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Guidance for MSc Students: Taking Projects

Students taking the MSc Structural Molecular Biology, but not individual Certificates, will need to take a project module that consists of two individual projects. For both the PPS and TSMB courses, each project takes the form of a Web based dissertation on an aspect of structural molecular biology. Each project is worth 30 credits, compared to 60 for each taught module (i.e. PPS).

Project Choice:-

For PPS you will need to choose a project from the appropriate list and email in your choice to pps08-tutors@mail.cryst.bbk.ac.uk by June 29th 2009 at the latest.

For TSMB you will need to choose a project from the appropriate list and email in your choice to tsmb@mail.cryst.bbk.ac.uk by June 29th 2009 at the latest.

PPS Projects List

TSMB Projects List

PPS students should email their project choice to pps08-tutors@mail.cryst.bbk.ac.uk

TSMB students should email their choice to tsmb@mail.cryst.bbk.ac.uk

TSMB students who have already taken PPS projects should note that their projects should not heavily overlap. Please pick a different subject area!


All students, studying both courses, will need to submit their projects by October 5, 2009.

The project should be zipped or compressed into a single file and emailed to Dave Houldershaw. Dave will email the course mailing lists with more details towards the end of your project work.

Important! - Plagiarism

Students are reminded that plagiarism, or presenting others' work as if it is your own, is illegal. See Birkbeck's definition of plagiarism. We will be running all your projects through the JISC Plagiarism Detection Service - you have been warned! We have had to take sanctions against more than one student!


We are expecting you to produce a Web review (written in HTML) concentrating on the science behind your chosen area of structural biology. TSMB students should expect to devote a high proportion of their project to a discussion of experimental methods. Some of the projects (more often in TSMB) will require you to use bioinformatics tools on the web, and all require using a combination of web resources and the scientific literature to obtain information. You should be aware that much of the literature is available online and some full text articles will be available free.

Although we expect you to use the unique facilities of the Internet for presenting images and linking to external sites, we do not expect you to become Web programmers - therefore Perl, Java and stylesheets are not required to get high marks, although you will not be penalised for using them.

In all projects, the projects will be marked according to the following criteria:

Marks will be awarded as follows:

Previous Projects

The best way to find out what we are looking for in a project is to look at some previous examples. Please let us know when you sumbit if you are not willing for your project to be shown to future students

All projects mounted anywhere on the Birkbeck hypertree have at least reached the standard required to pass.

However, the following projects have been judged to have reached a particularly high standard:



If in doubt about the choice of a project or any other aspect of the project procedure, PPS students should email pps08-tutors@mail.cryst.bbk.ac.uk; TSMB students should consult Nick or Clare by emailing tsmb@mail.cryst.bbk.ac.uk. There will also be a couple of MUD sessions specifically to discuss projects. All PPS students are strongly encouraged to attend one of these, and TSMB students are invited to attend for a "refresher".

Clare Sansom, Nick Keep and Jim Pitts: June 2009