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The University of Southampton

SOES6071 MSci Advanced Independent Research Project

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Plan a scientific project with appropriate allowances for the time necessary to complete each stage.
  • Operation of a range of sophisticated scientific equipment.
  • A high level of proficiency of written, oral, and visual communication.
  • An ability to work independently, manage time and organise activities.
  • An ability to adopt an adaptable and flexible approach to study and work.
  • Undertake a literature survey focused upon a specific research area.
  • Employ an effective information searching strategy.
  • Effectively abstract information from long technical papers.
  • Produce a scientific synthesis and analysis of data gathered during execution of a project.
  • Produce a substantial, well organised and written scientific report and defend it under oral examination.
  • Present technical reports in a variety of formats and understand that reports have to be at the appropriate level for a specified audience.
  • Design and execution of a large-scale project, including literature searching and data analysis.
  • Development and implementation of strategies for data collection (e.g. field, boat, laboratory, archive, industry) and analysis


Project work may be undertaken in the Summer between years 3 and 4, particularly if associated with an external sponsor. Past experience has shown that the final year of the MSci degrees is extremely busy. Starting the project during the summer prior to this last year can be a substantial advantage. The project should apply scientific methodology to the investigation and interpretation of marine biological or oceanographic or related problems by practical, field, database, and/or laboratory-based research programmes. Projects can involve hands-on use of research equipment to conduct a practical, laboratory-based investigation allowing you to test the theories/practices encountered during lectures. Projects may also be designed utilising data and/or material collected during field/boatwork. Communication skills will be developed in a variety of ways through poster presentation, computer graphics, and the writing of results for a variety of different audiences (e.g. dissertation and general public).

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

You are encouraged to develop your own project supported by an internal Project Supervisor. The establishment of a suitable project should begin in your third year. You will be responsible for planning the project based on a structured program determined with supervisory support. You will undertake a library search and review of appropriate literature, then acquire data via the methodology previously determined. You will analyse the data and then write a project report. It is essential that you hold regular meetings with your Project Supervisor (and any external sponsors) to ensure that appropriate research directions are being undertaken and these meetings will provide feedback on progress. The precise way in which a project operates can vary considerably (e.g. it may involve an industrial link or external research institute). You must, however, always maintain close links with your academic project supervisor(s) to ensure appropriate directions are being taken. To develop your communication skills you will re-write aspects of your research project as an article for consumption by the general public (e.g. New Scientist). Candidates will also present their research project as an e-Poster presentation suitable for a public audience of their peers and research staff. A wide range of support can be provided for those students who have further or specific learning and teaching needs.

Practical classes and workshops36
Independent Study540
Project supervision20
Total study time600



MethodPercentage contribution
Dissertation 80%
Poster 20%
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