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Unit information: Climate Change MSc Research Project in 2015/16

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Unit name Climate Change MSc Research Project
Unit code GEOGM0009
Credit points 60
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Professor. Dan Lunt
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Geographical Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science


This unit provides an opportunity for students to design, execute and submit a supervised research project on their chosen topic. Students will pursue a topic identified and scoped in the MRes Phase 1 Research Project, developing theses specific areas of inquiry under supervision to delovep their final dissertation. The key focus will be on original analysis and interpretation, and the target will be to produce research outputs that will contribute to scientific publications. Students will be expected to demonstrate an ability to draw together a range of skills, techniques and subject sources to explore their chosen topic. Students will be supervised by a specialist supervisor, or supervisors as appropriate. The unit is assessed via the project dissertation and by a 20 minute oral presentation on the research project.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion, students will:

  • know how to identify, access and assess appropriate library- or archive-based information relevant to the project
  • have experience in designing and planning a research project that it is feasible within the available time
  • understand the importance of high scientific and professional standards

appreciate how to adapt and react if the project diverts from the original plan

  • have acquired practical and analytical skills relevant to the project
  • have experience in communicating the outcomes of the project to different audiences in an appropriate manner
  • know how to produce a final project report presented to the standard expected for submission of a manuscript to a leading international journal

Teaching details

Dependent on nature of research project

Assessment Details

This unit constitutes 60 credit points.

The research project is assessed in two components:

1) Research Project report worth 90% 2) Oral presentation worth 10%

(1) Project report:

The final report will be assessed against the following assessment criteria:

  • Scientific understanding of topic context
  • Quality and depth of research activity
  • Scientific reporting of research
  • Originality, merit and independence

Presentation. The report should consist of a maximum of 30 pages for all the text, and in addition:

  • title page (name, project title, programme of study, date of submission)
  • one page abstract
  • table of contents
  • figures and tables with captions (no absolute limit to numbers but should be commensurate with number typical for papers in this field)
  • references

All written work submitted for this project must be word-processed and submitted on A4 paper of laser print quality. Students should identify (in discussion with their supervisor) an international journal appropriate to their field of study, and then adhere to the style guidelines given in the instructions to authors for that journal. In any case, the text should be formatted with 2 cm margins on all sides, 11 point font and 1.5 line spacing, except for reference lists which should be single-spaced. Pages should be numbered and in single column format. Numbered figures and tables should have informative captions, and be placed at the end of the report.

The use of well-presented and well-organised printed appendices or attachment of data on CD or DVD format is allowed, and will not be counted within the specified page limit. However, note that appendices are for archiving data or detailed descriptions of methods etc. for future users of the report, and will not contribute to the dissertation mark. All illustrations, data, tables and method descriptions that are needed to support your project must be in the main text.

(2) Oral presentation The oral presentation will normally be 15 minutes, with 5 minutes for questions.

Supervision and feedback details:

The amount of contact hours will depend on the nature of the project, but as a rough guide you can expect a minimum of 5 hours of contact time for the research project.

Your supervisor will be able to give feedback on one draft copy of your research project, prior to submission. This will take the form of (A) general comments, for example 'give more detail of our methodology in section 2' or 'include more references in section 3.2', plus (B) More detailed comments on a single page of your report. This will include for example stylistic comments, spelling and grammar, and detailed comments on your scientific ideas on that page.

Reading and References

Specific to the project, and to be discussed with the project supervisor and unit co-ordinator during the project