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Science project module: chemistry

Qualification dates
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In Science project module: chemistry (SXC390), you’ll undertake individual investigations within a range of topics such as combinatorial chemistry, fuel cells, nanotechnology, biopolymers, porous materials or transactinides, metals in medicine, drug design and synthesis, and chemical education. These topics can be a literature review or a practical project. You’ll need access to scientific literature, probably from electronic library sources. 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.

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 to investigate in depth. Your chosen topic will allow you to exploit the knowledge, understanding and skills you have developed in the molecular sciences OU level 3 modules. Your project will need to consider contextualisation, development, application, detailed analysis and ‘where next’ for your chosen topic. You might have to spend up to two-thirds of your time identifying suitable material to inform your choice of project topic in the early part of the module.

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 assessments for your investigation.

After you complete the initial planning, you’ll start the literature collection or practical experiments. 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 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.

Entry requirements

SXC390 is an OU level 3 module; therefore, you need a good knowledge of chemistry obtained through OU level 1 and 2 study or another higher education institution. There are no formal entry requirements.

We recommend you have completed:

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 SXC390?

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

Note: If you’re studying towards a degree, SXC390 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.

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 (11 'Big Sur' 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.

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.


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

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying SXC390 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

Science project module: chemistry (SXC390) starts once a year – in January/February.

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

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

Course work includes:

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