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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

NATS5400M Interdisciplinary Research Project

60 creditsClass Size: 80

Module manager: Prof Paul Beales

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

Year running 2023/24

Pre-requisite qualifications

Level 3 of the MNatSc Natural Sciences programme

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

Students will complete a major interdisciplinary research project that brings together their skills and expertise from their two major subject areas studies in their programme. Working under cross-disciplinary supervisors, students will gain independent research skills in the design, planning, execution and reporting of a novel piece of interdisciplinary research.


On completion of this module students:

- should be able to apply their knowledge from more than one traditional scientific discipline to an interdisciplinary research project;
- should have an understanding of the aims, nature and methodology of an interdisciplinary research project;
- will have gained experience of the design and implementation of an investigation into a scientific problem using modern experimental, computational and/or theoretical techniques;
- should have developed an awareness of the nature of investigative science, and the ability to interpret and present scientific evidence;
- should have enhanced and developed their research and problem solving skills.

Learning outcomes
Manage own learning and make use of appropriate texts, research articles and other primary sources.

Critical analysis of the current scientific literature in the area of the proposed project.

Plan and execute an investigation with appropriate ethical considerations, critically analyse the results and draw valid conclusions.

Use appropriate experimental, computational or theoretical methodology to systematically address a scientific question
Clearly, concisely and accurately communicate your research and its outcomes through written and oral report formats.

Skills outcomes
Working across traditional disciplinary boundaries.


Students will design an interdisciplinary research project in discussion with two supervisors, one from each of their core subject areas. Link tutors will be available to provide guidance to students in helping them identify appropriate supervisors that complement their specific areas of interest within their core subjects.

Following a short induction programme (which will provide more general information and instruction on topics such as safety in the laboratory and the COSHH regulations, library and literature search facilities), students will undertake a substantial interdisciplinary research project.

Students will complete an initial literature review and planning report before commencing the research.

The major part of the project will feature original research (under supervision of their two cross-disciplinary supervisors) using experimental, computational or theoretical methodological approaches to meet the specific aims and objectives of the project.

During the course of the project, the students will be supported by regular supervision meetings with their research supervisors, and by integration within the research groups of their supervisory team.

Project outcomes and appropriate scientific communication skills will be assessed by a substantial written report and an oral presentation.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Class tests, exams and assessment14.004.00
Private study hours176.00
Total Contact hours424.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)600.00

Private study

Researching the background scientific literature (70 hours)

Writing planning report and final project report (90 hours)

Preparation for oral assessment (16 hours)

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Supervisors' support via regular meetings throughout the module.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
ProjectProject Report, up to 10,000 words35.00
Oral PresentationOral Presentation of Research Project; may need to be recorded20.00
PracticalSupervisors’ assessment of research work35.00
ReportInitial Planning Report, 2, 500 words10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Resits will be assessed by the same method of assessment.

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

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


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