1. Who is the Course Director with overall responsibility for students on this course?
Professor Andrew King
2. What induction arrangements will be made?
At the start of the first term, students are provided with a comprehensive programme which includes familiarisation with the Department’s Library and a separate talk about the University’s Library facilities; setting up computer accounts and familiarisation with the practical facilities; meetings with the Course Lecturer, Dr Deborah Clarke, Course Director and Course Secretary.
3. What is the overall length of the course, and for how many weeks are students expected to work in Oxford?
This is a full-time one-year course. The course starts in late September and finishes the following mid-September. There is a break of 3 weeks at Christmas and of 1 week at the end of April, however, many students choose to stay in Oxford during these breaks.
4. What is the pattern of lectures, classes, seminars, tutorials and self-directed work for this course?
Each lecture course comprises of between 12 and 15 hours of lectures. In Michaelmas term there are 5-7 practical courses and a series of Introductory lectures. From January until the end of August students will be working on their projects and dissertations, together with attendance at Advanced option lectures. Students are expected to read widely around their chosen topics in order to produce scholarly extended essays and extensive literature reviews for their dissertations.
5. What one-to-one or small group teaching will students on this course receive?
On the taught part of the course, students will have small group teaching for classes (usually no more than 14 in a group) and for practicals (usually no more than 10 students to each demonstrator). Supervision of projects will be on a one-to-one basis.
6. Who will take overall responsibility for an individual student’s progress and for completing the joint progress report form in each term of the course?
Responsibility for an individual student’s progress is usually taken by the Course Lecturer in conjunction with the Course Director who will also monitor progress of all students on the course. The progress report form each term will be completed by the Course Lecturer in Michaelmas term and by the project supervisors in Hilary and Trinity terms.
7. What workspace will be provided? What IT support/library facilities/experimental facilities will be available?
There is a dedicated MSc office for the MSc in Neuroscience within the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics (although projects can be undertaken in a number of different departments throughout the University). The MSc centre is equipped with networked workstations. Wireless access is provided throughout the Department. The Department also has its own computing support group if there are problems with equipment or software. There are copies of dissertations and textbooks for the MSc in Neuroscience held in the MSc office.
8. What opportunities are provided for students to take part in research seminars or groups? What formal graduate skills training will be provided?
Timetables for weekly Departmental Seminars given within all of the pre-clinical and some clinical departments are circulated. Students are encouraged by their supervisors to attend these talks and also to attend talks organised by some of the research groups that may be of particular interest. Each year there is a 2 day seminar on presentation skills and an opportunity to attend a writing skills course specifically for MSc students. Students are also expected to give a short oral presentation on their Trinity term project and are provided with feedback, and a poster presentation of their Hilary term project at the Oxford Neuroscience Day.
9. What are the arrangements for student feedback and for responding to student concerns?
There is an MSc representative on the GJCC for the Department of Experimental Psychology and at the Divisional level. In addition, students are asked to complete a questionnaire for each lecture course; this covers lectures, classes and practicals. There is also an annual meeting of students with members of the Organising Committee to discuss all aspects of the course from admissions through to examinations.
10. What arrangements for accommodation, meals and social facilities will be made for students on a graduate taught course?
Obviously, this question relates mostly to colleges, but the department does provide a cafeteria and a common room that can be used by graduate students.
Many colleges will be able to provide at least one year’s accommodation. Generally speaking the college will provide meals throughout the year, but provision will vary from college to college, especially during vacations. In addition there are usually self-catering facilities available in graduate accommodation. Students are members of the Middle Common Room of the college which is the main social centre for graduates. The MCR provides a common room and usually organises a programme of social events throughout the year. The college will also provide a bar, some computing facilities and a library, and may often have dedicated funds for research (conference and field grants). Graduates are also welcome to participate in all social and sporting activities of the college.
11. What arrangements are in place for pastoral and welfare support?
There are many people within the Department to provide pastoral and welfare support, i.e. the Supervisor, the Academic Advisor, the Course Director, Mentor and the Course Lecturer. The Course Lecturer has primary responsibility for pastoral and welfare support. If a student does need such support, then we ensure that we communicate with the college so that this can be co-ordinated.
There is an extensive framework of support for graduates within each college, including a College Advisor, usually in a cognate subject, a Tutor for Graduates and/or the Senior Tutor. The Tutor for Graduates is a fellow of the college with particular responsibility for the interests and welfare of graduate students. The University also has a professionally staffed confidential Student Counselling Service, which offers assistance with personal, emotional, social, and academic problems.