.

Personal tutors

When you arrive at University, you'll be allocated a personal tutor who can offer you general support, advice and guidance.

You can visit your personal tutor at any point during their office hours.

If you require module specific information, please contact your module leader.

Contact your academic department

What to expect from your tutor

Your personal tutor should:

  • act as your key point of contact
  • provide relevant academic guidance
  • be available for scheduled meetings
  • offer personal support and direct you to other relevant services
  • publicise other regular ‘drop-in’ sessions at times that are convenient for you

What we expect from you

Your personal tutor is here to help you, and may be writing your references in the future.

To get the most from this partnership you should:

  • discuss your personal development plans
  • talk to them about your academic progress, they will be able to offer support
  • keep them informed of any problems that may affect your University work
  • discuss your academic feedback to improve your performance

What to expect from your department

Your academic department is responsible for:

  • providing you with a personal tutor
  • publicising drop in sessions with all tutors
  • scheduling regular meetings and clearly advertising them
  • informing you of any changes in their availability e.g. staff study leave/absences

Types of assessment

We'll use a variety of assessment methods to test you on what you’ve learned. The types of assessment include:

  • essays
  • group work
  • dissertations
  • presentations
  • online quizzes
  • reflective writing
  • open book exams
  • written examinations
  • multiple choice papers

Still got questions?

Find what you're looking for on Student Answers, our FAQ knowledgebase.

A world-class university – a unique student experience

Sheffield is a research university with a global reputation for excellence. We're a member of the Russell Group: one of the 24 leading UK universities for research and teaching.