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The University of Southampton

SOES6078 MSci Advanced Independent Research Project (GY)

Module Overview

You will be required to undertake an individual research project in year 4. This could involve an external organisation (e.g. industry or research institution) or be hosted by one of the NOCS Research Groups. Candidates are expected to take the initiative in defining their topics and contacting supervisors and external sponsors to develop appropriate and challenging research projects tailored to their specific interests.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • An ability to design and execute a large-scale project, including literature search and appropriate data analysis.
  • Development and implementation of strategies for modelling geophysical systems and/or data analysis
  • Familiarity with a range of sophisticated scientific methods
  • A high level of proficiency of written, oral, and visual communication
  • An ability to work independently, manage time and organize activities
  • An ability to adopt an adaptable and flexible approach to study and work
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.
  • 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 results gathered during execution of a project.
  • Produce a substantial, well organised and written scientific report and defend it under viva examination.
  • Present reports in a variety of formats and understand that reports have to be at the appropriate level for a specified audience.
  • Deliver an oral presentation with appropriate visual aids.


Project work may be undertaken in the Summer between years 3 and 4, particularly if associated with an external sponsor. The project should apply scientific methodology to the investigation and interpretation of geological data by practical, field, database, modelling 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, or by modelling of geological systems. Communication skills will be developed in a variety of ways through seminar presentation, computer graphics, and the writing of results for a variety of different audiences (e.g. dissertation, high impact science journal, general public). A short-course course on popular scientific writing will be held in the first semester.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

You will select an appropriate project during semester 2 of year 3 either by devising a topic in conjunction with your supervisor or by using the list that will be circulated following the Easter vacation. 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 scientific recording you must keep a laboratory notebook. This should document all of the work completed in the laboratory or in data processing. It should also document any safety briefings and risk assessments completed, have notes of laboratory training given, and record meetings with the supervisorial team and have notes on the advice they have given. Attending oral presentations made by other students as part of the final conference-style presentation supports cross-learning and develops presentation skills. A wide range of support can be provided for those students who have further or specific learning and teaching needs.

Independent Study399
Project supervision30
Total study time440

Resources & Reading list

Blackboard The lecture material is summarised at Instructions for accessing this material will be given during the course.. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Presentation 20%
Research Report 80%


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


There are no additional costs associated with this module.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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