Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Title Dissertation (MMarBiol)
Code ENVS496
Coordinator Dr JS Thomson
Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2023-24 Level 7 FHEQ Whole Session 60


To develop the ability to carry out an individual research project at a masters level building on the knowledge and skills acquired in previous years of the programme (MMarBiol).

Students should be aiming for high quality research, where possible, of publishable standard.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Execute an individual research project, seeking appropriate advice as necessary and planning time accordingly

(LO2) Select appropriate research strategies and undertake appropriate methods of data collection and analysis

(LO3) Keep clear records of the research undertaken such that these could be followed by someone not involved in direct execution of the project

(LO4) Produce a final report at a level of quality that would be suitable for publication or for submission as a high quality project report

(LO5) Present an oral presentation to a relevant research group informing them of the research project and progress to date

(LO6) Be able to critique and synthesise different information sources to form coherent arguements and relate research findings to relevant issues

(S1) Communication, listening and questioning respecting others, contributing to discussions, communicating in a foreign language, influencing, presentations

(S2) Global perspectives demonstrate international perspectives as professionals/citizens; locate, discuss, analyse, evaluate information from international sources; consider issues from a variety of cultural perspectives, consider ethical and social responsibility issues in international settings; value diversity of language and culture

(S3) Information literacy online, finding, interpreting, evaluating, managing and sharing information

(S4) Literacy application of literacy, ability to produce clear, structured written work and oral literacy - including listening and questioning

(S5) Numeracy (application of) manipulation of numbers, general mathematical awareness and its application in practical contexts (e.g. measuring, weighing, estimating and applying formulae)

(S6) Problem solving/ critical thinking/ creativity analysing facts and situations and applying creative thinking to develop appropriate solutions.

(S7) Research management developing a research strategy, project planning and delivery, risk management, formulating questions, selecting literature, using primary/secondary/diverse sources, collecting & using data, applying research methods, applying ethics

(S8) Self-management readiness to accept responsibility (i.e. leadership), flexibility, resilience, self-starting, initiative, integrity, willingness to take risks, appropriate assertiveness, time management, readiness to improve own performance based on feedback/reflective learning



Introductory seminar given by the module coordinator in Semester one, week one;

Regular meetings with supervisor (weekly or bi-weekly dependent on work schedule);

Compilation of evidence for research portfolio including keeping a contemporaneous record of work undertaken, ideas and notes from discussions with colleagues and supervisor (over whole project duration);

Oral presentation of preliminary results to research group in Semester two, summer term;

Complete research dissertation in a style agreed with project supervisor.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Students will work with their supervisor to complete a research project across the year. Supervision will involve weekly or bi-weekly meetings (as necessary per the student and project). As befits the individual projects, students will undertake field, laboratory, and/or data-/desk-based research on their topic, and will receive training in appropriate methods through their supervisor (and/or other staff) to build on their knowledge, understanding, and skills base developed through the rest of their programme.

Students will be introduced to the module through a Seminar early in semester 1 and, depending on the nature of the project, will also receive a safety briefing.

The module aims to emulate professional scientific research with a strong underpinning of authentic assessment: lab/field note-taking and report-writing are critical elements of working research environments; oral presentations are key to scientific communication and relevant to conference environments; re flection and self-assessment processes are common in all professions.

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours   2


Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 574


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Research evidence portfolio: A log of activity conducted during the course of the project, including (but not limited to) records of background reading, meetings, development of the project, data coll    10       
Approach and Technique: A discussion with the supervisor regarding the quality of approach towards the project by the student. The discussion is based around set criteria, which the students are made     15       
A scientific report describing the project undertaken, including (but not limited to) an Introduction describing the background and wider context; a detailed Methods describing how the study was condu    60       
Oral presentation: A 15-minute presentation describing the project undertaken, providing background context, an indication of the method(s)/process(es) followed, the findings of the study and their pl  20    15       

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.