Science Communications Project BIOL5414P

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: MVLS College Services
  • Credits: 60
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Summer
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

The practical science communications project involves in-depth investigative reporting into a specific area of current affairs. Students will develop their practical writing skills including applying a range of science communication techniques, collecting evidence and sourcing and engaging audiences. Students will write a series of science communications (6000 -8000 words final dissertation) across a range of formats on a topic of their choice.


The project will involve regular interaction and meetings with the project supervisor and attendance at research group meetings and seminars. The project will take place over the summer term, full time.

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses





1. Literature review (4k) with portfolio of communication outputs (equivalent in effort to a word count of 2-4k) (65%). (ILOs 2,3,4,6)

2. Supervisor's report (15%) (ILOs 4,5 and 6)

3. Presentation of 10min summarising the investigation and targeting it to a general audience (20%) (ILOs 1 and 5)

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. Where, exceptionally, reassessment on Honours courses is required to satisfy professional/accreditation requirements, only the overall course grade achieved at the first attempt will contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The aims of this course are to:

Foster and guide the skills of independent research.

Further develop students' practical skills in news production, including writing skills, research techniques, sourcing, editorial work, and referencing experts.

Enable students to identify topics that are newsworthy and make a contribution to knowledge in their chosen area of current affairs whilst also being viable within the constraints of time and length.

Explore the commercial and market pressures within which science communications produce output.

Develop students' professional standards in writing and presenting project reports.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

1. Critically evaluate and identify the viability and practicality of topics for investigative reporting.

2. Critically evaluate and apply a range of scientific communication research techniques.

3. Critically appraise the literature in the area of the research project

4. Communicate effectively with peers, supervisors and more senior colleagues.

5. Plan and manage time effectively by prioritising tasks and meeting deadlines.

6. Work co-operatively and effectively with colleagues to develop interpersonal and teamwork skills within a research/academic environment.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.