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Unit outline_

SCDL3991: Science Dalyell Individual Research Project

Semester 2, 2022 [Supervision] - Westmead, Sydney

To discover something new, we must go beyond what we read in books, what we hear in lectures, beyond what is already known. In this unit, you will be doing research, rather than just learning about research others have done. This Dalyell unit is your opportunity to engage in genuine scientific, mathematical, health or medical research, from your second year. You will research and contribute to answering a novel research question, closely aligned to the current research interests of an academic supervisor and group. You will design, plan, and execute a research project, and communicate your results. Depending on your project, this may involve collecting and analysing data, modelling a phenomenon, devising an instrument, synthesizing materials, or theoretical predictions. You will present and report your results and conclusions in a scientific seminar and report. By completing this unit, you will get a first-hand experience of cutting-edge research. Please note: You may consult with departmental Dalyell coordinators to locate potential supervisors. The research question will be chosen in consultation with the academic supervisor, in advance of enrolling in the unit. As part of this, the unit requires permission from an academic supervisor, and the unit coordinator. If necessary, the supervisor may require you to have previous WHS experience relevant to the project. An Individual Research Project Proposal signed by the supervisor should be submitted in the supporting information of your application for departmental permission in Sydney Student.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Science Faculty
Credit points 6
must be in the Dalyell stream
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Toby Hudson,
Lecturer(s) Wendy Gold,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment hurdle task Written report
In the style of a scientific report. See Canvas assignment for more details
45% Formal exam period
Due date: 26 Nov 2022 at 23:59
3500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO10
Participation hurdle task Research performance
Research performance as agreed on the Research Proposal form
20% Ongoing Continuous assessment
Outcomes assessed: LO4 LO10 LO9 LO8
Assignment hurdle task Project Proposal
submitted to Sydney Student during enrolment for departmental permission
0% Week 02 Completed form, ~1 page
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO9 LO7 LO5 LO3
Presentation hurdle task Oral presentation
See Canvas assignment for more details
35% Week 12 10 min presentation + 5 min of questions
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO10 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO3
hurdle task = hurdle task ?

Assessment summary

All assessments are compulsory. Below are brief assessment details. Further information may be found in the Canvas site for this unit.
Project proposal: (Form available in a link from All modern research projects begin with a proposal. The purpose is to explain the project to a nonexpert and argue that it is worthy of their support. Please complete the project details in consultation with your project supervisor. You may include text they have written.
Written report: This should be written in the style of a scientific journal article within the field of study, but should contain both successful and unsuccessful outcomes. Research reports usually include the following sections: introduction (including a brief literature review), methods, results, discussion and references. The report should be submitted in Canvas, and will be submitted to Turnitin (see Educational Integrity below).
Oral presentation: A short presentation (10 minutes presenting + 5 minutes of questions = 15 minutes in total) to both experts and non-experts, students and academics, followed by questions from the audience. Marks will be allocated for: understanding of background material; coherent explanation of research including aims, methods, results, discussion and conclusions; slides; presentation; and responses to questions. Slides should be submitted in advance on Canvas, and will be submitted to Turnitin (see Educational Integrity below).
Research performance: Different projects and disciplines may approach the assessment of research performance differently, please discuss this in advance of your project proposal with your Supervisor to find out what this may require in your project (e.g. weekly problem solving, discussions with or presentations to the wider research group, readings, seminar attendance, attitude, engagement, methodological record keeping, time management, etc). The summary of your research performance assessment recorded in your project proposal is considered part of your unit of study outline.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

At HD level, a student demonstrates a flair for the subject as well as a detailed and
comprehensive understanding of the unit material. A ‘High Distinction’ reflects
exceptional achievement and is awarded to a student who demonstrates the ability to apply
their subject knowledge and understanding to produce original solutions for novel or highly
complex problems and/or comprehensive critical discussions of theoretical concepts.


75 - 84

At DI level, a student demonstrates an aptitude for the subject and a well-developed
understanding of the unit material. A ‘Distinction’ reflects excellent achievement and is
awarded to a student who demonstrates an ability to apply their subject knowledge and
understanding of the subject to produce good solutions for challenging problems and/or a
reasonably well-developed critical analysis of theoretical concepts.


65 - 74

At CR level, a student demonstrates a good command and knowledge of the unit material.
A ‘Credit’ reflects solid achievement and is awarded to a student who has a broad general
understanding of the unit material and can solve routine problems and/or identify and
superficially discuss theoretical concepts.


50 - 64

At PS level, a student demonstrates proficiency in the unit material. A ‘Pass’ reflects
satisfactory achievement and is awarded to a student who has threshold knowledge.


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.


For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 02 Project proposal Individual study (7 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO9
Week 12 Oral presentation, location and 1-hour timeslot to be arranged. Project (20 hr) LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO10
Week 14 (STUVAC) Written report due Individual study (20 hr) LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO10
Weekly Because this is a shell unit for a variety of research projects, there is no single schedule of activities. There are no lectures or tutorials. Your supervisor may require specific induction or training to ensure that procedures and policies are met. Any practical work is arranged directly with the supervisor, within their laboratory, up to 6 contact hours per week. Participation in discussions, presentations, seminars, or problem solving with the research may be required by the supervisor. Project (78 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10

Attendance and class requirements

Class: Because this is a shell unit for a variety of research projects, there is no single schedule of activities. There are no lectures or tutorials. Your supervisor may require specific induction or training to ensure that procedures and policies (including WHS) are met. Any practical work is arranged directly with the supervisor, within their research laboratory, up to 6 contact hours per week. Similarly, participation in discussions, presentations, seminars, or problem-solving with the wider research group may be required by the supervisor.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. devise, design and construct a novel scientific research project, coordinated and integrated with the activities of an academic research group
  • LO2. solve scientific/research problems by organising, modelling, and evaluating data and hypotheses/research questions to support scientifically valuable conclusions
  • LO3. communicate scientific information and research findings engagingly and effectively using a range of modes (written, oral, visual) for a variety of purposes and audiences
  • LO4. work independently and ethically under supervision in the process of learning, research, problem solving and assessment
  • LO5. search for and analyse information from a range of sources and experts and judge its reliability, significance and relevance
  • LO6. critically analyse data using a range of tools and methods
  • LO7. formulate scientific ideas, innovatively and creatively building on your knowledge of the field
  • LO8. implement best practice scientific record keeping
  • LO9. plan and manage a research project, including time management, communications, and methodology
  • LO10. develop expertise within the field of research, especially as it relates to the aims of the project.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Previous cohorts requested earlier provision of rubrics, which are now available all semester.

Work, health and safety

We are governed by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 and Codes of Practice. Penalties for non-compliance have increased. Everyone has a responsibility for health and safety at work. The University’s Work Health and Safety policy explains the responsibilities and expectations of workers and others, and the procedures for managing WHS risks associated with University activities.

General Laboratory Safety Rules

  • No eating or drinking is allowed in any laboratory under any circumstances
  • A laboratory coat and closed-toe shoes are mandatory
  • Follow safety instructions in your manual and posted in laboratories
  • In case of fire, follow instructions posted outside the laboratory door
  • First aid kits, eye wash and fire extinguishers are located in or immediately outside each laboratory
  • As a precautionary measure, it is recommended that you have a current tetanus immunisation. This can be obtained from University Health Service:


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.