Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2017-2018 (archived)

Module MATH40415: Communicating Science

Department: Mathematical Sciences

MATH40415: Communicating Science

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Not available in 2017/18 Module Cap None.
Tied to


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To further students' abilities in oral and written scientific communication


  • Students will undertake a literature review on a topic of biophysical science and communicate the results of their research in oral and poster forms. Projects are deliberately varied in topic and in approach required. All allow opportunity for independence and initiative. Successful completion requires good organisation and management, which is the responsibility of the student, in regular consultation with the supervisor. A short oral presentation of the work and scientific poster presentation is given. The presentations (oral and poster) are judged on content, structure and effectiveness of communication.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • At the end of this course the student will demonstrate an understanding of a specialised area of biophysical science.
  • Show mastery of a coherent body of knowledge not directly related to their first degree speciality.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • At the end of this module the student will be able to search primary scientific literature and gather relevant information from it. Have developed the ability to communicate scientific ideas and arguments orally and in poster form.
Key Skills:
  • At the end of this module the student will have enhanced self-organisation and self-discipline.
  • Be able to prepare and deliver a presentation.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Students will independently research the literature in an area of biophysical science agreed with their supervisors. Teaching will primarily be by tutorials. These will provide the means to support the self-guided study and to give personalised, focussed guidance on the development of presentation skills. Student performance will be assessed summatively through the oral presentation and scientific poster, giving a means to measure how well students communicate the results of their investigations.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Tutorials 10 1 1 10
Self study 140
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Presentation skills Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Poster presentation 120 60% Yes
Oral presentation 20 40% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Feedback will be provided in tutorials.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University