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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

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.


The broad aim is to provide students with opportunities to gain knowledge and understanding of cutting-edge advances and technologies beyond their extended project, and develop further skills in critical analysis, data evaluation, and communication. This is achieved through short courses, attendance at school seminars, a student-led journal club, debates, development and pitching of a business proposal, and the production of short presentations.

Learning outcomes
The specific learning outcomes are the ability to:
1. Identify, evaluate and describe current research trends in the field;
2. Critically analyse recent research findings and both present and explain their significance to others;
3. Identify key ideas and the significance of published findings;
4. Interpret and present a range of data types generated in current biomedical sciences research;
5. 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;
6. Present science succinctly and coherently to the general public;
7. Work effectively as part of a team.


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 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
Group learning161.5024.00
Private study hours250.00
Total Contact hours50.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

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.

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
PresentationJournal Club10.00
PresentationBusiness pitch10.00
In-course AssessmentStatistics5.00
ReportNotes on research seminars, journal clubs and debates & notebook40.00
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: 12/09/2022 14:24:23


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