Government Dissertation Option

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Michael Bruter


This course is available on the BSc in Government, BSc in Government and Economics, BSc in Government and History, BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, BSc in Politics and International Relations and BSc in Politics and Philosophy. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.

This course may be taken only in the third year. A BSc Government and History student cannot choose both HY300 and GV390 and a BSc Politics and Philosophy student cannot choose both GV390 and PH299.

Course content

A dissertation of not more than 10,000 words on a topic to be approved by a proposed dissertation advisor and the Course Convenor. The topic should be chosen from any area within the field covered by the degree course and supported by a member of the academic staff from the Government Department willing to act as dissertation advisor. Following the dissertation information session organised by the Department in the second year of the students’ curriculum, candidates should approach their tutor during the Lent Term or Summer Term of their second year to discuss the possibility of a proposed dissertation topic.

After having received approval for a topic by a prospective advisor, students must submit a dissertation form detailing final title and synopsis/prospectus to the Course Convenor for approval by the fourth week of the third year.


4 hours of seminars and 30 minutes of seminars in the MT. 4 hours of seminars and 30 minutes of seminars in the LT.

Six seminars split between the Michaelmas Term and Lent Term as well as individual supervision. Dissertation advisors can be expected to offer advice on reading and guidance on the organisation of the dissertation; they may also read and comment on a draft outline of up to 2,000 words. Tutors or other teachers are not permitted to read or comment on a draft of the whole dissertation. The number of individual meetings with the students will be agreed with the supervisor but should be at least once per term in the student’s third year. It should be stressed that no member of staff is under an obligation to agree to supervise any proposed dissertation


Dissertation (100%, 10000 words).

Footnotes are to be included in the word limit - but not the bibliography. The examiners may determine that the candidate should be called for an oral examination.

Student performance results

(2013/14 - 2015/16 combined)

Classification % of students
First 53.6
2:1 42.9
2:2 3.6
Third 0
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2015/16: 21

Average class size 2015/16: 20

Capped 2015/16: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills