Module code: ELAM029

Module Overview

This module allows you to specialise in an aspect of the programme which is of particular interest to you by writing-up a substantial dissertation text of 10000-12000 words (excluding data appendices and bibliography). Your project will be based on thorough research on a specific issue relating to policy and practice in higher education. Successful completion of the module requires frequent, close collaboration with a supervisor, as well as excellent planning and organisation skills.

Module provider

School of Literature and Languages

Module Leader

DIPPOLD Doris (Lit & Langs)

Number of Credits: 60

ECTS Credits: 30

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 520

Guided Learning: 40

Captured Content: 40

Module Availability

Crosses academic years

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Individual topics based on students’ own interests

Independent research on a chosen topic

One-to-one dissertation supervision and review meetings

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Project (Group/Individual/Dissertation) 10000-12000 word dissertation 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate the ability to produce an original piece of work commensurate with masters level, work independently and comply with academic standards.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of an MA dissertation of 10000-12000 words (100% weighting). This dissertation needs to be based on independent, empirical research.

Formative assessment: Tutors will give formative feedback on each section of your dissertation, given that it is submitted before an agreed deadline. Tutors will also give formative (though less detailed) feedback on the completed dissertation, if submitted at least ten days before the final deadline. You will have the opportunity to discuss the feedback in meetings with your tutor (up to 4).

Module aims

  • Guide students along the elaboration of an appropriate research topic that was previously identified in the ¿Preparation for Research¿ module
  • Encourage students to discuss the topic critically
  • Enable students to develop the data collection and analysis-related components of their research projects
  • Provide an opportunity for students to develop their topic independently and discuss it with a supervisor
  • Guide students along the production of an extended piece of academic work
  • Enable students to synthesise the skills and knowledge which they have acquired throughout the academic year

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Identify a range of sources and critically read them CK
002 Demonstrate advanced research skills developed to a level of complexity and sophistication commensurate with masters level descriptors CKT
003 Plan a substantial research project and execute it with minimal guidance PT
004 Demonstrate advanced insight into, reflect on and critically engage with a research topic in higher education policy and practice CK
005 Produce a 10000 ¿ 12000 word dissertation CKT

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 stimulate your critical thinking and independent research and develop time-management and interpersonal skills.

Feedback: You will have one opportunity to get tutor feedback on each section of your dissertation, plus overall (less detailed) feedback on the whole thesis, if a draft is submitted to the tutor at last two weeks before the final deadline.   

Contact hours: You will have four contact hours with your tutor to plan and discuss different sections of the thesis and discuss your tutor’s feedback.

Independent study: You will spend the majority of your time conducting the research for your dissertation and writing it up independently. This will require carefully planning your time and organizing your tutor meetings around it.

Working independently with tutor guidance will develop your resourcefulness and resilience in dealing with a major project. These skills are important for your future employability. Moreover, in independent study you will also develop your digital skills as you’ll have to solve problems in data processing and analysis independently

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: ELAM029

Other information

Surrey's Curriculum Framework 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 the following areas:

Employability: This module will provide you with the skills to conduct research targeted to your own professional context, as well as building the skills you will require if you wish to pursue a career in academia. Thee skills include not only research skills, but project management skills and skills in disseminating research and writing for an academic audience.

Resourcefulness and Resilience: Conducting research can be imbued with range of obstacles relating to recruiting participants, organizing the data collection, analysing the data etc. This project will engage you in agile decision-making processes about research design and data analysis and give you the opportunity to overcome obstacles through exposure through support and feedback by the supervisor.

Digital Capabilities: Writing a dissertation requires the use of a range of digital tools for collection, storing and organizing the data as well as preparing the main written document, e.g. SPSS, Nvivo, Online Survey tools, CNVA). The dissertation project will equip you with the skills to use relevant software tools for these tasks. Many of these tools are also used in other professional contexts.    

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 2025/6 academic year.