The Sociological Dissertation

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Fran Tonkiss STC.S205


This course is compulsory on the BSc in Sociology. This course is available on the BSc in Language, Culture and Society. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.


Students undertaking this course need to have completed the first two years of the BSc in Sociology.

Course content

The dissertation takes the form of an independent and extended research project of 10,000 words on a sociological topic of the students’ choosing, developed in consultation with their Academic Mentor. The dissertation process includes reviewing relevant literature on the topic of study, formulating a viable and sociologically-relevant research problem, collecting and analysing primary and/or secondary data (such as a case study, data set, fieldwork observations, survey results or interviews), and writing up an independent analysis based on this research.

Students’ work on the dissertation is supervised in small-group and individual tutorials with their Academic Mentor over MT and LT.

The Dissertation process is supported by a series of compulsory group workshops in the MT and LT which focus on research project design. The workshops cover topics such as identifying a sociological problem for investigation, constructing a bibliography, research ethics, research access, data collection, data analysis, writing up and trouble-shooting.


7 hours and 30 minutes of seminars in the MT. 7 hours and 30 minutes of seminars in the LT.

Seminars will be structured as follows: 5 x 1.5 hour seminars in the MT. 5 x 1.5-hour seminars in the LT.

In addition, 5 x 1.5-hour small-group tutorials with Academic Mentors in MT. 2 x individual supervisions with Academic Mentors plus drop-in sessions in LT.

Reading Weeks: Students on this course will have a reading week in MT Week 6 and LT Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

Formative coursework

One piece of formative coursework in the MT.


Research proposal (10%) in the MT.
Research project (90%) in the ST.

The research proposal will be in the form of a research project outline.

Assessment Particulars:

Two hard copies of the dissertation, with submission sheets attached to each, to be handed in to the Sociology Hub, STC.S116, no later than 4.00pm on the second Thursday of ST. An additional electronic copy to be uploaded to Moodle no later than 4.00pm on the same day.

Both hard copies and electronic copies must be submitted on time to avoid any late submission penalties.

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.


Attendance at all classes and submission of all set coursework is required.

Student performance results

(2016/17 - 2018/19 combined)

Classification % of students
First 19.4
2:1 62
2:2 14.8
Third 0.9
Fail 2.8

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2018/19: 31

Average class size 2018/19: 12

Capped 2018/19: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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