Skip to content Accessibility statement
Home>Department of Biology>New students>FAQ


Here are some common questions and queries among offer holders and newly enrolled students in the Department of Biology.

There are so many ways to make friends both in the Department and at the University as a whole. Firstly, joining a society is a great way to pursue your interests or try something new, but most of all it's a brilliant way to meet new people and make friends! There are over 200 societies here at York so there is something for everyone.

The Department of Biology has their own dedicated society, Biosciences Society - it brings together people from all branches of Biosciences degrees through weekly events such as quizzes, film nights, bar crawls, guest lectures, and so much more. 

The Department also hosts regular events throughout the year such as study groups, craft and cake sessions, careers fairs, mindfulness sessions and competitions. These allow you to socialise with course mates as well as staff! Give @biologyatyork a follow on Instagram to keep up to date with new events.

There are lots of brilliant spaces in the department to socialise such as the creative lounge, the atrium and even our own cafe, Cookies!

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to make friends straight away, remember everyone’s in the same boat and are probably just as keen to make friends as you are.

It can be difficult to stay disciplined and motivate yourself in a new environment, with heavier independent study and reduced contact hours. 

Create a plan for your studying, take regular breaks, and make sure you don't overwork yourself. It is also really important to attend all scheduled teaching sessions to avoid falling behind on the course content. But don’t worry if you do, you can always reach out for help from academic staff, the Student and Academic Services (SAS) team, or your academic supervisor.

There are lots of different work spaces in both the Biology department and the University to help manage your work/life balance including Biology’s Creative Lounge and Think Tank, as well as the library and loads of cafes. You will always be able to find a study space that works for you with silent, quiet, and studious buzz zones to help all individuals find their focus. 

The department has regular study groups, and the Academic Skills Community can help by developing your study skills through the Writing Centre and Maths Skills Centre.

In short, no. In the Department, we do not expect you to do anything before you join us - the most important thing is to enjoy your summer before starting university and take a well-deserved break. You are advised to wait until you arrive at the start of the semester before you buy any books - resources are provided in the library and in an ebook so it may not be necessary to spend money buying books. 

However, if you are wanting to do a bit of reading and research beforehand, our before you start page has some great advice including optional reading resources and how to access our Bugs, Brains and Beasts course and our online escape room puzzle.

But remember, none of this is a requirement to start the course - the main thing to do is relax and look forward to joining us in September!

It’s completely normal to be concerned about keeping up with the content of your course. University learning will be a new experience for you with more independent study. 

The first year of your undergraduate degree won’t count towards your final degree grade, so this is a good opportunity to explore learning styles to find out which ways suit you best. It may help to reflect on how you have learned in the past, for example in prior education or even when understanding something new in a job.

A good place to start is looking over the ‘VARK’ learning styles - are you a visual, auditory, reading/writing, or kinesthetic learner. There are many tools within these styles such as mind mapping, flashcards, note-taking, mnemonic devices, or even teaching someone else a topic.

Don't be afraid to ask! The chances are other students will have the same questions or confusions as yourself. Academic staff are always happy to help - it may be that you speak to them in lectures or seminars, during their office hours, via email or on a video call.

Don’t question your place on the course if you do start to struggle, reach out to your academic supervisor or the SAS team. Check out our support page to find out what help is available.

Feeling homesick at university is completely normal. Adjusting to life away from your home can be difficult, regardless of whether you’ve moved half an hour away or to a completely different country.

Here are some tips to overcome homesickness:

  • Keeping busy and immersing yourself into uni life is always a great way to distract yourself from worries and to make friends.
  • You can join over 200 societies here at York to meet new friends and explore your interests - the Biology department itself has its own society as well as lots of fun and interactive events throughout the year.
  • Bring home comforts with you, whether that be a hobby or a favourite blanket!
  • Get out of your room - going for a walk, exploring the city centre, volunteering or getting a part-time job are brilliant for meeting all sorts of people and keeping yourself occupied.
  • Sign up for the Student Connect scheme to connect with other students who are also looking to meet new people and try new things.
  • Most importantly, look after yourself. Get enough sleep, eat balanced meals and try to get some exercise - it can really help to boost your wellbeing.

Always remember to reach out to the support we offer here such as the SAS team, your supervisor or the Open Door team.

You might want to get a part-time job while at university to help manage your finances, meet new people and learn new skills.

  • There are lots of opportunities for part-time work in the shops, cafes, pubs, and bars in York.
  • There are also lots of casual job roles within the University. Becoming a Student Ambassador for the Biology Department is a great networking opportunity for a Biology student. It allows you to really immerse yourself in the course, and is very flexible around your studies.
  • Don’t forget that volunteering opportunities are another valuable option to build skills and often have more flexible hours to fit around your studies.

Part-time work is a great way to get some work experience and develop key employability skills which can be really helpful when applying for placements, internships or graduate jobs. But your work shouldn’t interfere with your studies - so don't overstretch yourself and agree to too many hours!

You will be given your own personalised timetable, which you can view online or via the University's app. You will be given access to your timetable once you have a confirmed place.

Your timetable will have induction activities and teaching allocations as well as other compulsory and non-compulsory events. If you want to understand more about the different types of teaching you are likely to find on your timetable as a Biology student - check out the teaching and assessment page.

There are many reasons to study with the department of Biology at York.

  • We are based in a student-friendly setting within easy reach of York city centre. We have a diverse community with students from over 150 different countries, and there are more than 200 societies and over 60 sports clubs so there is something for everyone.
  • The University is committed to sustainability with an abundance of nature and wildlife on campus, locally and in the surrounding areas. This is not only great for Bioscience students, but for anyone who appreciates beautiful surroundings.
  • The department is home to state-of-the-art teaching and research facilities and our scientists are undertaking cutting-edge research which informs our teaching.
  • We are a friendly community with great support for students both in the department and in the wider University.
  • York itself is a safe and welcoming city with a rich culture and so much to explore.

Many students can feel daunted by the prospect of being in a lab with new equipment and new ways of working. We don't throw students in at the deep-end nor do we expect them to understand all the jargon, equipment and practicals from the start.

You will be given detailed instructions in lab practicals and there will always be assistance on hand. It's important to remember that your fellow students are likely to have the same worries and lack of experience in labs as yourself, but as long as you're willing to have a go and get stuck in, we are sure you will enjoy the practical side of your degree!

Keep in touch with us