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Module FXX-4507:
Practical Project (MChem)

Module Facts

Run by School of Natural Sciences

60 Credits or 30 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Patrick Murphy

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 and the experience of preparing a scientific paper for publication.

Course content

CORE MODULE. This module is CORE to your degree programme you MUST pass this module to qualify for a degree.

This practical module concentrates on an area of research in a sub discipline (organic, inorganic, physical) of your choosing (but with a different supervisor to that which you had in year 3). You will be required to undertake chemical laboratory / computational / instrumental research full time for 7 - 10 weeks and then write up your findings in the style of an RSC journal. Include all appropriate data either within the main text of the article or as supplementary data. You will do a short presentation as part of your oral examination by your research committee. Your experiences gained in your 3rd year project will be of considerable benefit to you in this your second and final extended project.



PART 1 Project Execution (20 %) The student appreciated the progress of the project, unaided. The student made some sensible suggestions to the supervisor regarding the course of the work but relied on the supervisor for decisions on the course of the work. The student could complete simpler tasks unaided but needed considerable assistance on more complex tasks. The student worked most of the specified times in the laboratory (library) and showed reasonable commitment during these sessions. The student used the available time effectively on a day-to-day basis but did show little evidence of longer term organisation and planning. Records of observations and data were reasonably clear and accurate.

PART 2 Project Publication (60%) The publication was produced to reasonable standard. It was let down by many errors in grammar, spelling and punctuation. Figures, diagrams, tables contained many errors. Though reasonably well structured the publication contained significant errors. Content satisfactory. The publication demonstrated a satisfactory analysis of the experimental data. The publication demonstrated a reasonable grasp of the objectives and an appreciation of the results with respect to the specific objectives.

PART 3 ORAL (20%) The student could describe the aims of the project reasonably well Generally good but some gaps in understanding of the relevant literature and background theory were apparent. The student showed a reasonable understanding of the results obtained.

Learning outcomes

  1. On completion of the module, students should be able to demonstrate: written communication and IT skills through their ability to write up a report on the project according to specific guidelines using a presentational template.

  2. On completion of the module, students should be able to demonstrate: an ability to plan and undertake a series of experiments relating to an advanced level chemical project.

  3. On completion of the module, students should be able to demonstrate: an ability to complete a relevant literature survey in the project area, and keep good records of their experimental data.

  4. On completion of the module, students should be able to demonstrate: an ability to organise their time spent in the laboratory/library for maximum effect.

  5. On completion of the module, students should be able to demonstrate: communication and presentation skills during an oral examination.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
DISSERTATION Final mark - research paper 60
VIVA Viva 20
LOGBOOK OR PORTFOLIO Project Execution 20

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Individual Project

The module has individual tutorials at 2 hours per week giving guidance on project and experimental details and report write-up. Contact time: 24 hours, private and laboratory study 280-400 hours including 50 hours of write-up. (Learning outcomes 1-5).

Private study

Includes 80 hr write up


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
  • 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.

Subject specific skills

  • 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
  • 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
  • PS6 Information technology skills which support the location, management, processing, analysis and presentation of scientific information
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • SK17. Production of a dissertation reporting outcomes that are potentially publishable (in a peer-reviewed publication).
  • 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

Compulsory in courses: