Dissertation in Philosophy

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Marie Milofsky


This course is available on the BSc in Philosophy and Economics, BSc in Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics and BSc in Politics and Philosophy. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.

Course content

The dissertation may be on any topic for which a suitable supervisor in the Philosophy department can be found.

Selection of topic

Candidates should have the subject of their dissertation approved by their supervising member of department.

Arrangements for supervision

The dissertation is an opportunity to do extended independent research and writing and to present this work to one's peers. It should reflect the candidate's own views but must develop out of some established part of the philosophical literature. Students should carefully discuss their topic and approach with their supervisor who will also advise on reading and give feedback on written work. Students must have regular meetings with their supervisor, submit written work regularly, and keep a formal record of their work and progress. Students must also present an early version of their argument to fellow students and will be given feedback on the quality of their presentation as well as on the content of their arguments.


2 hours of seminars in the MT. 20 hours of seminars in the LT.

This year, some or all of this teaching will take place online.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 piece of coursework in the MT and 2 essays, 1 presentation and 1 other piece of coursework in the LT.

The formative coursework sets out several steps towards the dissertation: a literature review (due in MT); a first 2,000 words (due in week 1 of LT), a subsequent 3,000 words (which may be in part a revision of the first 2,000 words), due in week 5 of LT; a presentation of the student's arguments in LT; and a full draft of the dissertation, due in week 11 of LT. All written coursework must be submitted by email to both the student's supervisor and the teacher responsible. Students who fail to submit this coursework on time may be barred from submitting the dissertation. Participation in the weekly seminar and the quality of the presentation will determine 10% of the final mark for the course.


Dissertation (90%, 7000 words) in the ST.
Class participation (10%).

Dissertations must be submitted in May 2021, exact date to be confirmed. They should be 5,000-7,000 words, and should be typewritten.

Student performance results

(2017/18 - 2019/20 combined)

Classification % of students
First 63.2
2:1 31.6
2:2 3.9
Third 0
Fail 1.3

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: Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method

Total students 2019/20: 28

Average class size 2019/20: 14

Capped 2019/20: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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