MSc Pollution & Environmental Control

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Research Project

Course unit fact file
Unit code EART60372
Credit rating 60
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Summer semester
Available as a free choice unit? No


The unit will involve largely independent research activities undertaken by the student under the supervision an allocated academic member of staff, who may or may not be assisted in this task by further personnel, including other members of academic staff, and where compatible with contractual constraints and University of Manchester policies, postdoctoral research fellows or associates.

In addition to such supervision, depending upon the nature of the research undertaken the student might expect to also interact and receive advice from a range of other personnel including postgraduate research students and professional support staff. The summative assessment of the unit will be solely through the submission of research project report.

The EART60372 Research Project will normally be the research project for which each student has prepared as part of EART62062.

Supervisors will have research experience in a range of areas related to pollution and environmental control – for example in relation to water, air, soil, ecosystems and more broadly environmental hazards and research areas related to global climate change. Environmental research and the impact of environmental research carried out by the School has been part of a collectively highly rated REF2014 research quality submission and this represents an important opportunity for students to be guided by researchers  with international and/or national reputations.



Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Environmental MSc Tutorial EART62062 Co-Requisite Compulsory


The aim of this course unit is to provide the opportunity for students to execute a substantial independent environmental science research project.


Learning outcomes

On the successful completion of the course, students will be able to:




from the reviewed literature or otherwise, describe the key theories and concepts relevant to a specified research area and, in particular, compare and contrast data outputs that would be consistent with different theoretical models or hypotheses




identify a research question and clearly summarise the relevant and key points of context as well as the aims and objectives arising




devise and justify a project, field or laboratory design demonstrably appropriate to meet the research project requirements




apply relevant literature review, computer modelling, field and/or laboratory protocols relevant to obtaining data for the purposes of preparing an environmental research thesis




present data and other outputs in a clear manner with determination and reporting of quality parameters and application of appropriate and justified statistical tests




appraise data sets, assessing their quality





interpret the implications and significance of data sets and develop arguments to justify the interpretation




apply key skills and attributes of those seeking employment in the environment sector by planning, executing and submitting in good time a research thesis meeting the required standards of the University of Manchester





Bespoke research activities and feedback.

Consolidation of general principles outlined in EART62062.

The split of study hours between practicals/fieldwork and reading may vary substantially from student to student depending upon the nature of the research project slected.


Teaching and learning methods

Learning in this course unit will be based upon (i) one-to-one supervisions with the research project supervisor and, as agreed small group tutorials and (ii) independent study and research.

This will be supported by reading lists and further e-learning materials made available on Blackboard, however, much of the material recommended for further project-specific learning will be as recommended by the project supervisor and through self-learning. Thus students will be expected to carry out both directed and independent reading, including of the University of Manchester MyLearningEssentials resources; as well as directed and independent exercises helpful to the completion of their research thesis. The balance between practical work and reading for each student will dep-end upon the nature of the research project selected. Practical work will generally be done in laboratories with technical staff and/or demonstrators present unless appropriate provision has been requested and approved for lone working or approved risk assessments indicate a low controlled level of risk.

Formative assessments for a draft research thesis will provide the foundations for an improved research thesis and hence for summative assessment of the research thesis.

The feedback strategy is designed to help develop a student’s ability to self-assess their own progress. Feedback will be delivered throughout the duration of each tutorial via both group and one-to-one staff-student interactions as agreed in which students will be guided through the various exercises and offered comments on their technique.



Assessment methods

Assessment type

% Weighting within unit

Hand out and hand in dates



How, when and what feedback is provided

ILO tested




Week 1


Early September

Maximum 10,000 words

Classification of mark Via Oracle after MPEC Examiners’ Meeting in late September



Recommended reading


(UoM) Research governance, integrity and ethics

(UoM) Code of Good Research Practice

(UK Medical Research Council) Good Research Practice

(ESRC) What Makes Good Research ?

Goldacre, B. (2009 ) Bad Science. Harper-Collins.

Medewar, P.B. (1981) Advice to a Young Scientist. Sloan Foundation Science Series.

(European Union) Logical framework

(DFID) Logframe for Research Projects

(UQ) Annotated example of a UQ Research Proposal

IUPAC (2007) Quantities, Units and Symbols in Physical Chemistry; Edition 3.Available from:

And published papers, reports and texts as recommended during the course including:

Cochrane Databaze of Systematic Reviews [ ]

Lim et al (2005) The case of the disappearing teaspoons: longitudinal cohort study of the displacement of teaspoons in an Australian research institute British Medical Journal, 331, 1498.


Polya, D.A., Richards, L.A., Al Bualy, A.A.N., Sovann, C., Magnone, D. and Lythgoe, P.R. (2017) Groundwater sampling, arsenic analysis and risk communication: Cambodia Case Study. In Bhattacharya, P., Polya, D.A. and Jovanovic. D. (Eds.) Best Practice Guide for the Control of Arsenic in Drinking Water, IWA Publishing, Chapter A14, ISBN13: 9781843393856. [Open Access via ]

Polya, D.A. and Watts, M. (2017) Sampling and analysis for monitoring arsenic in drinking water. In Bhattacharya, P., Polya, D.A. and Jovanovic. D. (Eds.) Best Practice Guide for the Control of Arsenic in Drinking Water, IWA Publishing, Chapter 5, ISBN13: 9781843393856 [Open Access via

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 590

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Laura Richards Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Additional activities: Further supervision as agreed, depending upon specific requirements of the research project

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