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University of Exeter Business School

Major Project

Module titleMajor Project
Module codeBEPM001
Academic year2023/4
Module staff
Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module is designed to deepen your knowledge and understanding of resources, strategic frameworks, and engagement mechanisms to drive business awareness and action in support of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This module requires you to develop and undertake a collaborative research project focussed on of a specialist subject within your chosen field of study. The project will be contextualised in a wider relationship between organisations, their key stakeholder groups, and the community. In addition, the project will consider the influence that environmental policy and action, from international to local levels, can have on concrete actions and organisational change. This will allow participants to write a research informed dissertation that clearly outlines pathways for impact to achieve positive societal and environmental change.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aim of this module is to provide you with research, project management, innovation, and stakeholder engagement skills to lead applied research projects with clear pathways for impact. You will be able to choose their own research topic or work within established research projects based on their field of study, sector, and career objectives. Based on this research topic you will carry out original and rigorous research and write a research capstone project. This original research will also be complemented by focusing on developing an impact statement that outlines the potential change that the research could have in driving sustainable business management practices. Furthermore, you will reflect on the best ways to communicate your research considering their own target audiences and expected impact.

In addition to the core content, participants will create, develop, and lead a thematic action learning set centred on their own topic to share knowledge with their peers and incentivise critical discussions on the need for collaborative research environment. These could be centred around the following themes or other based on the research topics of the cohort: Implementing planet saving initiatives; Interdisciplinary Decision-Making; Climate action as a catalyst for creativity and transformational change; Space and space communication; Management Consultancy; Professional Accountability and Responsibility; Communities of Practice (CoP); Creating Shared Value; Transnational collaboration; Local capacity building and resilience; Sustainability and Risk Management, Systems Dynamics; Circular Economy, Biomimicry and Regenerative Practices; Transition Skills; Sustainable Tourism, Sustainability-oriented Innovation; Environmental Governance, amongst others.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Critically analyse and discuss academic literature to address impact full research problems
  • 2. Design and implement an applied research project
  • 3. Collect and critically analyse data
  • 4. Reflect on the importance of research impact

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Apply methodologies and theories for solving complex sustainability business management problems
  • 6. Analyse findings and critically discuss them against academic literature
  • 7. Create insights that help provide sustainability solutions and drive sustainable organizations.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Communicate research outputs to lay audiences and reflect on pathways for impact
  • 9. Organise research seminars to help transfer knowledge and build collaborations with peers
  • 10. Effectively manage a capstone project

Syllabus plan

Learning activities include taught sessions, seminars, online materials & tutorials, supervision, and learning sets organized by students. All of these will be distributed between both terms with a heavier emphasis on taught elements during term 2 to equip students with the skills to undertake research independently under supervision during term 3. However, during term 3 taught sessions will also be scheduled to reflect on research progress and reinforce key research skills. The following are the indicative contents for both terms:

  • Introduction to the module and research project
  • Differences between applied research, academic research, market research, amongst other research approaches
  • Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research
  • What is research impact?
  • Research scoping and how to choose impactful research theme.
  • Research methods seminar: Qualitative and Quantitative
  • Research partnerships
  • Leading and managing a research project
  • Research Ethics
  • Communicating research effectively and creatively to lay audiences.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching 10Individual meetings with supervisor
Scheduled Learning and Teaching 14Taught sessions & research seminars on specialised subjects
Scheduled Learning and Teaching 6Thematic action learning sets guided by participants and moderated by module leader
Guided independent study 420Research activities, reading and writing dissertations. Engagement with online tutorials and resources.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Research proposal 1000 words 1,2,5,10 Written
Thematic action learning set 40 minutes including presentation and dynamic learning activity 1,4,5,6,8,9 Peer-to-peer/in-class feedback from lecturer

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Capstone project 7010,000 words 1,2,3,5,6,7,10 Written
Impact statement 151 page document 1,4,8,9 Written
One-page lay summary 151 page document 1,4,8,9 Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Capstone projectCapstone project (70%) - 10,000 words 1,2,3,5,6,7,10 Referral/deferral period
Impact statementImpact statement (15%) - 1 page document 1,4,8,9 Referral/deferral period
One-page lay summary One-page lay summary (15%) - 1 page document 1,4,8,9 Referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you have been deferred for any assessment you will be expected to submit the relevant assessment. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 50%) you will be required to sit a further examination. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will count for 100% of the final mark and will be capped at 50%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Bell, E., Bryman, A. and Harley, B.? (2022).?Business Research Methods.? Oxford: OUP, 6th?edition.
  • Bell, J (2005)?Doing Your Research Project: A guide for first-time researchers in education, health and social science, Open University Press. 
  • Cresswell, J (2003)?Research Design: qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods, Sage. 
  • Miller, T.R., Wiek, A., Sarewitz, D., Robinson, J., Olsson, L., Kriebel, D. and Loorbach, D., 2014. The future of sustainability science: a solutions-oriented research agenda.?Sustainability science,?9(2), pp.239-246.
  • Specialised reading based on capstone project topic – to be defined with supervisor 


Key words search

Business, environment, sustainability, climate change, UN SDGs 

Credit value45
Module ECTS


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NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


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Last revision date