Government Dissertation Option

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Michael Bruter


This course is available on the BA in Social Anthropology, BSc in History and Politics, BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, BSc in Politics, BSc in Politics and Data Science, BSc in Politics and Economics, BSc in Politics and History, BSc in Politics and International Relations, BSc in Politics and Philosophy and BSc in Social Anthropology. 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 Department of Government 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 2022/3 the deadline for submitting Dissertation Approval Forms will be Tuesday 4 October 2022, 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. 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).

Student performance results

(2019/20 - 2021/22 combined)

Classification % of students
First 37.5
2:1 53.8
2:2 7.5
Third 1.2
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2021/22: 22

Average class size 2021/22: 14

Capped 2021/22: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

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Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills