Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024

Module ENGI45360: Strategic Business and Engineering Project

Department: Engineering

ENGI45360: Strategic Business and Engineering Project

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 60 Availability Available in 2023/24
Tied to H1KG09


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To contribute to the overall aims of the programme by providing students with the opportunity to conduct an in-depth investigation at an advanced level of an issue that is applicable and relevant to the business and management of an energy systems process. The positioning at the end of the programme is intended to promote integration of material covered in the core and elective phases.
  • To equip students with the appropriate research methods knowledge and skills to enable them to undertake a research project at Master’s level contributing to the professional skills required by practising engineers.


  • The nature of the strategic business and engineering project (SBEP).
  • How to use databases to identify the important literature.
  • How to write an evaluative literature review.
  • How to formulate research questions.
  • Introduction to research methods in the management and engineering contexts.
  • Types of research.
  • How to collect data for your research.
  • Ethical issues in business and engineering research.
  • How to analyse and discuss your results.
  • How to manage a research project.
  • Writing up your work; what makes a good SBEP.
  • The topic (which is formally approved by the Programme Director on behalf of the Chair of the Board of Examiners) should be one that is suitable for in-depth investigation in both the Engineering and Business domains. Projects of this nature have typically been based around a wide variety of organisations, including profit-seeking companies in both manufacturing and the service sector; nationalised industries; public agencies and local authorities; non-profit seeking organisations; global multinationals; and owner-managed small firms.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • A critical appreciation of how research is conducted in a business and engineering context.
  • A critical appreciation of ethical issues in business and engineering research.
  • Be able to critically analyse a specific issue or area of business, engineering and related activities in depth and to explore its significance in practice.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Be able to conduct a Masters-level research project from beginning to end. This involves the following: identifying an interesting and practical research question at an appropriate advanced level; choosing a method for answering the question; conducting the research, including managing all aspects of the research project; interpreting the results; being able to identify and manage any ethical issues that might arise.
  • Be able to conduct advanced literature searches to identify important literature and research questions in business and engineering.
  • Select and critically evaluate technical literature and other sources of information to solve complex problems (AHEP 4th Edition M4 Learning Outcome)
  • Be able to critically apply knowledge and different forms of reasoning to form a discriminating analysis of issues currently being experienced in specific organisational and business contexts.
  • Be able to produce a substantial piece of written work demonstrating critical analysis of a specific business and engineering issue.
  • Be able to collect and analyse research data and to use appropriate engineering analysis tools in tackling unfamiliar problems, such as those with uncertain or incomplete data or specifications, by the appropriate innovation, use or adaptation of engineering analytical method.
  • Evaluate the environmental and societal impact of solutions to complex problems (to include the entire life-cycle of a product or process) and minimise adverse impacts (AHEP 4th Edition M7 Learning Outcome)
Key Skills:
  • Function effectively as an individual and as a member or leader of a team. Evaluate effectiveness of own and team performance (AHEP 4th Edition M16 Learning Outcome).
  • Communicate effectively on complex engineering matters with technical and non-technical audiences, evaluating the effectiveness of the methods used (AHEP 4th Edition M17 Learning Outcome).

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

  • Learning outcomes will be met in part through workshops comprising a mix of lectures, groupwork, case studies and discussion, supported by guided reading.
  • Additionally, students have between 5 - 6 30-minute individual meetings with their appointed supervisor(s). These meetings enable the supervisor(s) to monitor the student progress towards the achievement of the learning outcomes.
  • An introductory exercise, delivered early in the programme, will contribute 20% of the module weighting and is assessed by means of a digital portfolio.
  • The remaining 80% will be a research project that tests students’ acquisition of relevant subject-specific knowledge and skills and their ability to apply these, and appropriate key skills, in the context of a Masters-level research project.
  • Teaching and learning within this module will include the use of digital portfolios supplemented by input from technologies such as PebblePad, PadLet and Lino.it.
  • The focus of the SBEP will be reflected within all core modules throughout both programmes wherever possible.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Workshops (a combination of lectures, group work, case studies and discussion) 20
Individual supervisions 5-6 30 minutes 3
Research, preparation, reading and writing up 577
Total 600

Summative Assessment

Component: Business Project Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
SBEP Part 1: Research methods digital portfolio 20%
SBEP Part 2: Journal format report 10 pages (7500 words) 80%

Formative Assessment:

Students will receive formative feedback on one initial draft (typically 5 pages) of the strategic business project report.

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