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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

CHEM5700M Advanced Practical, Professional and Research Skills for Chemists

30 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: Prof Bruce Turnbull

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

Year running 2023/24

Pre-requisite qualifications

BSc or MChem in Chemistry or other related subject suitable for MSc entry.

Alternative entry may be based on alternative criteria such as level of industrial, research or teaching experience.

Module replaces

COLO5371M (in part), CHEM5501M/02M (in part)

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

The aim of this module is to provide students with training in practical, analytical and transferable professional skills to prepare them for their research projects and future career development.


The module will provide students with:
1. an understanding of research culture and the research process from conception of a project to dissemination of the results through lectures and seminars on experimental design, grant proposals, ethics, risk assessment, literature searching and scientific writing;
2. technical skills for conducting practical experiments and data analysis through laboratory sessions and computer exercises;
3. professional skills in science communication and career development through written and oral exercises and employability workshops.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students will have:
1. developed their ability to search scientific literature for relevant information and communicate scientific ideas and concepts to a general audience;
2. understood the research process through which a series of experiments are planned and linked together to form a coherent piece of published work;
3. learned to use common data analysis software and gained an appreciation of the critical evaluation of data;
4. gained experimental and analytical skills relevant to their preferred research project and the ability to write safety risk assessments;
5. gained the ability to understand and formulate arguments relating to research culture and ethical issues relevant to the chemical sciences;
6. Identified and set personal objectives for academic and career development;
7. Recognised, evaluated and reflected on the transferable and subject specific skills relevant to their next steps decisions;
8. demonstrated the ability to work efficiently as part of a team.

Skills outcomes
The module is focussed on developing the students’ skills for:
1. written and oral communication;
2. practical chemistry experiments;
3. data analysis and interpretation;
4. project planning;
5. literature searching;
6. employability.


Students will be introduced to topics underpinning research culture and the research process including: planning experiments and larger projects; scientific publications; patents; grant applications; and research ethics. Training will be provided in research skills including: risk assessment, health and safety; common practical experimental methods; data management, analysis and interpretation. Students will have opportunities to develop their professional skills for written and oral communication, and job applications.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Practical (computer based)43.0012.00
Private study hours219.00
Total Contact hours81.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Written formative feedback will be provided on a short written exercise and oral presentation early in the course. Formative feedback on students plans for the experimental flowchart and project proposal assessments will be provided by course tutors during the four supervision sessions. Formative feedback will be available for their CV or skills audit. Verbal feedback will be an inherent part of the ethics workshop discussions. They will also be provided with verbal feedback from demonstrators during practical sessions in labs and computer clusters.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Written WorkAnnotated bibliography10.00
Case StudyExperimental process flowchart10.00
Computer ExerciseData analysis exercise10.00
Reflective logPersonal Development Plan, 1000 words10.00
Practical ReportReport on practical experiment written in the style of results and discussion and experimental section of a paper30.00
Research Proposal2000 word research proposal30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Formative assessments involving a 500 word news and views article and 5 minute oral presentation will be introduced in week 2 with deadlines in weeks 4 and 5.

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 28/04/2023 14:52:18


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