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MA Dissertation

Students are required to write a research dissertation of 16,000 words on a topic of special interest. Note that the topic of the dissertation does not have to be directly related to any of the taught modules.

MA in English and Drama students should submit this form even if they have chosen to do one of the alternative dissertations.

Part time students in their first year will apply in their second year.

Dissertation Proposal

To start your application for writing a dissertation, you will need to write a draft proposal, which will include a title and a 500 word brief description of the project. You will then need to seek the approval of your proposal from your preferred supervisor if you wish. You may do this in writing or in person according to the preferences of the supervisor (ask them). After discussion with your supervisor you will (almost certainly) want to improve the proposal with the benefit of their advice.

If you have not yet approached a potential supervisor, please do not worry, just indicate this on your proposal and we will appoint one for you based on the topic detailed, so please ensure you provide full details of the proposed dissertation.

Your proposal (which is only a preliminary proposal at this stage) should meet the following criteria in order to be accepted:

  • Is intellectually viable
  • Is achievable within the stipulated time and word limits
  • Is feasible given the resources
  • Falls within the expertise of members of academic staff

Once you have had your proposal prepared, you can submit this via Tabula.

Please note that your proposal will be considered in the light of the topic and availability of a potential supervisor. There will be a programme of compulsory dissertation training starting in Week 2.

Progress Report Form

In term 3 you must submit a Progress Report. The report consists of a Dissertation plan, which must include the following:

The form and supporting documents must be given to your supervisor by the end of Week 2 of term 3. Your supervisor will submit it, along with a report on your work. The progress reports will be reviewed by the MA Convenor. If there are concerns about progress, the MA Convenor will contact you.

Thereafter, you should see your supervisor on a basis agreed between the two of you. Your supervisor will normally require you to submit written work regularly and will recommend reading as well as assisting you in structuring your project.

Researching and writing

Full Information and guidance on researching, writing and your supervisions can be found in our PGT Handbook:

Modules, Research Methods and Dissertations (  

Supervision for the MA dissertation takes place during terms 2 and 3. While you will also be working on essays due during this time, it’s important to keep working regularly on your dissertation, and especially to make the most of your contact with your supervisor. Because of staff research commitments, direct dissertation supervision finishes at the end of term 3. By this time you should have completed much of your research, finalized your structure and written drafts of the majority of chapters. The writing up period is undertaken during the summer with final submission at the start of September.

Students must communicate with their Supervisor to find out if/when they are taking annual leave in Term 3 and work together to make a plan for supervision during this period.


Please see the PGT Handbook for guidance on submitting your dissertation:

Assessment deadline and submission via TabulaLink opens in a new window

Formatting and word-length policyLink opens in a new window

Below we have included examples of title pages from previous dissertation submissions. All of these submissions achieved a Distinction grade.

image of example dissertation title pageimage of example dissertation title pageimage of example dissertation title page