Personal Tutor: At the start of your degree, you will be assigned a Personal Tutor who remains with you throughout your studies. You will meet him or her at least once a semester to review your academic progress and to discuss how to develop your transferable skills. Your personal tutor will also be able to advise on particular areas where you may need additional support. During your first year you will also undergo a formal transition review with your personal tutor to see how you are progressing and whether there are particular areas where you need support.
Delivery of the course
As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. From the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner; we want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself.
Your learning will take place in a range of different settings, including lectures, workshops and small-group tutorials, self-study and peer-group learning sessions and laboratory and project work.
You may find these new ways of studying challenging at first; however, rest assured, we will work with you to facilitate this transition. You will have access to a comprehensive academic and pastoral support system, which includes your personal tutor and welfare tutors.
The course is delivered as lectures, tutorials, workshops and laboratory classes. In your final year, you will also complete a research-related project. In the first year, you can expect about 20 hours of contact time per week made up of approximately 12 hours of lectures, tutorials and workshops, and up to eight hours of laboratory classes.
Small-group tutorials run alongside our lecture courses and provide a valuable opportunity for you to discuss specific problems with your tutor, as well as consolidate and test your understanding of the lecture material through problem-solving exercises..
Enquiry-Based Learning (EBL) provides an environment where the learning process is driven by enquiry. In this learning approach, the lecturer acts solely as a facilitator. EBL is a particularly useful method for teaching aspects of chemistry, for example, the use of spectroscopic techniques in structure elucidation. It often requires you to work in a team to solve a problem and exemplifies the research-oriented approach to problem-solving, which lies at the heart of the research-led ethos of the University.
Laboratory-based practical work forms an integral part of the School's degree programmes. These classes not only develop your practical skills but also reinforce concepts introduced in the associated lectures. Practical sessions typically last four hours in your first year; however, these increase in length in subsequent years to allow for more advanced experiments.
In your final year, if you are on an MSci programme, you will undertake a major research project. You will join a research group and become a member of the Research School. Your project will enable you to focus on the area of Chemistry that interests you most and to carry out science that has never been done before. Projects can be synthesis-based or concentrate on more theoretical aspects of the subject or involve a combination of both; you will work closely with your project supervisor to tailor the project to your particular research interests.
If you are a BSc student, you will also complete a research-related project in your final year, which can involve practical-based research, computer-based research or a literature dissertation. If you are interested in entering the teaching profession, you may opt instead for a project in the area of chemical education.
Each module is assessed independently. Most contain a component of continuous
assessment, which usually contributes a quarter to one-third of the module mark.
Methods of assessment are tailored to best assess the learning outcomes of the
module and can include end-of-year examinations, written assignments, oral
and poster presentations, computer-based tests and/or laboratory and project
Some modules are assessed completely by coursework. Examinations are taken in
May and June.
We provide prompt and informative feedback on all pieces of submitted work.
Feedback comes in a variety of forms, including written comments on pieces
whole-class feedback sessions and one-on-one discussions with your tutors.
In all cases, the feedback will highlight the good points as well as those
that require more attention.
At the beginning of the year, you will be given information on how and
when you will be assessed. You will receive feedback on each assessment
(and often much sooner) so that you can learn from, and build on, what
you have done. You will also be given feedback on any exams that you take.