ERTH512-17C (HAM)

Special Topic

15 Points

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Faculty of Science and Engineering
Te Mātauranga Pūtaiao me te Pūkaha
School of Science


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Placement Coordinator(s)


Student Representative(s)

Lab Technician(s)



You can contact staff by:

  • Calling +64 7 838 4466 select option 1, then enter the extension.
  • Extensions starting with 4, 5 or 9 can also be direct dialled:
    • For extensions starting with 4: dial +64 7 838 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 5: dial +64 7 858 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 9: dial +64 7 837 extension.
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Paper Description

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This independent research paper involves an intensive study of a particular field of interest. This enables a student to pursue a research topic at a greater depth than is normally possible in a graduate paper. This paper is available only under certain circumstances for students needing a specialist topic to allow the completion of degree or diploma requirements, and it may also be suitable for high academic achievers.

Admission is at the discretion of the paper convenor and will depend on the availability of a supervisor. This course is normally restricted to students majoring in Earth Sciences. The normal entry requirement is a minimum B average at third year. A suitable topic and research supervisor must be arranged before enrolment will be approved. Note that the onus is on students to approach prospective supervisors. All prospective students must contact the paper convenor via email or in person prior to commencing their research to arrange a suitable time for a face-to-face meeting to discuss potential enrolment.

Students should approach potential project supervisors (lecturers) in research areas which interest them, to determine supervisor availability. The research project will be an original investigation of a clearly defined problem and may involve laboratory and/or field work.

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Paper Structure

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There are no formal teaching components and the course work consists almost entirely of a research project.

Each research project is designed by the supervisor, in collaboration with the student, and approved by the paper convenor.

If the project involves field work students will be required to sign an acceptance of the Codes of Practice for Health and Safety in the Field before embarking on any field trip.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • Conduct independent research with supervision
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Collect, synthesise and analyse scientific and other data/information; and
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Communicate research results in a written context, and possibly in an oral context as well.
    Linked to the following assessments:
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Assessed work is defined for each individual project in the project outline attached as an appendix. It normally consists of a written research report, or a combination of several smaller research outcomes (e.g. literature review, poster, oral) of equivalent workload.

See the project outline for further details on individual assessments and their completion dates. The normal structure is outlined below, but may vary between projects.

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 1:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 1:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Written research report or equivalent
2. Oral presentation or equivalent
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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There is no formal text.

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Online Support

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This paper involves direct communication between the student and the supervisor. Access to literature via the library portal is required.

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Students are assigned a research project on which they are expected to spend at least 100 hours and to also write a report. A detailed log book of time spent on the project must be maintained and signed by your research supervisor to verify time devoted to project. This time commitment is expected to be similar to or exceed a more formal 500-level course equivalent (which would include lecture, lab, test and exam times as well as time spent on assignments). A 500-level 15 point paper in any of the science subjects offered by the University of Waikato typically involves 150 hours of study by an ‘average’ student. Students are expected to meet with their supervisor on a regular basis to discuss progress.

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Linkages to Other Papers

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