One-semester programme

What you will study during the one-semester programme

In this programme you will study a range of specialist academic and study skills modules to prepare you for postgraduate study at the University of Sussex.

There are different academic modules available to choose from based on your start date:

January start May start
Compulsory subjects Academic English Skills (15 credits) Academic English Skills (15 credits)
CareerAhead (10 credits) CareerAhead (10 credits)
Critical Reading (15 credits) Critical Reading (15 credits)
Research Skills (15 credits) Research Skills (15 credits)
Study two (10 credits each): Study two (10 credits each):
Computing and Engineering Option: Mathematics for Computing and Engineering
Option: Design and Prototyping
Option: Data Analysis and Modelling
Option: Programming and Systems Control
Option: Applications in the Global Context
Option: Programming and Systems Control
Option: Applications in the Global Context
Life Sciences Option: Statistics for Life Sciences
Option: Research Methods in Life Sciences
Option: Raising Questions in Life Sciences
Option: Life Sciences: The Cutting Edge
Option: The Scientific Practitioner
Option: Life Sciences: The Cutting Edge
Option: The Scientific Practitioner

Module descriptions

Compulsory modules for both pathways

This module will provide you with thorough training in the language and related academic skills which will enable you to achieve your academic potential at University. These skills include the processes of academic writing, effective and extensive reading strategies, effective participation in seminars and delivery of presentations, and listening to and recording information effectively from lectures. You will also develop the accuracy and range of written and spoken language required to use language effectively and appropriately, with clarity and confidence in an academic context.

During this module you will develop valuable career skills that will give you an advantage in today’s competitive graduate employment market. These behaviours include:

  • leading and deciding
  • supporting and co-operating
  • interacting and presenting
  • analysing and interpreting
  • creating and conceptualising
  • organising and executing
  • adapting and coping
  • enterprising and performing

You will be given the opportunity to apply your understanding through experiential workshops so you can begin to develop the behaviours that are relevant to your chosen career path. You will develop your ability to undertake self-reflection so that you can evaluate your own personal development.

In this module you will familiarise yourself with a range of academic texts relevant to your module choices. You will learn how to critically evaluate sources, use existing knowledge to understand context and references.

You will learn to relate information to lectures, other texts and seminar content, and will research unknown textual references including authors, places, theories and historic references. You will also analyse language to understand the purpose and bias in a text and discriminate between fact and opinion. You will take on different roles each week to analyse the texts, then write a critical analysis and evaluation of each text.

This module gives you the opportunity to carry out an in-depth study on a topic relevant to the Masters degree you intend to study. You will be supervised by an expert in the field of study, who will assist you in deciding the nature and content of your research, and guide you to produce and present your findings in an appropriate academic style. You will gain a more advanced knowledge and a deeper understanding of the subject you want to study and also improve your research, communication and study skills. This combination will put you in a good position to achieve well on your degree and beyond.

Academic modules for the Computing and Engineering pathway

You will study two of the following modules:

This module will help to prepare you for entry into a Masters degree in computing or engineering and will help to build your confidence in using a range of mathematical tools and techniques relevant to your Masters degree. The module will start with functions, relations, scalars, vectors and calculus leading onto matrices and first and second order differential equations. The module will also include probability distributions, logic and proof, set theory and complex numbers. Throughout the module you will develop your ability to use mathematical tools and techniques and apply them in computing and engineering problem-solving and to communicate your solutions effectively.

This module is only available for the January start date.

This module is in two parts. In the first six weeks you will learn how certain electronic components work and how they are used in practical electronic circuits. Then you will work in teams to build a prototype circuit using computer aided design equipment, test it and record results. In the second six weeks you will acquire mechanical engineering knowledge in order to build and test a prototype of a mechanical device.

This module is only available for the January start date.

The analysis of large, unstructured data sets (sometimes called “Big Data”) is currently revolutionising the way we use all the information available to discover trends and solve problems in many areas, including engineering. In this module you will use industry standard tools such as MATLAB and R to apply some of the latest data analysis techniques including machine learning and genetic algorithms. You will use your results to create and test software models, presenting your solutions to a professional audience. The skills you practise in the module will be very useful to you in your Masters course and beyond, whether you study computer science or engineering.

This module is only available for the January start date.

You will work as a team of computer scientists and engineers to create hardware models that solve two problems by programming a single-board microcontroller like the Arduino. In the first problem, you will need to use a range of sensors and actuators to simulate a complex system like an intruder alarm system or a traffic light junction. In the second problem, you will develop an autonomous robot that uses artificial intelligence to make decisions in order to achieve a goal. You will have the opportunity to enhance the design and programming skills that you have acquired in your previous degree.

You will explore how technology affects many aspects of life and will be able to apply your subject knowledge in a variety of real-world contexts. You will discuss and debate issues such as the impact of technology on the way we think and act, questions concerning who actually benefits from technological progress, the industrial revolution, development and globalisation, and the public understanding of science and technology.

Academic modules for the Life Sciences pathway

You will study two of the following modules:

This module will help to prepare you for entry into a Masters degree in life sciences or pharmacy and will help to build your confidence in using a range of mathematical and statistical tools and techniques relevant to your Masters degree. The module will start with the language of mathematics, algebra, logarithms, and calculus followed by statistics including hypothesis testing, probability distributions and correlation and regression. You will gain confidence in using qualitative and statistical tools critically to analyse data in the context of life sciences and pharmacy research questions.

This module is only available for the January start date.

This is an introductory level module on design and development of research projects within life sciences and pharmacy. It focuses on practical skills such as formulating a research problem, appropriateness of different data collection methods and presenting information in a clear, concise and logical manner. Your critical thinking and problem-solving skills will be developed in a supportive environment where you are encouraged to actively participate in discussions and team work. Overall this module will provide you with the guidance on how to undertake an original piece of research to help prepare you for starting a Masters dissertation.

This module is only available for the January start date.

This module consists of two parts. The first develops knowledge and skills needed for reviewing academic literature. The second explores the ethical concepts and issues a researcher needs to consider while carrying out research. These are essential tools for a Masters research project in life sciences or pharmacy. Using workshops you will gain hands-on experience in using literature databases, referencing software and search methods. Interactive seminars will encourage you to critically analyse controversial issues regarding values and ethics in life sciences and pharmacy research. These activities develop the skills to work independently and as a team, make decisions and to take the initiative.

This module is only available for the January start date.

This module will introduce you to a selection of cutting edge techniques used in life sciences and pharmacy while guiding you to evaluate the applications of these techniques in different areas of research within your own discipline. As part of this module you are expected to attend a seminar series at the university. These seminars will allow you to gain first-hand insight into the nature of scientific research from researchers actively involved in current research. The aim of this module is to enable you to critically evaluate and interpret this knowledge to help solve research problems in your chosen area of study.

This module will develop your knowledge and understanding of core values of scholarly conduct, professional standards in science and scientific best practice. Within this context, the module will develop your awareness of the contribution of life sciences and pharmacy research in wider society. You will be encouraged to work in teams using a range of communication techniques to give clear and accurate accounts of a subject, organise arguments, and engage in discussions with both specialists and non-specialists. You will gain a good understanding of the multi-disciplinary nature of life sciences and pharmacy research.

Back to Pre-Masters Programme in Science and Engineering overview.