Postgraduate Module Descriptor

POLM886: Dissertation

This module descriptor refers to the 2021/2 academic year.


NQF Level7
Credits60 ECTS Value30
Term(s) and duration

This module will run during term 1 (10 weeks), term 2 (11 weeks) and term 3 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Dr Sarah Lucas (Convenor)

Dr Gabriel Katz Wisel ()





Available via distance learning


A good dissertation is a core element of a successful Masters degree. It equips you with key, transferable research skills that will be invaluable to your career whether you decide to take up PhD research or not. A dissertation is not a long essay. It has a certain number of core components that must be evident to varying degrees. Like a good essay, it must demonstrate research skills, independent learning, good organization of complex material, clarity and erudite expression. This module will help you structure that process of writing a dissertation and it will equip you well for further research, at PhD level or in professional employment. So, the skills you learn on this module will be integral to your future careers. You will learn how to devise a manageable research question, locate your ideas in existing debates, how to conduct a literature review and plan the research, and how to develop a short research proposal and write extended pieces of work.
Nevertheless, a Masters dissertation will be driven primarily by your own interests, the questions you devise and the material you want to research. It will be a mark of your own initiative, independence and inquisitiveness. You should expect to start thinking about and working on your dissertation immediately on beginning the Programme. Good early preparation will stand you in good stead later.

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