MSc Reproductive and Developmental Biology Offer Holders
You currently hold an offer from us to commence study on the MSc Reproductive and Developmental Biology (MSc RDB) programme in October 2020, and we are looking forward to welcoming you to the Department at the start of the new academic year. In our capacities as the Head of Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction, and the Programme Directors for the MSc in Reproductive and Developmental Biology, we are writing to update you on our plans for delivery of the MSc RDB programme in academic year ahead.
As outlined by the College, and during our virtual offer holder’s event on the 25th June, we will be delivering the MSc RDB programme through mixed-mode teaching during Term 1 (October to December). This means that you will have a combination of on-campus teaching, which will include workshop-style group learning activities and a laboratory practical class, and a remote teaching component, for example, e-learning activities, live-streamed lectures and webinars and online tutorials. We have carefully planned our teaching to ensure that the approved module and programme learning outcomes are delivered whether you attend the course on-campus or study remotely. Activities will be either synchronous (at the same time) or asynchronous (at different times, depending on where you are around the globe) and will be clearly labelled as such.
While we hope you will be able to attend campus in person for Term 1, if you are unable to move to the UK in October due to travel, visa or public health restrictions, you will still be able to work and interact with your course colleagues as all on-campus teaching will also be delivered remotely, and where possible will be run synchronously with the students attending on campus. For Term 2 (January 2021 onwards) we expect students to be in London to attend in person, unless UK or your home country’s public health guidance precludes it. In this instance, Term 2 content has been designed to take this into account to ensure that there will be no impediment to fulfilling the learning objectives. All on-campus teaching will take place on the College’s Hammersmith Hospital campus, in rooms that have been selected to ensure appropriate social distancing can be maintained. Where it is not possible for students to travel to the UK to attend teaching in Terms 1 or 2, we will endevour to schedule live online teaching sessions for the mornings (UK time) to enable students in time zones ahead of the UK to engage fully in these activities.
The information below outlines how we hope to deliver the course from October 2020, and is correct at the time of sending (August 2020). However, it is important to note that as the delivery of the MSc RDB programme is subject to the requirements of UK Public Health guidance and College Health and Safety measures, the arrangements for course delivery may be subject to change at short notice, should the situation regarding Covid-19 change in the coming weeks.
Building a community in your MSc RDB cohort: we recognise that one of the attractions of study at postgraduate level is the opportunity to meet, engage and work with people from diverse backgrounds and locations, who share similar scientific interests to you. We have planned both on-campus and remote inductions (both social and academic) in the first week of term for you to meet us, your fellow students on the programme, and your tutors. We will continue with these opportunities to socialise throughout the year, alongside the extensive team-working opportunities built into our curriculum, and hope that together these will help you feel part of our MSc community, whether you attend Term 1 in person or remotely. These induction sessions will also be an opportunity for you to familiarise yourselves with the online platforms and tools we will be using to deliver the MSc RDB programme over the coming year, and for all of us to set expectations around the programme and online/on campus learning and teaching.
Preparing for postgraduate study: to help you make the transition to postgraduate study, and maximise the opportunities that undertaking an MSc will afford you, the Faculty of Medicine has prepared two online learning packages. The first of these, Adapt to Postgrad (ATP), is an online, non-credit bearing short course designed to support you in your transition to Master’s study in the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London. ATP will provide you with key information for your study, direct you to support and resources across the Faculty of Medicine and wider college, and prepare you for what to expect of Master’s-level learning. ATP consists of 3 ‘units’, the first of which (Unit 1: Preparing for Master’s Study) you will be expected to complete in advance of commencing your Master’s programme. The second course, Attributes and Aspirations (AA) is an interactive, practical, flexible online short course that supports you to decide on, and plan for whatever you want your professional future to be. You’ll have a chance to develop key skills to help with your Master's study and that you’ll be able to use whether you choose to move to a PhD or to a job in industry after you graduate. For an introduction to AA please visit the AA webpages.
All of the assessments on the MSc RDB are individual or team-based activities that require online submission of an output (e.g. poster, experimental plan, paper critique), and we do not anticipate any changes to these for the forthcoming academic year. Two of the assessments in Modules 1 and 2 also feature a presentation component, which we hope will be possible on campus, but which can be readily adapted for online delivery if required.
Your experience at Imperial goes beyond just your academic studies. With the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19), Imperial has been working with your Union to ensure that we are able to provide, enhance and facilitate all areas of your student experience under all eventualities. We identified key pillars of the wider student experience: academic experience; research culture and environment; amenities and accommodation; student community; wellbeing support; co-curricular activities and extra-curricular activities. Information on how we will deliver these, along with information on our Library Services, considering current social distancing restrictions, as well as a full lockdown, are set out on our website.
How we can answer your questions
As always, should you have any questions, please contact us and we will be delighted to talk to you and clarify any point(s) that might still lack clarity.
Lastly, may we thank you for choosing Imperial as the institution to undertake your postgraduate studies. We are enthusiastic about you joining our outstanding student body, and look forward to welcoming you to the programme in October!
Prof Mark Thursz, Head of Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction
Dr Mark Sullivan, Course Organiser, MSc Reproductive and Developmental Biology
Prof Kate Hardy & Dr Andrew Childs , Course co-directors, MSc Reproductive and Developmental Biology