This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Anne West


This course is compulsory on the BSc in International Social and Public Policy, BSc in International Social and Public Policy and Economics, BSc in International Social and Public Policy with Politics, BSc in Social Policy, BSc in Social Policy and Economics, BSc in Social Policy and Sociology and BSc in Social Policy with Government. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.

Course content

A dissertation of 8,000 words on a topic to be approved by the candidate's Academic Mentor. The dissertation is designed to allow a detailed and thorough exploration of an area of interest to the student. It should be on a topic area within the field of the degree programme; it may involve original fieldwork, or the analysis and appraisal of existing literature.


20 hours of workshops in the MT. 20 hours of workshops in the LT.

Students will be allocated an Academic Mentor who will supervise their dissertation. In addition to individual supervision meetings, there will be seven compulsory workshop sessions in Michaelmas Term to help students plan and structure their work on the dissertation, as well as three optional advice/troubleshooting sessions in Michaelmas Term and seven in Lent Term. In addition, three compuslory presentation sessions will be held in Lent Term: all students will be expected to make a brief presentation on their topic and will receive feedback from staff and peers.  


Formative coursework

Students are required to agree their dissertation title with their Academic Mentor and submit it to the Department no later than Friday of Week 10 of MT.

Indicative reading

Students will be expected to draw extensively from the reading they have undertaken throughout their programme of study.

Suggested reading on conducting research projects in Social Policy: 

H Dean, 'Doing projects in social policy', in P Alcock, et al (Eds) The Student's Companion to Social Policy, Fourth Edition, Blackwell, 2012.

A Bryman, 'The nature and process of social resarch', in Social Research Methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.3-18, 2012.

C Bhatt, 'Doing a dissertation,' in C Seale (ed.) Researching Society and Culture, Third Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, pp.153-78, 2012.

G Thomas, How To Do Your Research Project, Third Edition, London: Sage. 2017.


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

Submission is due in ST  - full deadline details will be confirmed to all candidates. Precise details on format and presentation will be issued by the Department.

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: Social Policy

Total students 2019/20: 34

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

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