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2022/23 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

BIOL5394M Specialised Research Topics and Skills

30 creditsClass Size: 40

Module manager: Professor 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


BIOL5382MExtended Research Project

Module replaces

BIOL5398M Specialised Research Topics and Skills

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module will develop the intellectual research skills to support the practical research being carried out in the parallel projects that students are undertaking, and to prepare them for a career in a research environment.


On completion of this module, students should be
- exposed to a broad range of techniques and technologies that are used in the modern biosciences;
- develop critical analysis of research data;
- expose students to current research trends in the biosciences and to leading researchers in the field;
- develop interview skills and enhance employability.

Learning outcomes
Students will be expected to have learnt how to:
- identify, evaluate and describe current research trends in the field;
- critically analyse recent research findings and both present and explain their significance to others;
- identified key ideas and the significance of published findings;
- interpreted and presented a range of data-types generated in current biomedical sciences research;
- select research techniques and approaches (including statistical methods) that are appropriate in meeting a range of objectives having gained an understanding of their strengths and weaknesses;
- present science succinctly and coherently to the general public.


Students will attend a range of research seminars delivered by external speakers in the Faculty of Biological Sciences that are relevant to their programme of study. They will also meet with external speakers to discuss science and career options. This aspect of the module leads on from attendance at research seminars as part of BIOL3399 (Extended Research Project Preparation).

Students will also attend and present at a journal club specifically for MBiol students within the School using material from the primary literature.

They will also attend workshops on research methodology, cutting-edge techniques, and statistics - completing the corresponding coursework.

Students will participate in debates (‘Time to Think’), and the development and presentation of business cases (‘Meet the Dragons’) and a number of podcasts (‘FBS Radio’).

Students will also work on their employability with members of academic staff and the Faculty's Employability and Professional Development Officer and the Careers Centre.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Work Based Learning54.0020.00
Group learning52.0010.00
Private study hours220.00
Total Contact hours80.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Much of the independent learning with utilised resources available online. All teaching sessions will be delivered via MS TEAMS / Collaborate.

Private study will focus on reading and critically evaluating scientific papers; and preparing for journal club presentations, debates, podcast presentations, meetings with external speakers, and assignments relating to employability and professional development.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Attendance at journal club sessions will be monitored and student progress monitored through performance in presentations during the module. All sessions in Semester 1 via MS TEAMS/ Collaborate.
- A new block of 5 additional 2-3 hour sessions "Methods in Structural and Molecular Biology".

Students will be required to maintain a log of notes for each research seminar and identify if/how issues arising from the journal club were addressed by the speaker. They will be required to submit these periodically for assessment.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
ReportDragon' Den10.00
In-course AssessmentBio-imaging report15.00
In-course AssessmentStatistics5.00
In-course AssessmentResearch seminars & notebook25.00
Oral PresentationJournal Club and associated activities25.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

All elements of the module are compulsory.

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 11/08/2022


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