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ACE3908 : Agriculture Dissertation

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Paul Bilsborrow
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 15
Semester 2 Credit Value: 15
ECTS Credits: 15.0


To give students the opportunity to conduct a detailed individual investigation of a subject related to their honours option and to present the findings in a typed and bound form as a scientific dissertation.

Outline Of Syllabus

Students select and investigate a topic of their choice which is related to their final year Honours option. They will work together with a member of academic staff who will support the research process. Students will have the option of either a) a research based dissertation based on the collection and interpretation of primary or secondary data or b) a literature based dissertation.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion122:0022:00Preparation of Literature Review
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture31:003:00Module briefing
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion115:0015:00Preparation of poster presentation (end of Semester 2)
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion110:0010:00Preparation of oral presentation (middle of Semester 1)
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion197:0097:00Preparation of Dissertation Report
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading150:0050:00Includes background reading and reading notes for a full understanding of material.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading193:0093:00Student project work as guided by supervisor
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching32:006:00Seminar for student presentations
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision41:004:00Contact with supervisor
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The dissertation provides a unique opportunity for assisted private study of a topic selected by the student. 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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Dissertation2M7510,000 words
Research proposal1M5Oral presentation and discussion (15 mins)
Poster2M10Summarise findings of the dissertation
Report1M10Literature review of 1500 words to be submitted in early December.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The oral presentation provides the opportunity for a student to clearly define the aims and objectives of the study together with the structure that the dissertation is likely to take.

The literature review will dictate the aims and objectives of the dissertation by providing a clear understanding of the current state of knowledge with respect to the subject area.

The written dissertation encourages students to research a topic, to acquire, organise, interpret and present the relevant information. This helps to develop a students information gathering and written communication skills.

The thesis is assessed independently by two markers to determine the extent to which the student has:
a) clearly defined the aims and objectives
b) analysed and interpreted the data and/or information collected
c) prepared a report of the investigation which should include a critical review of the relevant literature and shows the ability to communicate clearly and accurately

The poster presentation assesses the ability of the students to summarise a large volume of material, identify the key points and present approaches, data and conclusions in a succinct manner understandable to the non-expert.

Reading Lists