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2020/21 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

BIOL2223 Employment, Career planning and Professional Development for Life Scientists

10 creditsClass Size: 65

Module manager: Dr Stephanie McBurney

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

This module is mutually exclusive with

BIOL1223Career and Professional Development for Life Scientists

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module will equip students to explore their next career steps by introducing them to the careers available to bioscience graduates, the skills employers are looking for and how to achieve them. It will provide an opportunity for students who have not yet developed their career plans to reflect on their future goals, hone their employability skills and develop the necessary skills to seek and compete for work experience, internships and graduate employment. Comments from students who completed the module include….“The opportunity to reflect on personal qualities and employability is invaluable. It has helped me realise what I need to do”, “It was really useful. I definitely feel more prepared for job applications” and “I would recommend it very highly. It’s made me think early what I want to do”. The module will provide advice on when and how to start looking for work or work experience plus making applications and succeeding at interviews for work. The module will take students on a journey, starting with the need for career and life planning, to exploring what an ideal graduate is and exactly what employers expect of today’s graduates, through to the career choices, routes and opportunities currently open to graduates and bioscientists in particular. During the module students will learn about and develop the range of skills (team working, networking, seeking opportunities, presentation skills, commercial awareness) needed to successfully secure and succeed in the world of work. They will also learn how to evidence these skills. Students will learn about the importance of building up personal and employability skills in addition to bioscience-related qualifications and knowledge. Students will also learn how to prepare applications and be interviewed for their job/career of choice to help them towards successfully progressing into the world of work. Students will learn about securing work/work experience via networking and ‘the hidden jobs market’. Whatever their future work experience or career plans this module aims to help students move forward into their first internship and/or graduate job/role.


The objective of the module, is to allow students to reflect on their future career/life plans, to prepare for work and/or work experience, plus to learn and develop the key skills and attributes that are expected by graduate employers in today’s world of work – be that work in academic or other research and development laboratories, in a business environment or in the field.

Learning outcomes
On completion of the module students will be able to:
- Devise and maintain a career plan, identifying the skills, opportunities and activities needed to meet their plan;
- Reflect, research and report on their own career interests, values and motivations with respect to at least one employment setting;
- Understand what is meant by the term an ideal graduate and know who employs bioscientists after graduation;
- Describe the key skills that employers look for in new graduate recruits;
- Identify their own current employability skills strengths and weaknesses;
- Identify opportunities to develop their employability skills during their time at Leeds;
- Identify common team roles and how they themselves fit best within a team;
- Write and maintain a curriculum vitae;
- Prepare for a job interview and assessment centre;
- Deliver a good oral presentation;
- Demonstrate commercial awareness of a bioscience related sector/company;
- Learn how to network effectively in person and online.

Skills outcomes
Students will:
- Learn how to plan their next career/life steps and to reflect and build on their plans.
- Recognise the value of self-reflection in career/life planning (e.g. students will be able to reflect on their own interests, values, motivations, skills and the contributions they make) and learn to feed their reflections forward to influence their own career/life plans and development.
- Learn about the employability skills and professionalism that are required in today’s workplace.
- During their own time, learn how to self-assess and rank their own employability skills strengths and weaknesses.
- During their own time, identify and engage with curricular and extra-curricular activities that will help them to develop the bioscience and employability skills that today’s employers require.
- Learn about teams and team-working and identify how they might fit and work best within a team/project group and articulate (in writing) their progress in team working and the contribution they make.
- Learn how to positively present themselves to others in writing (e.g. via a CV) and in person, via networking, assessment centre and presentation.
- Learn about the hidden jobs market and how to network and positively communicate their skills and career plans to others, in person and in writing and practice working effectively in a team.
- Learn to work alone to gather and present written information related to their future career plans and the company/employer they wish to apply to.


- Lecture/workshop (1 hour): Career/life planning: what are your next steps - what is an ideal graduate, what careers are open to graduates and bioscientists in particular, what factors can influence your career/life plans e.g.: degree, interests, values, motivations and skills.
- Lecture/workshop (1 hour): Who might employ you and how, when and where to make contact with potential employers?
- Workshop (2 hours): The skills that employers want in new graduate-level recruits
- Workshop (2 hours): Team-working roles and skills (students to complete a team-working test)
- Workshop (2 hours): The job application process (including presentation skills)
- Workshop (2 hours): The job interview process - principles and practice
- Workshop (2 hours): Assessment centre
- Workshop (2 hours): The value of work experience
- Workshop (2 hours): Presentation skills
- Workshop (2 hours): Effective networking
- Seminar (2 hours): Feedback/question and answer session
(20 hours in total

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours18.00
Private study hours62.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

20 hours: Students will be expected to spend 1 hour following each lecture/workshop completing the relevant sections of a career development workbook/flow chart.
- 18 hours independent online learning: Students will be expected to complete online: self-awareness tests, a team working-related test e.g. Profiling for success and CV and online job application form; they will also be expected to use the University websites, including LeedsforLife, skills@thelibrary and Leeds University Union websites to help with identifying opportunities for their own employability skills development and to use iDECIDE for their own career planning.
- 42 hours: Students will be expected to:
a) Visit the University Careers Centre and learn about its website and other resources that could help them with their future work experience/career/life plans e.g. learn from guidance materials re. CV writing, interview skills and how to prepare for assessment centres.
b) Research potential employers online, on paper and in person via careers or networking events or fairs and via their own personal networks too
c) Explore who might offer them work experience (shadowing, an internship or placement) or an actual job in the future
d) Develop targeted job applications and prepare fully for course related presentations, interviews, assessment centres and networking opportunities.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

To ensure satisfactory progress throughout the module: Students progress/performance on formative and summative tasks will be monitored by academics during and after each workshop session and any struggling students identified so that additional advice/support can be provided where necessary:
1. Formative tasks and worksheets will be devised for each of the workshops and students will be provided with immediate constructive feedback on their performance either by their peers and/or the group academics/facilitators.
2. Start and end of module improvements in assessment centres, LinkedIn profile completion, interview and presentation techniques will be monitored by peers and academics.
3. Students will be required to spend time monitoring/reflecting on their own progress each week by completing a careers direction workbook based on workshop content, online revision and private reading sessions. The workbooks will also be monitored on an on-going basis and formally (as part of the assessment) at the end of the module. General feedback will be provided too.
4. Students will be encouraged to seek help outside of the module too and perhaps to sign up to the alumni and development mentoring scheme so that they can ask for help from people perhaps already working in a role in which they are interested in getting moving towards.

Module manager and lecturers will be notified of students failing any formative or summative tasks/assessments, so that additional support can be provided. Conditional release of support material, based on completion of each week's workbook worksheet, will ensure student involvement.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
PresentationGroup presentation; submission of slides plus recorded narration (plus questions). Or live presentation using Collaborate ultra30.00
Reflective logReflective workbook which accompanies the module week by week and consider their own career plans via a development plan) (50% reflective workbook, 20% development plan)70.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Assessment of this module is on a continuous basis. All pieces of coursework should be considered as compulsory and the marks from each summative assessment contribute to your overall module mark as shown above. Please note there will be no resit opportunity for this module during the August resit period, owing to the continuous nature of the assessment. Any student who fails this module due to failing assessments 2 (the workbook) due to non-attendance and needs it for progression/credits will be required to repeat the module as an internal candidate the following year, repeating all classes and assignments, for a maximum mark of 40% (in line with other university resits).

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 05/08/2020 08:03:19


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