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Unit information: Thesis (MSc Palaeobiology) in 2021/22

Unit name Thesis (MSc Palaeobiology)
Unit code EASCM1016
Credit points 60
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Cunningham
Open unit status Not open
  • EASCM0034 Literature Review
  • EASCM0038 Research Methods in Palaeobiology.


School/department School of Earth Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description including Unit Aims

To undertake an independent research project, resulting in an MSc thesis that is formatted in the style of a publication for a journal.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the unit you will be able to:

  • determine a theme to research through analysis of the current state of knowledge in a subject field
  • identify, access and assess appropriate library- or archive-based information relevant to the project
  • design and plan a research project that it is feasible within the available time
  • maintain high professional standards (use adequate sample size, eliminate bias, consider errors in data, limitations to models etc).
  • critically appraise the strengths and weaknesses of the research project, evaluating the findings against those of others
  • adapt and react if the project diverts from the original plan
  • demonstrate practical and analytical skills relevant to the project
  • collect, record and manage information and/or findings, and decide when it is sufficient to meet the aims of the project
  • communicate the outcomes of the project to different audiences in an appropriate manner
  • produce a final project report presented to the standard expected for submission of a manuscript to a leading international journal
  • establish professional contacts within an international research team.

Teaching Information

Independent work under the supervision of a member of academic staff

Assessment Information

The unit will be assessed on the basis of the thesis (10,000 words maximum).


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. EASCM1016).

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.