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PPR.399: Dissertation

Tutor: Mairi Levitt
Term: Summer 2014 to end of Lent 2015

Course Description

PPR399 provides an opportunity for students to choose a topic related to some aspect of Politics and International Relations, Philosophy and Religious Studies which particularly interests them, and to pursue it in depth. The topic may be related to work that is being done on a formally taught course, or it may be less directly linked to course work. The intention is that students will develop their research skills, and their ability to work at length under their own direction.

Students write a dissertation of 9,000-10,000 words. They are expected to start thinking seriously about the dissertation towards the end of the Lent term of their second year, and to submit a provisional topic by the end of that term. Work should be well advanced by Christmas in the third year. The completed dissertation must be submitted by the end of the Lent term in the third year. To help students prepare for work on the dissertation, there will be a series of lectures on topics relating to doing one's own research and planning and writing a dissertation. A course handout will be available setting out in more detail the requirements for the dissertation and giving full details of lectures, supervision arrangements and assessment.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Give a sustained critical discussion of one substantial theme or line of argument that is in part or whole constitutive of the chosen topic.
  • Use the resources of the library to develop their own critical thinking.
  • Present their thinking in a coherent and engaging way through a sustained piece of writing.


The final mark will be based on the dissertation itself. Students will be expected to attend the research skills lectures, but their attendance will not be assessed.

Teaching Method

Students will be allocated a supervisor early in the Summer term of their second year, and will consult their supervisor on an individual basis. There will be three one-hour lectures on research skills at the end of the Lent term of the second year.

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