Module code: ENGM083

Module Overview

The research dissertation is a report on the individual project carried out by students to demonstrate research potential and ability to use existing and to acquire new knowledge and apply them in specific situation. A number of dissertations are carried out in collaboration with industry and upon successful completion of the module, the students will be able to approach an open-ended topic to research new ideas and experiment with new technologies.

Module provider

Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

Module Leader

CECELJA Franjo (Chst Chm Eng)

Number of Credits: 60

ECTS Credits: 30

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 595

Lecture Hours: 5

Module Availability

Crosses academic years

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Dissertation topics: Students are encouraged to come up with their own topic which, with the assistance of academic staff, will be formulated into a MSc level project. In addition, academic staff are asked to submit research topics for approval by the Programme Director. Each student will choose a topic which should in general address problems in the areas of Process Systems Engineering, but with proper specialisation according to his/her specific programme.  Topics are made available to the students in the course of semester 2.

Selection of research topics: Students select topics before the end of semester 2.  Proposers of topics assume the role of research supervisors.  Students are expected to consult with research supervisors to finally formulate the project, plan it and foresee outcomes, as well as to prepare concomitant report of approximately 2,000 words and the presentation of the research topic and expected outcome, planned methodology and project plan to students and members of staff.

Submission / assessment of dissertation: The deadline for submission is the beginning of September for October starting full-time and part-time students and mid-of-February for February starting full-time and part-time students.  Dissertations are reviewed and assessed by two examiners one of which is the project supervisor and assigned by the module coordinator. When the two markers initially disagree  on marks (normally with the difference more than 10 marks, they may seek agreement on the mark they jointly award on the basis of shared and agreed academic judgement, and an explanation must be available to a Board of Examiners should it be required. Where agreement cannot be reached between the two markers the Module Co-ordinator will discuss and seek to reconcile the assessment differences. On the rare occasions where differences are irreconcilable the matter may be referred to the relevant external examiner to agree how to reconcile the differences. In such a case the external examiner does not mark but is the final arbiter in deciding how to reach an agreed mark.

Research supervisors provide:

1.Advice on project formulation, formulation of hypothesis and expectation from the project, project planning and overall form of the dissertation;

2.Guidance on selection of relevant source material;

3.Guidance on appropriate methodologies and theoretical perspectives advice on structuring and presentational concerns pertinent to the particular dissertation.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Project (Group/Individual/Dissertation) PROJECT PROPOSAL REPORT 10
Project (Group/Individual/Dissertation) PROJECT DISSERTATION 90

Alternative Assessment

None Mark for the project proposal report is subject to 10 minutes presentation.

Assessment Strategy

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

  • Understanding of scientific principles, methodologies and mathematical methods associated with a specific engineering problem, ability to plan and execute a problem towards the solution, as well as to analyse results in relation to the set problem.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Project report – 10%, 20 hrs (LOs  1, 2)

  • Research dissertation - 90%, 2 hrs   (LOs 3, 4)

Formative assessment and feedback

  • Project presentation verbal feedback is given by members of staff and students on project formulation and planning;

  • Meetings with the supervisor where students are verbally advised on selected literature, project formulation and planning, selection of research techniques and execution, methodology of analysis of project results;

Module aims

  • To provide an opportunity for students to pursue a single topic in depth and to demonstrate evidence of research potential for a master's degree.  Students are encouraged to either research a new concept or apply existing technology in a new field.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 To demonstrate a detailed knowledge of area under investigation, which builds upon the student's existing strengths as demonstrated in coursework or earlier experience; KCP
002 To formulate and approach an open-ended topic, to research new ideas and experiment with new technologies KPT
003 To identify, locate, select and interpret sources relevant to the proposed topic KC
004 Recognise the importance and relevance of using engineering techniques, reviewing results and consequent critical thinking, as well as concomitant reporting. KCP

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:

  • Introduce research method principles related to formulation of an engineering problem and respective hypothesis and outcomes, its planning, formulation of research technicques, conducting experimentation and analysisng results, all articulated in an report.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Supervisory guidance by a dedicated project supervisor towards formulation of the project, selection of respective literature and advise on research methodology and results analysis;

  • Self-study by students involving, as a matter of general principle, 25% to prepare themselves for the research topic (literature review, familiarisation with the technologies / techniques required), 50% to elaborate the new concepts, apply and experiment with the new technology and validate their propositions, and 25% to write-up the research dissertation.

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: ENGM083

Other information

The Dissertation component of the PRISE MSc programs is critical in ensuring graduates with varied and high-level academic and research based skills are equally equipped for real life in engineering. This module substantially ensures the graduates are professional and employable, able to navigate, synthesise and use digital platforms, sensitive and respectful of global and cultural contexts and differences, are able to engage with ethically sustainable research practice and are able to use resources to genuinely contribute to the field in an original agentic way. In line with Surrey’s Curriculum Framework, we are committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module contributes to these five pillars in the following ways:



Throughout this module students will gain a vast range of skills which are relevant to future careers in engineering industries but also across a wide range of sectors. As an independent project the dissertation module allows students to draw upon a vast range of previous skill development and is a accumulative. The final submission of the dissertation signifies the advanced level of research skill (including within specialist areas such as: research and practice integrity, larger scale project development and leadership). Pedagogically, students will learn a vast range of transferable skills highly desirable at the point of entering the job market. These include: initiative in an area of genuine scholarly interest; time management and planning (from conception to implementation to communication) for larger scale projects; independent learning and self-motivation; leadership; forming professional relationships; and written and verbal communication skills. In terms of student journey, as projects progress, students will be able to draw upon and apply skills and knowledge acquired in either the Field Methods or Research and Writing Skills modules. Students will complete this module having gained experience of professional work place environments that will have prepared them in multiple ways for future employment with skills directly related to sectors such as process industry, renewable energy industry, petrochemical industry, general engineering industry, but also financial sector and education and charity organisations.


Digital capabilities

A sophisticated level of digital skill and confidence is a clear output of the programme and this module specifically. This module will use a range of digital platforms, modelling tools and media outputs to give students a full experience of relevant content. This includes but is not limited to the use of the Virtual Learning Environment Surreylearn, modelling software packages such as MatLab, GAMS and Aspen+, knowledge modeling packages such as Protégé etc. Students are also expected to communicate via email with Dissertation supervisors and of course write up their dissertations electronically and submit all relevant content for feedback via digital platforms. In terms of student journey, students will complete this module feeling confident to be able to contribute in a highly professional way to a globally networked digital academic society.


Global and cultural capabilities

While individual dissertation topics will be niche and specific, for the write up it is likely all students will engage with wider literature and thinking from various locations and sources in order to contextualize their own arguments (with the probability that some students will choose topics with significant global engineering dimensions). It is crucial in this programme as a whole that diversity in lived experience is recognized. The dissertation module itself therefore is likely to have high levels of content relevant to global and cultural capabilities, but the ways in which it is relevant will be more individual. In terms of pedagogy, students will be given access to and encouraged to engage with diverse, culturally rich and global perspective present at the University, including a wide range of staff with relevant research experience and expertise. Upon completion, students will have been made familiar with and encouraged to be involved with a diverse and research-active cultural environment.



At the core of this module, and in the concept of sustainability, is ethics. Students will be given the opportunity to directly choose sustainability related project for their dissertation, but will also be supported fully through, engaging with strong scholarly and ethically sound research practice. In doing so, they are not only able to demonstrate their own abilities as a future leader or thinking in sustainable research practice, but can use such skills and thinking across other areas (eg for employability). Key considerations of sustainable research practice is relevant to the topics that will be covered in this module by all students. Aligned with the UN’s sustainability goals, the module will allow students to draw upon key areas, such as quality education (Number 5 of UN goals) and sustainable communities (Number 11 of UN goals). This

module allows students to not only demonstrate sustainability in terms of master's level education,

but also sustains the scholarly future.


Resourcefulness and resilience

The dissertation module heavily contributes to the educational elements of resourcefulness and resilience as students are honing their autonomous learning and agency to a sophisticated and advanced level. Throughout the module, from conception to implementation to write up, students will be highly independent, yet supported by their supervisor. Students will gain particular skills in informed decision making and project planning: having to find their own sources, literature and resources including equipment, computer facility and data. They will have to problem solve, navigate ethical considerations and consider their arguments and findings in context. Within a network of support, students will further develop the extent to which they are independent and resourceful learners with a great deal of confidence in conducting and leading independent research projects. Students are encouraged and expected to be autonomous and lead their own independent research projects and in doing so this will assist students to evolve their resourcefulness and resilience in contributing to this field of research.

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 2024/5 academic year.