Government Dissertation Option

This information is for the 2021/22 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 2021-22 the deadline for submitting Dissertation Approval Forms will be Wednesday 6th October 2021, MT Week 2.

Students who fail to submit a proposal approved by an eligible supervisor by the deadline will be unenrolled from the course. Note that there is no automatic right to change topics or supervisor after the form has been approved and submitted so students should complete it carefully.


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

The teaching involves separate streams for students writing an empirical dissertation and those writing a theory dissertation with students asked to choose which stream they feel will help them most. Four of the six sessions will be taught separately for the two streams whilst two will be common.


Dissertation (100%, 10000 words).

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Student performance results

(2018/19 - 2020/21 combined)

Classification % of students
First 41.4
2:1 49.4
2:2 8
Third 1.1
Fail 0

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 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 differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching 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 2020/21: 43

Average class size 2020/21: 28

Capped 2020/21: 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