Lecturers &

Sample Essays and Essay Writing Tips

The following essays, composed by students in the GenEd class in previous years, have been picked by the tutors as being particularly noteworthy. We make them available here as an example of the standard required to achieve high marks. Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view the files.

When writing your essays please note:

  • Plagiarism is taken very seriously by the university. We don't like failing people, so for your own sake do not adopt the "cut and paste" style of essay writing.
  • Use a structured approach, dividing your paper into an introduction / motivation, a number of paragraphs focusing on a clear point each and a conclusion drawing on all the points you have made.
  • Please ask a third party to proof-read your essay, especially if English is not your first language. Marks will not usually be deducted for gramatical errors and spelling mistakes but these can be easily corrected before submitting the paper.
  • This is a scientific course so religious or metaphysical arguements will not be marked favourably.
  • A general guide to basic essay writing can be found here.

The Drake Equation- A Discussion
-Lei Chen

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"For eons, human kind have stared up at the heavens, pondering the question as to whether humanity vessels on a ship of loneliness or whether there are many beings out there in the vastness of the universe that are also pondering the same question and may accompany us on our journey of existence. Without doubt, this is a question that appeals to many facets of human society, be it science or religion. The discovery of the existence or non-existence of intelligent life outside of Earth will provide support to prove and/or disprove fundamental beliefs that have been held for millenniums, in any case it will serve as a corner stone for humanity to make the quantum leap required to understand the purpose of our existence."

Review of 'Contact' by Carl Sagan
-Elsa Nealon

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'Contact', in spite of being a work of fiction, is regarded by some almost as a scientific text book. It deals with many sociological issues and hypothesises of what life could have been like in the late nineteen-nineties, a decade or so after the book was written. One of the most interesting issues broached in the book is the discussion of science versus faith that eventually concludes that science needs faith in order to continue. Through 'Contact' intelligent life in the universe can be easy to believe in if accepted with a combination of faith and fact.

Should we colonise other worlds?
-James Tan

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"Today, humans have developed amazing technologies allowing us to do many things that we once though impossible. We have networked millions of computers world wide to share knowledge, created powerful weapons and even landed man on the moon. With today's technologies, it would be possible to sustain a colony on another planet, but why would we bother? The task would be extremely expensive, with a high chance of failure and loss of human life"


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