Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2017-2018 (archived)


Department: Biosciences


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 40 Availability Available in 2017/18 Module Cap Location Durham
Tied to FGC0


  • Satisfactory completion of level 3 Biosciences modules. Stress and Responses to the Environment (BIOL3491), Biochemistry and Biotechnology (BIOL3601), Crops for the Future (BIOL3611).


  • Bioactive Chemistry Research Project (CHEM4272), Bioactive Chemistry 4 (CHEM4211), Biomolecular Analysis L4 (BIOL4011).

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • Research Skills L4 (BIOL4121), Workshop L4 (BIOL4111), Field Course L4 (BIOL4101), Research Project MBiol (BIOL4094).


  • To provide an introduction to bioactive chemistry research and to impart new experimental, analytical and theoretical skills.
  • The project includes laboratory work and the writing of a research report.
  • This module can only be taken in conjunction with a 40 credit module from Chemistry. The project is the sum of both modules. Only one set of module assessments is carried out, and the same marks used in both modules.


  • Health and Safety Induction programme.
  • A supervised research investigation of an area within biochemistry where knowledge obtained by laboratory experimentation is important.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On completion of this module, undergraduates should be able to:
  • demonstrate an ability to evaluate current research critically, assess the relevance of their own research project and propose hypotheses and explanations for their results;
  • describe and critically analyse the literature precedent and background of the research project.
  • demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the specific topic of their research project.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • construct risk assessments for proposed research in collaboration with project supervisor;
  • show skill in designing a poster presentation of the project that will communicate key aspects clearly and concisely;
  • construct a well-structured abstract and report;
  • deliver a clear lecture presentation, appreciating the level of presentation appropriate for the target audience;
  • demonstrate expertise in research by oral examination.
Key Skills:
  • develop expertise in relating modern literature to a specific area of research;
  • apply and develop problem solving skills (experimental and-or theoretical) appropriate to the particular research project identifying suitable techniques, methods and equipment;
  • define key problems and the tasks needed for their solution and develop a timetable to undertake and complete these tasks developing and applying appropriate data analysis methods;
  • develop interpersonal skills through working in a research group and calling on the assistance of others and interacting with service providers;
  • demonstrate and apply written communication skills in writing an extended research report;
  • search the scientific literature using both paper-based and online facilities;
  • use appropriate specialist databases.

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

  • Teaching will begin with a compulsory Health and Safety course. Project supervisors will arrange appropriate formative research training.
  • Once ethics and risk assessments have been completed and approved, students will undertake a research project under joint supervision within the research groups led by members of the Boards of Studies in Biosciences and Chemistry. The research supervisors will have been allocated by the Chemistry Education Committee during Epiphany Term of Level 3 in consultation with the Biosciences Education Committee.
  • During the project students will submit, and receive formative feedback from their supervisors on draft project chapters. Students will also receive regular formative feedback, usually verbal, from their supervisors on the progress of their project.
  • Students will normally have the opportunity to attend, and present at, research group meetings, developing their presentation skills introduced in Level 3.
  • The project will be assessed by a project report, including abstract, literature survey, results and discussion. Students will give a lecture presentation and defend a poster. The student will be examined on their research in an oral examination by two examiners and a moderator.
  • The written report will assess the communication skills learnt.
  • Oral examination will test the knowledge and understanding of the project by the undergraduate.
  • The ability to deliver a clear lecture presentation, appreciating the level of presentation appropriate for the target audience is tested by the summatively assessed presentation.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Health & Safety Induction 1 Start of Term 1 4 Hours 4
Practicals 36 2 per week 4 Hours 144
Preparation and Reading 252
Total 400

Summative Assessment

Component: Project work Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Supervisor report 27%
Project report 43%
Lecture presentation 10%
Poster presentation 5%
Oral presentation 15%

Formative Assessment:

Formulation of the project's aims and objectives including health and safety aspects.

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