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Researching biology and health science

Qualification dates
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In this project module you will undertake individual investigations within a range of defined topics: stem cells, emerging infectious disease, the human senses and coevolution. You’ll need access to scientific literature, probably from electronic library sources. The study materials provide a guide to planning and conducting project work; help with searching and using the literature; and writing a report, but ultimately this is a chance for you to plan and execute a piece of work for yourself. You should study this project as the final module of your degree as you will need to apply knowledge and skills from your prior studies.

What you will study

Early in the module you will be guided by the study materials and by your tutor to select a specific aspect of your chosen topic to investigate in depth. Unless you have access to an academic library, you may find that you have to spend up to two-thirds of your time in the early part of the module online, identifying suitable material to inform your choice of project topic from the electronic journals available via the Open University Library. In discussion with your tutor, you will define your individual investigation that must cover the following four components: contextualisation, application or development, detailed analyses, and future directions.

Entry requirements

This is an OU level 3 module. OU level 3 modules build on study skills and subject knowledge acquired from previous studies at OU levels 1 and 2. They are intended only for students who have recent experience of higher education in a related subject.

You should study this science project module as the final module of your degree – the BSc (Hons) Natural Sciences – as you will need to apply knowledge and skills from your prior studies. Normally you should have passed at least 60 credits of the OU level 3 requirements for your degree before embarking on your project module.

It is essential that you establish whether or not your background and experience give you a sound basis on which to tackle the module, since students who are appropriately prepared have the best chance of completing their studies successfully. The Science Faculty has produced a booklet Are You Ready For your Science Level 3 Project Course? to help you to decide whether you already have the recommended background knowledge or experience to start the module or whether you need a little extra preparation. 

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

What's included

All the study materials will be provided to you online via the module website.

Computing requirements

A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module.  Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

A desktop or laptop computer with either:

  • Windows 7 or higher
  • macOS 10.7 or higher

The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

To participate in our online-discussion area you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones. 

Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students. 

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will initiate contact at key points during the module, will mark and comment on your written assignments, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. Your tutor will support you in the process of researching your independent project. Much of your contact with your tutor will be by email or online forums. There is no face-to-face tuition for this module. 

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper. The end-of-module assessment (EMA) must be submitted online.

The TMAs help you to record progress with your investigation and build up the elements required for the project report. The project is a serious piece of science writing and comprises a substantial part of the end-of-module assessment (EMA). You will be expected to keep a log of your project work and to submit your cumulative log with your TMAs and the EMA.

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying SXL390 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

Future availability

Researching biology and health science (SXL390) starts once a year – in February. This page describes the module that will start in February 2019. We expect it to start for the last time in February 2021.

Course work includes:

3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

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