GV2MPL-Summer Micro-Placement

Module Provider: Geography and Environmental Science
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Summer term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Placement opportunity: Micro placement
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Rob Batchelor

Email: c.r.batchelor@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

This module gives students an opportunity to undertake a research or professional placement broadly related to the general area of their degree programme, during the summer vacation preceding Part 2 study. Research placements will provide the opportunity of working with a member of staff on a current project based in the UK or internationally. Professional placements would allow students to work with a professional organisation, consultancy or government organisation to gain experience of the professional sector.


1. To gain experience of the job application process through self-organised placements

2. To gain relevant research/professional placement experience to provide a context for academic studies

3. To increase employability through being able to demonstrate dedicated experience in the university or professional sector

4. To extend knowledge and learning of degree discipline modules and to help identify future career path(s)

5. To enhance ‘soft-skills’ such as team-work, communication, time-management and planning. 

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module, it is expected that the student will be able to:

1. Gain understanding and appreciation of the research/professional environment

2. Think critically and analytically about the work carried out on the placement and how it has contributed to the research/professional activity

3. List examples of soft-skills acquired and developed whilst on placement

4. Production of a video blog

5. Production of a poster and attendance of poster networking event

Additional outcomes:

Students may also develop the following:

1. Understand and take part in the job application process (CV, cover letter, interview) 

2. Appreciation of the internal and external factors that impact upon the running of a research/enterprise activity

3. Self-confidence within the research/enterprise working environment

4. Identification of a future career path

Outline content:

Students are expected to secure their own placements to be completed during the summer vacation preceding Part 2 study. The placement length should be 10 days (70 hours), or part-time equivalent (although longer placements can contribute to this module). Placements may be paid or unpaid. Advice and support on securing placements will be available from the School and the Careers Advisory Service. Placements must provide students with the opportunity to expand their knowledge and understanding of the research/enterprise working environment, and provide them with situations to develop both the academic/technical expertise and ‘soft-skills’. Each placement must be individually approved by the module convenor, with all necessary legal, health and safety documents in place prior to commencement. During the placement the student must abide by the rules and regulations of the provider.


Students who do not secure placements before the summer vacation will be asked to transfer to another 10 credit module instead.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module will consist of at 10 days (70 hours), or part-time equivalent (although longer placements can contribute to this module), the timing of which will be arranged between the student and research/professional placement provider. The work content of the placement will be determined by the academic/enterprise organisation with input from the module convenor(s).


The placement will be supported by 10 hours of teaching time (in the form of lectures, seminars or tutorials) provided by the module team and placement provider to: (1) give advice on how to secure a placement and develop skills for the job application stage, (2) outline the requirements and provide guidance on completing the assignments.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 8 2
Guided independent study 20
Placement 70
Total hours by term 28.00 72.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Oral assessment and presentation 50
Practical skills assessment 50

Other information on summative assessment:

Students will be asked to prepare the following:


Video blog (50%)

The student will produce a 5 minute video blog detailing the purpose of the placement and work undertaken. The blog should also have a reflective element considering their personal and skills development during the course of the placement (linked to National Occupational Standards), employer feedback (see formative assessment methods below) and thoughts on future employment. 


Poster Networking Event (50%)

Students will create an A3 poster describing: (1) their placement role and responsibilities, and (2) their experiences and the benefits of their work placement. The poster will be presented at a networking event with those of other placement students in the Autumn term. Part 1 students interested in the placement module, academic staff and placement providers will also be invited to the event.

Formative assessment methods:

Students will gain feedback during the job application stage on their CV and cover letter. During the placement, students will be provided with tuition and verbal feedback through both formal and informal means. At the end of the placement, the provider will be asked to complete a pro-forma personal skills summary. This summary will detail their strengths, achievements and comment on their overall performance and development of relevant skills whilst on placement (including self-management, professional conduct, communication & technical skills).

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:

    Satisfactory completion of the placement, which is determined by the student’s progress during the period of their placement. Submission of poster and video blog and attendance at the poster networking event. Together require a pass mark of 40%. 

    Reassessment arrangements:

    It is not possible to retake this module in the same format. If a student fails the overall module, the student will be asked to re-submit the video blog and poster but the mark will be capped at 40% according to University rules.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Costs associated with undertaking a placement will vary according to each student and will be the responsibility of the individual to cover. These costs may include travel, visa, living expenses and in some cases clothing and equipment. There is a limited placement bursary available for home/EU students with a household income of £42,000 or less.

    Last updated: 5 July 2017

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