You are viewing information for England.  Change country or region.

Science project course: environmental science practical project

In Science project course: environmental science practical project (SXE390), you’ll undertake an independent practical investigation of an environmental science or environmental management topic. You’ll design your investigation, collect data (in the field, at home, in a laboratory, or online), analyse it and produce a scientific report. Possible research areas include climate effects on phenology, tidal cycles, weather and the ecology of rocky shores, environmental effects on plant water uptake and freshwater invertebrates, and environmental monitoring. The study materials guide planning and conducting project work, 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.

Modules count towards OU qualifications

OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

Browse qualifications in related subjects

Module

Module code
SXE390
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
30
Study level
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU module levels correspond to these frameworks.
OU SCQF FHEQ
3 10 6
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
See Entry requirements

Request your prospectus

Explore our subjects and courses

Request your copy now

What you will study

Early in the module, the study materials, tutorials and discussions with your tutor will guide you to identify a suitable topic area and develop a research question. We’ll provide some examples of topics you could investigate; however, you can choose a topic from any suitable area of environmental science or environmental management in agreement with your tutor. Your chosen research area is likely to be informed by your previous studies and experience. Your project will involve collecting primary data (in the field, at home, or in a laboratory at your workplace) or using secondary data from online sources. Additionally, you’ll search scientific literature to identify key research to provide context for your own investigation.

Once you’ve settled on a project idea, you’ll audit the knowledge and skills required to complete your project and identify ways of developing areas that need improvement. You’ll also produce a project plan (your study planner for the duration of the module) and complete risk and ethical assessments for your investigation.

After you complete the initial planning, you’ll start the data collection and analysis process. You’ll follow this with the final phase of writing up your report, submitted as part of your end of module assessment. The study materials guide planning and conducting project work, help with searching and using literature, guide data analysis and report writing. Tutorials will provide further guidance and support.

Throughout the module, you’ll keep a reflective log to help you track and reflect on your progress. You’ll record any problems you encounter and develop actions, with help from your tutor, to help you move forward.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Throughout your module studies, you’ll get help and support from your assigned module tutor. They’ll help you by:

  • Marking your assignments and providing detailed feedback for you to improve.
  • Guiding you to additional learning resources.
  • Providing individual guidance, whether that’s for general study skills or specific module content.
  • Facilitating online discussions between your fellow students, in the dedicated module and tutor group forums.

Module tutors also run online tutorials throughout the module. Where possible, recordings of online tutorials will be made available to students. While these tutorials won’t be compulsory for you to complete the module, you’re strongly encouraged to take part.

Assessment

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

Future availability

Science project course: environmental science practical project (SXE390) starts once a year – in February.

This page describes the module that will start in February 2023.

We expect it to start for the last time in February 2030.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Course work includes:

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


    Entry requirements

    SXE390 is an OU level 3 module; therefore, you need a good knowledge of environmental science obtained through OU level 1 to 3 study or another higher education institution. There are no formal entry requirements.

    We recommend you have completed:

    The parts of S206/SXF206 and S397 relating to project work and data collection and analysis are especially important.

    We strongly recommend that you check your background and experience are sufficient to tackle this module. We’ve found that appropriately prepared students have the best chance of completing their studies and get the most enjoyment from the module.

    Are you ready for SXE390?

    Talk to an advisor if you’re not sure you’re ready.

    Note: If you’re studying towards a degree, SXE390 is intended as your final module. It runs from February to September, meaning you’ll receive your module result and degree classification in November. This late result may impact your study plans if you’re considering continuing on to postgraduate study.

    Preparatory work

    We recommend you familiarise yourself with the Library search tool and referencing guide.

    Register

    Start End England fee Register
    04 Feb 2023 Sep 2023 £1614.00

    Registration closes 12/01/23 (places subject to availability)

    Register
    This module is expected to start for the last time in February 2030.

    Additional Costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

    If your income is not more than £25,000 or you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit, you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after your module has started.

    Ways to pay for this module

    Open University Student Budget Account

    The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

    You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

    • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
    • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

    Joint loan applications

    If you feel you would be unable to obtain an OUSBA loan on your own due to credit history or affordability issues, OUSBA offers the option to apply for a joint loan application with a third party. For example, your husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend. In such cases, OUSBA will be required to carry out additional affordability checks separately and/or collectively for both joint applicants who will be jointly and severally liable for loan repayments.

    As additional affordability checks are required when processing joint loan applications, unfortunately, an instant decision cannot be given. On average the processing time for a joint loan application is five working days from receipt of the required documentation.

    Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

    Employer sponsorship

    Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU courses are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to complete. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

    More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the module you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

    • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
    • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your module.  

    Credit/debit card

    You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

    We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron. 

    Mixed payments

    We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).


    Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2023. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

    This information was provided on 19/05/2022.

    What's included

    You’ll have access to a module website, which includes:

    • a study planner
    • course-specific module materials
    • assignment details and submission section
    • online tutorial access.

    Computing requirements

    You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11), or macOS (10.15 or higher).

    Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

    To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

    Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

    Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

    It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop as described above.

    If you have a disability

    The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying SXE390 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

    To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our Disability support website.