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SCI3301 Science Project

Semester 1, 2015 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Agric, Comp and Environ Sciences

Contents on this page


Examiner: Mark Lynch
Moderator: Brad Carter

Other requisites

Pre-requisite: Students must have satisfactorily completed all core courses in their first year program of study, and must also have an appropriate supervisor who will resource and supervise their project.


The project provides students with an opportunity to carry out an in-depth study of a topic relevant to at least one Major Study area. As a third level course, it must be conducted with the appropriate depth of academic rigour.


This course provides students with an opportunity to carry out research work in a situation which resembles, as closely as possible, that in which they may find themselves when they begin a career in science. Students are required to thoroughly research and plan their project in consultation with an academic supervisor and submit a detailed report on completion of the project. A large proportion of the project will be laboratory or field oriented. Placement in this course depends on availability of a supervisor in the chosen area.


On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate an awareness of modern information search strategies and techniques, including the use of computer-based literature searching, if applicable;
  2. evaluate and relate previous research with a new project;
  3. demonstrate knowledge of the research methods, theory and techniques relevant to the project undertaken in the course;
  4. apply a problem solving approach in undertaking a minor research project;
  5. demonstrate research skills and techniques appropriate to the project undertaken;
  6. demonstrate competence in writing a report which summarises previous work relevant to the project, explains the method used in the project, and summarises and evaluates the results of the project;
  7. present a poster or seminar on the research work completed.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Each student will normally select a topic from a range of topics proposed by staff. Alternatively students may propose their own topic and submit it to the course examiner for approval. 100.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • There is no fixed text book for this course. Such journals, monographs and other printed materials as are appropriate for the research topic chosen will be available at the library.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Australian Government Publishing Service 2002, Style Manual: For authors, editors and printers, 6th edn, Wiley, Australia.
  • Barrass, R 1978, Scientists Must Write, Chapman & Hall, London.
  • Day, RA 2012, How to write & publish a scientific paper, 7th edn, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (808.0665 Day).
    (808.0665 Day.)
  • Farr, AD 1985, Science writing for beginners, Blackwell Scientific, Oxford (805.0665021 FAR).
    (805.0665021 FAR.)
  • Leaver, RH and Thomas, TR 1974, Analysis and presentation of experimental results, MacMillan, London.
  • Other texts or reading materials specific to the topic may be recommended by the examiner and/or supervisor when the project topic has been finalised.
  • Referencing Resources are available at //

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Project Work 100.00
Report Writing 70.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
POSTER/SEMINAR 15 15 03 Mar 2015 (see note 1)
PROGRESS REPORT 15 15 03 Mar 2015 (see note 2)
PROJECT DESCRIPTION FORM 0 0 03 Mar 2015 (see note 3)
PROJECT REPORT 70 70 03 Mar 2015 (see note 4)

  1. Examiner will advise (via USQStudyDesk) due date for Poster/Seminar.
  2. Examiner will advise (via USQStudyDesk) the due date for Progress Report.
  3. Examiner will advise (via USQStudyDesk) due date for Project Description Form.
  4. Examiner will advise (via USQStudyDesk) the due date for Project Report.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To complete each of the assessment items satisfactorily, students must obtain at least 50% of the marks available for each assessment item.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the weighted aggregate of the marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    There will be no Deferred or Supplementary examinations in this course.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. PROJECT DESCRIPTION FORM - When a topic has been chosen a Project Description Form must be completed and submitted to the examiner for approval NO LATER THAN THE END OF WEEK 1. The Project Description Form must be downloaded from the USQStudy desk. The student's project can be cancelled if this deadline is not met. Students should seek assistance from their proposed Project Supervisor when completing this form, and obtain their signature. On receipt of approval the student will complete the project using his/her own effort, with advice from the project supervisor and other staff. (NOTE: The project does not formally begin until the Examiner has signed the Project Description Form).

  2. Students must complete Department and Faculty safety induction prior to commencing any project work, and must comply with the undergraduate and Research Biological/Chemical Laboratories safety Policy and Procedures and the Faculty of Sciences Field Work Safety Manual at all times.

  3. THE ROLE OF EXAMINER - The examiner will be responsible for all activities associated with administering the course. The examiner will only approve a student's enrolment upon submission of a completed and signed Project Description form. The examiner has final responsibility for the grading of marks.

  4. THE ROLE OF THE PROJECT SUPERVISOR - The principal project supervisor should be a staff member of the Department of Biological & Physical Sciences. It is the principal project supervisor's or student's (with approval from principal project supervisor) responsibility to appoint and/or organise Associate/External Supervisors. The supervisor will provide advice and guidance to the student. The student and supervisor should by mutual agreement organise a schedule for consultation. The supervisor will be responsible for evaluating the progress report, poster and final report. The supervisor may seek advice from other staff members to assist in their evaluation of the student.

  5. THE ROLE OF THE ASSOCIATE OR EXTERNAL SUPERVISOR - The primary role of the Associate/External supervisor is to monitor day-to-day activities and to guide students towards successful submission of assessment items.

  6. PROGRESS REPORT - Half-way through the prescribed time allowed for the project, students are required to submit a progress report on the project to the examiner. This report should contain: (a) The overall structure of the Project (see 15 below) with a clear indication that the relevant literature has been reviewed. Include a bibliography as well as references; (b) Details of methods used to date and evaluation of these methods; (c) Results obtained and a discussion of future work required to achieve all the aims of the project. At this time, the Supervisor and Student should decide if a revision of the Project Description Form is necessary.

  7. POSTER/SEMINAR - A poster paper or seminar in science is intended to communicate research results in a succinct form to a wide non-specialist audience. Typically scientific posters are displayed at conferences, but posters can also form a more permanent display about a research project. The student should gain advice from the supervisor on a suitable format of the poster or seminar. Electronic submission of the poster/seminar to the Examiner is required. The examiner and/or moderator will grade the poster in addition to the supervisor.

  8. PROJECT REPORT - The project report shall be submitted, preferably electronically, to the examiner on or before the deadline advised by the Examiner. Students are urged to submit a draft report to their supervisor for comments before submitting the final report. The general layout or format of the report must be similar to that found in a scientific journal. (The library services unit have a number guides to help you in writing your report. See the recommended reference material section). If you are uncertain regarding the required format seek advice from your supervisor before starting the report. Your supervisor may be able to show you an example of a project report.

  9. INCOMPLETE GRADES - A final project report that is graded Incomplete (Make-up) may be re-submitted for grading only once at the discretion of the Supervisor (a copy of the requirements, possible final mark and completion date must be supplied to both the student and the examiner!) Students should therefore heed the supervisors suggestions for improvement or the final grade shall be a "fail". It will be necessary for students re-enrolling in the course to undertake a new topic for their project.

  10. Projects which involve Animals or Human Subject will need to be considered by either the Animal Ethics Committee or the Ethics Committee for Research involving Human Subjects. (Reference: University Calendar 3.3.7-2 and 3.3.7-3).

  11. In accordance with University's Assignment Extension Policy (Regulation 5.6.1), the examiner of a course may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  12. Harvard (AGPS) is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use Harvard (AGPS) style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (AGPS) style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide. //