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Study information

Solutions Project (Internship)

Module titleSolutions Project (Internship)
Module codeGEOM147
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Dr James Dyke (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

Applying your learning to a real-world sustainability challenge will help accelerate your ability to affect meaningful change. You will be responsible for collaboratively designing, planning and implementing the study, as well as analysing the data and writing it up. Your Solutions Project will allow you to focus on a topic of your choice via research during a placement with an external partner organisation. 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, an academic supervisor, and partner organisation assigned.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This dissertational module will give you the opportunity to work with, though not necessarily in, an organisation on a clearly defined project addressing a real sustainability challenge set by the organisation. It will give you the experience of working with an organisation that may be within an industrial, governmental, non-governmental, or voluntary sector. You will gain practical experience in sustainability consultancy and other transferable skills. The module is organised around an individual applied project with a real client which the Global Systems Institute may have sourced, or a project you may have sourced yourself. The module’s primary objective is to provide you with ‘real world’ work experience and enhance your employability. You will prepare and submit a dissertation that will assess your application of your academic learning to a significant sustainability research project.

You will also prepare and submit a client report. The client report structure, scope, and content will be agreed between you, your internship host and your academic supervisor. This will include an agreed assessment and grading criteria. Part of this criteria will consist of sector-specific guidelines and requirements which will be captured in the client brief. The client report will be assessed by your academic supervisor with input from the internship host. The internship host will provide a report of your performance during the internship and their evaluation of your client report. This will contribute 10% towards the total mark for the client report assessment.

  • 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.
  • You will produce a client report.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Critically explore 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
  • 4. Produce a client report to an industry-specific standard

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 5. Assimilate and critically review academic literature that is relevant to the dissertation topic
  • 6. Identify and apply, independently and with originality, appropriate methodologies and theories for solving a range of complex and demanding problems in sustainability science
  • 7. Identify and apply, autonomously and with originality, appropriate methodologies and theories for solving a range of complex and demanding problems in the environmental sciences
  • 8. Independently apply established techniques of analysis, practical investigation, and enquiry within sustainability science
  • 9. In collaboration with an external partner organisation design and present a means of dealing with a critical research issue faced by the partner organisation

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 10. Devise and sustain independently a logical and reasoned argument with sound, convincing conclusions
  • 11. 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
  • 12. Analyse and evaluate appropriate data and complete a range of research tasks independently
  • 13. Manage the relationship with the client, including managing expectations and handling problems. Understand the protocols, expectations and outcomes of engaging with organisations as clients.
  • 14. Reflect effectively and independently on learning experiences and evaluate critically personal achievements

Syllabus plan

Potential dissertation internship 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. You will be expected to arrange a placement with an external organisation. You will be able to take advantage of the Global Systems Institute external partner network, or you may independently identify a potential. At the end of Term 1 you will submit your first progress report.

Teaching in Term 1 will include a series of elective methods workshops that will ensure you have sufficient quantitative skills and abilities to progress your learning. Topics will cover: descriptive and inferential statistics, data handling, GIS. The specific workshops you will attend will be determined in consultation with the Programme Director.

Teaching in Term 2 will equip you with an understanding of how to conduct a period of independent research during a placement. 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. In collaboration with the placement partner and your academic supervisor, you will agree the overall content and scope of a client report that you will create as an outcome of your placement. You will meet with your supervisor on a regular basis either in person, via telephone, Skype or email.

In Term 3 you will begin your placement. It is expected that this placement will be of a maximum of eight weeks. This may be either within the location and offices of the external partner, or working offsite from location and offices of the external partner. You will arrange meetings with your supervisor on an individual basis at times compatible with your placement commitments. 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, and a client report 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 (Term 2)
Scheduled learning and teaching3Seminars (Terms 1 and 2)
Scheduled learning and teaching5Tutorials (Terms 1 and 2)
Scheduled learning and teaching5Supervisions (Terms 3)
Scheduled learning and teaching5Methods workshops (Term 1)
Placement300Working with partner organisation
Guided independent study280Reading and research, data collection, analysis, report writing

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Progress report 1250 words1-2, 12-13Peer-to-peer/in-class feedback from lecturers
Progress report 2250 words1-2, 4-5, 12-13Peer-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 dissertation7011000 words1-2, 4-7, 9, 11-14Written/oral on request
Client report203000 words3, 8, 10Written/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 dissertation1-2, 4-7, 9, 11-14Referred/deferred period
Client reportClient report3, 8, 10Referred/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
  • Barrass, R., 2005. Scientists Must Write: A guide to better writing for scientists, engineers and students. Routledge.
  • Miller, T.R., Wiek, A., Sarewitz, D., Robinson, J., Olsson, L., Kriebel, D. and Loorbach, D., 2014. The future of sustainability science: a solutions-oriented research agenda. Sustainability science, 9(2), pp.239-246.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Environmental sustainability, theory, practice, policy

Credit value60
Module ECTS


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