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Unit information: Field Course or Laboratory Workshop in 2021/22

Unit name Field Course or Laboratory Workshop
Unit code BIOL30001
Credit points 10
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Stroeymeyt
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Biological Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

Field course and laboratory workshops each focus on a specific subdiscipline within the spectrum of biological sciences. Topics range from molecular biology to community ecology.

A central aspect of each field course and laboratory workshop is that students develop practical skills while exploring a scientific hypothesis or concept. They do this through development of a short project, typically in a small group of 2-4 students. The practical aspects of the project are completed during the field course and laboratory workshop, and there is typically a presentation of this research towards the end of the field course and laboratory workshop. Each student then works independently to produce a scientific report based on their project work.

Each report will generally be in the form of a scientific paper or a detailed conference presentation. Each report will include an 'Introduction' section which gives a reasoned overview of the subject area including a careful statement of the hypothesis or concept. There will be a detailed ‘Methods’ section describing the practical work undertaken, and a ‘Results’ section describing the results obtained and including statistical analyses where appropriate. A 'Discussion’ section will place particular findings in a broader context. The Unit will serve as important training for Level 3 Practical Projects reports, and students will benefit from feedback on their scientific reports.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students completing this unit will learn new subject-specific practical skills. Students will learn to undertake practical laboratory or field research in a well-organised and productive fashion, both as members of the class as a whole and in a small group. Students will learn to present a well-illustrated research talk in which they clearly and succinctly describe the research they have undertaken. Students will learn to report scientific data based on their own research.

Teaching Information

A period of concentrated work lasting 100 hours, inclusive of fieldwork, demonstrations, and independent study, during which students have no other learning commitments. Practical work in small classes and in project groups of 2-4. Students will be closely supervised by academic staff with specific expertise in the particular field course topic or focus of the laboratory workshop, and will receive detailed advice on how to report their findings. The exact nature of how the scientific report is presented will depend on the field course or laboratory workshop (e.g. different target journals or target audiences), but training specific to the particular report will be provided. This training will complement the generic training in presenting scientific data provided during the mandatory Level 2 unit Science and Success.

Assessment Information

Students will be expected to complete a field course or laboratory workshop. Marks will be awarded in two categories: Continuous assessment and Scientific Report. Specific marking criteria are available for both.

Continuous assessment marks (40% of total) will represent: (a) contribution to the work of the class as a whole, (b) role in discussions, (c) teamwork assessed in terms of active engagement and a positive approach to encouraging others, (d) role as a member of a small group (of 2 - 4) as indicated by their own contribution to their research project, (e) demonstration of knowledge and proficiency in subject matter.

Scientific Report marks (60% of total) will represent: (a) the student’s understanding of topic, (b) ability to analyse and present results logically, and (c) their ability to evaluate the results and discuss their meaning. Marks will take into account (d) evidence for originality, and (e) clarity of presentation.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. BIOL30001).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.