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Study information

Solutions Project (Internship)

Module titleSolutions Project (Internship)
Module codeGEOM147
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Sally Rangecroft (Lecturer)

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 independently 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 an internship with an external partner organisation. You will define your knowledge and planning on your dissertation project over terms 1 and 2 via  lectures and group workshops. By the start of the summer term you will have a project proposal agreed, an academic supervisor, and partner organisation secured.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This dissertation 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. 

The module’s primary objective is to provide you with ‘real world’ work experience and enhance your employability whilst conducting academic research and preparing professional materials to feed your results back to your external organisation. You will prepare and submit a dissertation that will demonstrate the application of your academic learning to a significant sustainability research project. You will be responsible for planning and conducting the research dissertation, with input from your internship host and your academic supervisor.

Within your dissertation you will also include a compulsory “Internship reflections” section which will provide you with space to reflect on the process of working with the client.

  • 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 appropriate analysis and interpretation.
  • You will produce a dissertation that reports on this significant piece of work.
  • You will produce a PowerPoint presentation to feedback your results to the client.
  • You will critically reflect on the internship process and personal development.

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. Follow systematically and consistently the phases of a research project, i.e. design, data collection, data analysis and report writing using appropriate methods and techniques

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 3. Assimilate and critically review academic literature that is relevant to the dissertation topic
  • 4. Identify and apply appropriate methodologies and theories for solving a range of complex and demanding problems in sustainability and environmental science and practice
  • 5. Independently apply established techniques of analysis, practical investigation, and enquiry within sustainability science

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 6. Devise and sustain independently a logical and reasoned argument with sound conclusions
  • 7. Effectively communicate complex arguments, evidence and conclusions in a range of general and specialised contexts to a variety of audiences
  • 8. Analyse and evaluate appropriate data and complete a range of research tasks independently
  • 9. Manage the relationship with the client, including managing expectations and handling problems
  • 10. Reflect effectively and independently on learning experiences and evaluate critically personal achievements

Syllabus plan

You will discuss research design and potential dissertation topics during lectures and workshops in  Term 1 and 2. You will be expected to arrange an internship with an external organisation towards the start of Term 2. You will be able to take advantage of project adverts we have sourced, the Global Systems Institute external partner network, or you may independently identify a potential organisation.

Teaching in Terms 1 and 2 will include a series of methods lectures, seminars and workshops that will ensure you have sufficient research design skills and abilities to progress your learning. Topics will cover: research design, research ethics, qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis methods. You will use the skills and knowledge gained in term 1 to produce a summative mini-methods project which will provide you with opportunity to practice research, data analysis and writing.

Teaching in Term 2 will equip you with an understanding of how to conduct a period of independent research during the internship. You will prepare a formative progress pitch in the middle of Term 2 to aid the development of your project. You will formulate a detailed dissertation proposal at start of term 3, including risk assessment and ethics forms. You may have found yourself an academic supervisor at the university, or you will be assigned a dissertation supervisor on the basis of your planned research. In collaboration with the external organisation and your academic supervisor, you will agree the overall content and scope of the dissertation that you will create as an outcome of your internship project. You will meet with your supervisor on a regular basis to aid your academic progress either in person, via telecommunication or email (mainly in term 3).

In Term 3 you will begin your internship. It is expected that this internship 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 academic supervisor on an individual basis at times compatible with your internship commitments. Other staff will be available by arrangement for other specialist advice if required.

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 teaching16Lectures (Terms 1 and 2)
Scheduled learning and teaching4Methods workshops (Terms 1 and 2)
Scheduled learning and teaching2Progress pitch presentations session (term 2)
Scheduled learning and teaching5Supervision (Terms 3)
Placement300Working with partner organisation
Guided independent study273Reading and research, data collection, analysis, report writing

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Progress pitch Equivalent to 250 words 1-3Peer-to-peer/in-class feedback from lecturers
Research proposal 1,000 words 2, 3, 4, 5Feedback from lecturers/ supervisor

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 mini-methods project 102000 words2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8Written/oral on request
Solutions project dissertation9014000 words1-10Written/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 mini-methods project Solutions mini-methods project 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8Referral/deferral period
Solutions project dissertationSolutions project dissertation1-10Referral/deferral 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, research

Credit value60
Module ECTS


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