Frequently Asked QuestionsQuestions about distance learning
Questions about time
Questions about fees
Questions about applications
Questions about funding
Questions about assessment
Questions about projects
Questions about certificates
Questions about jobs
Can I take a course from xxx?You can take a course from anywhere with a good internet connection. You will see from the testimonials page that our graduates from followed the programme from many different countries.
Can I join a course at any time?No. We run the online courses in the same way that we run similar courses on campus, with groupwork and regular tutorials. This only works if we begin the courses on fixed dates.
How is a course organised?There are some examples of our course materials in the section explaining what you can expect from a distance learning course. Also, as the individual courses are at Masters level, you will be expected to do some reading outside the course. You will have online access to the University library, so you will be able to select additional reading from a very wide range of online books, journals and other resources.
What are the technical requirements?A good internet connection is essential, as you will need to login regularly to join the course discussions. Any specific requirements for an individual module are given on the information page for that module. The links are given on the modules page.
How often will I need to come to Manchester?We run an entirely distance programme, so you need not come to Manchester. Of course you are very welcome to come to see us if you wish to do so, and some students do arrange to carry out the research project in Manchester. You might also aim to attend a graduation ceremony.
How much time do I need to take a course?An online course will involve contact hours via on-line tutorials, bulletins boards and email. The periods of self-guided learning will include reading, practical problem solving, project work and the writing of project reports. You should expect one of these modules to require approximately 150 hours in study time.
How long is a course?The semester start and end dates are given on the Dates and Fees page. Each semester has a two week break for Christmas/Easter.
How much time is allowed to complete the MSc by distance learning?Distance students are allowed 4 years to complete the MSc.
When are the tutorials held?Some tutors use mainly bulletin boards for tutorials, and others use chat sessions. When bulletin boards are used, you can login to ask a question at any time. You can also see the answers to questions posted by other students.
When the tutorials are at fixed times, using chat rooms, the times are arranged by agreement between the students and the tutor. Each tutorial will be repeated in order to accommodate people in different time zones.
How much will my programme cost?
The current course and project fees are given on the Dates and fees page. The courses are run from different Faculties, so the fee levels may be different for different courses.
As we run a part-time programme, it may be difficult to give an exact answer to a query about fees for a specific programme. This is because the fees are likely to increase each year, and many people will be taking courses over more than one academic year.
What do the fees cover? Are there any additional costs?Fees cover registration, tuition within the Virtual Learning Environment, access to the University Library's Distance Learning Service, appraisal and assessment.
Some tutors will recommend one or more textbooks; the details are given on the course information pages.
Can I apply for one module, and then decide later where to complete the MSc?
Yes, most people begin with one, or possibly two, modules. It is generally best to begin with just one module to allow yourself enough time to get used to distance learning.
When should I apply?We can usually accept applications up until just before the start of the semester. However, some courses may fill up early. If this happens, you might need to join a waiting list.
How do I apply?Once you have decided on a course, please complete the module application form.
Are there any scholarships for this programme?Unfortunately we have no scholarships at present. Some people are sponsored by an employer, while others may apply for various bursaries. We list some possible sources of funding.
How will I be assessed?You will complete short exercises, larger projects and some essays. The exercises and projects will generally require programming or data analysis, depending on the focus of the course. Some projects will require groupwork.
How are the projects organised? How can the project help with my professional development?Some students complete a work-related project, and others choose a topic proposed by staff at the University of Manchester. There are examples of project topics on the projects page. We encourage publication, when possible.
Will I receive a certificate to show that I have passed a course?Yes, we issue a certificate on successful completion of a course.
If you decide to complete a Postgraduate Diploma or the MSc in Digital Biology, you will be invited to attend a graduation ceremony in Manchester.
What do your graduates do?Some people take courses to improve their performance in their current roles, while others aim to change jobs, or to progress to study for a PhD. In an interview, in French, one of our graduates explains how her career has developed. On the projects page you can read one example of an MSc research project that lead to a new job in oncology bioinformatics and another of progression from MSc to PhD in the study of crops for semi-arid areas.