University of Birmingham Dissertation
All Masters students are required to write a 13,500 word dissertation. This contributes one-third (60 credits) of the overall assessment. The dissertation is your chance to study a topic of particular interest to you and has central relevance to politics, social theory or international studies. (60 Credits)
The aim of the exercise is for you to be able to apply the knowledge and research skills you have gained in your modules to a longer-term, independent project. The dissertation allows you to demonstrate your ability to work on your own, acquire knowledge about a specialised area of study, and present a cogent, well-supported defence of a central claim. The dissertation may involve the presentation of new knowledge or the use of primary sources, but is not a core requirement.
On completion of the dissertation, students are expected to be able to:
- Demonstrate advanced skills in locating research literature
- Where salient, to demonstrate advanced skills in locating and making use of specific datasets
- Synthesise the findings from a range of discrete studies and/or arguments in the literature
- Demonstrate advanced skills in marshaling evidence to support their discrete intervention into the literature and effectively answer potential challenges to their central claim
- Explain and effectively incorporate the methodology they employ in their analysis or argument
- Demonstrate advanced skills in organising an extended essay and maintaining a coherent thread of analysis or argument throughout
- Demonstrate familiarity with the ethical principles of research
The final dissertation should not exceed 13,500 words in length, including footnotes. The abstract, bibliography and any appendices added to the end of the dissertation are not included in the word limit. Any dissertation that exceeds this word limit will be penalised.
The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.