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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Biological Sciences : Plant Science

Undergraduate Course: Plant Science Research Project (PLSC10026)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Biological Sciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits60 ECTS Credits30
SummaryThis course aims to allow students to experience day to day research at a high level. Taught courses in the first semester prepare students for work in the lab by teaching the principles of basic techniques (solution making, DNA preps, PCR) and data analysis. The students will write a grant application for their own projects ensuring they have detailed plans and have considered all the potential pitfalls before they start in the lab.
Programme level learning 33 hours, project supervision 300 hours, directed learning and independent learning hours, 100 hours
Course description Not entered
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Practical skills in plant molecular biology
  2. Critical assessment of research papers
  3. Project planning and grant writing
  4. Written presentation of a research project
  5. Oral presentation of data
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Plant Science 4 aims to promote:
1. an understanding and appreciation of contemporary plant science, in a range of research areas, via lectures, discussions, tutorials and practical work.
2. problem solving abilities, including the capacity to analyse data and synthesise information in the solution of scientific problems or the posing of realistic hypotheses.
3. practical and time-management skills, familiarity with experimental techniques and the ability to design and execute experiments while showing due regard to safety and respect for organisms and communities.
4. awareness of plants as organisms in natural environments and of the techniques and limitations involved in outdoor study.
5. the ability to extract relevant information from literature and to present it in writing in a concise, coherent thoughtful and interesting way.
6. the ability to research, plan, deliver and defend a scientific talk in an effective manner, displaying command of topic, of aids to presentation, and of the audience.
7. finally, in all the above, the development and display of original thought, based on rational evaluation of possibilities.

The Honours degree in Plant Sciences is aimed to provide not only a thorough understanding of plant biology but as part of this it will help you develop a range of graduate skills which the University has identified as: Knowledge and Understanding, Research and Enquiry, Personal and Intellectual Autonomy, Communication, Personal Effectiveness and Technical and Practical Skills.

All of the modules offered in PS4 help develop knowledge and understanding of plant science, and the large amount of self-directed study required will develop personal and intellectual autonomy, but they also contribute to other graduate skills to differing degrees.

Compulsory courses:
The Plant Science Field Course teaches practical skills in plant identification and field observation, which will increase your knowledge and understanding of plant ecology and evolution. The field project will develop research and enquiry skills as well as require you to demonstrate personal and intellectual autonomy and personal effectiveness. These skills will also be key for the Plant Science Project in Semester 2.

The Plant Science Project will provide an opportunity to develop your skills in research and enquiry, as you investigate a specific problem and experience what routine lab-work is like. You will learn the specific technical and practical skills required for your project and working alongside other scientists will require good personal effectiveness, team work and time management. Although you will be given as much guidance as you need, particularly at the start of your project, it is a wonderful opportunity for you to demonstrate your personal and intellectual autonomy as you develop your own approaches to the problems you will encounter.

The synoptic examination is an opportunity for you to demonstrate the breadth and depth of your knowledge and understanding and your intellectual autonomy in long answers to wide ranging questions.

A range of technical skills and knowledge is taught by the electives offered in the Plant Science Honours degree, from generating herbicide resistant crops in Intelligent Agriculture to speciation genetics in Plant Evolution and cell wall biochemistry in Plant Growth and Development. All the electives require considerable individual study and extensive reading, developing research and enquiry skills and requiring personal effectiveness.
Course organiserDr Catherine Kidner
Tel: (0131 6)51 3316
Course secretaryMs Karen Sutherland
Tel: (0131 6)51 3404
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