A Long Essay on an Approved Topic

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Departmental Tutor, Department of Social Policy.


This course is compulsory on the BSc in Social Policy. This course is available on the BSc in Social Policy and Criminology, BSc in Social Policy and Economics, BSc in Social Policy and Sociology and BSc in Social Policy with Government. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.

Course content

An essay of not more than 8,000 words on a topic to be approved by the candidate's academic advisor. It is designed to allow a detailed and thorough exploration of an area of interest to the student. The essay should be a dissertation on a topic area within the field of the degree programme; it may involve original fieldwork, or the analysis and appraisal of existing literature.


5 hours of lectures in the MT.

Students will have preliminary discussions about the topic of their essay with their academic advisor in the ST of their second year. They will pursue their long essay under the supervision of their new academic advisor during the third year of their studies. There will also be a total of five support sessions taught in weeks 2-6 of the MT.

Formative coursework

Students will agree with their academic advisor, and submit to the departmental tutor, a final title for the essay by Friday 2nd December 2016 in the third year. Academic advisors can be expected to offer advice on reading, guidance on the construction of the work, and comment on an initial draft, which should be handed in before the end of the LT.

Indicative reading

Students will be expected to draw extensively from the reading they have done throughout their programme of study, to read such specific materials as may be recommended by their academic advisor and, most importantly, to identify for themselves such additional literature as may be required for their studies. Students might in the first instance wish to consult H Dean, 'Doing projects in social policy', in P Alcock, et al (Eds) The Student's Companion to Social Policy, Fourth Edition, Blackwell, 2012.


Essay (100%, 8000 words) in the ST.

Students in the third year must submit their essay to the Undergraduate Administrator in the first week of ST. The exact date and time will be notified in the LT. It should be typewritten. Precise details on format and presentation will be issued by the Department at the beginning of the third year of study. Candidates may be called for an oral examination if the Examiners wish to satisfy themselves that the essay is the candidate's own work.

Student performance results

(2013/14 - 2015/16 combined)

Classification % of students
First 27.5
2:1 58
2:2 13
Third 0
Fail 1.4

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2015/16: 26

Average class size 2015/16: Unavailable

Capped 2015/16: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information