Biosciences at Penryn Campus: New students
A very warm welcome to the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at the University of Exeter. Congratulations on securing your place here – we look forward to meeting you, and hope you will enjoy a rewarding and challenging academic experience as part of the Faculty of Environment, Science and Economy.
Please take time to look through the induction information on this page to prepare you for the start of term.
We will be updating this page regularly as new details of induction and welcome activities are released. Please ensure you check back here frequently for updates, as well as your personal email account, new University of Exeter email account, and your My Timetable for the most up-to-date information from us. (Please note you need to register with the University and activate your IT account to access My Timetable.) If you have any questions about your induction or starting your studies, please contact your Info Point using the details on this page.
This online induction course for Biosciences students at Penryn is all about helping you to feel confident and happy during your first couple of weeks and will provide further detailed information about studying with us.
Welcome to Biosciences Cornwall: the Department for Ecology and Conservation
On behalf of everyone in Ecology and Conservation, welcome to the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus. This is a very special place, brimming with expertise and passion for Zoology, Marine Biology, Conservation and Ecology, Animal Behaviour, Evolutionary Biology and Human Sciences. As you embark on your university adventure, I would like to reassure you that all our staff and students will do their utmost to help you with the transition to university life. We are here to support you while you gain your independence! We will do our best to inspire and entertain you during your time with us, and provide you with the skills and scholarship required for your chosen career.
The University of Exeter provides a supportive and challenging environment for all its students, and although you have only just arrived, your time here will pass quickly – so please do not waste it. Engage in all the opportunities on offer and give your best at all times. In return, we will give you our best and together we will solve a wide range of biological, environmental and social problems. Our campus is also a place of diversity, dignity and respect, so please show care and consideration for staff and your fellow students.
We wish you all the very best during your studies and hope that you enjoy your stay here just as much as we enjoy hosting you.
Head of Department and Director of Ecology and Conservation
During Welcome Week (19-23 September) you will have some scheduled induction meetings. These will include an opportunity to meet staff in a welcome talk, and a treasure hunt to get to know campus.
The first week of term (26-30 September) will involve a week of activities designed to get you thinking about the scientific process and also familiarise yourself with work conducted in the department. This will be a chance for you to get to know your peers and staff while conducting your own independent research project.
We have prepared some information which will be helpful for your induction, via a Future Learn course, specifically for Biosciences students starting in Penryn. There is also the opportunity through this course to ask us questions and to chat with your peers. The course is delivered in three sections (described as “Weeks”). We recommend you look through this now to see what information is available to you, but you will be able to refer to this throughout your time here.
The Centre for Ecology and Conservation (CEC) is comprised of a group of academic researchers and students who pride themselves on delivering cutting-edge education and research designed to address the factors that influence biodiversity and complexity in the natural world.
Our academic staff typically split their time between teaching and research and you will be able to learn more about the research activities of different academics as your degree progresses. Some staff members also take on key teaching roles, including:
Dr Chris Laing is the Director of Education and he has overall responsibility for all programmes and modules in the Centre for Ecology and Conservation. You’ll be able to meet with him during Welcome Week, and most of your contact with him will probably be in his regular role as an academic member of staff teaching you on modules. If you encounter any significant difficulties with your studies, Chris will be able to work with you to resolve these.
Each programme is led by a Programme Director, whose job it is to oversee the running of the programme and to liaise with all of the module leads to ensure that you make good progress. You might need to contact them with any programme-level concerns, and they may also be able to advise you on your module choices.
Our Programme Directors are:
As soon as you arrive, you’ll be allocated your own dedicated academic tutor who’ll be your first point of contact if you have any queries or concerns about your overall progress and wellbeing. Across the university you may also see these referred to as ‘Personal Tutors’ or ‘Academic Personal Tutors’, but it’s all the same role.
You’ll be invited to attend regular meetings with them throughout the academic year, and it’s important that you go along, even if for a very quick chat to confirm that all is well. You can also contact your tutor at any time by email or by visiting them during their weekly office hours.
The relationship you build up with your tutor is an important one, not least because they will sometimes be the person who writes references for you when you start applying for jobs or other positions such as internships.
This short video outlines some of the benefits of our tutoring system:
Dr Andy Pye is the senior tutor and he makes sure that our academic tutoring system meets your needs. Andy is also another point of contact if you'd like someone to discuss any concerns you have about your progress or wellbeing.
Your degree is composed of different short courses called ‘modules’. Most of these modules are 15 credits and you complete 120 credits in each year. Each module is led by a named academic member of staff, but some are taught by a team of academics who share the lectures and seminars. You can seek advice from your module leads during their weekly office hours (which will be displayed on the module’s ELE page).
You can find a list of all academic staff in Ecology and Conservation here, including office locations and contact details.
In the first year of your degree much of the summative assessment (i.e, assessments that contributes to your mark for the year) is by multiple choice tests. However, there will be the opportunity to practise your written skills with short reports and essays. This will help prepare you for later in your degree when you'll be assessed by a mixture of essays, scientific reports, presentations and various other methods.
Early in your degree you will be asked to complete training in academic honesty, to ensure you act with integrity, both during your degree and beyond.
Ask a question
The Penryn Info Point is your first port of call for the Education Support Services Team, the Welfare Team and the Student Records/Exams Team or anything else related to your academic studies.
- Located in the Peter Lanyon Building (building 10 on the Penryn Campus map)
- Service hours: Monday–Friday 08:45–17:00 during term-time
- If you have any questions, worries or concerns you can get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01326 371800.
The Compass is your first port of call for non-academic support and access to Student Services.
- Service hours: 09:00–17:00, Monday–Friday.
- You can contact The Compass on 01326 370460 or email@example.com, or ask a question via the live chat on the Compass website.
Keep in touch
Ensure that you keep up to date with what is going on in the department by checking your emails regularly and following your year's Facebook page.
You can find a list of all academic staff in Ecology and Conservation here, including office locations and contact details. You can also find out what is going on in the department more generally by following us on Twitter or Facebook.
There are many different societies you can join during your time at the Penryn campus. There are a range of different sports and general interest societies, but also many that relate to your degree and enable you to gain valuable skills which will contribute to your university experience.
EcoSoc runs many different ecological-focused activities including moth trapping, mammal trapping, bird walks, bat walks, ID sessions and habitat management.
If you're interested in science communication, Wild Doc Soc is focused on learning how to create fantastic wildlife documentaries.
For all the different societies you can join to get the most out of your time here, look at the Societies page.
We look forward to meeting you soon!