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Learning from Professional Placement Experience

Module titleLearning from Professional Placement Experience
Module codeBIO3088
Academic year2020/1
Module staff

Professor Mike Allen (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

As part of your 12-month professional placement you will have the opportunity to gain first hand experience beyond the scientific and technical experience provided within the University. You will learn skills and gain experience related to management, health and safety in the workplace and company structure, and will gain invaluable practical experience from working in a professional work place environment relevant to your degree programme. You will be expected to reflect and report upon your experiences, relating your newly-obtained skills to the processes learnt at University.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims:

  • To enable you to undertake structured reflection on the professional placement experience.
  • To enhance your future career development and employability.
  • To develop personal and key skills through the management of your learning in the workplace, working with others, problem solving, the production of a written critique of the professional placement experience and delivery of an oral presentation.
  • To enhance the skills development that you obtain from professional experience and the knowledge of how learned skills can be transferred to the academic curriculum and the University’s research environment.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Link the professional placement experience to knowledge and concepts included in the academic curriculum and the university¬ís research environment.
  • 2. Explain your role within the organisation and describe statutory (e.g. health and safety) regulations
  • 3. Apply knowledge in a work situation in a task or problem-solving context

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Discuss critically the experiential learning process and reflect on and evaluate learning from the professional placement experience
  • 5. Relate the academic background to the learning you have acquired on this module
  • 6. Evaluate aspects of the biosciences with reference to the professional placement experience
  • 7. With minimal guidance, deploy established techniques of analysis, practical investigation, and enquiry within the biosciences-related workplace environment
  • 8. Analyse and evaluate independently a range of research-informed literature and synthesise research-informed examples from the literature into written work
  • 9. Illustrate and discuss, in detail and effectively, the contested and provisional nature of knowledge and understanding

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 10. Communicate effectively arguments, evidence and conclusions using written, oral and visual means in a manner appropriate to the intended audience
  • 11. Explain the nature of continuing professional development and lifelong learning
  • 12. Devise and sustain, with little guidance, a logical and reasoned argument with sound, convincing conclusions
  • 13. Evaluate own strengths and weaknesses in relation to graduate-level professional and practical skills, and act autonomously to develop new areas of skills as necessary
  • 14. Reflect effectively and independently on learning experiences and evaluate personal achievements
  • 15. Outline what the employing organisation does, how it is managed and how it seeks to achieve its goal
  • 16. Analyse and evaluate appropriate data and complete a range of research-like tasks with very limited guidance
  • 17. Work in a small team and deal proficiently with the issues that teamwork requires (i.e. communication, motivation, decision-making, awareness, responsibility, and management skills, including setting and working to deadlines)

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Leading up to the placement, you will be supported by both group and one-to-one meetings held with the Academic Placement Tutor and Careers Service. These meetings take place throughout Stages 1 and 2, allowing you to enhance your chance of gaining a suitable placement and making the most of the opportunity.

Introduction session and preparation for the professional placement experience. Learning and reflecting on the 12 months’ experience. Completion of reflective critique/portfolio which demonstrates the achievement of the desired outcomes. During your placement you will be supported by the Academic Placement Tutor with two visits (UK-based) or one visit and a video-conference call (overseas-based).

The reflective critique/portfolio will be written up during your placement, or during the vacation between the end of your placement and the start of your final year. The reflective critique/portfolio will be handed in during the third week of Term 1, and will be followed by an oral examination (which takes place immediately prior to the oral examination for BIO3087 and is marked by two academic assessors) of 5 minutes duration during week 7 of Term 1.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching4Discussion with university academic during visit at placement
Guided independent study16Completion of reflective critique/portfolio
Placement130You will undertake 12 months professional workplace experience relevant to your degree programme and on return to university give a presentation about your work and the learning process throughout the placement experience. Reading is also recommended to support this module. The learning/teaching methods will be a combination of an introductory session, one-to-one discussion with the Academic Placement Tutor who will normally visit you twice, completion of the reflective critique/portfolio, professional placement experience, preparing and giving a presentation and individual study and research.


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Discussion with university academic during visit at placement4 hours1-7, 9-10, 12-17Oral
Discussions with placement supervisorOngoing1-7, 9-10, 12-17Oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Reflective critique/portfolio (taking the form of a written report detailing reflections on one or more aspects of the professional placement)805000 words1-8, 10-17Written
Oral presentation205 minutes1-7, 10-14Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Reflective critique/portfolioReflective critique/portfolio1-8, 10-17December
Oral presentationOral presentation1-7, 10-14December

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will count for 100% of the final mark and will be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Kolb D., Experimental Learning: Experience as a source of Learning and Development, PHI, New Jersey, 1984.
  • Longson S., Making Work Experience Count, How to Books, 1999.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Professional placement, practical experience, industrial experience, workplace environment, industrial environment, employability

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

BIO2071 Research Skills and Bioethics

Module co-requisites

BIO3087 Professional Placement and Report

NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date