Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Final Year Project in Biology

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION The Project Work Programme in Biology consists of two components:

Seminars: An advanced theoretical treatment of a specific topic through a seminar that each student is required to present to other students taking this study-unit and to the Board of Examiners for the particular student’s project. This component will carry 10% of the final assessment mark.

Project Work: A student project involving research work. This component will carry 90% of the final assessment mark. This project work will be assessed on the basis of a written dissertation and on performance during an interview.

The assessment criteria include: level and depth of knowledge demonstrated in the seminar; originality and quality of dissertation; initiative shown by the student in the undertaking of his/her studies; quality of first draft of dissertation; final presentation, as well as performance during the final interview.

The Project Work Programme in Biology carries 18 ECTS credits. The percentage total mark will be awarded as follows:

10% seminar
10% initiative shown during project work (to be awarded by respective tutor)
15% performance during interview
55% project (dissertation)
10% poster presentation

Seminar programme: Each student will be required to deliver a single seminar to the whole group of students following this study-unit. Such seminars will be scheduled for a 2-hour session per week during November–December. Each student will be required to deliver a 20 minute seminar followed by a 10 minute discussion/questions time. The presentation shall consist of the student’s appraisal of a general subject area related to that of the research project. Students should demonstrate their familiarity with the literature of the subject area. The students should avoid referring to their specific project or their own results. Attendance to seminars by students taking this study-unit is obligatory. As for other study-units, the final grade will be issued only if the student’s attendance to such seminars has been regular, and all other course requirements have been satisfied. The Board of Examiners will examine the presentation on content and delivery as well as on the ability of student to defend the presentation during the seminar. Students are to discuss the title of seminar with their respective supervisors. If approved by the supervisor, such a title together with a single-page abstract are to be submitted by ALL students through their respective supervisor to the departmental secretary by the end of October. These titles will need to be approved by the Chairpersons of the Boards of Examiners.

Project: Students are expected to spend approximately 8-10 hours a week on their project work during their final year. Students are advised to prepare a detailed plan of their project at an early stage; this should include an appropriate time schedule taking into consideration:
a. the total time available for the project
b. the various stages of the project i.e. experimental work, writing up, etc

This will assist the student in managing their project time more efficiently and avoid panic and work congestion at the end when the pressure of examinations is also mounting.

Students should keep a project logbook in which details of all the work and activities related to the project are recorded. This should include notes/minutes of meetings held between the supervisor and the student.

Three copies of the soft-bound dissertations will be submitted to the department generally on the first Friday of May, unless otherwise instructed by the Head of Department.

The interviews to assess the student project will be held immediately after the final examinations.

Students are reminded that the purpose of the interviews is to assess their mastery of the relevant topic.

NOTE: More details are available in the GUIDELINES entitled: BIO3110: PROJECT WORK IN BIOLOGY, (downloadable from the departmental website).

The topics available for the various Project Work Programmes in Biology may vary from year to year. Detailed descriptions, specific objectives and content of such programmes in Biology are found in the GUIDELINES for this study-unit. Students may undertake their project in one of a range of fields of biological sciences. More details will be available to final year students in March/April.

Study-unit Aims:

- to provide the student with in-depth knowledge of some topic of his/her choice;

- to give the student experience in planning and performing of scientific research and in critically evaluating the current literature on the particular topic;

- to provide the student with an opportunity to make a scientific and in-depth appraisal of a general subject area related to that of his/her research project, and to gain experience in communicating his/her appraisal in an appropriate manner, during a public seminar.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. Appreciate the importance of undertaking research to test a hypothesis in relation to a defined research question/problem;
2. Acknowledge the importance of undertaking reviews of the literature to assess the relevance of a specific research question/problem and the extent of or lack of work undertaken by other researchers on the concerned topic;
3. Acknowledge the importance of adopting well designed laboratory/field experiments and using appropriate techniques and procedures for collecting data as part of a research study;
4. Be aware of the numerous techniques and methods available to carry out scientific research and the importance of adopting an appropriate technique/method in a scientific study;
5. Appreciate the importance of statistical techniques in assisting the researcher to interpret data objectively and in helping to analyse large and complex data sets;
6. Appreciate the importance of scientific research for the advancement of science, and of communicating the results of research to the scientific community, authorities, industry and the general public;
7. Appreciate the importance of applied scientific research.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. Propose and test a hypothesis in relation to a defined research question/problem;
2. Undertake a literature review and provide an objective critique in relation to a specific research question/problem being addressed;
3. Design laboratory/field experiments to collect sufficiently robust data set;
4. Use field and laboratory equipment, techniques and procedures to collect data;
5. Analyse data collected in the field/laboratory using descriptive and inferential statistical techniques;
6. Present the data collected and results obtained in concise and standard formats;
7. Interpret the result obtained and make objective conclusions on the research question/problem;
8. Produce a document having the necessary presentation format and layout, and which incorporates adequate referencing, as expected of a standard scientific work;
9. Defend a scientific study, including conclusions reached, and show that all the work was indeed carried out by the author;
10. Prepare and deliver a presentation on scientific research to an audience.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

See guidelines entitled: BIO3110: PROJECT WORK IN BIOLOGY, (downloadable from the departmental website).

ADDITIONAL NOTES Pre-Requisite Study-units:

B.Sc. (Hons.) 1st Year, 2nd Year and 3rd Year Study-Units or equivalent.

Students are to note that they will be allowed to sit for this study-unit examination and will be awarded a grade only if they have regularly attended lectures and practical classes, if they have submitted any assignments, including practical reports and if they satisfy all other study-unit requirements.

**Resit Availability: Students who fail to obtain an overall pass mark will be re-examined in the Dissertation. However, the resit availability for the Oral Examination is at the discretion of the Board of Examiners.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Seminar and Project

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Dissertation and Oral Examination (See Add. Notes) SEM2 ** 100%

LECTURER/S Victor Axiak
Joseph Buhagiar
Marisa Cassar
Julian Evans
Ruth Guillaumier
Sandro Lanfranco
Patrick J. Schembri
Noel Vella
Adriana Vella
Gabrielle Zammit

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.