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Unit information: Science and Success: Writing, Speaking and Communicating Science in 2022/23

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

Unit name Science and Success: Writing, Speaking and Communicating Science
Unit code BIOL20017
Credit points 10
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1A (weeks 1 - 6)
Unit director Dr. Amici-Dargan
Open unit status Not open
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School/department School of Biological Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Unit Information

The Science and Success unit will support you to reflect upon and develop a range of transferable skills that are highly sought after by employers, including communication, self-regulation (e.g. action planning, time management, self-reflection) and critical evaluation. This unit has the short-term aim of preparing you for the scientific writing assignments and presentations you will do later in your degree, and the longer-term aim of preparing you for job hunting and life after graduation. Critical evaluation and clear writing are key skills required in many careers, and while it is relatively easy to recognise good writing, it is more challenging to write well yourself. Similarly, a good spoken presentation is obvious, but it is sometimes difficult to characterise the factors that make it so good. This unit will help you develop key transferable skills through practice, teamwork and action planning based on self-reflection. All parts of the course will be taught in a biological context and build on transferable skills acquired in year 1.

Aims: Preparing for life after graduation through the acquisition of key transferable skills

  • Improve written and oral communication skills through (1) lectures, (2) assessed work, and (3) peer-to-peer feedback
  • Improve team-work skills through peer collaboration and assessment
  • Improve job hunting skills by increasing your awareness of existing resources and giving you time to explore a range of opportunities
  • Engage with collaborative and activity-based teaching approaches to maximise your learning

Your learning on this unit

On completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  1. Produce and deliver clear oral presentations
  2. Demonstrate effective self-regulation, including self-reflection, skills gap analysis, time management, teamwork, and forward planning.
  3. Critically review recent research related to your degree scheme and produce a short literature review, citing published papers.

How you will learn

  • Limited number of lectures from invited specialists
  • Structured workshops with activities designed to complement lecture material and encourage teamwork, reflection and forward planning.
  • Directed learning for individual and group work outside of formal contact hours for the unit.

How you will be assessed

There will be three summative assessments, with formative opportunities prior to the submission deadline to obtain helpful feedback and advice:

  1. Group resource and oral presentation (40%)
  2. Reflective portfolio (40%)
  3. Literature review (20%)


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. BIOL20017).

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.