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New course, new students and new experiences in Biology

The first weeks at university are both exciting and challenging for new students, who quickly need to settle into their new surroundings and different ways of learning. Students on the new BSc (Hons) Biology at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) quickly found themselves in an unusual environment when they left urban Preston for a residential ice-breaker. This was the first time that Sundus Mohamed and Muneza Butt had been to the Lake District, and here they talk about their first impressions of the course and visiting Keswick and Derwent water.

Sundus said: “I was talking with my friends before we went to Keswick and we thought we wouldn’t like it. So when we first arrived I was really impressed by the fresh air, quiet and natural beauty of the place. I always thought I was a city person, but I really enjoyed staying at the Youth Hostel because our room overlooked the river and the gentle sound of the water was very calming. I immediately phoned my dad and told him we must bring the whole family here for a holiday, so we can relax and get away from city life and not use our mobile phones.”

Muneza agreed she had never been anywhere like the Lakes before, and she impressed everyone with her determination on the four-hour hike over Walla Craggs.  “I am really enjoying the course particularly going on field trips which is something new for me. It’s great because as well as lectures we spend a lot of time in the labs which let you learn at your own pace through practical experience. I particularly liked working with microscopes to examine the differences between healthy and diseased tissues.” 

Biology students at UCLan benefit from the excellent teaching staff and facilities in the School of Forensic and Applied Sciences, including extensive teaching laboratories and access to specialist research equipment such as electron microscopes and the analytical suite in the JB Firth Building, and cell culture, microbiology and molecular biology facilities.

The course emphasises practical skills that enhance students’ employment prospects and lab work is complimented by field-based studies and opportunities to work with science professionals in the North West. Biology students can also gain work experience at the Young Scientist Centre, a unique collaboration between UCLan and the Royal Institution. This is the only purpose-built facility of its kind in a UK university and it aims to encourage young people from deprived areas of Lancashire to get involved in hands-on science activities. By working there biology students get a head start in terms of gaining experience of working with young people and developing their science communication skills.