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Unit information: Project for MSci Chemical Physicists in 2019/20

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing and student choice.

Unit name Project for MSci Chemical Physicists
Unit code CHEMM0008
Credit points 60
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. May
Open unit status Not open



Chemical Physicists must take CHEMM0004, CHEMM0011. (Chemists taking CHEMM0004, CHEMM0011 do NOT need to take CHEMM0008)

School/department School of Chemistry
Faculty Faculty of Science


Project work allows students to experience and learn from the challenge of performing an open-ended activity. Students not only become expert in a particular topic, but also develop a broad range of transferable key skills. By working with a member of academic staff on a current research topic in chemistry students will consolidate and extend their knowledge and understanding of chemistry. They will also become proficient in the use of advanced experimental or theoretical techniques and research-grade equipment. In addition, the project will allow them to develop important transferable skills, becoming independent learners with excellent written and oral presentation skills, proficient in the use of IT and good at working both on their own and as part of a team. The unit will thus offer students suitable research training to allow them to pursue either a postgraduate research degree or enter directly a career in research. The project will be substantial and be based on original research. The expectation is that the work should be of potentially publishable quality, although it is recognised that the nature of research means that this will not necessarily be possible. Support for the project will be provided by a project supervisor and second assessor. The unit will be assessed through a report and oral presentation.

By performing an open-ended investigation, students will: conduct original, investigative research work in an area of experimental or theoretical chemical physics of a standard that could potentially lead to publication in a peer-reviewed research journal become expert in an advanced topic in chemical physics, building upon their existing knowledge and understanding to learn about new concepts and applications develop key transferable organisational, communication and personal skills that will prepare them for either postgraduate study or possible careers in the scientific sector

Intended learning outcomes

Subject-specific learning outcomes The unit will enable students to

  • build on and apply their existing knowledge and understanding of chemistry through the study of an original topic in chemistry
  • explore new concepts drawn from scientific literature and, in doing so, develop knowledge and understanding of an advanced topic in chemistry
  • maintain a laboratory notebook or reflective diary as an accurate record of their work
  • gain experience of advanced practical techniques and equipment and/or computational methods

Generic learning outcomes The unit will also help students to develop transferable skills in

  • time management and other organisational skills
  • independent study, and the development of diligence, motivation and initiative

team working

  • research methods, including sourcing, reviewing, summarising and referencing existing literature
  • use of IT
  • oral presentation
  • written work, including the presentation of introductory material, experimental details, results, discussion, conclusions and references in an appropriate format

Teaching details

Students will work with a member of staff and their research group. Students will identify in advance several preferred project topics and supervisors. Academic performance will then be used to determine the final allocation to ensure an even distribution of students across academic staff. Students will be expected to work semi-independently under the direction of their project supervisor, using their initiative to develop the project. Students may also be expected to attend seminars and group meetings. Project work will be supported by regular formal and informal meetings with the project supervisor and a second assessor.

Assessment Details

Summative assessment: Project Report: 90% Oral Presentation: 10%

  • The project report will usually be between 55 and 70 pages in length.
  • Students will be assessed on their knowledge and understanding of the material presented, their technical skills, as well as their diligence, motivation, initiative and organisational skills.
  • All elements of the unit will be assessed by both the project supervisor and second assessor through the application of detailed marking criteria.

Supplementary or resit assessment of this unit is only possible through engagement in the following academic year.

Reading and References

Key reading and references will depend upon the topic chosen. Students will be expected to make extensive use of the library resources available to them, including text books, reports and theses and research journals.