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Project / Placement (60 CATS)

Food Security, Sustainable Crop Development: Agronomy for the 21st Century and Environmental Bioscience in a Changing Climate

The project is a stand-alone component of the MSc allowing the student to gain personal experience in research skills, hypothesis development, hypothesis testing, data collection, data handling, data evaluation and result presentation.

As part of the project the student will present and discuss plans, data and outputs with group members and supervisor. The topic will relate to knowledge gained during the taught modules and will be an opportunity to exploit both this knowledge and the core skills developed during the course.

The project will be relevant to current and developing research programmes in the department or to work practices at a host organisation and will make a contribution to the ongoing operation of the host group.


You will have the choice of a lab-based research project, a dissertation based on work relevant to the MSc or a work placement. Numbers to lab-based work and placements may be limited by availability.

For lab-based projects you will choose projects from a list of ongoing departmental research programmes. You will have a discrete project and, after appropriate training, be involved in design, analysis and execution of all appropriate experimental work. You will write the project up as a thesis. Supervisors on lab-based projects will be responsible on a day-to-day basis for instruction and training.

For placements, you will undertake to work to a project plan agreed with a line-manager and supervisor, collecting experience, examples, data, viewpoints etc. as a dataset to include in a placement thesis. On placements, day-to-day responsibility will be held by the local line-manager who will liaise regularly with a placement supervisor in the department. The departmental supervisor will also visit the placement and talk to all parties at least once during its duration.

For those choosing a dissertation, a supervisor will set a suitable topic for research and introduce you to appropriate sources of information, analysis and interpretation.

The project represents 3 months enquiry and data collection, one month thesis write-up. You will prepare and deliver a short seminar on your project in month 4.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion you will be able to:

  • Show advanced and critical knowledge of a selected aspect of a topic related to the degree
  • Communicate contemporary practice and discuss critically relevant practices and achievements. Presentation of a reasoned argument or experimental plan is expected.
  • Recognise, suggest and exploit appropriate strategies
  • Collect and analyse data and use it to help solve commodity problems.