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Unit information: Individual Project in 2017/18

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Individual Project
Unit code AFAC10008
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Tom Sperlinger
Open unit status Not open




School/department Arts Faculty Office
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit aims to support students in their transition from directed study to independent study.

With the help of the Unit Director and the other teaching staff on the Foundation Year in Arts and Humanities, each student will choose a topic from one of the disciplines in the Faculty of Arts on which they will write a 3,000 word essay; where a student is applying for admission to a discipline in a related field from another faculty, they may request a topic from that discipline (e.g. in the past, students have applied successfully to join degrees in Childhood Studies, Law and Geography while completing the Foundation Year). The student will then be assigned a supervisor from their chosen discipline, normally a postgraduate research student, who will supervise this piece of independent study. The student would normally have up to three hours of meetings with this supervisor. The supervisor will suggest reading, answer questions about study techniques specific to the student’s topic, and give feedback on work in progress. The supervisor will be able to read one whole draft of the essay and provide feedback on the content and structure, but not to give detailed technical advice or detailed feedback on presentation at that stage.

As well as their contact with their supervisor, students will also be supported during the unit by a number of seminars that will address some of the challenges and questions that arise during independent study. This will normally include an introductory overview session, in which students discuss their challenges of independent study and the goals they wish to achieve in their project; there will be a further troubleshooting session later in the term; and there will be two work-in-progress seminars, near the middle of the term, where students will give short presentations on their projects so far.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to demonstrate:
(1) how their own interest in and understanding of a particular discipline has developed;
(2) how they have enhanced the skills they have acquired in other units on the programme;
(3) skills in oral presentation and discussion;
(4) a deeper understanding of one topic in the chosen discipline than in earlier units on the programme;
(5) the research and writing skills necessary to tackle an independent project of extended length that is appropriate for this stage of their studies and that will aid them in preparing for further study in that discipline;
(6) familiarity with the academic conventions in their chosen discipline, including for presentation and referencing of written assessed work.

Teaching details

A mixture of small-group seminars, student-led work-in-progress seminars, and individual supervisions. Students can expect to participate in 3 x 1-hour individual supervisions and 6 x 2-hour seminars including group discussion.

Assessment Details

(i) A summative essay of 3,000 words (80% of mark for the unit). This assignment will assess ILOS (1)-(2) and (4)-(6), focusing especially on both skills development in written work and the acquisition of a deeper understanding of a particular topic in the chosen discipline.

(ii) A 5-minute presentation of a project proposal, for which students must also submit a short written summary of no more than 2 sides of A4 (20% of mark for the unit). The presentation should give a clear outline of the proposed project, including research questions and sources. It intended particularly to assess ILO (3) but also providing an initial assessment, early in the unit, of progress with ILOs (1)-(2) and (4).

Formative feedback comes in the form of discussion with the supervisor (and peers), feedback on the presentation, and comments provided on a single draft of the essay.

Reading and References

The subject-specific reading material for this course will be determined by the supervisor and the student during their meetings. However, it will also be useful for students to consider resources designed to help with essay planning and structure, e.g., in Philosophy, the following websites: