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The University of Southampton

SOES3050 Independent Research Project (Geophysics)

Module Overview

In this module you will undertake an independent research project in collaboration with an academic supervisor from OES or NOCS. This may be based around existing datasets, laboratory work, or new fieldwork. A list of relevant research areas will be circulated after Easter, you should then contact potential supervisors and discuss options with them. During the first 2 terms of year 3 you will carry out the project and write up a report (max 10000 words) on your work. Students wishing to devise their own project should check suitability and likely supervisors with the Module Co-ordinator.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Plan and execute an independent piece of scientific research with appropriate allowances for the time necessary to complete each stage.
  • Undertake a literature review focused within a specific research area.
  • Produce a scientific synthesis, interpretation and analysis of primary data gathered during execution.
  • Produce a substantial well organised and written scientific report.
  • Discuss the nature and conclusions of the project.


The topics offered introduce theoretical and methodological approaches to the investigation and interpretation of geophysical research by practical, theoretical, or laboratory-based programmes. They may be based around collection of data, in-depth analysis of existing data, or purely theoretical depending on student interests, but will almost always include a significant computational component. The projects allow you to gain practical experience in state of the art geophysical research, often using commercial-grade equipment or software, and allow you to test the theories/practices encountered during lectures. These studies are undertaken under the supervision of members of staff in OES and the NOCS.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

You will identify a project of interest together with a potential supervisor from a published list of research titles and summaries. You will work in consultation with a project supervisor(s) to develop and execute the research. Initial planning, and the development of the project occurs through regular meetings with the supervisor who also offers suitable advice on library search and review of appropriate literature, data analysis, interpretation and presentation. The student is expected to maintain regular contact with their supervisor during the project. Progress is monitored by the project supervisor and also through an initial registration report and a progress report reviewed by the course coordinator. After carrying out the research you will prepare a project report structured as for a scientific paper. A wide range of support can be provided for those students who have further or specific learning and teaching needs.

Independent Study270
Total study time300


Assessment Strategy

Interim Report (5%): The interim report is handed in at the end of the Autumn term and is a short (2 pages) report summarising the aims and objectives of the project, progress to date and a timetable for your future work. This will be marked by your module coordinator. Laboratory Notebook (20%): This is submitted with the final report at the beginning of the Summer term. Your notebook will provide a clear record of your activity on the project, showing at each stage what you have done and why, what the results were, and how you have gone on to plan the next activity. It will distinguish between your ideas and interpretations and input from the supervisor. Final Project Report (60%): Submitted at the beginning of the Summer term. Your report (maximum 10000 words) will provide a clear record of your data collection, synthesis, analysis and interpretation. The discussion section will provide the readers with a clear idea of where the work sits in relation to the published literature. The skills you have learnt writing reports and essays throughout your University career will be utilised and developed in order to achieve this. The report is marked by your supervisor and a second marker. Viva (15%): A 30-minute oral examination of your research project and the scientific area(s) around the main themes of the report will be conducted by your project supervisor and a second marker. The format is informal and is designed to give feedback (from both sides), help the examiners understand more about your project, assure themselves of your capabilities and give you some practice in talking through your research.


MethodPercentage contribution
Interim Report 5%
Laboratory notebooks 20%
Project report  (10000 words) 60%
Viva 15%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal

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