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Unit information: Dissertation in 2016/17

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Dissertation
Unit code BIOCM0005
Credit points 60
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Gaston
Open unit status Open




School/department School of Biochemistry
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

The Unit consists of a 7,000 word Dissertation to be completed in the form of a Thesis. The Dissertation is designed to be read in conjunction with a 3,000 word Project proposal which summarises the background to the project and is assessed separately. The Introduction to the Dissertation is therefore limited to 500 words. The Dissertation is based on a 12-week research project carried out by the student on a subject of the student’s own choosing taken from a list supplied by the Programme Director. Each School will provide a number of Research Project topics and a list of related references. Each student will work independently to complete their Research Project and Dissertation.


To provide experience in the acquisition and analysis of experimental data.

To provide experience in the use of computer skills including word processing and data presentation packages.

To foster individual work, demonstrating organisation and time management.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the Unit the students should be able to:

1. plan and complete experiments to test hypotheses;

2. Interpret and manipulate experimental data;

3. Draw logical conclusions from experimental data;

4. Formulate novel hypotheses based on experimental data;

5. Collate and analyse data from various sources including printed and online Scientific Journals, databases and textbooks;

6. Ddemonstrate basic computer skills including proficiency in the use of word processing packages;

7. Work independently, demonstrating organisational skills and the ability to manage time effectively.

Teaching Information

One-to-one instruction in experimental techniques. Directed reading.

Assessment Information

The Unit is assessed in terms of the laboratory performance (40% - supervisor mark) and the dissertation (60%).

The completed Dissertation will be assessed independently by two members of academic staff and will be the subject of a viva voce examination. The purpose of the viva voce examination is to ensure that the Dissertation is the student’s own work and that the student fully understands the content of the Dissertation. There is no separate mark for the viva voce examination and it is not used to moderate the Dissertation mark.

Reading and References

Relevant research papers and textbooks. The exact nature of these references will be different for each Research Project.