Dissertation Seminar - Philosophy and Public Policy

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Jonathan Parry


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Philosophy and Public Policy. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

Aim: This course helps students on the MSc in Philosophy and Public Policy develop their philosophical research and writing skills. It clarifies expectations surrounding the MSc dissertation, which is an extended piece of writing that students are expected to complete over the summer. One of the course's main aims is to help student settle for a relevant dissertation topic that they feel comfortable with. 


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

The course starts with a five hour module on argumentative writing in philosophy (weeks 1-5 of MT).  This is followed by discussions of past MSc dissertations, and short student presentations on possible research ideas (weeks 7-11 of MT). During Lent Term, students are required to present their MSc dissertations as work in progress. This course has reading weeks in weeks 6 of MT and LT.

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

Formative coursework

Presentation of own dissertation as work in progress

Optional draft of up to 6000 words due at the end of June  

Indicative reading



This course is not assessed.

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: 34

Average class size 2019/20: 17

Controlled access 2019/20: No

Value: Non-credit bearing

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication