PMMR1B-Advanced topics in research

Module Provider: Pharmacy
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Prof Gary Stephens


Summary module description:
Understanding recent scientific advances is an essential skill for a successful career in research. In this module, students will learn about the latest developments in neuroscience, formulation or pharmacy practice research and will learn how to develop their own research question. Students will be encouraged to critically evaluate the presented research, understand the strengths and weaknesses of published studies and develop their own conclusions from the data presented. Students will attend a lecture seminar series given by respective internal and, where appropriate, external specialists to give students an idea of the range of areas they will be able to research. Students will have the opportunity to discuss the research in person with the seminar speaker. In addition students will discuss in small groups the latest scientific research in order to help formulate a research proposal of their own.

To enable students to understand the latest research across a range of topics in the related sciences and to be able to critically appraise and evaluate the quality of this research. Students will understand and be able to evaluate the latest publications in the area relevant to their choice of specialist topic and develop an individual research proposal.

Assessable learning outcomes:
At the end of the module students should have identified, through analysis of the literature and following discussion with academics, a suitable research project to pursue. Students will be able to understand the background to their project and design an experimental plan to successfully answer their research question. Students will write a referenced project outline that will be assessed by a mini-viva ahead of the project component. Students should understand the experimental design and theoretical foundations underlying scientific research. Students should be able to critically evaluate the experimental design, methods, analysis and conclusions of published papers as well as be able to suggest suitable additional experiments to extend the published studies.

Additional outcomes:

Students will develop communication, writing and critical analysis skills through class participation in critical discussions of the research papers studied. Students will also learn how to set realistic timetables for research work and monitor their progress towards achieving goals. Students will also learn how to evaluate their work for health and safety implications.

Outline content:

Content will be based on the latest research in the specialist themes of the MRes programmes in Pharmacy.  Students will discuss papers and seminars in the fields of cellular and molecular neuroscience, neurodynamics and cognition neurodegenerative diseases, ion channels/receptors in disease and stem cells and regenerative medicine, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, food, agrochemical and other formulations, psychiatric pharmacy, pharmacy education and continuing professional development, oncology pharmacy practice, medication safety, medication adherence and medication discontinuation, and pharmaceutical decision-making.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

This module will primarily be delivered using seminars and small group discussions. Individual projects will be assigned and refined during small group discussions. Individual study will be required prior to paper discussions and individual reflection on the issues raised will be expected after sessions.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 15
Seminars 5
Guided independent study 180
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100
Oral assessment and presentation 0

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:

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:

    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. 


Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information:

Length of examination:

Requirements for a pass:

An overal module mark of 50% must be achieved to pass this module.

Reassessment arrangements:

Reassessment of this module will be by re-submission of the written assignment.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 31 March 2017

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