Professional Skills for Ecological and Marine Scientists

The details
Life Sciences (School of)
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 5
Thursday 03 October 2019
Friday 26 June 2020
05 September 2019


Requisites for this module


BS346, BS352, BS832

Key module for

BSC C161 Marine Biology (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C164 Marine Biology,
BSC CC60 Marine Biology (Including Year Abroad),
BSC CC64 Marine Biology (Including Placement Year),
MMB C160 Marine Biology

Module description

Gaining fundamental academic knowledge is a major goal for the individual modules of your degree; however, in order to apply this knowledge into your future career path requires that students effectively communicate this knowledge and importantly identify the "transferable skills" to maximise employability.

A series of classes will introduce and apply data analysis and interpretation techniques (focussing on DAI and report writing skills utilising large data sets collected during the respective field courses, BS213/BS215), but also engagement into contemporary environmental issues relevant to your degrees (which will be delivered through student led learning discussion sessions). Students will also focus on identifying specific career options and the skills, qualities and aptitudes required, planning a career path, understanding the job application process and developing CV and cover letter writing skills.

Module aims

This module aims to develop and nurture a number of key transferable skills such as communication, team working, numeracy and attention to detail.

Module learning outcomes

To pass this module students will need to be able to:

1. Demonstrate competence in career planning and job application skills, including CV and cover letter writing
2. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the literature in a field relevant to a specific career path.
3. Demonstrate engagement with the career planning process.
4. Develop a career action plan and identify personal development needs.
5. Develop key skills in reading and evaluating scientific papers, information retrieval, SPF writing and independent learning.
6. Demonstrate competence in oral and written communication and data analysis and interpretation, along with experience working in different roles within a team.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

Divided into three parts that each address core elements of the module: Part A: Data Analysis & Interpretation - Classes of 1 x 1h module introduction and 5 x 2h statistics and SPF workshops (Autumn term) Part B: Employability Skills - Classes of 1 x 2h session and 1 x 1h feedback session as well as 1 x 3h session (Autumn term). Part C: Issues in Environmental Sciences - Classes of 3 x 3h sessions (Spring term)


  • Dytham, Calvin. (2011) Choosing and using statistics: a biologist's guide, Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • The Essex CV pack,

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   CV & Letter (FINAL)   22/11/2019  15% 
Coursework   SPF   13/12/2019  35% 
Coursework   Career Action Plan   28/01/2020  15% 
Practical   Presentation Files  11/02/2020  35% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Thomas Cameron, email:
Dr Natalie Hicks (Employability), Dr Matt Bond, Dr Eoin O'Gorman, Employability and Careers Centre, plus Tutors
School Undergraduate Office, email: bsugoffice (Non essex users should add to create the full email address)



External examiner

Prof Anne Borland
Newcastle University
Available via Moodle
Of 72 hours, 55 (76.4%) hours available to students:
17 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Life Sciences (School of)

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