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Unit information: Thesis (MSc Palaeobiology) in 2015/16

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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 Professor. Mike Benton
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

Assessment Information

This unit constitutes 60 credit points. The project will be examined on the basis of the presented thesis. Assessment criteria are given in the Department guidelines for individual project work ( and oral presentations (

Reading and References

There is no specific required reading and no common references - because each thesis is different each student reads 50-200 papers as an integral part of their research.