In the summer term, students choose two practical option modules to take, each of which lasts eight weeks. In this term, students also start work on their dissertations.

Dissertation

Students undertake a substantial piece of academic research which engages critically with the relevant scholarly literature and which involves some element of investigative work. The research is written up as a 10,000 word dissertation.

Practical options

Exhibitions

This module introduces students to exhibition development and the critique of exhibitions from a curatorial standpoint. Students produce a detailed exhibition proposal in response to a brief for a real exhibition space—previous years have included redeveloping the Wellcome collection at the Science Museum and a new approach to the Life collections for the Natural History Museum. Assessment is as for a ‘real life’ proposal: the ‘deliverable’ is a written document and there is also a presentation and question and answer session. Teaching is through class-based sessions and site visits to exhibitions. Students are expected to visit, and make notes on, at least one exhibition a week.

Website Design

This module aims to provide students with sufficient understanding of website construction to enable them to liaise with designers and programmers. The emphasis is on design and structure, rather than technical programming skills. Students design and build their own web site and in so doing consider issues of website architecture, interactivity, usability, and design aesthetics. The main software packages used are Dreamweaver and Photoshop.

Print

This module builds on the print journalism skills introduced in the Core Practical. Students write a number of news and feature articles to tight deadlines in the style of specific publications and receive detailed feedback. The module develops students’ skills in sourcing and researching stories, finding an angle appropriate for the publication and audience, interviewing, structuring stories, and writing accurately.

Radio

In this module students explore and practise the most fundamental components of factual speech radio—presenting, interviewing and audio production. The module begins with writing for radio to uncover the differences between writing for voice and for print. Through a weekly science magazine programme broadcast on Imperial College campus radio, students have the opportunity to practice techniques in studio production and live presentation. There is a strong journalistic flavour to the module, with emphasis placed on story value and good practice in science reporting. As well as live magazine production, students produce pre-recorded ‘built features’ (or packages), bringing together skills in writing, interviewing on location, audio editing and narrating.

Television

Working in small groups students conceive, research, shoot and edit a short documentary film of about ten minutes on a set theme. Although short, these projects afford an opportunity to practise all the skills required to produce a full-length television programme. Emphasis is placed on developing workable, televisual ideas and mastering the basic skills, both technical (research and planning, camerawork, sound recording and editing) and social (time-keeping and good co-operation) to realise them. The module is assessed in groups on the basis of the film and on a brief written statement of each individual's role in the production.


Note: The modules listed here are those offered in 2017-18. The programme is substantially the same from year to year but there may be some changes.