Module Identifier IP36720  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Dr Alistair J K Shepherd  
Semester Semester 2  
Pre-Requisite IP36820  
Mutually Exclusive IP37720  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Dissertation: The Dissertation is 8,000 to 10,000 words in length including footnotes/endnotes and excluding bibliography  100%
Supplementary Exam Students may, subject to Faculty approval, have the opportunity to resit this module, normally during the supplementary examination period. For further clarification please contact the Teaching Programme Administrator in the Department of International Politics. 

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
The learning outcomes of the dissertation are that the student must complete the dissertation by the assigned deadline and to the assigned word-limit. In the process, students will have learned to set themselves a specific question, make effective use of the limited number of sessions with their assigned advisors, conduct independent research, structure the argument and the empirical material presented effectively and complete the writing of the dissertation in compliance with the substantive as well as formal requirements expected from an undergraduate dissertation.

Brief description

The dissertation is an important element of the Department's undergraduate programme. It provides the opportunity for final year students to study a specific topic related to their degree scheme in some detail. It is also designed to allow students to demonstrate their initiative, their ability to work independently and their ability to construct a coherent argument over some length.


The module requires students to apply skills acquired and developed in modules previously taken, in particular IP36820, towards the writing of a dissertation. The module tests the ability of students to do some independent research, with some advise provided by an assigned member of staff, to develop a particular question, structure the argument and conduct an analysis of the question. Students are given the opportunity to demonstrate their substantive knowledge in the subject area chosen as well as their research, writing and analytical skills in completing a written assignment of substantial length (8-10,000 words).


The content of the dissertation module is different for each student. Students propose a topic for their dissertation and then agree a final title with the advisor assigned to them. They are expected to provide a well-structured, clearly written dissertation providing an analysis of the chosen question.

Transferable skills

The dissertation module expects students to apply and further develop the following skills:

- the setting of achievable goals with respect to the choice of subject
- research skills in collecting secondary literature and, in some cases, primary sources, in relation to the particular subject chosen
- IT skills in the use of information technology during the process of research (esp. internet-based research) and the use of word-processing in the course of writing of the dissertation,
- time-management skills in the establishment of a research and writing plan and in the subsequent competition of the dissertation by a fixed deadline
- Analytical skills in the construction of the argument and the development of an analytical framework
- Academic writing skills in the writing of the dissertation, including the compliance with regard to formal aspects of academic writing such as footnoting, referencing, and the compilation of a bibliography

10 ECTS Credits


This module is at CQFW Level 6