University Of Glasgow Dissertation

By | 2nd June 2017

University Of Glasgow Dissertation

Honours Dissertations: Policies and Procedures

Please Read Carefully.

Notes on Completing the dissertation proposal formThis is an MS-Word document. You may (a) print it, then complete it on paper and submit to the Philosophy Department; or (b) complete it on-screen, then print and submit to the Philosophy Department; or (c) complete it on-screen, then send electronically as an attachment. If you send it electronically, you should first save it on your computer. Then send it to

I. The Place of the Dissertation in the Degree

1. All single honours philosophy students must submit a dissertation in philosophy.

2. Joint honours students must decide in which of their subjects to submit a dissertation. Joint honours students doing a dissertation (or equivalent independent work) in their other subject may not do a dissertation in philosophy.

3. Dissertations in philosophy must be submitted during the senior year.

4. The dissertation counts as one 20-credit course. The student must choose the semester in which he or she submits the dissertation. A single honours student undertaking the dissertation must take two lecture courses during the term of the dissertation, and three in the other (there is no analogous constraint on joint honours students).

University Of Glasgow Dissertation

II. Permissible Topics

       1. A dissertation must address a philosophical topic, with philosophical questions in mind.  Only philosophical content counts—not historical or sociological content, for example.  But of course these distinctions are sometimes matters of degree; in order to make sure that your topic and approach are sufficiently philosophical, you are encouraged to seek your supervisor’s guidance sooner rather than later in the dissertation schedule (see below).

2. The only restriction is that the student may not reuse material that he or she has already submitted as part of an essay topic, or select a topic that is substantially the same as an essay topic that has been assigned during that student’s time as an honours student. If it turns out that your topic happens to match an essay topic in a Senior Honours course that you are enrolled in, then you should ask the lecturer in the course for an alternative essay topic.

This does not prevent you from writing a dissertation which extends and develops something that you have already studied in a previous course, so long as it hasn’t been covered in an essay topic. Indeed, doing so is generally a good way of ensuring that your dissertation is both philosophical and at an appropriate level of sophistication.

3. Members of academic staff in the department are happy to suggest suitable topics. In particular, students wishing to write a dissertation in a philosophical area covered by Honours course X may consult with the lecturer(s) of the course to discuss which topics in that area are permissible. Prior to submitting a dissertation topic for approval, students may also seek guidance from members of staff concerning suitable reading material on which to base the dissertation.

University Of Glasgow Dissertation

III. How and When to Get Your Topic Approved

         1. First, you should think about your topic and perhaps research it enough to know whether it is sufficiently philosophical.  You may consult members of the philosophy department, including a potential supervisor.

Second, complete a ‌dissertation proposal form.  If you have a preferred supervisor, make sure you have indicated on the form who it is. You may also get the preferred supervisor to fill in the part of the form marked ‘For department use only’.

Third, sometime during the honours examination period—April and May—you should submit your proposal to the department office. The deadline will be after Junior Honours exams, and announced in Semester 2.

2.  There are three ways in which you can fail to secure the supervisor of your choice.

  • Late dissertation proposals—without a valid excuse—are not guaranteed to receive any supervisor at all.
  • Each academic staff member has a certain number of places beyond which he or she is not obligated to undertake supervision.  It depends on enrolment, but roughly five or six is the maximum.
  • The preferred supervisor is not suitable or is not available (such as being on leave).

University Of Glasgow Dissertation

Putting these points together, it is best to start the procedure and to submit your dissertation proposal as early as you can.

3. In vast majority of cases, the proposal will be approved.  If however the proposal is turned down, you can submit a revised proposal.  The revised proposal will count as having been submitted on the date of submission of the first proposal (you will not be penalized for late submission, so long as your original proposal was submitted on time).

4.  The Dissertation Convenor will contact you by email (at your U. of Glasgow address) in early June informing you of the decision.  The Dissertation Convenor’s decision as to whether or not to approve a proposed dissertation topic is final.

5. If, after your topic has been approved, you wish to change your topic, that is allowed. You should discuss it with your supervisor or the convenor of dissertations.

6. The dissertation convenor is Adam Carter. He are available to be contacted for any dissertation matters, except for deadline extensions (see below).

University Of Glasgow Dissertation

IV. Submission and Length

1. Dissertations written in the first semester must be submitted exactly two weeks after the last day of the teaching period; this is the final day of the semester. Please see the Honours webpage for the date. Dissertations written in the second semester must be submitted on the last day of teaching period for that semester.  If you are writing your dissertation in semester two, then, since you have no other academic commitments between the end of the teaching period and the end of the semester, you should use this time to begin work on the dissertation.

2. The finished dissertation must be between 5,000 and 8,000 words (though possibly shorter in cases with significant formal or technical content). The word limit is applied strictly, and it includes footnotes and endnotes but not bibliographies.

3. Dissertations will be submitted online via the general Senior Honours Moodle page. Full instructions are given there for how to upload your dissertation and check that it has been submitted successfully. You should keep a copy (paper or electronic) of your dissertation.

4. Late dissertations will be penalised in the same way as late essays.  Extension deadlines, where merited, should be sought before the deadline from the senior honours convenor, not the dissertations convenor.