Independent Research (MSci)

The details
Life Sciences (School of)
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 03 October 2024
Friday 27 June 2025
29 November 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MSCIC098 Biochemistry and Biotechnology (Including Year Abroad),
MSCIC099 Biochemistry and Biotechnology (Including Placement Year),
MSCICZ99 Biochemistry and Biotechnology,
MSCIB097 Tropical Marine Biology,
MSCIBA97 Tropical Marine Biology (Including Placement Year),
MSCIBB97 Tropical Marine Biology (Including Year Abroad),
MSCIC559 Microbiology and Biotechnology

Module description

You should find this module to be both stimulating and of particular importance for your future career, because it will provide you with the opportunity to analyse a system in some depth and to further develop your skills in the analysis and interpretation of data.

Module aims

The aim of this module is:

  • To carry out an independent scientific investigation on a topic relating to your degree specialisation.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a systematic understanding and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights in the relevant discipline.

  2. Demonstrate understanding of the formulation of research ideas and in designing independent research.

  3. Demonstrate expertise relevant to the area of research to be undertaken.

  4. Demonstrate skills in the critical evaluation and interpretation of data.

  5. Demonstrate the ability to write a report in scientific paper format and development of a range of skills including information acquisition, self-learning, and writing of a literature review.

Module information


  • Attending School of Life Science seminars.

Throughout the module you will attend the fortnightly School of Life Sciences seminar series. These seminars will broaden your scientific knowledge and creativity through exposure to new research topics, cutting-edge new methods, project design as well as presentation skills

  • Initial literature review and independent research plan.

Once assigned to your research supervisor, you will discuss your project area and formulate an initial plan of work with clear aims and objectives. A short literature review will be conducted so that a good level of background to the research area is obtained before research begins.

  • Independent research.

Fifteen weeks of independent research to be undertaken.

  • Thesis write-up.

The weighting of the independent research means that it is vital that you perform well in this aspect of your studies and that you are diligent in your reading, analysis, and the preparation of your report.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • Seminars and/or group meetings with individual supervisor to introduce independent research module.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Independent Research Plan and Risk Assessment    20% 
Coursework   Literature Review    40% 
Coursework   Research Report    40% 

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 Natalie Hicks, email:



External examiner

Dr Sebastian Hennige
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


Further information
Life Sciences (School of)

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.