Module code: POL3061

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 pull together much of their degree and (where applicable) start to look towards post-graduate study.


Module provider


Module Leader

ALBERTAZZI Daniele (Politics)

Number of Credits: 45

ECTS Credits: 22.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

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

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 14

Independent Learning Hours: 420

Guided Learning: 10

Captured Content: 6

Module Availability

Year long

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

This module requires students to have obtained 55% or above in their final mark for POL2027 - Approaches to Research.

Module content

The dissertation gives students an opportunity to engage in an extended piece of work and to develop, in a detailed manner, their interests from their chosen pathway of study. The type of dissertation will vary, depending on individual interests, but is likely to follow one of the following patterns – or a combination of them:

  • A piece of empirical research, using the research methods and skills covered by modules at Levels 4 and 5 of the programme. Students may conduct primary research on a politics- or policy-related issue (using methods such as interviews and questionnaires) or secondary research in a similar area (for example, interrogating a pre-existing data set; analysing the images and representations used in a recent election campaign).

  • An action research project, which aims to bring about change in a politics-, policy- or citizenship-related organisation in which the student works. This would typically be carried out during the professional placement year, within the placement organisation but in negotiation with the tutor, could also be conducted in another organisation to which the student has some connection, if appropriate.

  • A theoretical piece of work exploring, in considerable depth, one or more of the issues raised by programme modules. For example, a dissertation could analyse, in more depth than would be required for individual modules, the work of one or more political theorists, or theory development around a particular politics- or policy-related theme.

  • It should be noted that students will be expected to choose a substantive topic that fits within their degree programme.

Students will be expected to submit an abstract, a chapter outline and a literature review during the autumn semester. They will receive feedback on both pieces and their work will contribute towards their final mark. They are also expected to engage with their supervisor in a constructive way to receive feedback throughout the two semesters.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Project (Group/Individual/Dissertation) Abstract, Chapter Outline and Literature Review (2250 words) 20
Project (Group/Individual/Dissertation) Dissertation (10000 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 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 and their workshops; 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 and showcasing their digital capabilities, their global and cultural intelligence, their employability skills, their sustainable thinking and of course demonstrating their resilience in conducting a longer-term project and their resourcefulness in tacklind research problems and finding solutions with the guidance of their supervisors.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

·  An abstract, chapter outline and literature review of 2250 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.

Assessment deadlines to be confirmed in the module handbook, yet:

•  The first piece of assessment is due roughly towards the end of the autumn semester

•  The second piece of assessment is due after the Easter break

•  Please note that there will be deadlines prior to the Easter break for students to receive final guaranteed feedback from their supervisors. Supervisors will be expected to read no more than either one draft of all chapters submitted, or one draft of the whole dissertation. The dates when students must submit work to their supervisor in order to receive such feedback guaranteed is generally early in March. Students may contact supervisors later on smaller issues based on the discretion of the supervisor, but supervisors are not expected to provide extensive feedback during the Easter break.

Formative assessment and feedback

Students will receive regular feedback based on their questions through the dissertation workshop and 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. Workshops will be an opportunity to discuss feedback and provide peer review to the students’ work. 

Further, support is provided to the whole group of students writing dissertations. This comprises the following elements:

• Meeting at the start of the academic year with the Module Leader;

• Practical and discursive sessions during the Autumn;

• Meeting before Christmas with the Module Leader;

• Practical sessions during the Spring.

The aim of these sessions is to provide more general guidance to students and to help them develop their reflective engagement with their work. All of these sessions and meetings are compulsory elements of the module, and attendance is required. Students will get additional resources through captured content and digital elements on SurreyLearn as points of reference to complete the assignments.

Module aims

  • Give students an opportunity to put into practice some of the research skills they have developed through relevant modules at Levels 4 and 5 (Introduction to Study & Research Skills and Research Theories and Approaches to Research).
  • Enable students to explore, in an in-depth manner, an area of particular interest to them within their chosen pathway of study.
  • Enhance students' skills at working independently, and managing their time effectively.
  • Engage with supervision as means of guidance to their own projects.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Formulate succinct and relevant ‘research questions' or identify a relevant topic for research. KC
002 Select research methods appropriate to their research questions and/or topic and use these methods effectively. KC
003 Critically analyse quantitative and/or qualitative data. KCP
004 Present research findings in an appropriate format, constructing reasoned arguments and exercising critical judgement. KCT
005 Work independently, over a sustained period of time, managing their time effectively. 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:

Introduce students to independent work, with access to regular one-to-one supervision and appropriate guidance through the module workshops.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Workshops first semester 

  • Workshops second semester 

  • Supervision meetings: at a minimum students are to be offered supervisor meetings

  • Participation in the Politics’ Student Research Conference:

    • The conference provides those students conducting political science and international relations research (which includes the dissertation module) with an opportunity to present their research to each other, academic members of staff, PhD students, PGT students and other L6 students. The purpose of the conference is for students to gain broader feedback on what they present, particularly in respect to any primary research they have been conducting as well as helping you to clarify ideas and enhance your oral presentation skills. It is also an opportunity to develop employability skills related to presenting work in a wider audience.

    • The conference is comprised of three to four panels with three to four speakers on each and a chair (who will be an academic member of staff). Each student presents for 10 minutes and once all students on the panel have presented then there will be a Q & A session moderated by the chair.

    • The conference takes place before the spring break. Participation in the conference is optional. Students are all encouraged to attend. Students will also learn how to respond to a Call for Papers, submitting their paper proposal to the dissertation convenor.

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: POL3061

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Politics BSc (Hons)(YEAR LONG) Year-long Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
International Relations BSc (Hons)(YEAR LONG) Year-long Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% 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 2025/6 academic year.