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CH401-60 Research Project & Methodology

Undergraduate Level 4
Module leader
Mark Senn
Credit value
Module duration
20 weeks
70% coursework, 30% exam
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description


Module web page

Module aims

The module is designed to develop student research skills, through an extended project in an area of chemistry involving synthesis, measurement science, computational chemistry or a combination thereof. Students will become aware of research methodology and the elements of research, including appraising the literature, designing novel experiments (practical or computational), assessing results and drawing conclusions that they will be able to set against the current field. This module will allow students to be original in their application of knowledge to the solution of new, research-led problems.

The philosophy of the MChem degree is to provide a student experience and training which is close to that experienced by research students taking a Higher Degree. The Research Project and Methodology module is thus a key component of the fourth year of the course, since it provides students with the opportunity to carry out a research project under the supervision of an academic, usually within the academic’s research group. Students are given guidance from the supervisor, and have the opportunity to design and plan their own research work and assess the safety implications of their proposed research.

Students are assigned two academic markers from the outset. One of these is assigned as the principal marker and provides the student with a contact (in addition to the Personal Tutor), with whom they can discuss the direction of the project and any difficulties that might arise.

Students will be expected to present an 8,500 word report which should be at the standard of a research paper. The literature review part of the report is reviewed by the supervisor at the beginning of Term 2. They will also present their work in the form of a short 30 minute interview to a panel of academics. Work is also presented as an oral presentation that is assessed during a session held for the entire year group. During this session, students face questions from their peers and academics. These activities will allow students to develop presentation and communication skills.

Students will also be required to attend a specified number of Department RSC seminars in order to develop their awareness of current research in their field.

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

Research project
3 days (each of 6 hours) per week in a research laboratory for nineteen weeks, carrying out
research on a specialised topic under the direction of an academic supervisor and their team.

Presentation of the research project in an oral examination and oral presentation.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Complete individual COSHH assessments for a diverse range of experiments
  • Understand and be aware of current research and problems relating to the area of the research project.
  • To be able to critically evaluate the literature and identify the most important body of work.
  • Develop research methodology skills by planning experiments (practical and computational), and carrying out appropriate analyses.
  • Present to peers a critical evaluation of their research work and to be able to defend their work to an audience of peers.
  • Write a high quality report at research level including an appraisal of the literature, experimental methods, results and discussion, conclusions
Indicative reading list

Students are directed to primary and secondary literature according to their research area. They
are also given access to previous MChem and PhD theses by the academic supervisor.

Research element

e.g. essay, dissertation, individual or group research, research skills activity, etc.

Subject specific skills

Organisation and time management
Independence and initiative
Information literacy and research skills

Transferable skills

Organisation and time management
Independence and initiative
Information literacy and research skills

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 3 sessions of 1 hour (0%)
Practical classes 57 sessions of 6 hours (57%)
Other activity 1 hour (0%)
Private study 254 hours (42%)
Total 600 hours
Private study description

Student centred learning and assessed work preparation

Other activity description

3hrs introductory and safety lectures
1hr library skills session


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You do not need to pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Students can register for this module without taking any assessment.

Assessment group D2
Weighting Study time
Written Report 45%
Practical Work 10%

Assessment by Supervisor

Oral Presentation 15%
Viva 30%
Feedback on assessment

Formative and summative feedback on assessed work and draft introduction, plus regular
supervisor and first marker meetings throughout the year.

Past exam papers for CH401


This module is Core for:

  • UCHA-F110 Undergraduate Master of Chemistry (with Industrial Placement)
    • Year 4 of F110 MChem Chemistry (with Industrial Placement)
    • Year 4 of F112 MChem Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry with Industrial Placement
  • Year 5 of UCHA-F107 Undergraduate Master of Chemistry (with Intercalated Year)
  • UCHA-F109 Undergraduate Master of Chemistry (with International Placement)
    • Year 4 of F109 MChem Chemistry (with International Placement)
    • Year 4 of F111 MChem Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry (with International Placement)
  • UCHA-4M Undergraduate Master of Chemistry Variants
    • Year 4 of F105 Chemistry
    • Year 4 of F110 MChem Chemistry (with Industrial Placement)
    • Year 4 of F109 MChem Chemistry (with International Placement)
    • Year 4 of F126 MChem Chemistry with Med Chem (with Prof Exp)
    • Year 4 of F125 MChem Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry
    • Year 4 of F106 MChem Chemistry with Professional Experience
  • Year 5 of UCHA-F127 Undergraduate Master of Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry(with Intercalated Year)