Four students are normally admitted to Queen’s each year. However, an appointment for a second tutor is underway and from October 2019 we will expand our intake to six.
Biology is a single Honours degree course with the option of staying for a fourth year and graduating with an MBiol and is taught jointly by the Departments of Plant Sciences and Zoology. Course details can be found on the department web page.
Most teaching takes place in departments, but tutorials are offered in colleges. Colleges vary in how they provide tutorial teaching.
First year: all first-year tutorials take place at Queen’s and there are two main advantages to this. Firstly, you enjoy a highly personalised experience, as your College tutor is able to track your progress and offer appropriate support. Secondly, Queen’s offers an exciting tutorial format. Unusually, tutorials are split into two one-hour slots: a ‘traditional’ tutorial, where essays are discussed, and a second hour where you have the chance to increase your hands-on experience with a range of biological material, from fossils to feathers. We also enjoy trips to the Natural History Museum and Wytham Woods.
Second year: specialist teaching is available for some topics, while for others you can choose from a wide range of tutors across the University. We also offer support for research skills training, especially statistics.
Third year: you will see your tutor every week to prepare for the finals papers: in particular the research skills paper, which requires you to understand and engage with a scientific paper. You will also get help to arrange specialist teaching for the options you have chosen.
Your main tutor, Lindsay Turnbull, is an ecologist whose research includes ecological theory, conservation and management. In addition, you will have access to other senior members of College who are biologists: Jane Langdale FRS works on plant development and the C4 rice project, which strives to increase the productivity of rice through genetic engineering; Steve Kelly works in bioinformatics and on understanding photosynthesis in order to engineer higher yielding crops; Annette Fayet studies the migratory patterns of seabirds; and Carmen Sánchez Cañizares is a molecular biologist working on nitrogen-fixing crops.
Biologists at Queen’s tend to be a close-knit group. Two big events are held each year: a Christmas drinks party and an end-of-year dinner for all year groups. You can expect support from your tutors with essay-writing, revising for exams, and practising for presentations.
At interview we aim to get the best out of you – so there are no trick questions. You will be asked to think about several biological problems and apply your knowledge and skills to a scenario you may not have encountered before. We would like to see how you think and how you engage with both the question and the tutor.
The entry requirements for Biology are standardised across the University and details can be found here.