Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

Pre-arrival Information 2017

ITS Route to Masters Programme

Your Route to Masters Induction programme starts on Wednesday 13th 2017.  It is designed to help you feel welcomed and connected to your new learning community.  You’ll meet staff and students who will be significant to you and start to build friendships and networks for learning, support and your future career. We have a range of sessions to help you understand what to expect from your Masters experience, and what is expected of you as a Masters student on your programme. You’ll be able to reflect on your previous academic experiences and how the year ahead will be different for you. 

Specialists from across campus will lead workshops to introduce skills and strategies for adapting to your new environment and dealing with typical challenges for Masters students, including managing your time, making the most of your intercultural learning environment, looking after your wellbeing, preparing for change, and working under pressure. There will also be plenty of opportunities to explore the campus and the local area with fellow students through activities, field trips and social events. The Route to Masters programme will help you to enjoy your first weeks at the University, feel enthusiastic about the challenges ahead and confident about your ability to be successful in Leeds.  We look forward to seeing you on the Route to Masters! Click here for the detailed programme.

Preparation for the year ahead!

Each summer we update this section to provide applicants with the information required to prepare for the studies ahead.  This information is for the 2017/18 entry, and includes guidance on what to do before arrival, on arrival and life at Leeds.  All applicants starting their studies in September should complete all of the actions listed in the Pre-arrival Essentials section, as well as making a note of what you need to do on arrival at the university. 

The next four areas in this section focus on a specific part of your journey from life at home to life at Leeds.  Please read the information thoroughly and follow any instructions given. A summary of what is covered in each section is below: 

Pre-Arrival Essentials 

  • Things to do before you arrive
  • Programme Specific Information
  • Accommodation Information
  • The University Meet and Greet Service 

Study Skills 

  • The Workload
  • The Timeline
  • Assessments
  • Teaching Style
  • Study Skills Information 

Arrival Essentials 

  • Things to do on arrival
  • Registration
  • International Welcome Week
  • ITS Route to Masters Programme
  • Semester One Timetable 

Life at Leeds

  • Field Trips
  • School Activities
  • Students Union

Things to do before you arrive

  • Formally accept your offer online.
  • Arrange your accommodation if you haven’t already done so (see below).
  • Email the admissions team (courses(at)its.leeds.ac.uk) if you are not able to arrive in Leeds by the start date of the 13th September 2017.
  • Carefully read the information in each of the tabs of this section of the website. 

Programme Specific Information

All of the ITS masters programmes have a core set of modules which take place in semester one.  However the options available to you differ in semester two.  To make sure you are aware of the optional modules which run in semester two and to see your timetable, you should take a look at the programme catalogue.

The University Meet and Greet Service

On arrival in Leeds, the International Office offers a Meet and Greet service to all international students arriving on any day from 8-15 September 2017 between 08.30 and 22.00, at Leeds City train station or Leeds/Bradford International Airport.  To book this service and find out more about it click on the above link.  The Meet and Greet Service only operates during these dates, and times, so if you are arriving outside of these dates, please read the travel information page.

Accommodation Information

It is important that you make arrangements for your accommodation before arriving in Leeds.  The deadline for university accommodation has now passed.  If you have not yet organised accommodation, we recommend that you visit the UNIPOL Student Homes website.  This is a nonprofit making charitable company which works for the benefit of its’ student consumers.  On their website you will find details of the services they provide, including information on mixing day events where students who do not yet have accommodation can book a place to search for a house with similar students.  They also have a number of articles written to help students looking for accommodation. 

Finally, if you wish to contact other ITS students with a view to sharing accommodation, please contact the admissions team, state that you are happy for them to share your email address with other applicants, and they will endeavour to put you in touch with fellow students who are looking for accommodation.

Study Skills

The Workload

  • Background reading and preparatory work of approximately five hours per week will be expected for each module.
  • It is expected that extensive independent research from on line resources, textbooks and other relevant materials will influence your assessed work and your discussions in lectures, seminars and workshops.
  • In general you will have two to three assessments per module and it may be that you have more than one assessment due for submission on the same day.

The Timetable

  • Your year is divided into three periods; two semesters based on timetabled teaching slots and a final period of independent study, research and/or supervised work in order to produce your dissertation report.
  • Each programme is made up of eight modules. The majority of modules run on a weekly basis throughout each semester.  However there are also modules which run over a three to five day intensive period.  These take place at the beginning of the semester or during the break from weekly teaching in March/April.
  • 150 hours are allocated to each module, which is made up of contact (lectures, seminars, workshops, etc) and non-contact (your own independent study) hours. Independent study and reading make up a significant part of the allocated hours.
  • Module exams take place at the end of each semester in January and May/June.

Assessments

  • The modules are assessed in a variety of ways.  These include; written assignments, exams, group work and presentations.
  • Assessments are marked within three weeks and feedback sheets are returned showing a breakdown of how your grade was achieved.
  • Assessments and your overall Masters is graded as either Pass (50-59.4), Merit (59.5-69.4) or Distinction (69.5 and above). 

Teaching Style

  • Delivery styles will vary from formal lectures with large groups of students, to workshops and seminars where it is common for students to participate in discussions and group activities.
  • Some modules have a greater reliance on fieldwork and practical work in computer labs.
  • It is common that lectures are based on readings or tasks given out the previous week.
  • Often lecturers expect students to contribute to classes through questions and discussions based upon their opinions and experiences.
  • Presentations will be made available on Minerva, the University’s portal and Virtual Learning Environment.  This is a gateway to university services, and an online learning resource that supports modules and is used by lecturers to post material related to each module, as well as a creating discussion forums where students can discuss the material related to the module.
  • The majority of lectures will be recorded and posted on to Minerva.  This gives students the opportunity to listen to their lectures again in order to check their understanding, as well as a revision tool. 

Study Skills Information

Studying for a Masters degree requires the ability to apply a range of academic study skills at a high level in order to produce outcomes that demonstrate criticality and reflection applied to a sound understanding of your field of study. 

Many of the skills required may have been developed during your undergraduate studies but you will be expected to demonstrate these at a more advanced level through independent research. For others, studying at a UK university may require learning new procedures, skills and processes.

The following areas have been identified by current and previous Masters’ students as challenging and deserving of preparatory work to understand their meaning and application in order to be able to apply them in their studies. Lecturers also agree that students who demonstrate an increased awareness of many of the study areas mentioned consistently produce work of a higher standard.

Researching

You will be expected to carry out comprehensive research from a range of sources including textbooks and journals.  The libraries at Leeds offer a vast range of resources but getting to know the information systems will be vital here at Leeds.  A good starting point is to familiarise yourself with how to search for information using the library system – the search for information pages at skills@library offers a couple of short helpful videos.

Online databases: There are a number of databases available when searching for online journals. At first it will take time to familiarise yourselves with the various methods of searching for information but eventually you will find your preferred database and develop your own styles and techniques of researching. The library provides guidance by subject. Each subject page provides links to databases relevant to your subject area as well as a whole range of other useful information.

Referencing and Plagiarism

Plagiarism occurs when, in your own work, you use that of others without attributing those views, images, charts or words to the original author, and it can have serious consequences. The School uses an online plagiarism checker called Turnitin which means your work is flagged up if you have copied that of others (including other students).  Students found guilty of plagiarism can be removed from their programme of study and the University. It is therefore important to develop the skills necessary to avoid plagiarism which include referencing correctly and being able to summarise others' views and opinions in your own words.

Students often say that although they know what plagiarism is they find it really hard to explain things using their own words when the original author did it so much better. Skills@Library provides all the information you need to know about ACADEMIC INTEGRITY and the tutorial is well worth spending some time on. If you would like further help with avoiding plagiarism then contact the Skills@Library team.

Throughout your work you will be expected to include citations as well as a reference list and bibliography. There are a number of referencing systems used throughout universities and each one has strict rules about how information relating to a source of information is displayed. All of your work should be submitted using the Harvard Referencing System.  To find out more about referencing and citations try this online tutorial to develop your understanding and also give you some practice examples to work with.

Note Taking and Effective Reading

Research from current and past Masters students highlights that the volume of reading comes as a surprise to everybody and is one of the most challenging tasks to manage. Reading lists for units are extensive and with the added requirement of sources found independently it can seem almost impossible to read and digest all that you are expected to. Developing your reading skills in order to be able to skim read and draw out the main points from articles and textbooks is a good investment of your time. Try the Skills@Library reading skills tutorial.

Effective note taking will ensure that during lectures and through your research you build up a workable set of notes that can be transformed into an essay, presentation or even revision notes. There are different methods of note taking, and taking time to explore the different techniques and finding what best suits you is worth the time and effort. Skills@library offers a note taking tutorial to help improve your skills, which is worth spending some time working through.

Academic Writing, Essays and Reports

Writing for academic purposes requires a different style of prose. Basically, when writing essays and reports a more formal approach to communicating needs to be used as opposed to, for example, writing an email. Your ability to write for academic purposes will improve as you read more academic literature. You will begin to pick up words and phrases that deliver information in a more professional way than you might originally have used. In general, academic writing should be objective, i.e. you should avoid using personal pronouns such as I, and you should avoid suggesting personal opinions, these should be stated as facts supported by evidence that is correctly referenced.

Essays are often a problem area with students who may be more familiar with writing reports based upon facts. One of the fundamental differences between an essay and a report is that within an essay each section must flow logically into the next one. A report on the other hand can be structured using lists and bullet points and paragraphs do not need to link together. Both should follow the general rules of academic writing in that they should be accurately referenced, be supported by a correctly constructed reference list and/or bibliography and be supported by relevant research.

It is worth reading more about academic writing and constructing essays and reports. Even if you think your skills are already advanced in this area, remember - you are stepping up to Masters and there is an expectation on an advanced level of discussion and criticality.

Things to do on arrival

  • If you are an international student go to the International Student Information Point in the Michael Sadler Building.
  • Report to the Student Support Office (G.01, at the end of the corridor on the ground floor) at the Institute for Transport Studies to let us know that you have arrived (see map)
  • Produce your original certificates and transcripts if you have not already done so.
  • Open a UK Bank Account if you do not already have one.
  • Register for your programme. 

Registration

In order to register for your programme, you will need to have shown the university the original copies of your transcripts and certificates. We can give you information on where to do this on arrival. 

International Welcome Week

The International Welcome Week begins on Monday 11 September 2017.  All of the events taking place are open to both British and foreign students, and provide the opportunity to meet people from all over the world.  Many students have said that they highly recommend the International Welcome Week as during this time you will be given help with all of the administrative processes as well as campus tours, tours of the city and other events.  Of the events scheduled, it is very important that international students attend the Taught Postgraduate Orientation Session on Friday 15 September.  To find out more about the International Welcome Week, please go to the International Student Office website, where details will be available from August onwards. 

The ITS Route to Masters Programme

The ITS Route to Masters Programme begins on Wednesday 13th September, and runs until Friday 22nd September.  The programme aims to provide you with the necessary tools and knowledge to get the most out of your time here.  Download the full timetable here.

Semester One Timetable

  • International Welcome Week begins week commencing the 11th September 2017.
  • The ITS Route to Masters Programme begins on Wednesday 13th September 2017.
  • Modules begin week commencing Monday 25 September 2017.
  • You should familiarise yourself with your modules, by visiting the online programme catalogue.
  • Modules will run until Friday 8th December 2017, with the end of term field trip to Sheffield and the Peak District taking place on Friday 8th December, and Saturday 9th December 2017. 

Semester One Field Trips

There are a number of field trips organised during the first few weeks of Semester 1.

  • Leeds Field Trip – Wednesday 20th September 2017.  This will give you an insight into Leeds city from a transport perspective.
  • ‘Metropoly’ field trip – Friday 13th October 2017.  Building on the Leeds field trip, this goes further into West Yorkshire to give a deeper understanding of transport links in the wider area.  This is organised as a team game, with teams gathering points on their journeys throughout the day.
  • Sheffield Field Trip – Friday 8th December 2017 (plus optional Hiking Trip in the Peak District on Saturday 9th December).  Arranged at the end of term, this field trip focusses on specific areas of Sheffield which you will have touched upon in your programme so far, and gives you a taste of the countryside not far from Leeds.

Life at Leeds

A good first introduction to life at Leeds is to attend some of the events held throughout the University during International Week and Induction Week. The more you get involved in activities and groups, the more familiar you will become with life at Leeds University. Throughout the year ITS will also be arranging trips and activities. 

Field Trips

There are a number of field trips taking place throughout the academic year, starting with the Leeds Field Trip in Induction Week, and culminating in a weeklong field trip to either the British Isles, or mainland Europe in June.  The field trips offered give students the opportunity to review transport issues and policies out in the field.  You will also have the chance to go walking in the Peak District as part of the Sheffield Field Trip at the end of the first semester.  As such, all students should bring a good set of waking shoes if they own them, as well as a waterproof coat and warm clothing. 

School and Course Representatives

All students are invited to nominate themselves as student or school representative during their time at Leeds.  This is an opportunity for you to represent your cohort’s views on any aspect of the course or university, and make a valuable contribution to the work done at the Institute for Transport Studies. 

Social Activities

Various social activities will take place throughout the academic year, including the International Night, where students are invited to attend wearing their country or county’s typical dress, and bring food or drink native to their home country or county.  So you might want to bear this in mind when packing! 

Students Union

Leeds University Union was the first Student Union to be awarded Excellent Status by the National Union of Students (NUS), as part of its Quality Students’ Unions accreditation scheme. It has won gold status in the Students’ Union Evaluation Initiative.  There are over 300 clubs and societies for students to get involved with during their time at Leeds.  As well as this the Students’ Union strives to voice the views of students and ensures that students have a say in their education through the Student Representative System.  At ITS we have a School Representative as well as student representatives for each programme, an international representative, and a part time student representative.  There will be an opportunity to find out more about being a student representative during induction week, until then if you would like to find out more about you Students’ Union click here

Cycling

ITS has a ‘Pool Bicycle’, available for short loan periods, free of charge, for students and staff.  On Campus you will also find the University’s ‘Bike Hub’ which provides cycle support for staff and students at the University. This includes supported, low cost short & long term bike hire, bike maintenance facilities, advice and classes, cycle training, safety and route advice/information. 

…and Recycling

ITS works hard to be as environmentally friendly as possible.  You are welcome to join the ITS’ ‘Green Team’, which comprises of staff and students, looks at environmental issues and how to deal with them at a School level.  In previous years ITS has won a Bronze and Silver Awards in the University’s Green Impact Awards. 

Each year we encourage departing students to leave any files or stationery behind which may be useful for the incoming students.  These will be available on arrival free of charge (on a first-come, first-served basis) for use by new students.

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