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‌This page includes information on Frequently Asked Questions for students studying Science, Computer Science and Actuarial & Financial Studies starting in September 2019. Listed below are some top tips to help you adapt to university and to make the most of your time in UCD. The information below is for Entry in 2019 and will be updated again prior to the start of the 2020/21 academic year in August 2020. If you have any questions not answered below, please email science@ucd.ie.

Registration FAQs

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UCD Science (DN200/SCU1) is a diverse and flexible programme. Students can complete a degree in any one of the 26 subjects offered. It is possible to keep your options open by fulfilling the core  (compulsory) requirements for a number of subjects. To help students make module decisions, the Science Office have produced a Summary leaflet called the DN200 Stage 1 and Stage 2 Core Modules Guide (PDF)

The tables are a summary of the modules you will need to take to fulfil the requirements for different degree subjects. They show that a number of subjects are compatible and have some of the same  core requirements and if you select carefully you can fulfil the degree requirements and combine a number of subjects. For each subject there are modules that you may have to do depending on what you have studied already (conditional core), modules that you must do in a particular stage (core) and modules that you must do either in Stage 1 or Stage 2 or in Stage 2 or Stage 3 (Programme Core).

UCD Science (DN200) is a diverse and flexible programme. Students can complete a degree in any one of the 26 subjects offered. It is possible to keep your options open by fulfilling the core (compulsory) requirements for a number of subjects. To help students make module decisions, the Science Office have produced a Summary leaflet called the DN200 Stage 1 and Stage 2 Core Modules Guide (PDF).

The tables are a summary of the modules you will need to take to fulfil the requirements for different degree subjects. They show that a number of subjects are compatible and have some of the same core requirements and if you select carefully you can fulfil the degree requirements and combine a number of subjects. For each subject there are modules that you may have to do depending on what you have studied already (conditional core), modules that you must do in a particular stage (core) and modules that you must do either in Stage 1 or Stage 2 or in Stage 2 or Stage 3 (Programme Core).

Actuarial & Financial Studies and Computer Science students can view the Stage 1 Modules in the Science, Computer Science and Actuarial & Financial Studies Student Handbook 2019/20 (PDF). 

‌Students begin registering to modules in early September depending on their allotted registration start time. At Orientation you will receive plenty of advice from Science staff about your module registration, including a talk from the Associate Dean of Science, so don't worry about needing to complete all your module registration before the Advisory Sessions during Orientation.

For details of the key dates as well as an explanation of Start Times, please visit the UCD Registry website

Further information is available in the following documents:

 

It is an exact date/time from which you can begin your online module registration when it opens in August. You will be able to begin all of your module registration, including electives, from this date. Please note that this window is when you can begin your registration for Science, Computer Science and Actuarial & Financial Studies. It does not mean that you have to complete all registration immediately. Registration is open until 21 September 2018.  

At Orientation you will receive plenty of advice from Science staff about your module registration so students in Science, Computer Science and Actuarial & Financial Studies do not need to worry about needing to complete all module registration before the Advisory Sessions offered during Orientation.

Further information is available on the Start Times webpage on the UCD Current Students website

The Science Office operates an “open door” policy. The Science Office is located in E1.09 in the UCD O'Brien Centre for Science and is open between 9.30am and 5.00pm and closes for lunch between 1.00pm and 2.00pm. These office hours may be extended during peak registration times. You can also email science@ucd.ie

Any students seeking information can find out about available resources at the following places:

  • UCD College of Science website
  • Through your UCDconnect email account
  • You can of course just drop into the Science Office, Room E1.09, 1st Floor, UCD O’Brien Centre for Science.

At Orientation you will receive plenty of advice from Science staff about your module registration, including a talk from the Associate Dean of Science (or Head of Programme for Computer Science and Actuarial & Fin, so don't worry about needing to complete all your module registration before the Advisory Sessions during Orientation. As well as the talk from the Associate Dean, Advisory Sessions with academics from all Science subjects will take place during orientation. 

The UCD Student Desk also provide Registration Assistance Labs. Details are available on the UCD Current Students website

Yes. You can select another option within DN200 on arrival at UCD. We guarantee all students they can choose one of the following areas of study, regardless of the area selected on the CAO:

  • Biological, Biomedical and Biomolecular Sciences (BBB)
  • Chemistry and Chemical Sciences (CCS)
  • Mathematical, Physical and Geological Sciences (MPG) 

Please email science@ucd.ie or call into the Science Office in E1.09 to speak to staff, if you wish to make any changes to your stream(s).

You are welcome to call into the Science Office or to contact us by email at science@ucd.ie.

Our Transfer Students page contains useful information for any Internal, External or HETAC progression students. 

Orientation FAQs

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Attendance at orientation is compulsory. During Orientation there will be a series of activities events that will prepare you for your time in UCD. The information provided during orientation is important. During Orientation Week, academic staff from the Science Office and disciplines will be available to assist you in choosing your modules and in completing your registration. You will have a Academic Advisory Talk as part of Orientation which will contain important information and you will also be introduced to your Peer Mentor.

Students can purchase Laboratory coats, Dissection Kits and Safety Goggles in the Student's Union Library shop.

Please note that certain Schools within Science advise students to purchase a Howie Laboratory coat which buttons right up to the neck. If you are unsure, please check with the relevant academic and technical staff. 

Exam & Assessment FAQs

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Assignments
Assignments are a very important part of any educational programme. They provide an opportunity for formative assessment (assessment that helps you to learn, as opposed to simply testing your learning as a product) and, through feedback, they give you a real indication of your academic progress. You will have to complete assignments for some of your modules and you will be shown how to submit them.

Assessment in UCD may be different to your experience of assessment to date where there may have been greater emphasis on end of year examinations rather than continuous assessment. Under the UCD Horizons curriculum, assessment is based on a learning outcomes approach which measures what you are able to do after completing a module rather than simply testing your ability to memorise the content of the module. A wide and diverse variety of assessment methods are used in UCD which include – but are not limited to – continuous assessment, projects, essays, laboratory tests, laboratory reports, practical assignments, fieldwork assignments, clinical assessments, group assessments, MCQ examinations, mid-semester examinations and end-of-semester examinations.

Normally each of your modules in UCD will have at least one type of assessment, these are called components e.g. essay, exam, MCQ. You will find the key information about how each component of a module will be assessed and also what to do if you fail (remediation) in the Assessment section of the Module Descriptor for each of your registered modules. Once you register to a module, the published assessment will only change in exceptional circumstances, this should be communicated to you in advance of the assessment. All assessments are important in developing your learning. For example, assessments in the early weeks are designed to give you an early indication of your own progress. In order to do well in a module you will need to:

  • Undertake and submit all of your assignments/assessments, not forgetting those assessments required early in the module.
  • Ask for assistance from your lecturers/tutors if you have difficulty understanding what you’re expected to do.
  • Use the indicated readings and other learning resources to prepare for your assessments.
  • Ensure that the assessment is your own work and that you correctly acknowledge the work/ideas of other people.
  • Learn more about how to avoid plagiarism.
  • Understand the assessment criteria and check your own work to see how well it meets these before you hand it in.
  • Ask your lecturer for feedback on assessed work and guidance on how to improve your next piece of work.

There are a number of books which provide advice on how to be successful at university; here are two Irish books:

How to be a Student: 100 great ideas and practical habits for students everywhere, Moore, S. & Murphy. (2005)
Managing Your Own Learning at University: A Practical Guide,Moran, A. (2000)
Visit the Assessment web page for more information.

Your results in UCD are measured in grades. Your grades are the formal certification of how you perform in a module. Grading is used at both module level and at the component level within the module. Each Grade has a Grade Point Value, which is used to calculate your Grade Point Average (GPA).

The GPA is the numeric average of the grades achieved. There are three types of GPA that are calculated in UCD: Stage GPA, Compensation GPA, and Award GPA. Further explanation on Grades, Grade Point Values and GPAs – what they are and how they are calculated – can be found on the Assessment, UCD Registry webpage under Modular Grades Explained. Visit the Assessment web page for more information.

Deadlines:

  • Plan backwards from the date that an assignment is due for submission, and allow time for things to go wrong (often seen at the time as disasters). The deadlines are realistic and the only person that may suffer if you don’t meet them is you.
  • If you do not have an assignment ready on time, you can sometimes submit it up to two weeks late, although that may mean a grade penalty. It’s usually not possible to submit smaller assignments late. Check you assignment instructions or ask your tutor if you have a query.

The objective of assessment is to make sure that you have achieved the learning outcomes for each module. In this programme, that requires you to show your ability to search for and retrieve relevant information, and to communicate information on your topic in a reasonably professional and technically correct manner.

There are two main types of assessment – Examinations and Assignments/course work. Assessment outcomes are expressed in grades, along with a spectrum from A to G, with A grades representing excellent work, D grades representing satisfactory work and anything less than a D (E, F or G) representing a fail grade.

Results

The Assessment Unit in UCD brings together your grades for the assignment(s) and the examination in each module into a final grade. All of your classes’ grades are scrutinised by the Programme Examination Board before you receive a formal result for each module.

Module results will be available to you online through SIS, you will be contacted by email to your UCD email account when your results are available and told how to access them. To access your results you will need your Student Number. Provisional results are released to allow students to review their grades and if they feel there has been a genuine mistake in calculating this grade they can approach the Module Coordinator to discuss this and to ensure all components have been included for Grading. Following the Programme Examination Board the grades are ratified and are then deemed to be the final official grades.

Grading

The grading criteria are available in advance so that you can understand what they mean before you commence your assessment.

Grade criteria relevant to UCD levels 0, 1, 2 and levels 3 and 4 require different levels of engagement from students, so make sure you look at the criteria for levels carefully.

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is a serious academic offence. While plagiarism may be easy to commit unintentionally, it is defined by the act not the intention.
Refer to the UCD Library Online Tutorial for further information. 

The University encourages students to adopt good academic practice by maintaining academic integrity in the presentation of all academic work.
Please see the UCD Plagiarism Policy for further information. 

Academic Integrity

Integrity is all about being honest and having good moral values. Academic integrity is simply integrity in an academic setting, i.e. in University.

When you are a student in UCD, we encourage and expect that you will be honest and have high standards. This means avoiding behaviours that are considered dishonest. Most people know that it is dishonest to cheat in exams, and most people don’t cheat; but there are other, much less obvious ways of being dishonest, and you may not even realise it. When you are writing your assignments, you will need to make sure that you avoid plagiarism.

Written Examinations

  • End of semester examinations are designed to test what you have learned by the end of a module (summative assessment). This is different to self-assessment questions, which are designed to help you to learn (formative assessment).
  • Exams are based on material covered in your lectures, notes or other materials that your lecturers, tutors or module coordinator have specifically said you need to watch or read.
  • In modules with a written examination, you can see the type, layout and structure of the exam paper and find out what kind of question can be asked by looking a previous exam papers for your module.
  • You will be told how much time you will have to answer the exam questions. The time allowed will give you enough time to carefully read and then answer each question and also allows time for you to check your answers again before the time is up. You could practice writing the answers to past written exam questions in order to get an idea of your individual timing.
  • Normally you will be given some choice between questions on written papers, and, unless you’re told otherwise, all questions will account for equal proportions of the grade. That means that if you have to answer 3 questions, each will contribute to one third of the final grade.
  • The length of time or text given to any topic during the module should not be used to try and guess whether it will be examined or not.

Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) Examinations

  • End of semester exams are designed to test what you have learned by the end of a module (summative assessment). This is different to self-assessment questions, and assignments, which are designed to help you to learn (formative assessment) as you work your way through a module.
  • Examinations are normally based on material covered in your lectures, notes or other materials that your lecturers, tutors or module coordinator have specifically said you need to watch or read.
  • Normally in a MCQ Examination all questions will account for equal proportions of the final grade. That means that no matter what number of questions you are required to answer, each will contribute equally to the final grade.
  • Don’t try to use the length of time or text devoted to any topic during the module as a way of guessing whether it will be examined or not. There is no set number or proportion of questions per lecture or topic. This is mainly because as you have discovered, the content of a lot of lecture sessions is relevant again and again throughout the rest of the sessions.

Format of MCQs

  • A MCQ will normally contain a question or a statement, followed by 2-5 possible responses. Occasionally a true/false question will be used (a two-response option).
  • In all cases you have to select the best possible response. The options that are not the most correct response are called distractors. They can often be quite credible responses and they may be nearly right; you have to choose the best option, and this is how your knowledge is tested.
  • MCQ exams assess your ability to show your knowledge, and knowledge often depends on understanding. You will be asked to select a correct response from a number of potential responses, not to write down an answer, so rote learning does not work very well with an MCQ paper.

The page How to Complete MCQs contains further useful information on MCQ examinations. 

Relevant UCD Assessment Policies Explained:

The vast majority of students submit everything on time. However, if you don’t have an assignment ready on time, you may be allowed, if you ask for and get permission under the Late Submission of Coursework policy, to submit it up to two weeks late. Your late assignment will receive a slightly reduced grade. Some assignments (usually small tasks) can’t be submitted late. 

If you know in advance that you will be late submitting your assignment for a genuine reason, for which you can provide evidence (e.g. sick, with a medical cert to prove it), you may download a late submission form and complete and submit it in advance to the relevant School, along with scanned documentary evidence of your circumstances (such as a medical certificate). The reasons are normally exceptional and not foreseeable. Your time and project management skills are being developed when doing assignments, so try to anticipate and manage any predictable time delays. See the Late Sumbission of Course Work policy for further information. 

Apart from every day delays, serious life events unfortunately happen too and they are usually unforeseen. If you are unlucky enough to be visited by Extenuating (Extreme) Circumstances that you would like to have taken into account by UCD (usually very serious life events such as a bereavement), you should contact us as soon as you are able to discuss your options. Extenuating Circumstances can and will be taken into account but we can only do so if we know about them. You must support your request with the appropriate evidence in the form of documentation. Visit our Extenuating Circumstances page for more details on how the application system works. 

Upper case lettering (ALL CAPITALS) is not used for normal text or headings (it is considered to be the written equivalent of shouting!).

Standard writing rules should be followed (such as correct punctuation, spelling and grammar). Incorrect spelling or grammar can change the meaning of a sentence or message.

The specified number of words should be targeted; there is normally flexibility of +/- 10% of the word count. It will be reflected in your grade if the grader thinks that any over-wording is unnecessary or, if the content of your assignment suffers from any lack of content due to too few words; in either case it may affect the quality of the assignment.

For detailed information on the correct format please refer to the Guideline provided to you for your Core module (compulsory module) SCI10010 Principles of Scientific Enquiry.
Always follow the instructions you receive from the Module Coordinator/Lecturer.

Writing Standards
This programme has specified entry requirements and it is assumed that you have, through your education to-date mastered some writing and study skills. If you feel that you don’t meet these assumptions, you should discuss your concerns with the relevant Module Coordinator and he/she will be able to guide you to some relevant resources. You may find it useful to contact the UCD Writing Centre, see full details on the UCD Writing Centre website

The dates for the end of semester exams are published on the UCD Assessment website. Students will also receive an email notification to their UCD Connect email account when the dates are published. 

PRACTICAL TIPS
Take time to carefully read the exam papers, especially any instructions. Some practical instructions sometimes include:
a) The requirement to use separate answer books for different sections of the paper.
b) Putting your student (or seat) number an exam number on the front of each of the answer books
c) Writing the numbers of the questions you have answered clearly on the front of the answer book.
d) Attempting the required number of questions; no more, no less. If you have time left over, it is usually better spent checking and improving what you have written and re-reading the questions, than to start another question.
e) Checking whether or not multiple questions contain a choice.

  • Read each question and decide exactly what is being asked. Then proceed to answer the question that is being asked (as opposed to the question that you wish had been asked!). Unfortunately, you can not be given credit for information that isn’t relevant to what was asked, no matter how correct it is.
  • Underline key words in the question from two points of view: the instruction words, such as ‘list, discuss, describe’ and the subject words – asthma, stressors etc.
  • Pay attention to whether key words are singular or plural, e.g. if a question looks for advantages – it is looking for more than one.
  • Exams assess your ability to apply what you have learned and to show your knowledge. We don’t encourage rote learning, because we expect you to show a good understanding of the material, to be well informed on the topic, and to be able to explain the subject material in writing to others. So your answers should include relevant information, specific to and tailored to the question posed and should not be based on generic information. It’s a great idea to use plenty of examples, because examples illustrate whether (or not) you understand the material.

Past exam question papers are available from 1998 up to and including the most recent completed exam session via SIS Student Web. Further information on past papers is available on the UCD Assessment Past Papers page

There are a variety of excellent support services available to help you if you encounter any difficulties. Please see below for further information. 

UCD Maths Support Centre:  Mathematics and Statistics are relevant to all areas of Science. The Mathematics Support Centre is a free drop-in service offering extra help to any students who are worried about their Mathematics background. This is in addition to the normal tutorials. The Centre is staffed by a team of helpful senior tutors who provide a friendly, relaxed environment where students can drop-in to discuss their difficulties and receive one-to-one support throughout the year. If you enter the library the MSC is the glass room with the orange and green circles just to the left opposite the entrance. Further details are available via email at msc@ucd.ie or on the Maths Support Centre website

UCD Writing Centre: The UCD Writing Centre provides free, one-to-one tuition and a range of workshops on all aspects of the writing process. You can find the Writing Centre in Link Space 2 of the James Joyce Library.

UCD Computer Science Support Centre: The Computer Science Support Centre is a free drop-in service offering extra help to any students taking Computer Science modules, who are worried or having problems with computer programming. This is in addition to the normal tutorials. The Centre is staffed by a team of helpful senior tutors and is located on the first floor of the School of Computer Science and Informatics. The Centre provides a friendly, relaxed environment where students can drop-in to discuss their difficulties and receive one-to-one support throughout the year. Further details are available via email at cssc@ucd.ie or on the UCD Computer Science Support Centre website.