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ACE3907 : BSc Environmental Science Dissertation

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Simon Peacock
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 15.0


The aims of the module are to:
• Give students the opportunity to undertake a substantial, individual piece of work which addresses current and future issues in environmental science. Projects will involve the need to clearly define aims and objectives with reference to testable scientific hypotheses where appropriate, design experiments or surveys that enable the objectives to be met, analyse the data and/or information collected and prepare a report of the investigation which should include a critical review of the relevant literature
• To obtain a deeper understanding of an environmental science topic than made possible by following a taught programme of study
• To develop independent study skills and prepare an extended individual piece of work

Outline Of Syllabus

Students have the opportunity to carry out a research investigation on a topic of their choice relevant to environmental science. They will work together with a member of academic staff to carry out an investigation equivalent to a short scientific research investigation. Students will select titles and identify an appropriate supervisor at the end of Semester 2, Stage II. The student will be required to complete a project outline document as part of the project planning, and maintain a portfolio documenting the project and reflecting on skills development. The thesis is submitted at the end of the spring term (April), a progress report in the form of an oral presentation will be delivered to the whole cohort at the end of the autumn term, and a target communication (Poster/Podcast/Leaflet) will be provided during the summer term.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion125:0025:00Production and management of Project Progress Presentation
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion115:0015:00Production and management of e-portfolio
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion190:0090:00Preparation for and completion of dissertation
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion115:0015:00Completion of poster/podcast/leaflet
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion10:200:20Completion of oral presentation
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading174:4074:40Includes background reading and reading notes for a full understanding of material
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00Tutorials
Guided Independent StudyProject work155:0055:00Research leading to dissertation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision151:0015:00Project supervision sessions
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The dissertation provides a unique opportunity for assisted private study of a topic. Students are allocated a supervisor with whom they are encouraged to interact at all stages of the work. They should discuss aspects of the work with their supervisor. The opportunity exists to receive individual assistance with information retrieval, interpretation, report writing skills, verbal presentation skills and occasionally with statistical analysis of data.

The majority of the project work is done individually with the support of a member of academic staff as supervisor. Interpersonal skills will be developed during this phase and the students will take responsibility for the development and running of their own project, with support from the supervisor.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Presentation201A1015 minutes presentation with 5 minutes for questions/discussion.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Dissertation2M70Dissertation, up to 8000 words
Poster2M20Target communication: Can be a poster, a podcast or a leaflet
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Reflective log2ME-portfolio skills log
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The specialist and generic skills, and the knowledge and understanding practised and development during this module are assessed primarily through examination of a written dissertation. Complementary skills in project planning and self-assessment, and in communication skills are practised and assessed through the oral presentation. Students will produce a formative portfolio detailing the skills they have acquired during implementation of the project.

Reading Lists