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Module DXX-4999:
MSc Dissertation

Module Facts

Run by School of Natural Sciences

60 Credits or 30 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr James Gibbons

Overall aims and purpose

  1. For students to individually execute (including testing hypotheses) the scientific research project, of direct relevance to their degree programme, which was planned and agreed in the prerequisite module.

  2. For students to individually communicate the introduction, aims, methods, results and conclusions of their scientific research project in a manner consistent with the prevailing School and Bangor University requirements.

Course content

Execution and written presentation of a suitable scientific project which is devised by the student and an individual academic supervisor and validated by the convenor and/or Programme Director.

A suitable project entails a worthwhile scientific question, of direct relevance to the degree programme being undertaken, and established against the context of framework of current knowledge and concepts, that allows the formulation and testing of one or more hypotheses. This would be expected to involve up to 5 months full-time work, typically including:

2-3 months for data collection from the field, laboratory or computer; 1-2 months for data analysis;

and 1-2 months for writing-up, including correction of the first draft after the comments of the supervisor are received.

Assessment Criteria


The project will be very well formulated and planned with clear and novel hypotheses that have been properly tested and explained using appropriate data analysis. Demonstration of a deep knowledge, from primary research literature, of the area of study which will include an explanation of how the project contributes to that field, highlighting the limitations of the study undertaken and suggestions for improvements for any subsequent studies. The dissertation will be very well-written and presented, with most illustrations clear, relevant and informative.


The project will conform to the School and Bangor University requirements and will demonstrate that the student has an adequate knowledge of the area of study and of how their project fits within this field of study. Hypotheses should be formulated and an adequate, documented, attempt made to obtain data to test them. The objectives, a summary of current knowledge, methods adopted, results and discussion should all be adequately presented.


The project will be well formulated and planned with clear hypotheses that have generally been properly tested using appropriate data analysis. Demonstration of a sound knowledge, from primary research literature, of the area of study which will include an explanation of how the project contributes to that field, highlighting the majority limitations of the study undertaken. The dissertation will be generally well-written with most illustrations clear, relevant and informative.

Learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate the ability to execute a scientific research project including formulation and testing of appropriate hypotheses.

  2. Collate and evaluate a variety of information directly relevant to the subject being researched.

  3. Communicate in writing, according to a defined format, the introduction, aims, methods, results and conclusions of the scientific research project.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Dissertation 100

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Individual Project

Students individually carry out a research project that they have already planned, and agreed, in consultation with a designated academic supervisor. The project can be any laboratory, field or desk-based study that is consistent with the degree programme being undertaken and which is validated by the Convenor and/or the Director of the programme.

The designated academic supervisor will normally give constructive feedback as required to aid with the collection and analysis of data, interpretation of the results and preparation of the written dissertation (the latter by reading, and commenting on, a late draft).


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in

Subject specific skills

  • Develop and identify research question(s) and/or hypotheses as the basis for investigation.
  • Conduct fieldwork and/or laboratory work competently with awareness of appropriate risk assessment and ethical considerations
  • Recognize and apply appropriate theories and concepts from a range of disciplines.
  • Consider issues from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives.
  • Apply subject knowledge to the understanding and addressing of problems.
  • Collect, analyse and interpret primary and/or secondary data using appropriate qualitative and/or quantitative techniques.
  • Apply appropriate techniques for presenting spatial and/or temporal trends in data.
  • Employ appropriate social-survey methods.
  • Preparation of effective maps, diagrams and visualizations.
  • Undertake field and/or laboratory studies of living systems.
  • Undertake practical work to ensure competence in basic experimental skills.
  • Understand the provisional nature of information and appreciate competing and alternative explanations.
  • Recognize the moral, ethical and social issues relating to the subject.
  • Collect and record data generated by a diverse range of methods.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the importance of risk assessment and relevant legislation
  • Demonstrate awareness of the importance of risk assessment and relevant legislation

Courses including this module