Government Dissertation Option

This information is for the 2020/21 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, BSc in Politics and Economics, BSc in Politics and History, 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/Politics and History student cannot choose both HY300 and GV390; a BSc Politics and Philosophy student cannot choose both GV390 and PH399; and a BSc Politics and International Relations student cannot choose both GV390 and IR398.

Course content

A dissertation of not more than 10,000 words on a topic to be approved by a proposed dissertation supervisor and the Course Convener. 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 supervisor. Following the dissertation information session organised by the Department in the second year of the students’ curriculum, candidates should approach their academic mentor during the Lent Term or Summer Term of their second year to discuss the possibility of a proposed dissertation topic. After also having received approval for a topic by a prospective supervisor, students must submit a dissertation form detailing the final title and synopsis/prospectus to the Course Convenor for approval. Dissertation approval forms must be submitted no later than the deadline. Please note that any change from what was approved in the dissertation form will require the approval of the dissertation supervisor.

In 2020-21 the deadline for submitting Dissertation Approval Forms will be Wednesday 7th October 2020, MT Week 2.

Students who fail to submit a proposal by the deadline will be unenrolled from the course.


This course provides dissertation-focussed classes totalling 9 hours over the Michaelmas and Lent Terms. This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of online and on-campus classes. There will be a reading week in Week 6 of each term.


Dissertation (100%, 10000 words).

Student performance results

(2017/18 - 2019/20 combined)

Classification % of students
First 42.9
2:1 50
2:2 7.1
Third 0
Fail 0

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2019/20: 37

Average class size 2019/20: 25

Capped 2019/20: 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