Module code: SOCM035

Module Overview

The dissertation is an extended piece of writing (10,000-15,000 words) which allows the student to work on a topic independently in depth, with appropriate guidance from a supervisor. It enables students to use the social research methodologies developed during the taught programme to explore a criminological or sociological topic of particular interest and to synthesise the skills and knowledge which they have acquired.


Module provider


Module Leader

SETTY Emily (Sociology)

Number of Credits: 60

ECTS Credits: 30

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

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

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 2

Independent Learning Hours: 584

Seminar Hours: 3

Tutorial Hours: 5

Guided Learning: 3

Captured Content: 3

Module Availability

Year long

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

A pass in the PG Diploma assessments with a 50% or higher mark.

Module content

  • 3 seminars related to dissertation writing.

  • Dissertation Workshop at MSc Conference

  • Tutorials & Supervisions

  • The dissertation is a piece of research on any well-specified question relating to an academic area covered by the programme.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Project (Group/Individual/Dissertation) Dissertation 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to formulate research questions, design a research project using appropriate methods, carry out independent analysis and finally to present a well- structured and competent dissertation.


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:


  • 10,000-15,000 word Dissertation


Formative assessment and feedback


  • All full-time and Year 2 part-time students should submit a short statement of their proposed research topic in in Week 6 Semester 1 for full-time students and Week 15, Semester 2 for part-time students.

  • All full-time and Year 2 part-time students should submit a written dissertation research proposal of 2-3 pages by week 1 of Semester 2 for full-time students and by  week 6, semester 3 for part-time students.

Module aims

  • Critically identify, define and conceptualise an appropriate topic for research within the social sciences
  • Undertake a systematic review and analysis of relevant and appropriate primary and secondary sources
  • Execute a defined research project using appropriate research methodologies and techniques of enquiry
  • Critically evaluate, analyse and present research findings

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Critical awareness of contemporary debates in the study of one or more particular areas of the social sciences such as criminology or sociology K
012 The development of digital literacy in the use of online research engines and tools P
002 In-depth understanding of relevant theoretical perspectives K
003 Understanding of techniques of research and enquiry and their application to the study of social science K
004 The demonstration of a critical knowledge and understanding of the relationship between the theory and the practice of research within the social sciences K
005 Gather, organise and deploy evidence and information from a range of different sources C
006 Analyse and synthesize a wide range of material in verbal and numerical formats C
007 Apply theoretical frameworks to empirical analysis C
008 The critical review of knowledge, understanding skills and practice within social science research C
009 Design and conduct a research project, selecting appropriate methods of data collection and analysis P
010 Demonstrate competencies in library-based information search and retrieval skills P
011 The communication and interpretation of quantitative and/or qualitative data in the production of a written thesis P
013 Communicate and present ideas effectively T
014 Organise and plan own work T
015 Adopt a proactive approach to problem-solving T
016 Deploy a range of relevant research skills T

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:

Form appropriate capacities to conduct research within social science.  This is supported by seminars, tutorials, individual consultation and discussion as well as independent research. The Dissertation Guidelines on SurreyLearn also provide detailed guidance on scholarly conventions and procedures for writing the dissertation.

Methods of Learning and Teaching include seminars, tutorials and a workshop.

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: SOCM035

Other information

The Department of Sociology is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in all these areas, as highlighted throughout this module descriptor. A summary of how this is achieved for each of the five key pillars is provided below:


Digital Capabilities 

- Understanding how to use digital technologies to conduct research in the social science


Global and Cultural Capabilities 

- Developing understanding of global and cultural factors in social science research



-Evaluating the impacts of social science research upon the pursuit of social justice, addressing inequalities and protecting the environment



- Gaining applied experience of gathering and using data across a range of work contexts 


Resourcefulness and resilience 

- Developing independence and proactivity in learning

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Criminology (Corporate Crime and Corporate Responsibility) MSc(CORE) Year-long Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Criminology (Cybercrime and Cybersecurity) MSc(CORE) 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 2024/5 academic year.