Biology Master's degree project
BIOM02, BION02, BION03
You can perform a master's degree project in biology, if you are enrolled in the Master´s program in Biology at Lund University, and have completed 45 credits of relevant advanced level courses within the programme (specific for each specialisation).
Students on the master's programme in Biology usually take courses the first year of the Master'enroll for the project during the second year. Some students start their degree projects during the summer to be able to do field work.
Contact a supervisor within the area of your interest and discuss the general outline of the project. Note that you may conduct the project outside the university, at a company or another university. If you do your project outside the Department of Biology you also need a contact person at the Department of Biology (an Internal supervisor). Discuss with your coordinator whether this is needed. You can do a 30 credits project corresponding to 20 weeks of work, 45 credits (30 weeks) or a 60 credits (40 weeks) project. If you do not find what you want among our project proposals at our education blog or if you do not know what you want, feel free to discuss this with your coordinator
Write a project plan together with your supervisor. The plan should be brief, but give a clear description of your specific project (2–3 A4 pages). It should contain:
- Project title
- Name and e-mail to you and the supervisor
- Research area, credits, department or another place where you will work
- Introduction, with a theoretical background to the project and key references (5-10)
- Aim(s) of the project
- Material and methods, including experimental design and planned statistical analyses
- A budget
- Time plan (rough planning of the project) including a date for the half time evaluation. Remember to include enough time to write the report.
- Ethical aspects on the project (that is ethical or other permits needed, potential 3R-aspects, if research question or potential obtained results requires ethical considerations and such)
If you are going to work experimentally with research animals (including all vertebrates, octopuses and lampreys) during your degree project you need to complete a specific course including animal research ethics, regulations, care-taking/handling.
During the degree project work, you will write a project logbook. Make careful, daily notes about experimental design, technical details of experiments, raw data and calculations which will be of great help when you start to write your report.
The degree project should be written like a scientific report. The report should include a scientific abstract in English. Choose a journal and consult its ”Instructions for authors” through the journal´s web site. Follow the design of that journal throughout the report; how to handle references, report statistical results and so on.
Write in a stringent scientific style and avoid excessive length. However, you are allowed to be slightly more explicit with background, explanations, and such than what one would be in a real paper. You are also allowed to include description and discussion of preliminary or incomplete results and to introduce and show that you understand the chosen methodology and strategies by explaining them and providing necessary details.
Plagiarism. You are not allowed to present someone else’s work, such as text, figures, or results, without giving proper reference. This also applies to material you find on the Internet. Therefore make sure that you correctly use citations. You may of course refer to the work of others, but you need to re-write it in your own words and refer to the source of information in a correct way. Read more at the Lund University Library website and discuss with your supervisor if you are unsure.The examination
Time for the examination. When you and your supervisor decide that the report is ready it is time to notify the coordinator who arranges the examination. The examination committee consists of the examiner, the external opponent and your supervisor.
To avoid and prevent cheating and plagiarism, all master's theses written at the Department of Biology are checked in ”Urkund”, a program that uses internet/databases to scan a report for copied text etc.
During the examination, you make an oral presentation of your project. This means a summary of your project in approximately 15 minutes, preferentially with the aid of presentation software, like Powerpoint. Then a discussion follows during which you answer questions about your work. The examination committee then has an internal discussion before the examiner decides about the grading.
The Process is primarily evaluated by the Supervisor:
- Independence of the student.
- Ability to carry out experiments/laboratory work and/or theoretical work, incl. documentation of the work.
- Ability to structure and write the essay.
- Processing and interpreting data.
The Product is primarily evaluated by the Examiner:
- Organisation of the essay.
- Dataprocessing and presentation of the results.
- Discussion of results and ability to put the work into a larger perspective.
- Ability to present and discuss the work during the examination.
Syllabus for Master´s Degree Projects in Biology:
You can perform a master's degree project in the following specialisations:
- General biology
- Animal Ecology
- Aquatic Ecology
- Conservation Biology
- Evolutionary Biology
- Plant Science.