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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Geosciences

Undergraduate Course: Geoscience Research Project (GESC11002)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Year 5 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits40 ECTS Credits20
SummaryStudents will undertake an independent research project on an area of their choice in the field of Geoscience. They will draw on skills acquired in courses on Research Methods and Transferable Skills or Scientific computing skills as well as Project Design and Literature Analysis to ensure that the project is well designed and achievable.
Course description The MEarthSci / MEarthPhys (Integrated Masters) programme aims to develop in students an understanding of how research is carried out and provide an opportunity for students to undertake a piece of independent research work alongside researchers within the School of GeoSciences. Students will be involved in the design of a programme of research, executable in the available time, using library and other search facilities, and referencing previous work. They will draw on skills acquired in courses on Project Design and Literature Analysis, and either Research Methods and Transferable Skills or Scientific computing skills to ensure that the project is well designed and achievable. Guidance and training will be given in the techniques needed to complete any analytical or theoretical parts of the project.

It is anticipated that the projects, which are assessed under the framework of this Geoscience Research project course, will commence in Semester 1 of year 5 and continue through to May of Year 5. Research on the project will have to be carried out alongside other coursework commitment for the MEarthSci / MEarthPhys degree but emphasis during this period will be on independent research time. It is important that the project defined can be feasibly completed within the set time-frame (~ 600 hours).

An aspiration is that the completed work should be of a standard that could be published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. The final project reports will be written in the format of a manuscript of a scientific paper to be submitted to an international research journal. A number of past students have had their work published or incorporated into broader publications.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Students will undertake an independent research project on an area of their choice in the field of Geoscience. They will draw on skills acquired in courses on Research Methods and Transferable Skills or Scientific computing skills as well as Project Design and Literature Analysis to ensure that the project is well designed and achievable.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 400 ( Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 392, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 8, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 0 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assessment Details
Written Exam: 0%, Course Work: 100 %, Practical Exam: 0%.

Project seminar and poster (30%)
Research Project (70%)

Written Research Project (70%)
Written Project reports should provide a concise and accurate summary of project work conducted during the Integrated masters year and conclusions that can be drawn from this work, and should place the student¿s work within the broader context of other research conducted in the field. It is expected that project reports should be around 6000 words, excluding abstract, figure captions, tables, references and any appendices. Project reports will be submitted in early May, and will be prepared in the form of a short scientific paper, as would be submitted to an international Geosciences journal. Suggested formatting for the report is double spaced text, with figures tables and captions embedded in the body of the text. One inch margins and font size 12 are recommended, text size for the reference list can be smaller, but should still be easily legible.

Project Seminar and Poster (30%)
Research seminars will take the form of short 15-minute presentations of the type given at international scientific conferences (5 minutes extra will be allocated for questions and discussion at the end of each talk) and a poster. An abstract of up to 350 words (for the main text), to include the project title, your name and the name of your supervisor is to be submitted one week before the seminars). The presentation should be aimed at an audience with a wide range of scientific backgrounds. Seminars and project posters will be presented at the Integrated Masters Seminar day, which will be open to all School of GeoSciences students and staff. The poster, usually A0 in size and orientated vertically, will be displayed both during the seminar day, and usually for a few days afterwards. The seminars and posters will provide students with the opportunity to view each other¿s completed project results, as well as give staff the opportunity to provide final feedback on the project analysis and results before the written reports are submitted.
Link to the Extended Common Marking Scheme:

Assessment Deadlines
¿ Project seminar and poster (30%):
o Prepared for the Integrated Masters Seminar Day usually held in mid-May.(Exact Date TBC) o Students will submit their posters online the day before the seminar by 12noon.
¿ Research Project (70%): due mid-May (after the seminar day). Submit online via Turnitin by 12noon
Feedback The Course Organizer (Calder) will hold an open door policy throughout the year for MEarthSci / MEarthPhys students requiring general information and feedback about the undertaking of a research project. The CO will also provide general feedback on the advancement of the project through the Project Design and Literature Analysis course. Written feedback will be provided on the project proposals and seminars.

Research Project Supervisors will provide specific information and feedback on scientific aspects of the projects and will provide general feedback during planning of the project and ongoing consultation throughout the project. It is anticipated that valuable feedback would also be available from interactions within the wider research group such as through discussion amongst supporting postdoctoral staff and postgraduate students. Written feedback will be given on the literature review, draft project proposal and project report.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. The student will be able to undertake research in a Geoscience topic, producing detailed work of an original and high quality.
  2. The student will be able to demonstrate a critical understanding of the principal and specialised theories associated with their chosen topic which will be informed by recent developments.
  3. The student will understand scientific methodology, the use of statistics, the analytical tools employed, concepts of accuracy and precision.
  4. The student will be able apply a range of standard and specialised techniques to achieve their objectives.
  5. The student will be able to write a scientific report on their research which is accurate, appropriately illustrated, argued and referenced and present that work in a range of appropriate formats to communicate their findings with peers and department staff.
Reading List
Students are expected to read widely on their selected topic area
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information Work will be independent and undertaken alone or in small groups. The class will only meet for assessed presentations.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Eliza Calder
Tel: (0131 6)50 4910
Course secretaryMr Johan De Klerk
Tel: (0131 6)50 7010
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