University of Surrey - Guildford

Registry > Module Catalogue
View Module List by A.O.U. and Level  Alphabetical Module Code List  Alphabetical Module Title List  Alphabetical Old Short Name List  View Menu 
2010/1 Module Catalogue
 Module Code: POLM010 Module Title: DISSERTATION
Module Provider: Politics Short Name: POL506
Level: M Module Co-ordinator: GUERRINA R Dr (Politics)
Number of credits: 60 Number of ECTS credits: 30
Module Availability

Spring Semester

Assessment Pattern

Unit(s) of Assessment
Weighting Towards Module Mark (%)
10 000-15 000 word dissertation
Qualifying Condition(s) 
A mark of 50% is required to pass the module.

Module Overview

The dissertation is an extended piece of writing (10,000-15,000 words) which allows the student to work on a topic independently in depth with appropriate guidance from a supervisor. It enables students to specialise in an aspect of the taught programme which is of particular interest and to synthesise the skills and knowledge which they have acquired.


A pass in the PG Diploma assessments with a 50% or higher mark.
‘Introduction to Research’ module POLM009

Module Aims

In this module, the aim is to explore and develop a research project relating to the course of study and turn it into an extended piece of writing, which demonstrates the student’s ability to collect, synthesise, interpret and present that research.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

  • critical awareness of contemporary debates in the study of one or more particular areas of politics 
  • in-depth understanding of relevant theoretical perspectives 
  • understanding of processes of knowledge creation and contestation within international politics 
  • understanding of techniques of research and enquiry and their application to the study of politics

Cognitive skills 

  • gather, organise and deploy evidence and information from a range of different sources 
  • analyse and synthesise a wide range of material in verbal and numerical formats 
  • deal with complex issues systematically and creatively 
  • make sound judgements on basis of incomplete evidence 
  • demonstrate self-direction and originality in solving problems and analysing evidence 
  • construct reasoned argument 
  • apply theoretical frameworks to empirical analysis

Practical skills 

  • Carry out an advanced literature search 
  • Form effective arguments 
  • Organise workload to meet deadlines 
  • Formulate research questions 
  • Design and conduct a research project, selecting appropriate methods of data collection and analysis 
  • Present research findings in writing

Transferable skills 

  • communicate and present ideas effectively 
  • reason critically 
  • organise and plan own work 
  • adopt a proactive approach to problem-solving 
  • deploy a range of relevant research skills 
  • make decisions in complex situations 
  • take responsibility for own learning
Module Content

Students will meet with their potential supervisor, having sought guidance from the Director if necessary, to discuss possible topics during the Spring semester (or earlier if appropriate). They will notify the Director of their provisional topic by the end of the semester. The dissertation is a piece of research on a well-specified question relating to an academic area covered by the programme. The work may be of an empirical or theoretical kind and must be written in English.

Methods of Teaching/Learning

By individual consultation and discussion as well as independent research. See also Dissertation Guidelines in the Programme Handbook for detailed guidance on scholarly conventions and procedures for writing the dissertation.

Selected Texts/Journals

Specific to individual topics but students are strongly advised to consult the references recommended for other modules.

Also, see the following pages on the UniS Library website: 

  • ‘Preparing Theses and Dissertations’ 
  • ‘Citing References in a Bibliography’
Last Updated

15 August 2006