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Unit information: Climate Change MSc Research Project in 2018/19

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Unit name Climate Change MSc Research Project
Unit code GEOGM0009
Credit points 60
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Jo House
Open unit status Not open



GEOGM0008 Literature Review

School/department School of Geographical Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science


The aim of this unit is for students to design, execute and write up a research project on their chosen topic. Students will pursue a topic identified and scoped in the MSc Literature Review unit, further developing and undertaking these specific areas of inquiry under supervision to produce their final dissertation. The key focus will be on original analysis and interpretation, and the ultimate aim will be to produce research outputs of a standard that could contribute to a scientific publication. Students will be expected to demonstrate an ability to draw together a range of skills, techniques and subject sources to explore their chosen topic. Students will be supervised by a specialist supervisor, or supervisors as appropriate. The unit is assessed via a written dissertation in the form of a journal publication and by an oral presentation.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion, students will:

  1. be able to design, plan and implement a research project that it is feasible within the available time to high scientific and professional standards.
  2. be able to successfully organise their own resources, including time, to produce a piece of work under a tight timeline.
  3. be able to adapt and react if the project diverts from the original plan.
  4. have developed specific practical and analytical research skills that relate to their research methodology e.g. accessing and assessing appropriate secondary data (library- or archive-based information, model output), modelling, field work, lab work, policy analysis, etc.
  5. be able to link their specific research to the wider scientific literature and broader societal context.
  6. be able to confidently communicate scientific results in an oral presentation to a scientific non-specialist audience such as at a science conference.
  7. be able to present a clear, coherent, and structured argument in written form, in the style of an academic research paper to the standard expected for submission of a manuscript to a leading international journal.

Teaching details

Supervision and feedback details:

Students will have access to their supervisors via office hours. The amount of contact hours will depend on the nature of the project, but as a rough guide you can expect a minimum of 5 hours of contact time for the research project.

With your supervisor you will be able to discuss the further development of your project topic, aims and objectives, most likely building on your literature review. You will be able to discuss the most appropriate methods to use and get support in learning methods either from your supervisor, another member of staff, through course workshops, or through training offered by the Department or University. You will be able to show and discuss your results and scientific ideas with your supervisor. The supervisor will give feedback on the draft structure and proposed content. There will be opportunities for peer-to-peer feedback and examination of past assessments in relation to marking criteria.

The dissertation will be independently marked by two members of staff, one of whom is expected to be your supervisor.

Assessment Details

The research project is assessed in two components:

  • Written dissertation report in the form of an academic journal research paper (90%) [ILOs 1-5, 7]
  • Individual oral presentation, 10-15 minutes, (10%) [ILOs 1-6]

Reading and References

Specific to the project, and to be discussed with the project supervisor and unit co-ordinator during the project