University of Exeter Dissertation

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University of Exeter Dissertation

University of Exeter Dissertation

A dissertation is an extended piece of writing (a 30-credit dissertation is a maximum of 12,000 words) investigating a single clear question or thesis. It provides the stimulus and satisfaction of researching in depth a topic of particular interest, and reflecting on the issues more thoroughly than a shorter essay permits. It also tests certain skills that may be extremely useful in years to come in a way that other forms of assessment do not. All the usual assessment criteria apply. So to get a high mark for a dissertation you need both to demonstrate a very clear grasp of the topic you are exploring and also to engage critically and creatively with the key issues raised, and with other scholars who have written about them. Students who don’t go beyond a description of their topic, and who don’t engage properly with the relevant literature, will get a low mark.

For the MA, a dissertation is a maximum of 20,000 words.

Agreeing a topic and work plan

A provisional broad topic for the undergraduate dissertation must be decided in the Summer Term of the second year (the end of Stage 2) in consultation with appropriate members of staff. You will be expected to have at least a rough idea of the area within which you wish to work; your supervisor will help define the topic in detail and give assistance with bibliography. You will need to start work during the summer, doing some initial reading.

Registration: During the online module selection period for the academic year concerned, you need to apply and register for the module just as you would for an ordinary taught module.

Preparation: You should, as soon as possible and before the start of the academic year, make contact with the Programme Leader, who, after discussion with you, will appoint an Academic Supervisor who has expertise in the subject area you have chosen to study.

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