Module code: POLM034

Module Overview

The Dissertation is an opportunity for students to explore a subject of their choosing in much greater detail than would otherwise be possible, applying their knowledge, understanding and skills to a particular question. Supported by general and specific guidance, the student will be able to synthesise the skills and knowledge which they have acquired during their integrated master’s degree.

Module provider


Module Leader

CHAPPELL Laura (Politics)

Number of Credits: 45

ECTS Credits: 22.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 442

Tutorial Hours: 8

Module Availability

Year long

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

The dissertation is a piece of academic research on a well-specified research question relating to a research area covered by the programme. The work may be of a theoretical or empirical nature (quantitative or qualitative), clearly demonstrating contribution to ongoing debates in the relevant field. Students will attend regular meetings with their supervisor, to identify their research topic, map out their outline and plan of work, and receive feedback for each stage of their dissertation. Dissertation meetings will take place in regular intervals during the Autumn and Spring semesters.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Abstract, chapter outline and literature review (2,000 words) 20
Coursework Dissertation (of approximately 10,000 words). 80

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate

  • Abstract, chapter outline and literature review: it aims to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their fundamental interest for the topic of their choice; to reflect on their own learning throughout their degree and make use of the reading material; identify relevant theoretical frameworks and schools of thought; critically apply their perception on the needs of a research project; evaluate different research approaches and their relevance to their research question(s); access relevant material to extract information; prepare the grounds for their dissertation.

  • Dissertation: it aims to provide the students with the opportunity to apply all the above; reflect on their own performance, assess and constructively incorporate previous feedback from their supervisor; identify relevant literature that supports their choice of method; identify, investigate, analyse and project different empirical evidence through appropriate research methods and design; critically assess evidence to draw their own conclusions; demonstrate a range of research skills; become highly-versed in the topic of their choice; consolidate the knowledge gained through their degree.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • An abstract, chapter outline and literature review of 2000 words, setting the ground for the dissertation project.

  • A dissertation of approximately 10,000 words that incorporates a revised version of the first assessment in addition to expanding on the research methods and research design components and adding on further empirical material as required by the topic.


Students will receive regular feedback based on their consultation meetings with their supervisor. They will also receive extensive feedback from their markers in the abstract, chapter outline and literature review components, to be used as frameworks for guidance in addition to their supervision meetings.

Module aims

  • Enable students to explore and develop a research project relating to their course of study and turn it into an extended piece of writing, which demonstrates the student’s ability to collect, synthesise, interpret and present that research.
  • Enhance students’ skills at working independently, and managing their time effectively.
  • Enable students to engage with supervision as means of guidance to their own projects.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate critical awareness of contemporary analytical debates in respect to research design. KC
002 Understand and apply the techniques of research and enquiry for data collection, management and analysis (qualitative or quantitative). KCT
003 Critically analyse quantitative and/or qualitative data. KCPT
004 Present research findings in an appropriate format, constructing reasoned arguments and exercising critical judgement. KCPT
005 Carry out independent research under the supervision of academic staff, engage with constructive feedback and organize workload to meet deadlines. PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to: Enhance independent study; develop project and time management skills; explore research areas related to the degree pathway; enhance and specialise knowledge of a research topic.

The learning and teaching methods include:

One to one supervision in coordination with the supervisor; additional seminars built in POLM009; additional engagement with library staff in the classroom.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: POLM034

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Public Affairs MPA(YEAR LONG) Year-long Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2019/0 academic year.