Independent Study

Module titleIndependent Study
Module codeGEOM171
Academic year2017/8
Module staff

Professor Caitlin DeSilvey (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module involves the creation of independently researched and written work tailored to your particular interests.

Module aims - intentions of the module

To permit the investigation in greater depth of an identified aspect of your individual degree programme through appropriate independent study. You will be responsible for suggesting an appropriate topic, and this will be refined in consultation with the advising member(s) of academic staff, who must also approve it. The module will enhance the appreciation of the degree programme's interdisciplinary nature. It will introduce you to the discipline and conduct of independent critical investigation albeit in a restricted context. Specifically, this module is offered to students on the MSc in Sustainable Development as a way of undertaking independent study in an area of interest not specifically offered as a taught module.

The module will help you to develop and extend your awareness of the importance of independent skills in strengthening employability potential, especially through the application of critical analytical skills to a range of contemporary challenges in sustainability and environment. The module will enhance especially the skills of project planning and comprehensive literature review. The field of investigation selected may relate to research specialism of a staff member but since it is based on independent study may be tailored to your specific research interests, perhaps relating to the field in which you intend to develop your dissertation research.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Identify potential areas of investigation within an overall taught programme by defining a limited but viable field of study
  • 2. Analyse and interpret data in an appropriate manner
  • 3. Communicate the outcomes of the analysis and interpretation in an appropriately formatted way

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Explain the interrelationship of the fields of study
  • 5. Reflect on the interaction of the fields of study in a specific way
  • 6. Identify and access appropriate learning resources

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Communicate ideas, principles and theories effectively and fluently by written and visual means
  • 8. Undertake independent/self-directed study/learning (including time management) to achieve consistent, proficient and sustained attainment
  • 9. Use C&IT effectively and appropriately to select, analyse, present and communicate geographical information
  • 10. Reflect on the process of learning and evaluate personal strengths and weaknesses

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

A period of student-directed independent study directed towards the completion of the assessment(s).

‘Artefact’ here means an output produced by you, with approval from the module convenor, for assessment. The artefact may take a range of (virtual and real) formats and media types. Examples include: a poster; an essay; a business plan; a website; a film; an exhibition; a learning journal; a fieldwork diary. The artefact must be submitted in both electronic and hard (paper) format for assessment. Further guidance on how to submit your artefact will be provided by the module convenor.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching5Tutorials and open discussions held online
Guided Independent Study145As a student undertaking this module you are expected to define your own area for independent study and will be provided with appropriate access to learning and teaching materials through ELE. The proposed area and nature of the study will be agreed with the module co-ordinator by the end of the fourth week of the term in which the module is to be taken. This will be on the basis of a one-page formative assessment proposal. The co-ordinator will identify one or more appropriate advisers for the study. Students will have access to this adviser through e-mail and other electronic means and a minimum of two virtual meetings will be expected during the term. The adviser will provide guidance on the topic area, but cannot read and comment on any draft materials.


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Formative: a one-page independent study proposal per artefact to be submitted not later than the end of the fourth week of the term in which the module is being takenOne page A4AllWritten and/or oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay, report, or other agreed artefact, equivalent to 5000 words 1005000 words or 2 x 2500 wordsAllWritten


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay or report or artefactEssay or report or artefactAllAugust Ref/Def

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 50%) you will be required to resubmit the assessment. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will count for 100% of the mark and will be capped at 50%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

The learning resources to be consulted will depend on the areas of investigation determined by you and your advisor. The module has a dedicated ELE page with information and links to other internet-based resources.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Independent study, sustainable development

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date