Professional skills for Ecological and Marine Scientists

The details
Life Sciences (School of)
Colchester Campus
Autumn & Spring
Undergraduate: Level 5
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 22 March 2024
14 February 2024


Requisites for this module
BS112 or BS106


BS251, BS303, BS352

Key module for

BSC C100 Biological Sciences,
BSC C101 Biological Sciences (Including Year Abroad),
BSC C102 Biological Sciences (Including Placement Year),
BSC CD00 Biological Sciences (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C520 Ecology and Environmental Biology,
BSC C521 Ecology and Environmental Biology (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C522 Ecology and Environmental Biology (Including Year Abroad),
BSC C523 Ecology and Environmental Biology (Including Placement Year),
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),
MSCIB097 Tropical Marine Biology,
MSCIBA97 Tropical Marine Biology (Including Placement Year),
MSCIBB97 Tropical Marine Biology (Including Year Abroad),
BSC C510 Global Sustainability,
BSC C511 Global Sustainability (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C512 Global Sustainability (including Year Abroad),
BSC C513 Global Sustainability (including Placement Year),
BSC C555 Microbiology,
BSC C556 Microbiology (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C557 Microbiology (Including Year Abroad),
BSC C558 Microbiology (Including Placement Year),
MSCIC559 Microbiology and Biotechnology

Module description

This module 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

The aim of this module is:

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

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected 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

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.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

Three parts that each address core elements of the module

Part A: Data Analysis & Interpretation

  • One 1-hour module introduction.
  • Five 2-hour statistics and SPF workshops (autumn term).

Part B: Employability Skills

  • One 2-hour session.
  • One 1-hour feedback session.
  • One 3-hour session (autumn term).

Part C: Issues in Environmental Sciences

  • Three 3-hour sessions (spring term).


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 Coursework weighting
Coursework   Career Action Plan    5% 
Coursework   Cover Letter    5% 
Coursework   Scientific Paper Critique  27/10/2023  20% 
Coursework   Reflective Statement on CV (CAP & Letter)  28/11/2023  5% 
Coursework   SPF Methods and Results  19/12/2023  20% 
Coursework   Marine/Environmental Flyer  30/01/2024  15% 
Practical   Project Presentation  09/02/2024  30% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Nicola Slee, email:
Prof Leanne Hepburn, Dr Nick Aldred, Kirstie Makepeace, 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 Edgar Turner
University of Cambridge
Professor of Insect Ecology
Available via Moodle
Of 68 hours, 62 (91.2%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
6 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information
Life Sciences (School of)

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