University of Chester

Programme Specification
Mortuary Science FDS
2014 - 2015

Foundation Science Degree

Mortuary Science

Mortuary Science

University of Chester

University of Chester

University of Chester

Undergraduate Modular Programme

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

3 - 5 years

5 Years

Annual - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Medicine, Dentistry and Life Sciences Biological Sciences

Biosciences 2007, Biomedical Sciences 2007, AAPT draft curriculum 

Not Applicable

Department of Biological Sciences

Thursday 1st November 2007

Mortuary Science is the science and practice of working with the deceased and the bereaved, cognisant of the ethical, legal and cultural aspects of death and funeral practice. The programme is underpinned by a core curriculum in the biological and human health sciences, the development of key skills and complemented by work-based learning in environments such as mortuaries and pathology laboratories. The aims of this programme are to:

  • provide a high quality academic and work-related practical programme of study in Mortuary Science, with learning opportunities for students from a variety of backgrounds both in their place of work and through the facilities and expertise at the University of Chester.
  • provide students with the knowledge, understanding and skills required by employers in the mortuary and embalming industries, using teaching, learning and assessment strategies that develop professional experience concurrent with academic development.
  • offer flexible delivery modes and study patterns to meet the needs of students from a variety of backgrounds and employment patterns.
  • provide a high quality academic and work-related practical programme of study in Mortuary Science that remains relevant, valid and responsive to the needs of employers and students, by maintaining and expanding effective partnerships with students, employers, professional bodies and sector skills councils.
  • provide a programme of study in Mortuary Science that qualifies students for further study at honours degree level.
  • provide a degree programme that provides students with the academic skills and confidence to engage in further learning throughout their lives.

Knowledge and Understanding

Have detailed knowledge and critical understanding of the principles of biology, chemistry, microbiology, pathological and molecular techniques and research methods as applied to mortuary science and embalming.
Have knowledge and understanding of the ethical, legal, health and safety issues related to embalming and mortuary practice.
Have knowledge of the main methods of enquiry into the applied sciences and the ability to critically evaluate the appropriateness of different approaches to solving problems in mortuary and embalming work contexts.
Thinking or Cognitive Skills

Be able to analyse, synthesise, evaluate, apply and reflect upon information gathered from the academic literature, professional organisations, and experiences in the work place, in order to propose solutions to problems in mortuary and embalming contexts.
Practical Skills

Be able to deploy academic and practical techniques for the integration of academic knowledge and understanding into effective professional practice in mortuary and embalming contexts.
Key Skills

  • Communication
  • Application of Number
  • Information Literacy and Technology
  • Improving own learning and performance
  • Working with others
  • Problem solving

Be able to effectively communicate information, arguments, and analysis in a variety of forms to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
Be able to use IT to manipulate quantitative and qualitative information to solve defined problems.
Be able to work effectively within a team, giving and receiving information and ideas, and modifying responses as appropriate.
Be able to manage resources for effective learning.
Transferable Professional Skills

Have understanding of the limits of own knowledge, and how this influences analysis and interpretations based on that knowledge. Have skills of self-evaluation to understand own strengths and weaknesses, challenge received opinion, and develop own criteria and judgement. Have key / transferable skills and confidence to undertake further training, develop existing skills, and acquire new competencies that will enable assumption of significant responsibility within relevant organisations.

The programme is designed so that academic knowledge and understanding underpin the development of work-related skills and their application in a relevant work environment. The curriculum is designed around a programme core of knowledge, understanding and skills essential to mortuary science and incorporates fundamental principles of embalming and care of the deceased. Effective and sensitive communication with others, internal and external to the organisation, is key. Thus, throughout the programme modules, communication (both in written and oral form) is developed and assessed. The FdSc in Mortuary Science is built from FHEQ Intermediate level qualification descriptors and is informed by the Biosciences and Biomedical Sciences Benchmark Statements.

The programme is designed to equip foundation graduates with the necessary knowledge and practical (transferable) skills to embark on careers within the mortuary and related bioscience and biomedicine industries, further training for specialist careers, or an honours degree (Level 6). The embedded transferable skills throughout the programme make the foundation graduate highly employable. Foundation graduates from the programme should be able to:

(i) adopt a systematic and rigorous approach to academic study

(ii) demonstrate extensive knowledge and a critical understanding of relevant theories and concepts

(iii) integrate and synthesise knowledge and understanding in the biosciences

(iv) be able to use a range of practical (e.g. observation, recording of findings, data interpretation, etc,) and work-related skills

(v) apply a critically and theoretically informed perspective to relevant issues and current developments (as appropriate) in biosciences

(vi) apply and evaluate a scientific approach to academic study

(vii) demonstrate the competence and skills necessary to progress from tutor-led to student-led learning

(viii) adopt appropriate problem-solving, communication and presentation skills and ICT and numeracy

(ix) plan and implement an appropriate project and critically reflect on their practice.

The curriculum is built over two levels of study designed around core modules in the science relating to embalming and mortuary science. This includes academic study in biological chemistry, cell and tissue structure and function, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, health and safety, and ethical and legal issues when dealing with the deceased as a mortuary scientist or embalmer. Work-based negotiated learning complements the core curriculum allowing for the recognition of work-related skills developed in the work environment or the application of knowledge acquired. Further specialist skills are developed within Level 5 modules. This level also provides scope for specialisation in further career or education opportunities. Within the modules, broader aspects are integrated to reflect the human interaction that many employees in the industry would be required to deal with when working with the deceased.

Level 4: Fundamentals of Mortuary Science

The modules at Level 4 can be seen mainly as providing a foundation for study at Level 5, and provide a comprehensive review of major biological knowledge, concepts and skills for students with a range of backgrounds in the biological sciences.

Knowledge & Understanding

Level 4 Emphasis on knowing about, coverage of basic terminology, key ideas; on acknowledging sources; on accuracy; on the formulation of rational argument; on the development of a questioning attitude.

Transferable & Generic Skills

Groundwork, secure in study skills and key skills appropriate to the subject. Library research and laboratory skills; computer literacy; data handling and numerical skills; the ability to articulate accurately.

Learning Style

Learning at Level 4 is predominately tutor designed and guided; scope for individual and group initiative within a controlled framework. Developing the ability to work in a scholarly team.

The programme has six core modules at Level 4, which are designed to develop essential knowledge and understanding of the underpinning scientific, ethical and legal frameworks relevant to the practice of mortuary science and the practice of embalming.

Essential Biological Chemistry (20 Credits) This module introduces students to the biochemistry laboratory and laboratory skills, and to those aspects of chemistry that underpin subsequent modules in biological and biomedical sciences.

Study Skills and Data Handling (20 Credits) This module, which develops enhanced scientific and general study skills, prepares students for study in HE. Study workbooks are used to support the delivery of this module enabling students to work at their own pace and focus on aspects for self-development.

Cell and Tissue Science (20 Credits) This module develops many of the ideas and concepts highlighted in Essential Biological Chemistry by introducing foundation degree students to those aspects of cells and tissues that underpin subsequent study of relevant biological and biomedical sciences.

Human Anatomy and Physiology (20 Credits) This module provides a foundation in key aspects of human anatomy and physiology. It also provides an essential basis for the understanding of how humans may be affected by the various factors that can lead to ill health.

The Mortuary Scientist and Care of the Deceased (20 credits) This module will introduce foundation degree students to the theoretical, practical and professional aspects of the disciplines which underpin mortuary science. Students will gain an insight into the different services within mortuary science and the importance of their work in care of the deceased. The module provides the context to the subjects studied in Level 4 and further developed in Level 5. Students will also learn the importance of safety in the laboratory and be introduced to Health and Safety legislation. Communication with the bereaved and with others relevant to mortuary practice is an essential component developed in this module.

Negotiated Experiential Learning (20 credits) This module is designed to enhance the student’s workplace practice and provides a framework for the approval and accreditation of experiential learning activities undertaken in the context of the workplace. These may take the form of discrete, identifiable projects or may be specific areas of learning that involve engagement with a wide range of work activities. For the individual practitioner, the module offers an accreditation mechanism for CPD activities; from an organisational perspective it may provide the opportunity for an employee/volunteer to engage in innovative and strategic developments for the organisation as part of his/her work role and in so doing, enhance the work of the organisation.

Level 5: Essentials of Mortuary Science At Level 5, students take modules involving greater detail and depth of study of key ideas and enhanced skills. The core modules at Level 5 deal with essential topic areas relevant to the degree programme.

Knowledge & Understanding

Level 5 Ability to relate complex elements of knowledge to one another-to seek links; to demonstrate a critical approach to data and evidence; to begin to develop a mastery of complex skills and concepts in the subjects studied.

Transferable & Generic Skills

Further consideration of appropriate study skills and of lateral thinking. Ability to audit own skills and understand and monitor personal development as a learner.

Learning Style

Tutor/student relationship viewed as a more collaborative partnership but design of learning still largely controlled by the tutor.Learners develop a mastery over a range of learning styles and the ability to select the appropriate style for the task in hand.

Level 5 addresses the essentials of mortuary science, building on the knowledge and skill base developed in Level 4. Advanced study in biochemistry, anatomy, physiology and embalming theory is undertaken. The modules will equip students with knowledge of systemic pathology techniques used in mortuary science and embalming (including pathogenic microbiology and aspects of workplace infection control) which are essential for those employed in the industry. Time of death and markers of death and disease are also considered and students are encouraged to develop investigative skills and apply them to the workplace setting.

The modules will provide insight to the working practices and experimental techniques involved in pathology. The study approach used will encourage students to develop a questioning and critical evaluation of both anatomical and biochemical data and will utilize case-study scenarios to permit students to gain an appreciation of the practical applications of the different sciences in the study of mortuary science. The learner will also study research methods and medical ethics, which develop the concept of evidence-based practice and enable students to select and use the evidence appropriate to their studies. A Specialist Work-Based Learning module ensures that students develop their academic, practical and professional skills and integrate current knowledge and principles essential to working as a scientist in a mortuary or related environment. This will be the last module undertaken in the programme to enable the application of new learning to be considered and other aspects from practice to be integrated. Relevant technical laboratory skills and competencies will be developed in laboratories at the University of Chester within the Residential Schools (see Section 27).

There are five core modules in Level 5:

Research Methods and Medical Ethics for Mortuary Science (20 Credits) This module will expose students to the essential elements in the process of conducting sound scientific research. The module will define skills of critical analysis and reflective practice and will give the student an understanding of research methodology and its limitations. This will equip students with the skills required to carry out critical analysis of research papers and to adopt a reflective approach to their own work. This module provides the essential first steps to interpreting research and using it to inform practice in mortuary science and embalming. Students will be equipped to critically appraise the scientific literature and reflect on how this informs the basis for their own practice.

Cultural, Ethical, and Legal Aspects of Mortuary Practice (20 Credits) Mortuary science and funeral practice are enveloped by religious, cultural, ethical and legal considerations relating to the deceased, their family and any other authorities. This module explores contemporary funeral practices and will examine the scope and role of religion and cultural norms in relation to mortuary science and practice and will include those relevant to minority ethnic and religious groups in the UK. Professional relationships and confidentiality as applied to death and funeral practice will be examined. The module will also address the laws, rules (informal and formal) and regulations of dealing with death and funerals including advanced health and safety. Equipped with the skills gained from Research Methods, students will be able to explore medical and research ethics relevant to practice and to the scientist in the workplace in the context of this module. Students will be able to discuss ethics important and relevant to their role in the workplace, and explain the procedures followed when dealing with sensitive legal and ethical issues confidentially.

Biological Markers of Death and Decomposition (20 credits) This module provides a focused study of applied microbiology. It aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to understand not only the effects of micro-organisms on the human body and how they can be used as markers of death and decomposition but also the importance of safe working practices and control of micro-organisms in the workplace.

Systemic Pathology (20 Credits) This module provides an overview of systemic anatomy and pathology with special emphasis on the changes to body tissues with death and the manner of death. The biology of necrosis and apoptosis will be examined as well as a range of relevant analytical procedures. It aims to equip students with an understanding of the methods of pathological investigation and their limitations, as well as pre- and post-mortem artefacts. The impact of disease on anatomy is examined and the work of the mortician will be related to that of the pathologist or other medical professionals.

Specialist Work Based Learning for Mortuary Science (40 Credits) This double module is designed to enhance the mortuary scientist’s workplace practice and provide a framework for the approval and accreditation of experiential learning activities undertaken in the context of the workplace. It enables practitioners to apply - and reflect on - the knowledge and skills gained through theoretical study in a practical situation. The work-based / experiential learning module is normally negotiated as part of an overall programme of study. The focus would be directed to match the taught modules undertaken and enable practitioners to enhance their workplace skills.

A selection of skills which may be improved or enhanced:

- Perform and demonstrate practical skills in embalming, with regard to health and safety and paying close attention to detail
- Handle tools and surgical instruments safely and with confidence
- Apply a scientific approach to problem solving
- Work with others, in groups, to solve problems
- Discuss and demonstrate the principles of effective communication skills for embalming practice
- Develop skills of observation and recording when performing embalming procedures
- Access research and other evidence in embalming and related areas
- Demonstrate knowledge of recent advances made in specific areas of embalming
- Act with dignity and respect, demonstrating sensitivity to and awareness of other people’s feelings, and respect and understanding towards the cultural and religious beliefs of others
- Demonstrate this understanding in communication strategies used in all aspects of the work place.

Skills in the application of academic knowledge to develop work-related skills in mortuary environments are developed through coursework activities using the work environment at both levels of study.

Successful Foundation Degree graduates may progress onto the University of Chester's Level 6 'top-up' programme leading to a BSc Hons degree in Mortuary Science. This includes more specialised modules and a research project which forms an essential platform for advanced academic study at Level 6.

This FdSc is built upon our long standing experience of co-delivery of programmes with professional partners in Human and Health Sciences. It draws upon the academic expertise of University of Chester staff which together with the laboratory facilities in the Dept of Biological Sciences, allow the development and delivery of high-quality academic and applied programmes of study.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
BI4926 4 DL Essential Biological Chemistry 20 Comp
BI4927 4 Cell and Tissue Science 20 Comp
BI4928 4 DL Anatomy and Physiology 20 Comp
BI4929 4 DL The Mortuary Scientist and Care of the Deceased 20 Comp
BI4931 4 DL Study Skills and Data Handling 20 Comp
IS4011 4 Negotiated Experiential Learning Module (single) 20 Comp
BI5928 5 Biological Markers of Death and Decomposition 20 Comp
BI5929 5 Cultural, Ethical and Legal Aspects of Mortuary Practice 20 Comp
BI5930 5 Research Methods and Medical Ethics 20 Comp
BI5931 5 Systemic Pathology 20 Comp
BI5932 5 Specialist Work Based Learning for Mortuary Science 40 Comp

Students graduate with FdSc on completion of Level 2 having obtained 240 credits (120 per year).
Proposed Pathway for Delivery

Level Year

Module Title

Essential Biological Chemistry Study Skills and Data Handling Cell and Tissue Science The Mortuary Scientist and Care of the Deceased Anatomy and Physiology Negotiated Experiential Learning

Biological Markers of Death and Decomposition Research Methods and Medical Ethics for Mortuary Science Cultural, Ethical, and Legal Aspects of Mortuary Practice Systemic Pathology Specialist Work Based Learning for Mortuary Science (40 credits)

Standard academic requirements such as ‘A’ levels, GNVQ and BTEC may be held by some students, but many with several years working experience (e.g. anatomical pathology technicians) will not possess standard School/College qualifications.

Conventional candidates need to be able to demonstrate ONE of the following qualifications:

1. An appropriate BTEC National Diploma achieving a minimum of 150 UCAS points.

2. An appropriate Access to Higher Education Course ‘Certificate of Achievement’.

3. A/S Level: 2 A/S levels one of which must be in an area of biological sciences or psychology.

4. A Levels: 1 A Level in an area of biological sciences or psychology.

5. NVQ Level 3 in an area of biological sciences or psychology.

Mature students (21 years of age or over) working in the mortuary and funeral industries and without evidence of the above qualifications, will be required to demonstrate enthusiasm and aptitude for higher level study, and have the support of their managers for linking their education with their work activities.

Candidates for part-time study need to demonstrate a minimum of 6 hrs per week employment / volunteering in an appropriate mortuary or funeral practice work place, and have the written support of their manager for the integration of their studies with work-place activities.

Candidate for full- or part-time study will need to demonstrate current or recent work experience in mortuary science.

Full time applications should normally be made through UCAS. Part time applications are made direct to the University of Chester.

Accreditation of prior learning will be considered in line with University policy. Specifically, candidates who have successfully obtained the British Institute of Embalmers or Association of Anatomical Pathology Technicians qualification within the last 5 years will be granted APL against the Level 4 modules:

BI4926 (Essential Biological Chemistry); BI4927 (Cell and Tissue Science), and BI4928 (Anatomy and Physiology).

Applicants may be interviewed. The interview will focus on personal qualities and related skills in addition to formal academic requirements. Where it is felt that the applicant is not yet ready to undertake the programme of study a ‘return to learn’ course will be advised.

The minimum starting age is 18 years.

The Department of Biological Sciences has a flexible admissions policy and encourages applications from mature students and groups normally under-represented within higher education. The Department welcomes applications from students who possess appropriate ‘A-levels’ or their equivalent. All applications are processed centrally by Registry Services (Undergraduate Admissions).

The benchmark statements in Biology and in Biomedical Sciences have been used as an important reference point in the construction of this programme’s learning outcomes, knowledge, skills and content together with the methods of learning, teaching and assessment. Particular reference has been made to the threshold statements - these being the minimum requirement described in the benchmarking statements by The Quality Assurance Agency (2007). Any individual student will take the equivalent to 11 modules in total, (one being at 40 credits), which are all core modules. The structure and content of the core modules is such that all students will have the opportunity to develop the "skills and attributes acquired by the biosciences graduate …… for a career in biosciences or elsewhere, and make them valued by employers." (The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education 2007. Biosciences). The particular sets of statements that have been consulted and referenced are generic standards and subject specific standards.

The programme will be delivered by blended learning in the form of learning packages, e-mail, discussion boards, telephone contact, residential schools and workplace mentoring. The Module Texts (supplemented by set texts) will provide the main learning materials and the University intranet (IBIS) will be used to provide the learning framework, information on work patterns, additional support materials and the platform for communication throughout the programme. Laboratory-based practical exercises which contribute to the Learning Outcomes of some modules will be undertaken within the appropriate Residential School, which will be scheduled at the start and end of each module.

Members of the Department of Biological Sciences have many years of experience in offering distinctive programmes of study at diploma, undergraduate, postgraduate and post-experience levels. The Department has considerable experience of supporting the learning needs of mature students and of students generally with ‘non-standard entry’ qualifications. Considerable experience has been achieved with students with limited entry qualifications both in terms of academic performance and personal development.

Residential Schools

At the start of each module, students will attend a Residential School at which the module content (including support provision, learning materials and assessment details) will be described. Considerable guidance will be given on learning to learn, accessing and using resources and preparing assignments as well as an introduction to the modular content. The help given will be more extensive at Level 4; at Level 5, the support will be similar but appropriate to a learner who has developed a degree of autonomy. At this second level, more emphasis will be given to the modular content. Throughout both levels, students will be encouraged to become autonomous learners.

Students will be encouraged to form self-help groups (communicating through e-mail, discussion boards or telephone) and these will be explained and organised at the Residential School.

On completion of the allocated time for the module, there will be a second residential school. This will be used for any formal assessment – as described in the module descriptor – and module evaluation and staff/student liaison meetings.

Learning Packages

(a) The main learning materials will be in the form of Module Texts supported by a Programme Handbook. The Module Texts will contain a range of text materials, articles, data handling exercises and so on and will be augmented by on-line learning. Wherever possible, a set text will be part of the learning package. Students will be encouraged to carry out self-assessment which will be progressively developed using a variety of in-text questions (ITQs) and self-assessment questions (SAQs) at the end of each section of work. Answers to these questions – together with explanatory notes where appropriate – will give valuable on-going feedback to the students as they progress through the learning materials.

(b) On-line learning

The on-line materials (using the University intranet IBIS) will be used to provide the following:

The programme

· A structured weekly guide to the module content

· Additional self-assessment questions

· Assessment details and guidance on presenting the assignment(s)

· Access to distant, appropriate websites

· Access to the Library on-line support (including e-books, the Encyclopaedia of Life Sciences)

· Access to the Discussion Board

· e-mail links to the tutors

· Text references.

· Access to the support infrastructure.

e-mail seminars

Time will be given each week to student/staff interaction via e-mail. Students will be allocated a time slot during which the module tutor will answer e-mails concerning the module content and/or assessment.

Practical work

The main application of theory will occur in the student’s work place. Students will be expected to carry out tasks directly related to the modular content but in the context of the normal work of their work place. The aim is to make the practical work a relevant and appropriate learning experience. Additionally, where appropriate, there will be short practical exercises set within the modules which will be performed at the relevant Residential School.

Employability skills

Employability skills encompass the attributes that help graduates to secure employment , enable them to respond to the changing demands of the workplace and contribute positively to their employer’s success and their own progress are essential as outcomes in programmes of study.  Employability skills include; self-management, team working, business and customer awareness, problem-solving, communication and literacy, application of numeracy, application of information technology. All programme modules delivered by the Dept of Biological Sciences have identifiable employability learning outcomes.  These have been developed to help student’s identify and develop skills that will equip them for their working lives. 

Visiting Lecturers

Visiting Lecturers will be used to support the delivery of the programme. This will provide expertise in pathology, forensics and will include contributions from a range of personnel involved in aspects of mortuary science and related industries.

Assessment Criteria The University's over-arching level-related criteria are a key reference when designing modular assessments. Therefore, progression towards more complex and involved assessments, that require greater levels of study autonomy and greater levels of critical analysis, underpins the overall assessment strategy of the programme. In addition, all students who pass any part of a foundation degree are expected to possess such basic skills as the ability to make use of numerical and statistical information; the ability to locate internet sites from given web addresses; the ability to send and receive e-mail messages; the ability to use basic software packages such as Word; the ability to perform basic searches on standard electronic retrieval systems, and the ability to write legibly. Students who succeed at Level 5 and above should be able to construct an essay using correct grammar, spelling and referencing according to the American Psychological Association (APA) system of referencing. In relation to double marking, we follow a policy of ‘monitoring’, whereby a second marker looks at a 25% sample of coursework or examination scripts (minimum 6 scripts), including all failed assignments, and records comments on perceived consistency, standards, and other characteristics of the marking on a form. The second marker discusses any concerns with the first marker: the first mark stands unless there is a discrepancy greater than 5%. The marks of individual scripts are not altered - except for those with fail marks, which may be raised - unless the whole batch of scripts is remarked. Late work is penalised in accordance with the University’s Late Work Policy if a formal application for an extension has not been made and approved by the Head of Department (or Deputy).

Each module is assessed on a 4,000 word-equivalent basis, with a one-hour examination equating to 1,000 words. The module descriptors include information on assessment methods; nearly all modules involve more than one method of assessment. At the modular level, assessment is tied to learning outcomes so that assessment modes indicate those outcomes that are being assessed. Generally, the balance over the entire programme between coursework and examinations is approximately 80:20. If a student fails the module overall, he/she will be reassessed in the failed component(s). In addition, any component mark below 20% will be deemed to cause an overall failure even if the average total is 40% or above. This rule is to be read in conjunction with the Regulation whereby students are reassessed only in “components failed first time (identical or equivalent components)”. The mark resulting from reassessment on failed components is then added to the marks from components that were passed at the first attempt.

Feedback All students receive written comments on coursework and additional feedback on the work is given more informally by individual tutors. Additionally, students are invited to discuss their assessment results with the appropriate tutor. This opportunity allows students to discuss their performance and ways to enhance it for the future. For students at Level 4 this is a particularly valuable opportunity for them to get formative feedback on the effectiveness of their study skills.

Reassessment Methods If a student fails a module overall, he/she will be reassessed in the failed component(s). Reassessment will normally use the same mode as the original assessment, reassessing those learning outcomes that were not achieved in the failed component(s). The module descriptors indicate how each module is reassessed.

Formative assessment and feedback Formative feedback is an important and essential component of all taught modules. The nature of the assessment and feedback varies from module to module and is assessed by the module tutor or peer assessed. Formative feedback is staggered throughout the year. Assessment matrices are useful indicators of the development of learning in relation to content and key skills. Learning outcomes from modules in the programme are mapped against Key Skills below. 

 Key Skill Communication IT Application of numberWorking with others  Improving own learning Problem solving
 Module Number      
 BI4926 E A  E A  E  E A
 BI4927 E A  E A   E A
 BI4928 E A E A E A E A  E A  E A
 IS4011-016 E A     E A  
 BI4929 E A E A  E  E A 
 BI4931 E A E A E A E A E A E A
 BI5928 E A E E A E E E A
 BI5929 E A    E 
 BI5930 E A E A   E E A
 BI5931 E A E A E A   E A
 BI5932 E A E A E E A E A 
 E - indicates that the skill is included in the module learning outcomes A - indicates that the skill is included in the module assessment

Assessment strategy Assessment typically involves a range of components identified in each module descriptor. A summary of the assessment components involved in each module and percentage weighting are presented below.

Module CodeExaminationCoursework(practical reports, essay or presentation)
BI 49265050
BI 49275050
BI 49280100
IS 4011-0160100
BI 49290100
BI 49310100

BI 59285050
BI 59290100
BI 59300100
BI 59315050
BI 59320100

Graduates of the FdSc Mortuary Science will have:

  • Knowledge and understanding of the application of science and research methods to the practice of mortuary science.
  • Ability to apply academic knowledge and techniques to practical solutions in mortuary work places.
  • Skills of academic enquiry to generate potential solutions to problems in mortuary science and embalming, and cognitive skills to critically evaluate these to arrive at solutions fitted to context.
  • An understanding of the limits of their knowledge, and how this influences analysis and interpretations based on that knowledge in mortuary work contexts.
  • Skills to effectively communicate information, arguments, and analysis, in written and oral form, to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • Confidence and transferable skills to undertake further training, develop existing skills, and acquire new competencies that will enable them to assume responsibility within mortuary science or funeral care organisations.
  • Knowledge, understanding and skills to progress onto the BSc Hons Mortuary Science programme.
In light of the above, this foundation degree will equip graduates with the skills, knowledge and understanding necessary to make a significant contribution to mortuary science or funeral care organisations. Some graduates may ultimately decide to further enhance their professional standing by continuing with their studies in order to gain an honours degree qualification in Mortuary Science. It is appreciated, however, that the transferable skills embedded throughout the foundation degree (and possible ‘top-up’ to honours standard) will benefit graduates considering a change of career and equip them to enter other areas of employment (e.g. business, personnel work; sales, etc).

The programmes of study in the Dept of Biological Sciences fully embrace the University’s commitment to the active promotion of equality of opportunity. The University seeks to ensure that no student is disadvantaged or discriminated against on the grounds of: gender; age; sexual orientation; racial group (race, colour, nationality, ethnicity or national origins); creed (religious, political or personal beliefs or principles); membership or non-membership of a trade union; and socio-economic background. It also aims to ensure that disabled people and those with special needs do not suffer unfair discrimination, and that they are enabled to achieve their full potential as students. The ultimate objective of the programmes delivered are to ensure all aspects of delivery are open to all sections of society and in whose activities all students can participate to the best of their ability. This programme is designed to ensure inclusivity and to ensure that the diverse needs of our students are provided for. At a departmental level all programmes are developed and delivered with the following aspects in mind:

  • Admission requirements are clearly set out in promotional materials and due consideration is given to a policy of widening access, participation, diversity and equality.
  • Each module and programme is developed in line with University policy to both promote equality and diversity and encourage all students in the development of their learning.
  • There is flexibility in materials and delivery of teaching to support students with disability or from culturally diverse backgrounds and the Department works closely with Learning Support in delivering this support through Learning Support Plans.
  • The induction week activities are designed to integrate all students both academically and socially and to make academic staff aware of any issues. Students are made aware of avenues of support if they a have any issues regarding diversity and equality.
  • Supportive formative exercises are presented in modules in the first year to give all students an equal chance of succeeding.
  • Assessments are designed to afford equal opportunity to all students to display their knowledge and skills. The introduction of anonymous marking and the blue sticker scheme also enhance equal opportunity to all students.
  • In order to ensure that the needs of all students are met any barriers to access (physical, environmental and curriculum) are identified and removed or reasonable adjustments will be made based on requirements.
  • All learning materials and teaching and learning sessions are designed to be free from racist, sexist and other discriminatory assumptions and practices.
  • All lecturers are aware of diversity issues and discharge their PAT roles with knowledge and sympathy and all students are made aware of the Department structures to discuss issues should a concern arise.

The Department of Biological Sciences currently employs circa 30 academic staff, 8 technical staff, and 4 administrative staff. Student numbers in the Department are buoyant with over 500 undergraduate students and 70 postgraduate students. The Department offers programmes of study at Undergraduate, Masters and Foundation degree level in core and applied aspects of biological sciences.

The Department’s current portfolio comprises a number of programmes with a core of biological sciences curriculum with application in the human or animal sciences. The Dept has a number of existing Fd Sc which have been developed with external partners. This includes the Fd Sc Health Care Sciences developed in partnership with the National Blood Service. In addition the Department delivers a BSc in Biomedical Sciences accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Sciences with eligibility to register with the Health Professions Council. In 2003 the Department was successful in becoming the Strategic Health Authority selected institution for the commissioning of pre-registration training in Dietetics at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Thus, departmental academic staff have expertise in delivering a programme with application to mortuary science and embalming and for which the expertise of visiting lecturers can be added to ensure fitness for purpose. This proposal will extend existing provision in the human sciences programmes. The Department's long-standing commitment to work in accordance with the ethics and values of professional and learned bodies places it firmly within the institutional mission. Across all its programmes, the Department is concerned with the development of innovative approaches to teaching and learning, research and scholarly activity. Students on FdSc programmes are supported in their learning by means of a well-established induction and development programme that introduces a wide range of study skills and key skills, thereby contributing towards the University’s commitment to widening access to HE programmes.

Quality of Provision

The Department was highly commended in the Institutional Audit (2005) and in the 2006 Major Review of Healthcare provision. The focus for the Department is the Thomas Building in the centre of the main campus. Here there are recently refurbished teaching laboratories, offices and a preparation room and five research laboratories. In addition, the Department has a further large undergraduate teaching laboratory in the Tower building.


The University has invested considerable finances in adding to the research expertise in Biological Sciences. In the 2008 RAE (Allied Health Professions and Studies), 25% of our research output was considered world leading or internationally excellent, and 39% was internationally recognised for its significance. We have 25 research students reading for PhD degrees with the various groups and we hope to increase this number. The research activity in the forensic biology area has been developed in recent years and there are now a number of PhD students researching in areas related to this.

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