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2022/23 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

BIOL5382M Extended Research Project

90 creditsClass Size: 40

Module manager: Dr Kenneth McDowall

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Pre-requisite qualifications

Continued progression on MBIOL from Level 3 to Level 5 ( achieve an average of at least 65%, in the level 3 project components and an overall credit weighted year average, normally of at least 65%)


BIOL3398Research Tools and Applications
BIOL3399Extended Research Project Preparation


BIOL5394MSpecialised Research Topics and Skills

This module is not approved as an Elective


The broad aim of this module is to provide students with an extended research opportunity that requires them to plan the work undertaken and defend as well as report the findings and conclusions.

Learning outcomes
The specific learning outcomes are:
1. Knowledge of the process of project management including project preparation, organisation and implementation;
2. Proficiency in the appropriate and selective use of electronic literature search tools such as Web of Science and PubMed;
3. Ability to prepare a grant proposal and justify the broad objectives and specific aims prior to commencing research;
4. Aptitude in conducting an individual extended research project typically as part of a research group;
5. Competence in a range of bench- or computer-based research techniques appropriate to the subject of study;
6. Ability to planning and execution experiments, and analysis and present research data including, as appropriate, suitable statistical tests;
7. Competence in presenting the nature of a project and its findings through the writing of a final dissertation and the design of a research poster in scientifically acceptable formats; and
8. Proficiency in discussing and defending scientific research at the proposal as well as report stage.

The dissertation should include an appropriate summary of relevant literature, an outline of aims of the project, descriptions of the methods used, details of the results obtained, conclusions drawn from these results and indications for future studies that might be undertaken. There is an expectation that material from the dissertation would be of a quality suitable to contribute to scientific publication.


A 6-month independent research project on an original topic with an appropriate focus for the individuals host programme. The research will be conducted within one of the Faculty research teams, sometimes in combination with outside agencies.

The experimental project will be based on a researched grant proposal on a topic agreed with a named supervisor(s). The proposal, which will be assessed, will be written by the student. The proposal will be written early in Semester 1, and will normally be within an area that formed part of the literature review undertaken as part of BIOL3399 (Extended Research Project Preparation). The proposal will detail the use of facilities (and relevant costs) that students were introduced to as part of BIOL3398 (Research Tools and Applications), as appropriate.

There will be regular meetings with a project supervisor(s), normally on a weekly basis, with the student maintaining a pro forma record of the outcome of meetings.

Guidance on the writing of the final dissertation will be provided. Marks will be awarded for a research proposal, the dissertation, an oral examination (combined with a poster presentation) and practical execution.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Poster session12.002.00
Supervision Meetings151.0015.00
Independent online learning hours40.00
Private study hours162.00
Total Contact hours698.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)900.00

Private study

This includes associated reading, project planning analysis of experimental data, dissertation, viva and poster preparation.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Weekly meetings with supervisor to discuss project progress and next steps.
- Research in labs full-time in Semesters 1 and 2.
- Supervisors to comment on one complete draft of grant proposal and written report.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
ReportProject Report in the style of a scientific paper65.00
PracticalExecution, originality, diligence20.00
Research ProposalGrant proposal5.00
VivaPoster presentation followed by a viva10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 12/09/2022


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