LL398      Half Unit
Half-Unit Dissertation on an approved legal topic

This information is for the 2020/21 session.


This course is available on the LLB in Laws. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.

This course is available to students in Year 3. It may be taken in Year 2 in exceptional circumstances with permission of the Departmental Tutor. This course cannot be taken in the same year as LL399.

Course content

The half-unit dissertation should be taken in Year 3 but in exceptional circumstances permission may be sought to take it in Year 2.

Students wishing to do either a full or half-unit dissertation should first consult their Academic Mentor in the preceding Summer Term about:

  1. whether a dissertation is a suitable option for the student;
  2. the particular dissertation topic;
  3. who might be an appropriate dissertation supervisor.

Because this option requires considerable independent study, it is generally not advisable to opt to write a full-unit dissertation unless the student has been achieving marks of an upper second class standard. The dissertation subject must be of a suitable academic character that has not already or will not have been explored in depth in any taught course taken by the student but is related to subjects taught in the School.

In light of discussions with their Academic Mentor, a student wishing to pursue this option should approach a potential supervisor for approval. Once they have their supervisor’s approval, students should select the relevant dissertation course on LFY. They will then need to complete the ‘Dissertation topic approval form’ (available on LLB Dissertation Moodle page) which needs to be signed off by the student’s proposed Dissertation Supervisor, Academic Mentor and the Chair of Examinations. This should be submitted to the Law Reception by the end of Week 4 of Michaelmas Term, 16.00.

Including the initial meeting, students will have four support meetings with their supervisor to guide them through the research process as follows:

  1. One initial meeting to establish the broad topic.
  2. A second meeting to agree a title, review an outline and see an initial bibliography.
  3. A third meeting to discuss progress and difficulties (optional for half-unit essays).
  4. A fourth meeting to give feedback on progress to date, to take place before the end of the Lent Term. In order for this feedback meeting to be of use, students will need to have made substantial progress with the preparation of a draft dissertation by the middle of the Lent Term. It is the student’s responsibility to arrange these meetings with the supervisor.

Dissertations are normally submitted on the first day of the Summer Term of the academic session in which the dissertation is being written. There is discretion for an additional oral examination on the subject-matter of an essay which "may extend to cover the wider background aspects of the essay".


1 hour of lectures in the MT.

Beyond the one-to-one sessions held with the dissertation supervisor there is no formal teaching. However, there is a one hour session held in the Michaelmas term for all half-unit and full-unit dissertation students to orient them to the requirements of writing a dissertation.

Indicative reading

There is no essential reading as such, but there is a dedicated moodle site for the LLB dissertation options.


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

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: Law

Total students 2019/20: 2

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Capped 2019/20: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills