module specification

FC7P01 - MSc Project (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title MSc Project
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 60
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 600
110 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
32 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
458 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Dissertation 100%   Report up to 15000 words (followed by a compulsory viva)
Attendance Requirement 0%   Attendance Requirement
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

The module provides students with the experience of planning and bringing to fruition a major piece of individual work. Also, the module aims to encourage and reward individual inventiveness and application of effort through working on research or company/local government projects. The project is an exercise that may take a variety of forms depending on the nature of the project and the subject area. Particular students will be encouraged to carry out their projects for local companies or government departments.
Semester: Autumn/Spring/Summer
Prerequisites: all course specific core modules
Assessment:  100% coursework (project viva is compulsory for all students)

Prior knowledge: Understanding of research management, planning and LSEP issues

The module aims to encourage and reward individual inventiveness and application of effort. It also aims to allow students:
- To have an opportunity to assimilate the knowledge they gained in their course and extend this knowledge to new area of application.
- To apply newly acquired knowledge and techniques to a specific problem using established research techniques and methods.
- To determine the framework of the project according to a set of specifications relevant to the subject of study.
- To manage an extended piece of work by confining the problem within the constraints of time and available resources.
- To research effectively the background material on the topic using a variety of sources and to develop ability to conduct critical analysis and draw conclusions.
- To develop the ability to produce detailed specifications and design frameworks relevant  to the problem of investigation in the subject related to the industry.
- To demonstrate the originality in the application of new knowledge and skills.
- To effectively communicate the work to others by means of verbal and appropriate documentation techniques.
- To raise awareness in potential business development opportunities in an area pertinent to  the topic.


The project topic will be mainly associated with the specific pathway of the MSc programme. Projects associated with industrial application will be the basis of most titles. Although the project is not expected to be a wholly original piece of research, the research element should be of a good contribution to knowledge of its kind. It is an exercise that may take a variety of forms and it may involve the specification, design, implementation, validation and documentation of a substantial piece of individual application that might fall in areas such as computing principles, advanced communication system, distributed systems, mobile and wireless technologies, numerical and statistical approaches, IT strategy development and digital media solutions.  Projects involving creating work for real clients will be producing original work/ artifacts/ pieces of work /applications.
Projects that involve literature surveys, or empirical field studies, or evaluation of one or more techniques, methods or tools are also acceptable. However, projects that are wholly or mainly literature surveys, or comparative studies – based on case studies - with no practical outcome are discouraged.

The problem should be sufficiently challenging that it cannot be dismissed as mere implementation of a standard solution. Although the project is not expected to be a wholly original piece of work, students are expected to show that they have exercised initiative and worked independently. The scope of the project is not only to complete a well-defined piece of work in a professional manner, but also to place the work into the context of the current state of the art of the subject area.

Staff will be invited to formally propose project titles in their respective area of research. Students can either choose one of the proposed titles or identify a problem themselves; a list of research topics in various areas will be made available to all students. Students can choose any topics of interest to them and discuss them with potential supervisors who will provide advice and guidance. Students will then be asked to write and submit a short project proposal describing the nature of the problem, aims, objectives, rationale, methodology and project plan and demonstrating that the idea is of a scientific relevance. The proposals will be approved and assessed by a panel of academics while students are in their second semester of their MSc programme. Also, prior to starting their projects, students should fill in ethics checklist form and submit it to the Project Panel for approval.

Once students start their projects they are expected to:

1. Conduct an indepth background reading pertinent to project topics (domain understanding).
2. Demonstrate confidence in applying original and innovative ideas.
3. Select, justify and apply a suitable methodology and investigative techniques.
4. Carry out an independent research, problem analysis and specification.
5. Design, establishment and development of problem solution.
6. Critically discuss and evaluate the work and reflect upon its limitation.
7. Write a good quality and well structured report.
8. Present and communicate effectively the project outcomes to member of staff which include own supervisors.
Supervisors will provide advice, guidance and support for the duration of the project. Developing a solution may involve innovation in the application of techniques taught in the course or in the discovery of relevant material from sources such as libraries and the Web. The student is also expected to manage the work by confining the problem within limits, which will allow useful work to be done despite the constraining effects of time and other limited resources, and to effectively communicate the work to others.
Students will be strongly encouraged to undertake project work for an outside body, in order to have the opportunity to tackle a real-world problem.

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The duration of the dissertation is expected to be 13 weeks after the completion of the taught part of the course, however Part Time and DL/WBL students have an option to complete their projects over two semesters (i.e. 26 weeks). This means that PT and DL/WBL students registering for the module in Autumn (i.e. September) are expected to complete their projects by end of the following Spring semester (i.e. May); those who register for the module in Spring (i.e. February) are expected to complete their projects by end of Summer (i.e. September); and those who register for the module in Summer (i.e. June) are expected to complete their projects by end of the following Autumn semester (i.e. Jan).

The supervisor is expected to guide, advice and support students through regular meetings. Students are expected to make use of the supervision period to discuss academic problems, current progress and future development. This supervision will take a total of 8 hours for the whole semester for the proper conduct of the project. Whilst  the supervisor will act as a mentor, it is expected that these sessions will be student led, with the supervisor offering direction during the session. This might involve cultivating student's ability to summarise and defend effectively choices made and decisions taken, or initiating stimulating discussions that might lead to further reading or which will deepen students' understanding, self management and time management. In addition, meetings will be held between the Module Leader and the cohort as a whole to discuss issues that are of general interest.
Projects involving collaboration with industry will be encouraged and, where appropriate, supervision may be carried out by the collaboration partner in addition to the academic supervisor.
Students will be expected to adopt a problem solving approach. They will undertake a major case study in which they will be expected to produce a mature solution to a specific industrially determined problem.
Throughout the project students are expected to glean texts and relevant materials from different sources such as conference and journal papers, magazine articles, books and the Internet.

Students should spend 32 hrs on a weekly workshops and arranged meetings with supervisors, 110 hrs for documentation and report writing up and 458 hrs for self directed learning.
Total hours = 600 hours

Learning outcomes

On completion of the module the student should be able to:

LO1 Design, plan, monitor and manage a piece of original project work
LO2 Produce a clear set of specifications for the project from its initial stage
LO3 Critically analyse previous relevant work by the effective use of libraries and other information sources
LO4 Synthesize knowledge and skills previously gained and apply these to an in-depth project
LO5 Understand ethical, legal and professional issues and apply them to a project
LO6 Integrate theory and practice by applying a range of tools, skills and techniques
LO7 Communicate effectively findings in a variety of ways
LO8 Write a comprehensive and concise report, justify the project implementation, discuss and explain findings at the viva
LO9 Critically evaluate the project outcomes, including evidence of commercial risks.

Assessment strategy

The project runs either in Autumn semester, Spring semester or Summer semester with the final submission in January, May and September respectively. Viva would normally take place within three weeks from the final submission date.

The module is assessed by means of a coursework (100%, all LOs) in the form of a written project report of up to 15,000 words which is the comprehensive major report on the subject reflecting, in a coherent manner, the entire student's learning experience and an oral examination in the form of viva. A viva is a compulsory part of the assessment process and all students must make themselves available for the project viva and a mutually convenient date will be arranged between supervisors and students. Students who fail to attend a viva will automatically fail the module with the exception of those who apply for mitigating circumstances.
Each dissertation is initially assessed by two assessors, one of which is the supervisor. The second assessor may be any member of academic staff in the subject area, preferably with expertise pertinent to the project subject. During the viva the student will be given the opportunity to briefly describe his/her project and its main findings before a more detailed questioning. The viva gives the opportunity to the student to explain his/her research as well as prove that the work reported is the student's own. Also, full consideration of ethical and legal issues and professional approach to the project will be assessed throughout the viva.
For fairness and consistency, a panel designated by the Module Leader will look at all project reports as part of the moderation process. Therefore original marks are tentative.

Assessment criteria will include:

1. Thorough definition and understanding of the investigated problem
2. Evidence of appropriate literature review and a thorough reference list
3. Detailed explanation and justification of the methodology and approach
4. Demonstration of an understanding of the key concepts involved
4. Demonstration of the skills necessary to carry out the work, including problem analysis, application design and development, testing and evaluation and other relevant aspects
5. Comprehensive nature and depth of the materials
6. Originality and use of innovative ideas and techniques
7. Discussion and evaluation of own results
8. Quality of the written report

Viva is compulsory and should be completed following the submission of the final report as per the agreed timelines.
In order to pass the project a mark of 50% or higher must be achieved.