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LEC.301: Dissertation with Work Placement

Department: Lancaster Environment Centre NCF Level: FHEQ/QCF/NQF6//RQF6
Study Level: Part II (yr 3) Credit Points: 30.0
Start Date: 14-08-2015 End Date: 15-01-2016
Available for Online Enrolment?: Y Enrolment Restriction: Only available to students where listed in programme syllabus rules
Module Convenor:

Syllabus Rules and Pre-requisites

  • The following modules may not be taken:

Curriculum Design: Outline Syllabus

  • All LEC students are required to begin to identify a dissertation/project topic early in year 2 of their degree. At this stage students will be given information about the placement option and meetings with interested students will be arranged towards the end of term 1. Placements will normally be generated by EBP or through existing staff contacts with relevant organisations (especially important for public sector organisations). Students will not normally be able to generate their own placement. In conjunction with the module convenor students will be matched to available projects by week 1 of term 2.  In the event of specific placements being over-subscribed students will be selected based on an interview and a written application stating why they feel a placement dissertation would be especially beneficial to them. Students will attend the existing programme of lectures, seminars and tutorial support provided within their degree scheme (and complete associated assessments) but this will be supplemented by a series of additional meetings with relevant tutors, EBP staff and the collaborating organisation to help the student to shape a placement dissertation topic. This will take place in the later stages of term 2 and the first half of term 3. Preparatory reading and related work will be completed in the first half of term three with a preliminary report and full project brief, agreed by the company, submitted in week 6 of term 3. This will form the contract document for the placement.  The main placement period of circa 4 weeks (to be negotiated with the participating organisation and to include induction time) will take place at the end of term 3 and/or over the summer vacation. Students will be expected to have a first draft of their dissertation by the start of year three and to provide an oral report to the company before December. The final submission deadline is in week 11 of year three. This timetable broadly mirrors that of other LEC dissertation students. Students will be required to provide an additional copy of the report for the company together with a short executive summary.


    Students on LEC 301 will have a university supervisor and also a work-place mentor. The primary responsibility for supervision will lie with the university supervisor who will also help to facilitate input from the work-place mentor. Staff from EBP will also remain in contact with the student throughout the dissertation and will provide additional support. Progress will be regularly reviewed and in the event of the placement not working as anticipated there will be the option of the student switching back to a standard dissertation or project on a related theme. The student will be expected to have regular meetings and e-mail contact with the supervisor throughout the dissertation period.


    There is extensive experience of running placements on MSc schemes in LEC and in setting up the UG programme we will draw on good practice established here. Key issues include:

    • The need to ensure that host organisations understand exactly what is expected of them and that there is an identified point of contact
    • The ability to remove students from placements that fail
    • Enhanced risk and ethical assessments appropriate to the placement site
    • Identifying any costs (for instance travel) and who will pay them
    • IPR issues
    • Appropriate student induction
    • Sufficient supervision in the workplace bearing in mind that UG students may be less mature than MSc students
    • Appropriate assessment procedures and criteria
    • Equity with dissertation students following the conventional dissertation/project route


    Whilst there will need to be flexibility in dealing with different organisations and placements we will ensure that there is clear documentation spelling out responsibility and protocols for these and other issues.


Curriculum Design: Single, Combined or Consortial Schemes to which the Module Contributes

  • Students on any LEC degree scheme may apply to take this module. Numbers will limited by the number of placements available and all applicants will be interviewed to check their suitability for a placement.
  • 100% Dissertation

Assessment: Details of Assessment

  • The principal assessed item is the finished dissertation (8000 words) based on the structured project conducted in the workplace. This will consist of the project brief, presentation of methods and results, and critical appraisal of the success and impact of the project. This will form 80% of assessment and tests the range of academic and generic skills embedded in the module. In addition students will be asked to provide a learning journal which consists of four weekly reflective accounts of their experience of undertaking the work placement. This is designed to both encourage students to reflect on the process of applying academic knowledge in the work environment and to highlight in more detail than is possible in the dissertation any specific problems encountered. The learning journal (2000 words maximum) will account for 20% of assessment but issues raised in it may also be taken into account in marking the dissertation.

     The mentor in the client organization will not be required to contribute directly to assessment but will be asked to complete a brief form confirming the student’s attendance, giving a brief view of the level of supervision and guidance that the student required, and assessing the extent to which they consider the placement has met the originally- specified aims of the project. This will be considered by the academic markers, alongside other evidence, in determining the final mark for the dissertation. The student will be expected to provide an oral presentation to the client (if they wish this to happen) but this will not be formally assessed beyond the above feedback from the workplace mentor.

Educational Aims: Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • The placement dissertation aims to provide students with experience of the workplace in a context that is relevant to their academic study. The main academic purpose of the placement is to enable students to take their academic knowledge in a LEC subject area and to experience at first hand the ways in which it can be applied in the workplace. In turn, in completing their written assignment, students should aim to examine the ways in which the requirements of a particular organisation influence the interpretation and implementation of academic knowledge. LEC 301 thus provides a unique opportunity to study the ways in which the academic and (for instance) the business worlds intersect and to appreciate both the opportunities and constraints involved in applying academic knowledge of LEC subjects within a real-world context. The experience should both enhance academic knowledge and understanding and improve the employability of students in sectors relevant to their degree.

Educational Aims: General: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • Although many students undertake paid work or work experience, they rarely have the opportunity to work on a defined project in an organisation that is directly related to their degree. The main general aim of this module is to provide students with a better understanding of the skills and competencies required in the workplace and to enhance their chances of gaining relevant employment after graduation. In addition, the experience of linking academic study to a placement project will enhance the generic skills of critical thinking, good time management, analysis and writing that are inherent in all dissertations and projects.

Learning Outcomes: Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • At the conclusion of the module students should be able to:

    • Relate academic knowledge gained on their LEC degree course to the demands of a practical project carried out in a relevant workplace;
    • Apply specific skills learned on their degree course to solving a particular problem identified by the client in the placement organisation;
    • Apply knowledge and skills acquired during the placement to academic study during the final year of their degree course;
    • Discuss the ways in which theoretical knowledge acquired in the classroom relates to the practical experience of applying this knowledge in the workplace.

Learning Outcomes: General: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • At the conclusion of the module students should be able to:

    • Use knowledge and experience gained during the placement to enhance their chances of relevant graduate employment;
    • Communicate effectively with a wide range of colleagues in the workplace;
    • Apply generic IT and related skills to practical problems within the workplace;
    • Write an extended project/dissertation to a standard that satisfies both the client organisation and the academic demands of the degree;
    • Appraise their personal strengths and weaknesses in the context of future employment.

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