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2021/22 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

CIVE5455M Independent Research Project

60 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: Professor Leon Black

Taught: 1 Sep to 30 Sept (13mth) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

Pre-requisite qualifications

Bachelor's degree in civil engineering or approved prior learning (certified or experiential)


CIVE5451MConstituent Materials of Concrete
CIVE5452MCement and Concrete Properties
CIVE5453MTesting, Quality Assurance, Repair and Maintenance of Concre
CIVE5454MConcrete Production

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module represents a major element of the MSc programme and is aimed at enabling participants to learn skills in scientific investigation and in running and presenting an independent project. Students are required to submit a comprehensive dissertation describing their individual research work.


The aim of this module is to provide each student with an opportunity to carry out independent research on a contemporary topic that is relevant to the construction industry, so that the scientific knowledge and understanding from the taught modules CIVE5451M to CIVE5454M could be applied in a more contextual situation and present the outcome of the research in a comprehensive technical report.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
• Define the subject matter of the dissertation and its relevance;
• Design, organise, justify and operate appropriate schemes to deliver required goal;
• Employ appropriate scientific/design principles;
• Conduct and validate appropriate experimental technique/simulation models;
• Search published sources if information to establish common knowledge and to develop ideas further;
• Critically analyse data and place it in context
• Discuss and analyse results and formulate coherent conclusions on the basis of work done;
• Communicate technical information to a non-expert audience
• Demonstrate project, time and resource management skills.

• Ability to plan, conduct, present and report a major independent research project of the built environment;
• Understand the risks/impacts of building and structural engineering work;
• Critically analyse, evaluate and interpret experimental data;
• Formulate and test concepts and hypotheses;
• Make informed judgements on complex issues.

Skills outcomes
See above.


• Topics in concrete and/or concrete constructions.
• Design of experiments
• Statistical methods pertinent to concrete technology
• What is research?
• How to conduct a research project?
• Research ethics

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours50.00
Private study hours520.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)600.00

Private study

The project work involves independent learning of research methods, data analysis and testing hypothesis. As a result, there will be additional private study to supplement formally allocated/assigned project work time.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

The project is often self-defined, withinput from School staff. Titles are discussed during the project induction in September and confirmed ahead of the submission of the research proposal. Students then have one structured piece of coursework concerning experimental design and statistical methods before submitting three further pieces of assessment, including the final MSc dissertation. The first report is submitted in December, with feedback just after Christmas. This will be used to identify a project that can lead to a successful MSc dissertation and if appropriate resources have been identified and made available to continue the project. This will be followed by a submission of aims and objectives. These will be reviewed by the supervisors in order to provide feedback and critical comments on the progress and the content of the independent research project. Supervisors also maintain contact with students throughout the year, respond to queries and provide feedback on drafts of the dissertation.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
ReportStatistical Methods Coursework5.00
ReportResearch Proposal10.00
ReportAims & Objectives15.00
Essay or Dissertation25,000 word dissertation70.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

To prepare students to carry out independent research project as part of this module, there will be a four day induction when the four taught modules will be reviewed and students will be introduced to Research Methods, Experimental Design and Statistical Tools required to analyse data. All UK and EU students are expected to attend this induction and overseas students will be encouraged to attend. The induction lectures will be recorded and made available to all students on the VLE. Resit: 100% Dissertation.

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 30/06/2021 16:19:56


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