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Study information

Solutions Project (Academic)

Module titleSolutions Project (Academic)
Module codeGEOM146
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Dr James Dyke (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

Developing skills to conduct original research will be vital for your ability affect meaningful change. Your Solutions Project will allow you to focus on a topic of your choice. You will be responsible for designing, planning and implementing the study, as well as analysing the data and writing it up. You will define your project over terms 1 and 2 via tutorials and group workshops. By the start of the summer term you will have a project proposal agreed and an academic supervisor assigned. You will be encouraged to develop your proposal in collaboration with one of the programme’s external partners and so apply your learning to a real-world sustainability challenge. 

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module will allow you take a deep dive into a sustainability topic. You will gain experience in designing and carrying out a substantial research project. This will link the theory and knowledge you gained during the taught components of the programme to a specific sustainability challenge.

  • You will gain an overview of a significant body of literature in a particular study area of sustainability.
  • You will learn how to synthesise and structure this information. You will situate your dissertation project within this body of work and so identify gaps in research literature.
  • You will formulate a research method with clearly identified aims and objectives.
  • You will collect data and subject this to analysis and interpretation.
  • You will produce a dissertation that reports on this significant piece of work.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Undertake critical and self-motivated exploration of topics of relevance to your research community which results in you becoming a knowledgeable expert in your dissertation topic
  • 2. Critically and independently assess the field in which your research project will be conducted
  • 3. Follow systematically and consistently the phases of a research project, i.e. design, data collection, data analysis and report writing using methods and techniques agreed by the supervisor

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Assimilate and critically review academic literature that is relevant to the dissertation topic
  • 5. Identify and apply, independently and with originality, appropriate methodologies and theories for solving a range of complex and demanding problems in sustainability science
  • 6. Identify and apply, autonomously and with originality, appropriate methodologies and theories for solving a range of complex and demanding problems in the environmental sciences
  • 7. Independently apply established techniques of analysis, practical investigation, and enquiry within sustainability science
  • 8. Generate findings and recommendations that would consist of solutions to a sustainability challenge

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 9. Devise and sustain independently a logical and reasoned argument with sound, convincing conclusions
  • 10. Effectively communicate complex arguments, evidence and conclusions in a range of general and specialised contexts using a variety of formats to specialist and general audiences
  • 11. Analyse and evaluate appropriate data and complete a range of research tasks independently
  • 12. Evaluate own strengths and weaknesses in relation to graduate-level professional and practical skills, and act independently to develop new areas of skills as necessary demonstrating the skills and attitudes needed to advance own knowledge and understanding
  • 13. Reflect effectively and independently on learning experiences and evaluate critically personal achievements

Syllabus plan

Potential dissertation topics are introduced in the Global Challenges module, this includes projects presented by academics and external partner organisations. You will discuss dissertation topics during tutorials. You will continue to explore possible dissertation topics over Term 1 at the end of which you submit your first progress report.

Teaching in Term 2 will equip you with an understanding of how to conduct a period of independent research. You will submit your second progress report during Term 2. You will formulate a detailed dissertation proposal and if required a risk assessment and ethics forms. You will be assigned a dissertation supervisor on the basis of your research proposal. You will meet with your supervisor on a regular basis either in person, via telephone, Skype or email.

In term 3 you will arrange meetings with your supervisor on an individual basis. Other staff will be available by arrangement for other specialist advice if required.

Writing up will take place in August, with completion and hand-in of a dissertation reporting on your project due in September.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching2Lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching3Seminars
Scheduled learning and teaching5Tutorials
Scheduled learning and teaching5Supervisions
Guided independent study585Reading and research, data collection, analysis, report writing

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Progress report 1 250 words1-2, 12-13Peer-to-peer/in-class feedback from lecturers
Progress report 2250 words1-2, 4-5, 12-13 Peer-to-peer/in-class feedback from lecturers

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Solutions project proposal101000 words1-2, 4, 9-10Written/oral on request
Solutions project dissertation9014000 words1-9, 11-13Written/oral on request

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Solutions project proposalSolutions project proposal1-2, 4, 9-10Referred/deferred period
Solutions project dissertationSolutions project dissertation1-9, 11-13Referred/deferred period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 50%) you will be required to redo the relevant assessment. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 50%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Specific readings will be provided for the module consistent with the taught areas of theory for that year but in general you will be expected to read original theory articles or book chapters. A couple of examples are given below but these may not be included in the year’s syllabus. You can contact the module lead in the Autumn semester for details of the theory that will be covered in the upcoming year.

  • Ruxton, G.D. and Colegrave, N., 2006. Experimental Design for the Life Sciences. OUP. ISBN 01992 52327
  • Barass, R., 2002. Scientists Must Write: A Guide to Better Writing for Scientists, Engineers and Students

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Environmental sustainability, theory, practice, policy

Credit value60
Module ECTS


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