MSc in Human Rights Dissertation

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Monika Krause STC S207

The Programme Convenor is responsible for overseeing the Dissertation.


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Human Rights. This course is not available as an outside option.

This course is only available to MSc Human Rights students, and is a compulsory course for students on the programme.

Course content

The dissertation is an extended piece of written work that that is your own independent research investigation of a human rights issue or problem, undertaken with the guidance of your dissertation supervisor. In the dissertation, you will critically appraise evidence, arguments and debates to reach a conclusion your research question.  The key requirement is that the dissertation should demonstrate a high level of independent critical ability. You must show your ability to organise your material clearly and logically and to sustain a reasoned and cogent argument from beginning to end. Where appropriate you should explain clearly the research method(s) that you have applied and the reasons for your choice of approach. You should show awareness of any shortcomings of your study in relation to methods employed and where relevant, quality or quantity of the data, and disciplinary approach.


2 hours of lectures in the MT. 3 hours of seminars in the LT. 2 hour of seminars in the ST

There will be one Introductory lecture in MT for all MSc Human Rights students, on the challenges and requirements of doing independent research for dissertation purposes, and different methodologies available for an inter-disciplinary programme. The Introductory session will also cover fieldwork and research ethics. This will be followed by 5 seminars/workshops in smaller groups, in which students present and discuss possible research questions and strategies, along with preparing dissertation proposal and timeline.

There will be three workshops during MT for ALL MSc students based in the Sociology department. These will be taught in conjunction with LSE Life and programme convenors, and aim to provide some basic guidance about planning your dissertation, such as selecting a suitable topic, reviewing the existing literature, devising a research question and designing a research method.’

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

Students are required to submit a topic proposal at the end of MT and a fuller dissertation proposal at end of LT. During the seminars and in dissertation supervisions, students receive formative feedback on their ideas and research plans.  The summative assessment is the submission of a completed dissertation in August.

Indicative reading

Alan Bryman, Social Research Methods (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004)

Clive Seale, The Quality of Qualitative Research (London: Sage, 1999)

Clive Seale (ed), Researching Society and Culture (London: Sage, 2012)

Howard Becker, Writing for Social Scientists (Chicago:  University of Chicago, 1986)


Dissertation (100%, 10000 words) in August.

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 Thursday 20th of August 2020. 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

(2015/16 - 2017/18 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 21.4
Merit 63.1
Pass 14.4
Fail 1.1

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2018/19: 64

Average class size 2018/19: 17

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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