BSc Molecular Biology / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Science Communication

Course unit fact file
Unit code BIOL21392
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


The Science Communications course is aimed at allowing students to explore the literature around a topic and report on those findings through different mediums. The bulk of the unit consists of an individual Extended Essay and an Oral Presentation on a scientific topic, and a small group peer review exercise. The Unit runs though out the academic year in tandem with the Second-Year tutorial program BIOL20000/20021.


•    Literature searching to research a specific scientific topic.
•    Interpretation and analysis of scientific literature.
•    Scientific writing to enable production of a comprehensive literature review.
•    Allow students to explore in depth a topic that is of interest to them.
•    Reporting of a complex topic via a summary oral presentation
•    Introduce peer review as a learning tool

Learning outcomes

Students should: 
•    be able to understand in depth a Degree Programme-related scientific area  
•    be able to critically appraise research papers 
•    develop literature searching skills 
•    develop scientific writing skills 
•    develop organisational and time management skills 
•    develop oral presentation skills  
•    develop written and oral communication skills 


The Extended Essay topic is chosen by your second-year tutor. You will work on the Science Communications unit within you tutor group. A compulsory Plenary session will happen in the first semester titled ‘How to write an Extended Essay’. The first task of the unit is the production of a detailed 1-page plan that will be given feedback via your tutor. An oral presentation of your Extended Essay topic will then be given to your tutor group before handing in the Extended Essay. After handing in the Extended Essay you will conduct a small group peer review exercises.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Each paper found during the literature search must be read and critically analysed. Students must think about the reliability of the findings of the paper.
Students are expected to carry out a literature review using scientific databases, read scientific papers and then produce an Extended Essay on that topic.
Written communication
Students are expected to produce a comprehensive literature review (5 pages in length) on a topic that interests them.
Oral communication skills (Presentation), organisational and time management skills (Production of a Plan). Reflection and Peer review skills.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 5%
Written assignment (inc essay) 80%
Oral assessment/presentation 15%

1-page plan 0%
Oral presentation (8min talk 2min Q/A)  15%
Extended Essay (5 pages)   80%
Peer Review Exercise   5%

Feedback methods


You will be given feedback directly from your tutor on your 1-page plan, your oral presentation, and your extended essay. The feedback will be given in written form but where appropriate direct and immediate oral feedback may be given. In addition to your tutor feedback, through the peer review exercise you will also be able to reflect on the comments from your peers.