MChem Chemistry with International Study / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
MChem Project Planning & Literature Review

Course unit fact file
Unit code CHEM44600
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 4
Teaching period(s) Full year
Offered by Department of Chemistry
Available as a free choice unit? No


Students studying in the 4th year of an MChem programme will undertake a major individual research project under the supervision of a member of academic staff. Students will be associated with a research group and will be supported by regular meetings with the project supervisor. Given the varied nature of the research projects the type of work will differ between students.

Students successfully completing this unit should have developed the knowledge and understanding necessary to:

  • Plan, structure and execute a substantial research project with a high degree of autonomy;
  • Communicate their knowledge of the research topic in a poster and oral presentation.
  • Produce a detailed scientific report on their research;
  • Defend the course of their investigation in an oral examination.


This two-semester project exposes students to:

  • Developing a research project with appropriate supervision;
  • Undertaking a significant piece of research work in a chemistry context;
  • Writing a detailed scientific report with full bibliography;
  • Poster presentation, oral presentation and viva voce (oral examination) on the project work.

Literature-based projects are not allowed

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Review critically the state of knowledge in a given research topic drawing from a range of primary sources
  • Formulate appropriate research questions based on a review of current literature
  • Plan, structure and execute a substantial research project with a high degree of autonomy and in a safe and efficient manner
  • Maintain a clear, accurate and chronological record of work undertaken as part of a project
  • Generate an appropriate archive of results obtained from experimental and theoretical research
  • Synthesise new, experimental and theoretical data and make analyses of data based on theoretical models and chemical context
  • Prepare and present a detailed written scientific report covering all aspects of the research undertaken
  • Collate and organise supporting data in format suitable for submission alongside their final project report
  • Communicate knowledge of the research topic and defend the course of investigation orally

Teaching and learning methods

Research project with appropriate supervision by a member of academic staff and, if appropriate, members of the host research group.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Project planning
  • Time management
  • Presentation skills
  • Problem solving and analytical skills
  • Reporting skills


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 50%
Written assignment (inc essay) 50%


Poster presentation: 25%

Oral presentation: 25%

Feedback methods

A wide range of feedback opportunities exist over the 2 semesters that this unit operates, including:

  • Regular informal meetings with the supervisor and research group;
  • 1:1 meetings with project supervisor;
  • Research methods seminars in which peer feedback will be available.
  • Feedback on a draft of the literature review submitted for formative feedback by the supervisor.
  • Formative Feedback on the execution component of the project based on 1st semester work
  • Practise presentation to supervisor and research group with peer feedback.
  • Feedback on one chapter/section of report by supervisor.
  • Continuous peer-feedback on literature review, presentation skills and research methods through staff-facilitated meetings.
  • The oral presentation is marked by several staff members from the appropriate teaching and/or research section.
  • The poster is marked by several staff members.
  • The literature review is marked by two staff members (not the supervisor), who are drawn from the appropriate teaching and/or research section.

Recommended reading

Dependent on the project undertaken, but likely to involve the primary research literature and specialist reviews/monographs.


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 5
Practical classes & workshops 25
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Simon Webb Unit coordinator

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