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. This module allows the student to engage in an in-depth major project in an area relevant for nutritional science in the 21st Century. Projects may involve direct data collection, analysis of pre-existing datasets or “big-data”, systematic reviews/meta-analysis or involve writing a research grant application to answer a pertinent nutritional question. 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

JACs code: B400

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 140

Seminar Hours: 10

Tutorial Hours: 5

Guided Learning: 140

Captured Content: 5

Module Availability

Year long

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes the following generic content, delivered via seminars, tutorial and captured content:

  • Project selection – project descriptions are circulated at the beginning of semester 1, and 6 choices are submitted by the end of teaching week 3.

  • Project planning - responsibilities and health & safety

  •       Clinical audits and service evaluations

  •       Systematic reviews and meta-analysis

  • Literature Searching & Databases

  • Bibliographic Software

  • Dissertation writing tutorial

  • Oral communication skills tutorial

  • Statistical analysis session – to include worked examples with SPSS

  • 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 safety 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 students or Postdoctoral researchers.

The supervisor will guide the student through the planning and execution of their research project. There will be regular documented progress meetings between supervisor and student for formative feedback on both progress and written work. This will be re-enforced by captured content available on SurreyLearn on aspects such as study design, the use of statistics, literature searching and critical reading.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Dissertation 60
Oral exam or presentation Viva Voce 20
Practical based assessment Supervisor based mark 20

Alternative Assessment

There are no alternative assessments for the written dissertation or oral assessment, and we will allow a capped resubmission/re-assessment. The supervisor/engagement mark can be replaced with “Personal reflection on engagement and execution of your project” which will be capped at the pass mark.

Assessment Strategy

  The assessment strategy designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate they have achieved the learning outcomes for this module:


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. It will also examine the student’s ability to analyse and interpret research data and write a detailed and well-constructed scientific paper.


A project viva will predominantly test oral communication skills and ability to disseminate research findings and ideas to a non-specialist but educated audience.


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  assesses the students capacity for independent research.


  Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • A supervisor mark based on engagement with the process, initiative and independence.

  • A 15 minute oral examination (over zoom/Teams) with two members of academic staff not involved with their supervision.

  • A 6,000 word written research paper


  Formative assessment:

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

  • Develop and expand the student's capacity for independent investigation
  • Acquire and develop specific practical research skills
  • Develop written and oral presentation skills applicable to the dissemination of original research findings in the scientific arena

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 A full appreciation of the use electronic databases in research and the ability to undertake systematic literature searches and information gathering PT
002 An opportunity to be able to critically interpret, assess and appraise the relevance of scientific literature KCPT
003 To be able to disseminate research findings, both orally and in written format to a scientific audience PT
004 To gain in-depth subject knowledge in an aspect of human nutrition of interest to the student K
005 To engage in a project from inception of an idea, through planning and execution to dissemination of the findings. KCPT

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  students 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 by a member of academic staff, but additional generic support is provided through seminars/tutorial sessions and small group sessions with the supervisor.

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

Other information

Employability: In this module, students are mentored and encouraged to employ their knowledge of nutrition, exercise sciences and research methodology and apply to a current knowledge gap relevant to nutritional or sports science. Students have a choice of research topic from a list provided by the module organiser, and this may be relevant to their previous academic interests or future career aspirations.  The skills involved in the design, execution and dissemination of research and/or ideas are highly applicable to any workplace. The students undertaking this module are all on accredited programmes and so care has been taken to ensure that the projects offered are current and relevant to the future careers of the student.

Resourcefulness and Resilience:   The teaching/mentorship of this module provides a scaffold around which students need to apply their knowledge and resourcefulness to problem solve and demonstrate innovation in answering a topical research question. 

Digital Capabilities: Students will utilise collaborative tools (Teams, Zoom) to communicate with their supervisor and receive and respond to feedback. Depending on the project design, digital tools may be used collect data (for example Qualtrics) and to establish nutritional requirements and create nutritional recommendations.

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 2023/4 academic year.