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: SOC3012 Module Title: FINAL YEAR DISSERTATION
Module Provider: Sociology Short Name: SOC399
Level: HE3 Module Co-ordinator: BURNINGHAM KA Dr (Sociology)
Number of credits: 40 Number of ECTS credits: 20
Module Availability
For further information about the Sociology Dissertation, please refer to a Sociology Programme Handbook.
Assessment Pattern
Module Overview

The Level 3 Dissertation of 12,000 words is weighted as equivalent to two Level 3 modules. 



You are required to declare the word count when you submit the dissertation. 



Please refer to guidelines on U-Learn and on the Departmental web site.





It is advisable that students meet the deadlines for the topic statement and dissertation proposal, and come into Level 3 ready to start substantive work on their dissertation.  Students must devote considerable time in the final year to completing the dissertation.





During Semester 1 of the final year, students should arrange regular meetings with their supervisors. Dissertation supervisors are available for a maximum of 5 hours of contact time, and will endeavour to meet with students every 2-3 weeks throughout the year. Meetings will entail discussions about the dissertation, including the research process, and any other general critical and intellectual issues that are raised by it. These meetings will form the core of the supervisory process.





The timetable for completion of various stages is as follows:





Friday, Week 8 of Semester 2 -                    One page Topic Statement



placement year (or Level 2)                          (Friday April 30th, 2010)





Weeks 9-15 of Semester 2                            First meeting with dissertation supervisor to



placement year (or Level 2)                          discuss topic statement and ethical and safety considerations.  Guidelines can be found on:



http://www. surrey. ac. uk/ SHS/ ethics/





Summer before Level 3                                 Independently refine research question(s), prepare preliminary literature review, write dissertation proposal





Level 3, Semester 1, Friday, Week 1           1000-1500 word Dissertation Proposal





Semester 1, Weeks 2-4                                 First Supervisory Meetings





Semester 1,  Semester 2                                Data collection and analysis





Friday, Week 6, Semester 2                          Submission of dissertation









Any dissertation submitted after the deadline of 5 p.m. Friday in Week 6 of Semester 2 will be subject to the deduction of 7 percentage marks for each part or full weekday that it is submitted late, for up to 5 working days. Failure to submit during the week after the deadline shall be considered as non-submission, resulting in 0%.







Ethics Committee Consideration





Your research should be conducted in accordance with ethical principles. Research with certain subjects, on certain topics and using certain methodologies may require a decision from the faculty ethics committee. Please note that University of Surrey insurance for fieldwork with human participants is dependent upon compliance with the Faculty Ethics Committee’s approval procedure. This should be discussed with your supervisor at an early stage. Comprehensive advice is available at Initial advice may be sought from Karen Bullock or Rob Meadows





You, along with your supervisor, have a responsibility to:



  • Protect those people who participate in your research. You should identify and eliminate, mitigate or reduce any potential harm anyone may experience as a consequence of their involvement in your research


  • Ensure that you, as the researcher, are protected from possible harm


  • Obtain and record informed consent from all participants (or appropriate other)


  • Preserve the confidentiality and anonymity of all those who participate in your research


  • Ensure that all those who participate in your research do so voluntarily


  • Obtain the appropriate level of authority in granting a favorable ethical opinion


  • Protect the reputation of this academic institution


Ethical opinion for research will be required where:





  • There is any risk to a volunteer’s health or well being


  • Participants are considered vulnerable (children, the mentally ill, patients, prisoners)


  • You have items within a survey/questionnaire or interview schedule that may be considered offensive, distressing or personal to a particular target group


  • Payment or benefits in kind are given to participants


  • Your research involves fellow students or members of university staff (unless the supervisor decides otherwise)


  • Participants are associated with your profession or place of work


It is less likely that ethical approval will be required where:





  • The sample is not drawn from students or staff associated with the student


  • The sample does not include vulnerable respondents


  • Your participants are adults


  • You have a non-sensitive subject matter


  • Deception is not part of the research design


  • There are no confidentiality issues


Should you and your supervisor decide that ethical approval is required the forms that you need to fill in along with instructions about the information that you need to provide are available at Please ensure that you provide all documentation that you are asked to. Failure to do so will result in a delay to your application. Note that the process of gaining ethical approval from the committee can take up to four working weeks. The ethics committee will contact you within that time and either give a favourable opinion; require some adjustments; or, pass your proposal onto the University of Surrey ethics committee if necessary.



Please note that there are certain circumstances where additional ethical approval and clearance is required:



  1. National Health Service (NHS) based research: Research with current patients and users of the National Health Service along with their relatives or carers requires ethical approval from NHS research ethics committees. This is required before you submit to the faculty ethics committee. Acquiring NHS approval is lengthy and wouldn’t usually be possible in the time frame available for an undergraduate dissertation. If you are thinking of conducting research in this area, early discussions with your supervisor are advised and refer to or, for applications for research in the area of the University of Surrey,




  1. Research with children and vulnerable adults: If you are planning to carry out research on children and/or vulnerable adults you are likely to need to complete a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check. If you think that this might apply to your research, inform your supervisor as early as possible and contact Rob Meadows ( for further details.






Students should also consult the following useful websites before undertaking any fieldwork exercises or dissertation research: and










Module Aims
Learning Outcomes
Module Content
Methods of Teaching/Learning
Selected Texts/Journals

Last Updated
September 2010