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POL3046 : Final Year Dissertation

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Michael Barr
  • Co-Module Leader: Professor Stephen Elstub
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 20.0
European Credit Transfer System


•       To provide students with the opportunity to engage in an in-depth examination of an issue in Political Systems and Comparative Politics, International Relations, or Political Philosophy for which appropriate supervision is available.
•       to provide students with the opportunity to engage in a major research exercise and one that, in scope and scale, significantly exceeds that of an essay or project
•       to develop students’ ability to undertake original research, the results of which they will present in a scholarly fashion
to develop other skills such as written communication, planning and initiative

Outline Of Syllabus

This module allows students to undertake a substantial piece of original research on a politics topic chosen in conjunction with their supervisor. Students will receive introductory lectures and guided learning material on the nature of the dissertation, how they should settle on a dissertation topic, and how they should organize their work on the dissertation. Each student will obtain a supervisor, who will help her/him to refine the topic and develop a research strategy. Periodic supervisory meetings will supply guidance to the student and written drafts of chapters will be commented on, provided these are submitted by the given deadlines. Students are required to submit a dissertation proposal in mid-November. They will receive guidance and advising from both their supervisor and the module leader on how to construct the proposal and, more particularly, on methodological issues relating to the dissertation.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture12:002:00In-person introductory lecture with module leader
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1379:00379:00Assessment preparation and completion
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities111:0011:00Recorded, non-synchronous; personal capture (PCap) videos
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision61:006:00PIP meetings with supervisors; if in person not possible, synchronous online
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time21:002:00Q&A Feedback with module leader
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Introductory lecture outlines the aims and administration of the module and how students should go about writing a dissertation. It provides guidance and tips on how to construct their dissertation proposal, how to confront the methodological issues raised by their dissertation topic, and how to deploy research methods. Methodological training and guidance will also be available through structured research and reading activities such as annotated readings and videos. The meetings with supervisors provide students with much needed advice on the initial choice and subsequent refinement of their dissertation topic, on how they should design their dissertation, and on how they should go about their research. Supervisors also provide feedback on chapter drafts.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Research paper1M101,000 word Dissertation Proposal
Dissertation2M908,000 word Dissertation
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment of the research proposal provides students with an incentive to take the proposal seriously and to grapple with the topic of their dissertation, with the relevant literature, and with methodological issues, at an early stage in the year. However, the most important manifestation of the student’s overall achievement is the dissertation itself and that is why it provides 90% of the overall mark.

Reading Lists