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The topic of the project (and hence the choice of supervisor) should fall within the research interests of the groups within the Departments of the Schools of Physical Sciences, Technology and Biological Sciences. The project is supervised by a member of the research groups of the Departments of the School. To this end, the course Director will advise prospective students and liaise with the corresponding Departments at the application stage.

To gain examination credit for the research element (50% credit towards the degree), students have to submit by mid August a 15,000-word (maximum) dissertation on a substantial project of original research. The viva voce examination of the dissertation will take place during late August/early September, conducted by two assessors (an external assessor from another institution and an internal assessor, who cannot be the student’s supervisor or anyone closely associated with the supervision process) and carried out according to the relevant University regulations. The assessment of the projects is based on the candidate's understanding of the background literature, the commitment of the candidate to the project, the degree of originality shown in the research and the degree of rigour applied in justifying any conclusions.

In the interim period between submitting their dissertations and the viva voce examination, the students have to prepare a poster as if they were to present their research to a conference. The students have to give a 10 minute presentation of their poster at the start of their viva.

Students are expected to contact their supervisors on the Monday of the first week of Michaelmas Term, or soon as possible thereafter. During the first contact, the student will receive detailed information about the background of the project, the anticipated preparation procedure and schedule of the project and future meetings with the supervisor. At the same time the supervisor will recommend suitable core and elective courses.