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Research Project

Module titleResearch Project
Module codeBIOM711Z
Academic year2022/3
Module staff

Professor Mark Ramsdale (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module will help you acquire the skills and confidence to undertake supervised original research in the field of medical mycology at your place of work and to formulate your ideas and communicate your findings effectively through the production of a dissertation. It will further help you undertake critical reading, appraisal and analysis of the research literature. The MSc in Medical Mycology Research Project is the final step of the MSc in which you have to undertake a novel line of research in the area of medical mycology.

Possible topics for the MSc Dissertation/Research Project include scientific research in any of the subjects being taught on the MSc from studies of molecular / cellular events pertinent to pathogen or host biology to patient outcomes and antifungal drug susceptibility and resistance provided that the project involves data collection / collation and analysis.

During the course of the project, you will be expected to develop responsibility for the design, planning and implementation of the study, as well as analysing the data and reporting on the research project. Therefore, this project will provide valuable experience of managing original scientific research, from its inception through to completion. This will be a valuable addition to your scientific training, and has the potential to enhance your employability and career trajectory.

The election of the MSc Research Project topic and supervisor(s) should be the result of an agreement between the student, the BSMM local supervisor and the designated module course tutor

Students should have completed four modules from a selection of BIOM704Z – BIOM709Z prior to taking this module.

As a co-requisite, students must also take the module BIOM710Z.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aims of this module are to help you acquire the skills and confidence to undertake supervised original research in the field of medical mycology and to formulate and communicate your findings effectively through the production of a dissertation. You will gain specialist knowledge of scientific literature in your chosen study area, and will learn to assimilate this knowledge in a succinct and critical manner. The module will give you experience of undertaking a substantial research project and you will be able to put into practice the knowledge you have acquired from other modules in the MSc Medical Mycology (online) programme.

By the end of this module you will have carried out a piece of original research (or research which extends our knowledge on a topic), analysed the results using appropriate methods and learned how to disseminate the results in an appropriate manner.

In addition, the module will allow you to further develop the following academic and professional skills:

  • Problem solving: linking theory to practice, developing your own ideas with confidence, being able to respond to novel and unfamiliar problems.
  • Managing structure: identifying key demands of the project, setting clearly defined goals, responding flexibly to changing priorities.
  • Time management: managing time effectively, individually and as part of a research team.
  • Collaboration: taking initiative and leading others, potentially maintaining group cohesiveness and purpose

The project is the final module of the MSc programme but many students will wish to start organising and initiating their project earlier on in the course. Following discussion with the course tutor and local supervisor, topic titles and a short outline of the research activity will need to be submitted for approval to the MSc Medical Mycology organising committee before the work commences. The project should be original work conducted in your base laboratory or within a suitable clinical environment but will require close supervision by a local supervisor and designated course tutor.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Critically and independently, assess the field in which your research project will be conducted.
  • 2. Independently design and present a means of dealing with a critical research issue
  • 3. Follow systematically and consistently the phases of a research project, i.e. hypothesis generation, experimental design, data collection, data analysis and report writing using methods and techniques agreed with your supervisor.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 4. Analyse and critically evaluate essential facts and theory across a sub-discipline of the biosciences, and embed research-informed examples from the literature in written work.
  • 5. Identify and apply, autonomously and with originality, appropriate methodologies and theories for solving a range of complex and demanding problems in medical mycology
  • 6. Deploy established techniques of analysis, investigation, and enquiry within the biosciences.
  • 7. Evaluate in detail, and critique, approaches to our understanding of medical mycology with reference to primary literature, reviews and research articles.

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 8. Devise, and sustain independently, a logical and reasoned argument with convincing conclusions.
  • 9. Effectively communicate arguments, evidence, and conclusions in a range of complex and specialised contexts using a variety of formats to specialist and non-specialist audiences both in the written report and in an oral presentation.
  • 10. Analyse and evaluate appropriate data and complete a range of research tasks independently.
  • 11. Evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses in relation to graduate-level professional and research skills, and act autonomously to develop new areas of skills as necessary demonstrating the skills and attitudes needed to advance own knowledge and understanding.
  • 12. Reflect effectively and independently on learning experiences and evaluate critically personal achievements.

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

The election of the MSc thesis topic and supervisor(s) should be the result of an agreement between you, your local BSMM supervisor and the designated course tutor. The criteria for the MSc Research Project evaluation will be clearly stated in the MSc handbook, and they will include at least the following items:

  • The originality of the research ?
  • The degree of difficulty of the research work carried out ?
  • The robustness of the methodological approach ?
  • The quality of the written dissertation ?
  • The quality of the oral presentation ?

Your professionalism including your intellectual contributions project design, planning implementation, analysis, interpretation and report planning throughout the duration of the project, will be assessed against guidelines provided (research performance). In addition, you will submit a final project report in the form of a paper that is prepared in the format of a specific scientific journal. You will also present a talk on your project as a video recording.

The following timetable is to provide guidance for students intending to complete the MSc programme within 3 years, timeframes will alter for those extending the completion of the course.

Year 1: No action, but students may wish to begin to explore possibilities.

End Year 1 / beginning Year 2 (September/October):

Students should start a dialogue with their supervisory team and consider possible project areas.

Mid - Year 2 (February):

A project should be agreed with the BSMM/ University of Exeter supervisor and formal submission to the course committee made. The submission needs to be made before the end of March in the year prior to the project year (i.e. usually in year 2).

Beginning Year 3 (September):

Formal approval by Course Committee. Project commences.

Mid - Year 3 (January):

Submission of project by 30th January.  If students experience difficulties in completing their practical work and wish to be considered for an extension to their deadline, the programme director must be notified by email 2 months in advance of the deadline.

It may be necessary to initiate a project earlier in the course e.g. extra time required for sample collection.  In these cases, the BSMM/University of Exeter supervisor should inform the Programme Director who will consider the merits on a case-by-case basis.

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 teaching20Meetings with the project supervisor
Guided independent study430Additional reading, research and preparation of a literature review. Experimental design, data collection, data analysis and preparation for the final paper assessment.


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Short answer questions with project supervisors at regular meetings Ongoing throughout the project period AllOral

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
Video presentation2010 minutesAllWritten
Project report808000 wordsAllWritten


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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Video presentationVideo presentationAll16 weeks from the date feedback was given
Project reportProject reportAll16 weeks from the date feedback was given

Re-assessment notes

Two assessments are required for this module. In all cases re-assessment will be the same as the original assessment. Where you have been referred/deferred for any form of assessment detailed above you will have the opportunity to retake within the period specified above from the date that feedback was provided.

If you pass re-assessments taken as a result of deferral, your re-assessment will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment and the overall module mark will not be capped.

If you pass re-assessments taken as a result of referral (i.e. following initial failure in the assessment), the overall module mark will be capped at 50%.

Please refer to the Teaching Quality Assurance (TQA) manual section on Referral/Deferral:


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • As agreed between you and your project supervisors. Reference will be made to the most recent articles and reports in the field and will focus on the primary literature.

Also of use when planning and writing up the project will be:

  • Ruxton, G.D. and Colegrave, N. (2006) Experimental Design for the Life Sciences. OUP. ISBN 01992 52327
  • Barass, R (2002) Scientists Must Write: A Guide to Better Writing for Scientists, Engineers and Students.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

  • Exeter Learning Environment (ELE):
  • MRC CMM:

Module has an active ELE page

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

 ·         Relevant papers will be included within each section of the module

Key words search

Medical mycology, fungal disease, pathogenicity, virulence, independent research, literature review, hypothesis generation, experimental design, data analysis, data collection, project management, time management, research methodologies, critical evaluation

Credit value45
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

Four modules from BIOM704Z-BIOM709Z

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date