Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Independent Geoscience Research Project EARTH5010P

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
  • Credits: 60
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

Students will co-design and conduct independent original research on a geological or Earth Science topic. Students will have an academic supervisor and will base their topic largely around the use of analytical facilities in the School of Geographical and Earth Sciences and potentially the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, or external industry and academic collaborators. Field components can also be included. The course will include the production of a dissertation.


There will be a formal introduction and laboratory safety classes at the start of the course, but otherwise the course will be timetabled personally at the instigation of the student, their supervisor(s), laboratory technicians and managers.

Requirements of Entry

Normally completion of Level 3 Geology or Level 3 Earth Science courses at a mean of B3.

Excluded Courses

EARTH4004 - Independent Research Project


Research Dissertation (80%), Project Plan (5%); Literature Review (15%)

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses


Course Aims

The aims of this course are:

■ To provide students with an opportunity to co-design, conduct, and report on a significant and original piece of independent academic research on a geoscience topic.

■ To provide transferable and ancillary laboratory and collaborative skills required by graduates for both postgraduate study and for the commercial and industrial environment.

■ To provide research-level analytical expertise.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Compile and critically evaluate existing literature in an area of geoscience.

■ Propose methodologies to tackle a research question in geoscience.

■ Demonstrate safe field and/or laboratory working procedures during the running of a project.

■ Analyse geoscience data critically in terms of uncertainties in sample collection methodologies, quantitative analysis and interpretation.

■ Present and discuss the project results and interpretation in a dissertation.

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.