KB6016 - Research Project

What will I learn on this module?

This module is your opportunity to engage in research into a topic of relevance to the civil engineering industry in general and/or your employer in particular. You will learn research skills and apply them to investigate your chosen topic, culminating in the writing of a thesis communicating your findings and explaining their meaning. Throughout you will consider wider issues such as health and safety, sustainability and ethics.

How will I learn on this module?

Most of your learning on this degree apprenticeship module will be in your workplace. Your involvement in civil engineering tasks will enable you to put into context the theoretical material that you will study at University, thereby cementing your understanding. You will do this in conjunction with your workplace mentor/Supervising Civil Engineer, appropriate members of your team, and with the assistance of your University workplace coach.

The module will include a range of learning materials and opportunities, such as online presentations, notes, seminar/tutorial questions, video links and digital reading materials. All these resources will be arranged in a convenient learning journey, giving you a clear expectation of the content to be studied and tasks you will complete weekly.
With specific reference to the research project, you will learn through an initial short series of online presentations setting out the aspects of project work which are general to all students, including scoping, setting aims, and defining research questions, literature reviewing and safety, risk and ethical concerns. After this, you will self-direct your project with the aid of supervision with your academic supervisor and your industrial mentor/Supervising Civil Engineer.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

During your normal working day, your industrial mentor/Supervising Civil Engineer will support your learning through the allocation of appropriate work tasks relevant to the theoretical content of the module, allowing you to contextualise and cement your knowledge. The University will monitor this educational process.

University academic staff will support you in formally-scheduled teaching. This arrangement will give you ample opportunity to ask questions to clarify and deepen your understanding of the module content, as well as to seek specific help, for example, with your preparation for assessment. At other times, you will have access to University academic staff via telephone, email, and the University’s virtual learning environment (VLE). These media will allow you to access and make full use of the support and guidance available to you.
For the individual research project, formative assessment will be through interaction with the project supervisor, a University academic staff member. Your supervisor will discuss the progress of the work with you, make suggestions and where necessary advise on any significant changes of direction for your work. The feedback involved in these discussions will be aimed at allowing you to reflect and feed-forward improvements to your work. Digital (written) and verbal feedback will be provided on the intermediate and final work submitted for the project to allow you to reflect for the future.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:

MLO1: Synthesize civil engineering knowledge for application to contexts beyond the mainstream construction industry, in which civil engineering knowledge can be applied.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

MLO2: Research solutions to civil engineering problems using technical literature and other information sources.

MLO3: Apply examples of different research techniques to develop solutions to civil engineering problems.

MLO4: Communicate research findings by different means

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

MLO5: Apply research ethics to a specific project

How will I be assessed?

Summative assessment will be by coursework in the form of a thesis. It will be worth 90% of the module marks and will cover all the module learning outcomes.

You will also give a 15 minute presentation of your dissertation process and findings to a panel and an audience. The presentation will include five minutes of questions from the panel. The presentation will be work 10% of the module marks and will also contribute to MLO 1.

Formative assessment will be by verbal or written (digital) support from University academic staff. In line with the workplace approach of a degree apprenticeship, you will be expected to take on-board verbal feedback from your workplace mentor/Supervising Civil Engineer, which is the case generally with employee performance.

Assessment feedback will be mapped between summative assessments from different modules, so that you receive clear guidance on improving work, based on performance in assessments in different modules. This will be made explicit to you via digital pro-forma as well as verbally.


Successful completion of Level 5 of the BEng (hons) Civil Engineering Degree Apprenticeship


This module can only be taken as part of Level 6 of the BEng (hons) Civil Engineering Degree Apprenticeship

Module abstract

Research into the solution of problems is a vital skill for civil engineers and is an essential employability skill which will be applicable in many different ways throughout your career. This module allows you to develop your research skills through a substantial individual project based on an area of civil engineering related research, which will typically be related to research being undertaken by the academic staff of the department and/or civil engineering problems specifically relevant to your workplace. You will work with a University academic staff member as well as your workplace mentor/Supervising Civil Engineer. The expectation is that, whilst you will learn research skills relevant to your career, you will also make a real contribution to the advancement of knowledge in civil engineering. You will produce a substantial written output that will remain as a record of your achievement and which you can use to demonstrate your abilities in the future.

Course info

Credits 40

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 5 years Part-Time

Department Mechanical and Construction Engineering

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2023

Fee Information

Module Information

All information on this course page is accurate at the time of viewing.

Our Campus based courses starting in 2022 and 2023 will be delivered on-campus with supporting online learning content. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to adjust the delivery of our education accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

On-campus contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with any additional restrictions, which may be imposed by the Government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors. This could potentially mean increased or fully online delivery, should such restrictions on in-person contact time be required.


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