Reviewing relevant literature

Methods of Teaching, Learning & Assessment


a major piece of written work or research project of several thousand words undertaken in the final year of a degree course

All Masters level programmes require a dissertation to be submitted as the culmination of the course.

NB. For doctoral dissertations please see thesis.

There may be an option in your programme of how long a dissertation you can write, ie. a 30-credit dissertation might be 7,500 words whereas a 60-credit dissertation could be 15,000 words in length.

The structure of dissertations varies according to disciplinary and sub-disciplinary conventions in the arts, humanities and social sciences, however typical elements of a dissertation comprise the following:

  • introducing the research topic
  • reviewing relevant literature
  • explaining how the research has been designed and why the research methods being used have been chosen
  • outlining findings
  • analysing findings and discussing them in the context of the literature review
  • concluding

A dissertation is marked by an academic staff member who has not been involved with the supervision of the work, and is second marked by the dissertation supervisor.