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Module FXX-3116:
Project - Quadruple Module

Module Facts

Run by School of Natural Sciences

40 Credits or 20 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Prof Michael Beckett

Overall aims and purpose

To give the student the opportunity to discover the excitement of carrying out chemical research by undertaking an extended open-ended laboratory based project.

Course content

CORE MODULE. This module is CORE to your degree programme. In order to progress to the next year of study or qualify for a degre you MUST successfully complete and pass this module.

This practical module concentrates on an area of research in a sub-discipline (organic, inorganic, physical) of your choosing. You will be required to undertake chemical laboratory / computational / instrumental research for a considerable period of time each week (approx. 18 hours) and to write-up an extended report (40 page maximum) on your findings.


Assessment Criteria


PART 1 Project Execution (20%) The student appreciated the progress of the project only when aided. The student only made poorly formulated suggestions to the supervisor. Completed simpler tasks with assistance, but unable to complete more demanding tasks. The student exhibited the bare minimum commitment of time and effort consistent with completion of the project. The student used the available time to the bare minimum with very little significant effort on a day-to-day basis and little evidence of longer term organisation and planning. Records of observations and data were not always clear and accurate.

PART 2 Project Report (60%) The report was produced to a low standard with a significant number of typographical errors and hand-drawn or photocopied diagrams. The report was poorly structured with significant errors. Content was marginally acceptable. The report demonstrated evidence of some analysis of the experimental data. The report demonstrated minimal knowledge of the objectives and minimal appreciation of the results with respect to the specific objectives

PART 3 Oral (20%) The student could describe the aims of the project but with significant gaps in understanding. The student only demonstrated a fair knowledge of the background theory and literature. The student showed basic understanding of the results obtained.


PART 1 Project Execution (20%) The student assessed the project as it developed, and exercised critical judgment on the significance of developments. Student was able to make several reliable independent decisions to the supervisor about the direction the work should take. The student was able to successfully complete complex tasks with minimal instruction and minimal assistance The student worked at all specified times in the laboratory (library) and showed excellent commitment during these sessions. Evidence of completion of many additional non-requested tasks apparent. The student used the available time very effectively and exhibited forethought and long term organisation and planning.
The records of observations and results were always clear and accurate and sufficiently detailed to be easily followed by another worker.

PART 2 Project Report (60%) The report was produced to a high standard, using recommended fonts, sizes and bindings. It contained minimal errors in grammar, spelling and punctuation. Figures, diagrams, tables were produced to a high quality. The report was well structured and virtually free from errors and clearly written. Content excellent. The report demonstrated a complete analysis of the experimental data. The report demonstrated a clear and thorough grasp of the project and an excellent appreciation of the significance of the results with respect to the specific objectives of the project.

PART 3 Oral (20%) The student demonstrated an excellent understanding of the aims of the project. The student showed extensive knowledge of the relevant literature and background theory. The student demonstrated an excellent understanding of the results obtained and their significance.

Learning outcomes

  1. Students should be able to demonstrate an ability to plan (in consultation with your supervisor) and undertake experiments relating to the chemical project.

  2. Students should be able to demonstrate an ability to complete a relevant literature survey in the project area, and to keep good records of your experimental data.

  3. Students should be able to demonstrate an ability to organise your time spent in the laboratory/library for maximum effect.

  4. Students should be able to demonstrate written communication and IT skills through your ability to write up a report on the project according to specific guidelines using a presentational template.

  5. Students should be able to demonstrate communication skills during an oral examination.

  6. Students should be able to correctly complete appropriate risk assessment procedures e.g. complete COSHH forms.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Final mark - Project 40

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Private study

Write-up/private study time (approx 39 hours )

Individual Project

The laboratories are open and staffed for 18h/week over the project period and it is expected that you make good use of this available time. The project period starts in week 1 of semester 1 and continues until the Easter vacation during semester 2. You will be allowed 2 weeks at the end of this project period, when the laboratories will be closed, to fully concentrate on writing up your report. It is expected that you should expend 400h effort on this 40 credit module. (360 hours combined laboratory work, 1 hr introductory lecture and private study with 39 hours of write-up).


Introductory Lecture


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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

Subject specific skills

  • CC3 Skills in the practical application of theory using computational methodology and models
  • CC4 The ability to recognise and analyse problems and plan strategies for their solution
  • CC5 Skills in the generation, evaluation, interpretation and synthesis of chemical information and data
  • CC6 Skills in communicating scientific material and arguments
  • CC7 Information technology and data-processing skills, relating to chemical information and data.
  • CC8 The ability to adapt and apply methodology to the solution of unfamiliar problems
  • CC9 The ability to assimilate, evaluate and present research results objectively
  • CC10 Skills required to undertake a research project reporting outcomes that are potentially publishable (in a peer-reviewed publication)
  • CP1 An ability to determine hazards associated with carrying out chemical experiments in terms of chemical toxicity, chemical stability and chemical reactivity and be able to find information to enable effective risk assessments to be carried out
  • CP2 Skills to handle chemicals safely and carry out experiments and chemical reactions in asafe manner, based on effective risk assessments
  • CP3 Skills required for the conduct of documented laboratory procedures involved in synthesis and analysis, in relation to both inorganic and organic systems
  • CP4 Skills in the monitoring, by observation and measurement, of chemical properties, events or changes, and the systematic and reliable recording and documentation thereof
  • CP5 Skills in the operation of standard chemical instrumentation
  • CP6 The ability to plan experimental procedures, given well defined objectives
  • CP7 The ability to interpret and explain the limits of accuracy of their own experimental data in terms of significance and underlying theory
  • CP8 The ability to select appropriate techniques and procedures
  • CP9 Competence in the planning, design and execution of experiments
  • CP10 Skills required to work independently and be self-critical in the evaluation of risks, experimental procedures and outcomes
  • CP11 The ability to use an understanding of the uncertainty of experimental data to inform the planning of future work
  • PS1 Communication skills, covering both written and oral communication with a variety of audiences
  • PS2 Skills in the employment of common conventions and standards in scientific writing, data presentation, and referencing literature
  • PS3 Problem-solving skills, relating to qualitative and quantitative information
  • PS4 Numeracy and mathematical skills, including handling data, algebra, functions, trigonometry, calculus, vectors and complex numbers, alongside error analysis, order-of-magnitude estimations, systematic use of scientific units and different types of data presentation
  • PS5 Information location and retrieval skills, in relation to primary and secondary information sources, and the ability to assess the quality of information accessed
  • PS7 Basic interpersonal skills, relating to the ability to interact with other people and to engage in teamworking
  • PS8 Time management and organisational skills, as evidenced by the ability to plan and implement efficient and effective ways of working
  • PS11 Problem-solving skills including the demonstration of self-direction, initiative and originality
  • PS6 Information technology skills which support the location, management, processing, analysis and presentation of scientific information
  • PS12 The ability to communicate and interact with professionals from other subjects
  • PS13 The ability to make decisions in complex and unpredictable situations
  • PS14 Independent learning skills required for continuing professional development
  • PS15 The ability to think critically in the context of data analysis and experimental design
  • SK5 Demonstrate an understanding of the qualitative and quantitative aspects of chemical metrology and the importance of traceability
  • SK1 Are fully conversant with major aspects of chemical terminology
  • SK2 Demonstrate a systematic understanding of fundamental physicochemical principles with the ability to apply that knowledge to the solution of theoretical and practical problems
  • SK3 Gain knowledge of a range of inorganic and organic materials
  • SK6 Develop an awareness of issues within chemistry that overlap with other related subjects
  • SK8 Develop an understanding of safe working practice, in terms of managing chemical toxicity, chemical stability andchemical reactivity, through knowledge-based risk assessments
  • SK9 Read and engage with scientific literature
  • PS10 other relevant professional skills such as business awareness
  • CC1 the ability to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of essential facts,concepts,principles and theories relating to theSubject areasCovered in theirProgramme
  • CC2 the ability to applysuch knowledge and understanding to thesolution of qualitative and quantitativeProblems that are mostly of a familiar nature
  • PS9 skills needed to undertake appropriate further training of a professional nature

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module