Honour School of Biology
1. The subject of the Honour School of Biology shall be the study of Biology.
2. No candidate shall be admitted to examination in this school unless they have either passed or been exempted from the First Public Examination.
3. The examination in this school shall be under the supervision of the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Board, which shall prescribe the necessary regulations.
4. The examination in Biology shall consist of three parts: IA, IB, II.
5. Part IA may be taken once only, but no candidate shall be deemed to have failed this Part.
6. No candidate may present themself for examination in Part II for the degree of Master of Biology unless they have been judged worthy of at least -upper second class Honours by the examiners in Parts IA and IB together.
7. A candidate who has presented themself for examination in parts IA and IB together, but does not enter, does not complete or fails to obtain Honours in the examination for Part II, is permitted to supplicate for the Honours degree of Bachelor of Arts in Biology. The examiners shall be entitled to award these candidates either a Pass or classified Honours degree of Bachelor of Arts in Biology according to the academic standard attained in the examinations for parts IA and IB together, and provided in each case that the candidate has fulfilled all the conditions for admission to a degree of the University.
8. A candidate shall not be awarded the Degree of Master of Biology until they have completed all parts of the examination, and have been adjudged worthy of the award of Master of Biology by the examiners in Part II of the examination.
9. In the following, ‘the Course Handbook’ refers to the Biology Course Handbook, which will be published in three sections: IA, IB and II.
1. The syllabus will include eight modules for Part IA and a related set of modules for Part IB. Each module will include lectures. Part IA will include statistical methods and research skills training. Modules for Part IB will include associated research skills training.
2. For Part IA, modules will be paired as themes. For Part IB, modules may be chosen independently.
3. Supplementary Subjects
(a) In addition, candidates may offer themselves for examination in one or more Supplementary Subjects.
(b) Candidates may enter for Supplementary Subjects in any or all of the academic years in which they take the Part IA, Part IB or Part II written examinations of the Final Honour School. No more than one Supplementary Subject can be taken in any year.
(c) Candidates awarded a pass in a Supplementary Subject examination may not retake the same Supplementary Subject examination.
(d) The Supplementary Subjects available in any year will be published, together with the term in which each subject will be examined, in the relevant Biology course handbook at the start of Michaelmas Term of the academic year in which the Supplementary Subjects may be taken.
4. Details for Part IA and IB modules, Part IA research skills training, and dates for submission of coursework, including the part II dissertation shall be published in the respective Sections of the Course Handbook.
5. The examiners will permit the use of any hand-held calculator subject to the conditions set out under the heading ‘Use of calculators in examinations’ in the Regulations for the Conduct of University Examinations.
6. All coursework must be certified as the candidate’s own work. No coursework will be accepted if it already has been submitted, wholly or substantially, for another Honour School or degree of this University, or for a degree of any other institution.
1. The examination for Part IA shall consist of two written papers, each of three hours, and one element of coursework. The written papers normally will be taken at the start of Trinity Term of the candidate’s first year of the Honour school. Further details of the requirements for Part IA shall be set out in the Course Handbook (Section IA), which is published annually by the start of the Michaelmas Term of the candidate’s first year of the Honour school.
2. Written Papers
- Paper 1, candidates will write four essays from four different modules, chosen from at least three themes.
- Paper 2 is set with two parts; candidates will answer a set of multiple-choice questions on statistical methods and will write short answers to questions that test understanding of research skills.
- Candidates will present a poster on a research topic.
4. Marks obtained for Part IA will contribute to the overall final classification.
1. The examination for Part IB shall consist of three written papers, each of three hours, the submission of four assignments, and three additional elements of coursework. The written papers normally will be taken during the candidate’s second year of the Honour school. Further details of the requirements for Part IB shall be set out in the Course Handbook (Section IB), which is published annually by the start of Hilary Term of the candidate’s first year of the Honour school.
2. Written papers
- Paper 3, candidates will answer questions that test research skills applied to analysis and understanding of provided scientific material.
- Paper 4, candidates will write four essays from four different modules.
- Paper 5, candidates will write four essays from four different modules.
- Candidates will submit four assignments that test research skills.
- Candidates will make an oral presentation on an approved research topic.
- Candidates will submit a report on an approved research topic in the format of a research proposal.
4. A candidate who in Part I (i.e. Part IA and Part IB together) obtains only a pass, or fails to satisfy the examiners, may enter again for Part IB of the examination on one, but no more than one, subsequent occasion.
1. In Part II, candidates will be required to undertake an approved research project and submit a dissertation on the research project. Details for the Part II project, including registration, submission dates, and arrangements for students intending to undertake Part II project work outside of Oxford, shall be given in the Course Handbook, which is published annually by the beginning of Trinity Term. The relevant Handbook will be that published in the year prior to the candidate’s part II year.
2. Research Project and Dissertation
(i) Form and subject of the research project and dissertation
The project shall consist of original experiments, fieldwork, or computer-based research in any area of biology conducted by the candidate either alone or in collaboration with others (where such collaboration is, for instance, needed to produce results in the time available). Project topics will be allocated according to the provisions laid out in the relevant Examination Conventions. Any project described in a candidate’s submitted research proposal coursework and approved by a project supervisor, will be allocated only to that candidate, and to no other. The dissertation must not present for assessment any material previously submitted in Parts IA and IB. However, a dissertation based on a research proposal submitted as coursework and assessed for Part IB, must make the research proposal available to Examiners as an entirely separate appendix.
Candidates will be required to undertake project work under the supervision of a person approved by the Biology Teaching Committee.
Candidates must register their project title and supervisor. An approved list of candidates’ project titles and supervisors will be published no later than noon on Friday of the last week of Trinity Full Term of the academic year preceding the Part II year.
The dissertation should be submitted electronically, as detailed in the Examination Conventions, by no later than noon on Friday of 4th week of Trinity Term of the candidate’s Part II year.
Candidates may be examined viva voce.
The main report should not normally exceed 7,000 words. The word count excludes tables, references, title page, acknowledgements, table of contents, and appendices.
Further detailed data, computer programs and similar material may be included in one or more appendices at the end of the main report, but will not be examined.
The report must be accompanied by a statement by the candidate that it is their own work and within the stated word limit. No dissertation will be accepted if it already has been submitted, wholly or substantially, for another Honour School or degree of this University, or for a degree of any other institution.