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Department of Biochemistry


Supervisor Lists

We maintain an email circulation list for supervisors. If a college has appointed you to be a supervisor please contact our Teaching Office at to be added to the list. Directors of Studies may register new supervisors in advance if they wish.

  • This will allow us to register you on the course Moodle site and to invite you to training and feedback sessions. All course materials are available via Moodle. The course Moodle sites also contain sections with information specific to supervisors.

We will also maintain a list of those interested in supervising the course if they have attended the University Supervisor training sessions.


We would be very pleased to receive any comments that you think would be of interest to us, based on your experience of supervising MIMS or BMB. Your feedback (positive as well as negative!) will be most valuable and will be passed on as appropriate. Please send your comments to the Assistant Director of Teaching (

We also run supervisor discussion sessions to which you will be invited if you are on our email list.


Essay writing skills

It is particularly important that supervisors, from the outset of the course, give first year students sustained help and guidance to develop their essay writing skills, and to establish their appreciation of the necessary attributes of a scientific essay and to put them into practice.

  • It is generally common practice for students to write three or four supervision essays per term, which are handed in before the supervision at which the supervisor will discuss them and provide verbal and written feedback. It is also essential that students have the opportunity to practice writing timed essays.

  • A related consideration is the integration of diagrams into essays - for example to illustrate control networks, biochemical processes, and molecular structures. Some students need considerable encouragement to do this.

Data handling questions

Experience has shown that it is particularly difficult for students if they are set data handling questions right at the start of the year, especially if linked to material not yet encountered in lectures or practicals. While it is helpful to bring the practicals within the ambit of supervisions as they occur, take care not to introduce these too early. Examiners  have noticed with concern that some students’ have difficulty with simple calculations are often poor, especially in going in steps from raw data to final result: keeping track of units through the calculation is an important and helpful discipline. A common problem is that of distinguishing AMOUNT from CONCENTRATION. These matters are addressed in the handbook (appendix 1) and during the practicals and discussions.

But supervisors working with small groups can be particularly effective in improving scientific numeric. Please be alert to such difficulties, and be proactive in offering help.

Additional Resources for Supervisors

  • The Senior Tutors committee has drawn up guidance for supervisors.
  • There is also information available on the Faculty of Biology web site where advice for supervisors, guidelines used by examiners for marking, and advice on examination skills and how to avoid plagiarism can be found alongside much else.
  • The University Skills Portal also has useful resources on academic writing and other study skills.