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Module OSX-4404:
Perspectives in Marine Science

Module Facts

Run by School of Ocean Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Prof Mattias Green

Overall aims and purpose

The Module is designed to broaden the knowledge base of all MScistudents who are otherwise focussed very strongly towards their individual research projects. Attendance at Research Seminars will bring students into contact with new areas of marine science and the methods, techniques and statistical problems associated with them. A broad approach will be facilitated by the requirement that students attend seminars from all three seminar series at SOS. The students will write short, succinct and concise abstract (250 words) based on four selected seminars. This will require them to concentrate very carefully during the presentation, take notes and to subsequently develop and improve their abstracting and writing skills. Further knowledge acquisition is undertaken through the production of an essays (2000 words) based on primary literature (approx 10 papers) around the subject of the chosen seminar topic. They will also produce a 600-word popular science summary of a fellow student's literature review seminar. This will be written as if for The Conversation - an online science communication magazine - and aims to give experience in communicating science to a wider audience.

Course content

The specific knowledge content of the course will be variable from year to year depending on the Seminars in the two series running in the School. These will range across marine biology, geology, and oceanography, and it will be this range that is an important feature of the Module. The Seminars will be almost all of a research type such that their structure follows a similar pattern: introduction, materials and methods, results and discussion.

Assessment Criteria


Abstracts: Basic abstracts that convey some understanding of the Seminar topics. Essays: rudimentary presentation of an expanded research seminar using some primary literature.


Abstracts: competent abstracts that clearly reveal a good understanding of the topic presented. Essays: competent use of several primary research papers to develop a coherent story within the essay


Abstract: Succinct, concise and grammatically correct abstract that conveys a complete understanding of the Seminar delivered. Essays: an engaging or highly creative, insightful, carefully argued, thoroughly researched and well written, grammatically correct essay.

Learning outcomes

  1. Acquire a broader knowledge of marine science

  2. Become proficient in writing short abstracts

  3. Be able to search for, obtain and critically analyse primary research literature following introduction by a single Seminar.

  4. Be able to synthesise, analyse and communicate complex research activities, concepts and ideas in essay format

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
COURSEWORK Abstract 1 10
COURSEWORK Abstract 2 10
COURSEWORK Abstract 3 10
ESSAY Essay 40
ESSAY Popular science summary 30

Teaching and Learning Strategy


Two lectures outlining the Module, explaining what is required and giving advice on abstract preparation, literature searching and the distillation of a complex subject into an essay. Synchronous for 2020


Students attend at the (online) Research Seminars at School of Ocean Sciences delivered by PhD students, Post docs, staff or visitors.

Private study

Researching, synthesising, completing assessments.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • 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.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting

Courses including this module