Module code: BMS3076

Module Overview

The final year research project is the culmination of all the practical, analytical, literature and presentation skills developed during the typical undergraduate degree programme.  The project will run over two semesters, and the student is expected to spend a minimum of one full day each week (in terms of hours) working on the project.  The student and supervisor(s) will discuss how the work is to be divided into background research, laboratory work/data collection, data analysis and report writing.  Students will be expected to liaise regularly with their supervisor(s) and if undertaking a laboratory based project will be expected to follow good laboratory practice and adhere to local safety rules at all times. Those undertaking a clinical project either based within the University or the NHS will be expected to follow ethical guidelines, store and dispose of material in accordance with the guidelines produced by the Human Tissue Authority and follow the University policy on confidentiality and data protection.

Module provider

School of Biosciences

Module Leader

PAYNE Catherine (Biosciences)

Number of Credits: 30

ECTS Credits: 15

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 2

Independent Learning Hours: 275

Seminar Hours: 2

Tutorial Hours: 9

Guided Learning: 12

Module Availability

Year long

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes the following generic content, delivered via tutorials:

•           Project selection – project descriptions are circulated during the summer break, guidance given at the start of semester and 6 choices are submitted by the end of teaching week 2. 

•           Project planning - responsibilities and safety

•           Literature Searching & Databases

•           Bibliographic Software & Refworks

•           Dissertation writing tutorial

•           Project Viva tutorial

•           Statistical analysis session – to include worked examples with SPSS (2 h)

•           Timetabled drop-in sessions with Module Organiser.


Individual content will vary depending on the project, but will typically include discussion of literature, laboratory demonstrations and provision of protocols, provision of appropriate health and saftey material, data analysis guidance, progress meetings, and individual guidance on viva and dissertation. Some of these may occur as group activities or may be provided by designates, e.g. technical staff, PhD or Post doctoral researchers.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Research Project 100

Alternative Assessment

No alternative assessment is available; alternative deadlines for missed or failed viva or dissertations will be set by agreement with the Exam Board. If insufficient lab work / research has been carried out to merit a pass additional work will be required, the timing of which will be agreed by the Exam Board and the supervisor.  In both instances the mark for the re-submitted component will be capped in the usual manner.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate:

The research paper (dissertation) will examine the effectiveness of use of electronic databases, critical assessment of scientific literature and knowledge of the research project topic (LO1-3).  It will also examine the student’s ability to analyse and interpret research data (LO5) and write a detailed and well constructed scientific report (LO6).

This may involve clinical/lab work, analysis of supplied data, or the research and analysis of published data from the literature.  Learning outcomes 1-3 may also be incorporated into this assessment, particularly for literature projects.

A project viva will predominantly test LO7, although LO1-3 and 5 will also be tested by this form of assessment.

The supervisor’s mark provides an assessment of the entirety of the student’s performance and covers the following as appropriate to the nature of the project: effort, technical skills, analytical skills, ability to work independently, ability to plan experiments, and quality of record keeping.  It encompasses all module Los, LO4 (capacity for independent research) and LO5 (ability to analyse and interpret research data).

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Supervisor’s Assessment (20%): There will be ongoing assessment by the supervisor and/or their designate(s) culminating in the supervisor’s report covering the entirety of the project.  This will be finalised after the dissertation submission and feedback will be provided along with the dissertation feedback at the end of the marking process and uploaded onto Surreylearn.

•    Viva (20%): 20 min: Assessment by two members of academic staff timetabled immediatley following the submission of the disseration.

•    Research Paper (60%) of not more than 6,000 words to be submitted electronically through SurreyLearn during week 36.  This will be assessed on the basis of: Structure, Clarity and Production; Understanding and Analysis; and Literature Surveyed.

A detailed breakdown of the components of the dissertation is not provided here, but will be available to students via SurreyLearn.

Formative assessment and feedback

Formative feedback is provided by supervisors, who are directed to provide feedback during regular meetings (the regularity of which should be driven by the student) on both the research paper and the analysis of data.  Typically a supervisor would be expected to provide verbal and generic written feedback (not track changes) on the production of the research paper with the exception of the discussions which should be the students own work and should build on the feedback provided on previous sections;  Ongoing feedback on research performance  will be provided throughout the project in a verbal, usually informal manner.  If there are serious problems with the research element of the project this may be indicated in more formally arranged meeting with the module organiser.

Module aims

  • To provide experience in information retrieval relevant to a specific topic of research
  • To enable students to acquire specific practical research skills
  • To develop the student's capacity for independent investigation
  • To develop written and oral presentation skills

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Use electronic databases critically to selectively access information T
002 Interpret and assess the relevance of scientific literature PT
003 Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge and critical understanding of the research project topic, informed by current scholarship and research K
004 Show a capacity for independent research CP
005 Demonstrate the ability to analyse and interpret research data C
006 Write a detailed and well-constructed scientific report CPT
007 Present research findings orally in a structured and scientific manner, including responding to questions relating to background material, data analysis and interpretation of results CPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to provide students with sufficient guidance to enable them to work safely and robustly, whilst promoting independent thought and allowing the opportunity for students to input into research design.  The primary mode through which this is achieved is by one-to-one supervision but additional generic support is provided through tutorial sessions and small group sessions with the supervisor.

The learning and teaching methods include:
• Tutorials (11)
• One-to-one supervision and/or small group supervision/ tutorials (lab and clinical work / data analysis / literature survey as appropriate)
• Individual dissertation and viva guidance and feedback

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: BMS3076

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Food Science and Nutrition BSc (Hons)(YEAR LONG) Year-long Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Sport and Exercise Science BSc (Hons)(YEAR LONG) Year-long Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2022/3 academic year.