This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Professor Lucinda Platt


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 and BSc in Social Policy and Sociology. 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 compulsory workshop sessions in Michaelmas Term to help students plan and structure their work on the dissertation, as well as additional optional advice/troubleshooting sessions in Michaelmas Term. In Lent Term there will be compulsory presentation sessions: all students will be expected to make a brief presentation on their topic and will receive feedback from staff and peers. There will also be further optional advice/troubleshooting sessions during the Lent Term.


Formative coursework

Students are required to agree their dissertation title with their Academic Mentor and submit it to the Department at a date which will be set by the Department. 

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 research', 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.


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

Submission is due in ST.  Precise details on date of submission, format and presentation will be issued by the Department.

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.

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: Social Policy

Total students 2020/21: 44

Average class size 2020/21: 7

Capped 2020/21: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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