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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2021/2022

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Engineering

ENGI44Z50: Strategic Business and Engineering Project

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 50 Availability Not available in 2021/22
Tied to H1KC24 Energy Systems Management [Suspended for 2022/23]


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To contribute to the overall aims of the programme by providing students with the opportunity to conduct an in-depth investigation at an advanced level of an issue that is applicable and relevant to the business and management of an energy systems process. The positioning at the end of the programme is intended to promote integration of material covered in the core and elective phases.
  • To equip students with the appropriate research methods knowledge and skills to enable them to undertake a research project at Master’s level contributing to the professional skills required by practising engineers.


  • The nature of the strategic business and engineering project (SBEP).
  • How to use databases to identify the important literature.
  • How to write an evaluative literature review.
  • How to formulate research questions.
  • Introduction to research methods in the management and engineering contexts.
  • Types of research.
  • How to collect data for your research.
  • Ethical issues in business and engineering research.
  • How to analyse and discuss your results.
  • How to manage a research project.
  • Writing up your work; what makes a good SBEP.
  • The topic (which is formally approved by the Programme Director on behalf of the Chair of the Board of Examiners) should be one that is suitable for in-depth investigation in both the Engineering and Business domains. Projects of this nature have typically been based around a wide variety of organisations, including profit-seeking companies in both manufacturing and the service sector; nationalised industries; public agencies and local authorities; non-profit seeking organisations; global multinationals; and owner-managed small firms.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • A critical appreciation of how research is conducted in a business and engineering context.
  • A critical appreciation of ethical issues in business and engineering research.
  • be able to critically analyse a specific issue or area of business, engineering and related activities in depth and to explore its significance in practice.
  • Mathematics relevant to the application of advanced engineering concepts.
  • A critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights most of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of the specialisation (SM8M) [Four digit codes such as this refer to AHEP Learning Outcomes defined in EAB ACC2 -Appendix BMasters Degree other than the Integrated Masters (MEng), and EngD Learning Outcomes(AHEP 3rd Edition)
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Be able to conduct advanced literature searches to identify important literature and research questions in business and engineering.
  • Be able to write an evaluative review of the relevant literatures.
  • Be able to conduct a Masters-level research project from beginning to end. This involves the following: identifying an interesting and practical research question at an appropriate advanced level; choosing a method for answering the question; conducting the research, including managing all aspects of the research project; interpreting the results; being able to identify and manage any ethical issues that might arise.
  • Be able to critically apply knowledge and different forms of reasoning to form a discriminating analysis of issues currently being experienced in specific organisational and business contexts.
  • Be able to produce a substantial piece of written work demonstrating critical analysis of a specific issue.
  • Be able to collect and analyse research data and to use appropriate engineering analysis tools in tackling unfamiliar problems, such as those with uncertain or incomplete data or specifications, by the appropriate innovation, use or adaptation of engineering analytical methods
  • Be aware that engineers need to take account of the commercial and social contexts in which they operate
  • Knowledge and understanding of management and business practices, their limitations, and how these may be applied in the context of the particular specialisation
  • Be aware that engineering activities should promote sustainable development and ability to apply quantitative techniques where appropriate
Key Skills:
  • Written communication
  • Planning, organising and time management
  • Problem solving and analysis
  • Using initiative
  • Computer literacy
  • Skills of self-organisation and motivation in managing time and activities in working to a deadline
  • Ability to apply engineering techniques, taking account of a range of commercial and industrial constrain
  • Understanding of different roles within an engineering team and the ability to exercise initiative and personal responsibility, which may be as a team member or leader
  • Apply their skills in problem solving, communication, information retrieval, working with others, and the effective use of general IT facilities
  • Plan self-learning and improve performance, as the foundation for lifelong learning/CPD
  • Monitor and adjust a personal programme of work on an on-going basis
  • Exercise initiative and personal responsibility, which may be as a team member or leader

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Learning outcomes will be met in part through workshops comprising a mix of lectures, groupwork, case studies and discussion, supported by guided reading.
  • Additionally, students have between 5 - 6 30-minute individual meetings with their appointed supervisor(s). These meetings enable the supervisor(s) to monitor the student progress towards the achievement of the learning outcomes.
  • An introductory exercise, delivered early in the programme, will contribute 20% of the module weighting and is assessed by means of a digital portfolio.
  • The remaining 80% will be a research project that tests students’ acquisition of relevant subject-specific knowledge and skills and their ability to apply these, and appropriate key skills, in the context of a Masters-level research project.
  • Teaching and learning within this module will include the use of digital portfolios supplemented by input from technologies such as PebblePad, PadLet and
  • The focus of the SBEP will be reflected within all core modules throughout both programmes wherever possible.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Workshops (a combination of lectures, group work, case studies and discussion) 20
Individual supervisions Normally 5-6 3
Research, preparation, reading and writing up 477
Total 500

Summative Assessment

Component: Business Project Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
SBEP Part 1: Research methods digital portfolio 20%
SBEP Part 2: Journal format report 10 pages 80%

Formative Assessment:

Students will receive formative feedback on one draft of the strategic business project report.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University