Module FXX-4507:
Practical Project (MChem)

Module Facts

Run by School of Natural Sciences

60 Credits or 30 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Prof Mike 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 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 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.


Assessment Criteria


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
Final mark - research paper 60

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 450 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 analyseProblems andPlanStrategies for theirSolution
  • CC5 Skills in the generation, evaluation, interpretation andSynthesis ofChemical information and data
  • CC6 Skills inCommunicatingScientific material and arguments
  • CC7 information technology and data-processingSkills, relating toChemical information and data.
  • CC8 the ability to adapt and apply methodology to theSolution of unfamiliarProblems
  • CC9 the ability to assimilate, evaluate andPresent research results objectively
  • CC10 Skills required to undertake a researchProject reporting outcomes that arePotentiallyPublishable (in aPeer-reviewedPublication)
  • 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 handleChemicalsSafely andCarry out experiments andChemical reactions in aSafe manner, based on effective risk assessments
  • CP4 Skills in the monitoring, by observation and measurement, ofChemicalProperties, events orChanges, and theSystematic and reliable recording and documentation thereof
  • CP5 Skills in the operation ofStandardChemical 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 ofSignificance and underlying theory
  • CP8 the ability toSelect appropriate techniques andProcedures
  • CP9 Competence in thePlanning, design and execution of experiments
  • CP10 Skills required to work independently and beSelf-critical in the evaluation of risks, experimentalProcedures and outcomes
  • CP11 the ability to use an understanding of the uncertainty of experimental data to inform thePlanning of future work
  • PS1 CommunicationSkills,Covering both written and oralCommunication with a variety of audiences
  • PS2 Skills in the employment ofCommonConventions andStandards inScientific writing, dataPresentation, and referencing literature
  • PS3 Problem-solvingSkills, relating to qualitative and quantitative information
  • PS4 numeracy and mathematicalSkills, including handling data, algebra, functions, trigonometry,Calculus, vectors andComplex numbers, alongside error analysis, order-of-magnitude estimations,Systematic use ofScientific units and different types of dataPresentation
  • PS5 information location and retrievalSkills, in relation toPrimary andSecondary informationSources, and the ability to assess the quality of information accessed
  • PS6 information technologySkills whichSupport the location, management,Processing, analysis andPresentation ofScientific information
  • PS7 basic interpersonalSkills, relating to the ability to interact with otherPeople and to engage in teamworking
  • PS8 time management and organisationalSkills, as evidenced by the ability toPlan and implement efficient and effective ways of working
  • PS11 Problem-solvingSkills including the demonstration ofSelf-direction, initiative and originality
  • PS13 the ability to make decisions inComplex and unpredictableSituations
  • PS14 independent learningSkills required forContinuingProfessional development
  • PS15 the ability to thinkCritically in theContext of data analysis and experimental design
  • PS16 the ability to work in multi-disciplinary and multi-skilled teams
  • SK1 are fullyConversant with major aspects ofChemical terminology
  • SK2 demonstrate aSystematic understanding of fundamentalPhysicochemicalPrinciples with the ability to apply that knowledge to theSolution of theoretical andPracticalProblems
  • SK5 demonstrate an understanding of the qualitative and quantitative aspects ofChemical metrology and the importance of traceability
  • SK8 develop an understanding ofSafe workingPractice, in terms of managingChemical toxicity,ChemicalStability andChemical reactivity, through knowledge-based risk assessments
  • SK9 read and engage withScientific literature
  • SK17. Production of a dissertation reporting outcomes that arePotentiallyPublishable (in aPeer-reviewedPublication).
  • 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
  • PS10 other relevant professional skills such as business awareness

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: