MSc in Sociology Dissertation

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Leon Wansleben STC S208


This course is compulsory on the MSc in International Migration and Public Policy, MSc in Sociology, MSc in Sociology (Contemporary Social Thought) and MSc in Sociology (Research). This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

The dissertation may be on any topic within the field of the MSc programme studied. Approval for the topic must be obtained from the relevant Programme Tutor.


Dissertation Preparation

The candidate should confirm a working title and prepare a brief abstract for their intended dissertation (up to one A4 page, double-spaced, including your name not your candidate number), which should be reviewed with their Academic Advisor no later than the Monday, week 8 of Lent Term. Along with the title and abstract the candidate and Academic Advisor should review and complete the Research Ethics Review Checklist by this same time. These abstracts are the basis for an MSc dissertation Workshop that is organised for each programme. Attendance at this workshop is optional but students are, of course, encouraged to attend.

Dissertation Particulars

The dissertation must be a report of a research project, whether it comprises primary empirical material, secondary empirical material or theoretical/exegetical work on a body of social thought: i.e. there must be an identifiable and clear research question governing the research project; there must be critical reflection on the methods used (including their limits and the reasons why they warrant the kinds of claims made); and substantive analysis of empirical or analytical material. Even where the topic is substantively a literature or policy-review exercise, candidates are expected to offer original reasoned argument and interpretation and to show evidence of a competence in research methods. Guidance on topic selection and methods will normally be provided by the candidate's tutor. The dissertation is primarily a reflection of the candidate's own work and so feedback will not be given on draft versions of the dissertation. The dissertation should reflect the candidate's own views.


Dissertation (100%, 10000 words) post-summer term.

Two hard copies of the dissertation, with submission sheets attached to each, to be handed in to the Administration Office, S116, no later than 16:00 on the 17th of August if you are a full-time student and in the subsequent year if you are a part-time student. An additional copy to be uploaded to Moodle no later than 18:00 on the same day.

Dissertations may be up to and no more than 10,000 words, must be word-processed and be fully referenced using a recognised citation system.

Student performance results

(2012/13 - 2014/15 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 20.2
Merit 60.1
Pass 14.8
Fail 5

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2015/16: 36

Average class size 2015/16: Unavailable

Controlled access 2015/16: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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