As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. At Birmingham we advocate an enquiry based learning approach, from the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers. 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, from scheduled teaching in lectures and small group tutorials, to self-study and peer group learning (for example preparing and delivering presentations with your classmates).
To begin with you may find this way of working challenging, but rest assured that we?ll enable you to make this transition. You will have access to a comprehensive support system that will assist and encourage you, including personal tutors and welfare tutors who can help with both academic and welfare issues, and a formal transition review during your first year to check on your progress and offer you help for any particular areas where you need support.
Personal Tutor: At the start of your degree, you will be assigned a Personal Tutor who will remain with you throughout your studies to help you in three important areas: supporting your academic progress, developing transferable skills and dealing with any welfare issues.
Delivery of the course
In your first and second years, the course is delivered as lectures, small group workshops, laboratories, computer-based activities, enquiry-based learning and tutorials. A strong emphasis is placed on design and research project work in your third and fourth years respectively.
Laboratory-based practical work forms an integral part of the School's degree programmes. Laboratory classes not only develop your experimental practical skills, but also reinforce concepts introduced in lectures or explore a particular phenomenon. Practical sessions, typically, last three hours.
Small-group tutorials/personal tutorials run alongside the lecture course, addressing any individual problems you may have and allowing you to consolidate the lecture material, as well as test your understanding through problem-solving exercises. Your Personal Tutor is assigned to you at the start of your course and remains with you until graduation, helping you in three important areas: supporting your academic progress, developing transferable skills and helping with welfare issues.
Enquiry Based Learning (EBL) provides an environment where your learning process is driven by enquiry. The lecturer's role is purely as a facilitator. Typically a group activity, this requires working in a team and you can be assessed in a variety of ways: in either a group or individually, by written reports and sometimes as a presentation. EBL will give you a research-orientated approach to a problem, and has a synergy within research-led institutions like the University of Birmingham.
Project work: The range of projects in your final year includes practical work in the laboratory, computer-based projects, or theoretical studies. You can choose the topic of your project from a pool of titles and work with your project supervisor to tailor it to your particular research interests. Many projects are directly linked to supervisor's current research projects and many have industrial links. Students are also free to propose their own projects, so long as a suitable supervisor can be identified.