At this time of year all second year students with in the biological and medical sciences degree streams here at the University of Leicester, have to decide what they want to do for their projects. These projects make up 40 credits of our degree (basically the equivalent of two modules) and the third year marks as a whole are weighted as 70% of our overall grade for our degree.
So basically third year projects are important! And the deadline for submitting them this year is towards the end of March.
We have the choice of three project types: A School-Based Educational Research Projects (ERP), An experimental project or an analytical project.
A ERP is based on doing educational research around the teaching of science in primary or secondary schools. Students doing these projects will spend a day a week in a school and will develop teaching interventions focused on the bio sciences.
An experimental project will be lab based (or occasionally field based) and all the data will be collected by the end of the first term of third year.
An analytical project is usually based on current literature or data sets and the main bulk of the research will be completed by the start of the second term.
Then it’s time to write it all up and have your dissertation first draft ready to submit at the start of March… so I have a year to go until that point which is terrifying!!
When picking your choices you have to rank ten projects and rank them in order of preference. You can only pick a maximum of 5 experimental projects and there are some rules about how many you can pick from categories within the experimental and analytical projects. The ERP also depending on having a successful interview to secure this route.
So how do you pick?
Well I have started by looking at the project descriptions and have made a shortlist which I now need to narrow down. I know that I want to do an experimental project so my top five will all be experimental, this is partly because it’s a fantastic opportunity to spend time in a lab. But also because I am thinking of doing a PhD so this will be a good way to see if I enjoy doing a small piece of research before I commit to 4 years.
The most important thing to think about is what you enjoy, what you want to get out of the project and finally where you see yourself going after your degree has finished. Then base your choices around this.