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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 Application System

MA Dissertation proposal system

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 2 you must submit a Progress Report - we will contact you when this is due. The report consists of a Dissertation plan, which must include the following:

- Progress Report form

- title and chapter breakdown

- an abstract of 1000 words

- a bibliography

The form and supporting documents must be given to your supervisor by the end of Week 9 of term 2. 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

Supervision for the MA dissertation takes place during term 3. While you will also be working on essays due during this term, 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 in week 11 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.


The following reminders may be useful:

- You must be consistent in the style convention used (preferably either MLA, MHRA or Chicago)

- Footnotes/Endnotes are included in the final word count; the 'Bibliography' is not included in the final word count

- An abstract is not required in the final submission

- A margin of up to 10% over or under length is allowed, but dissertations that are between 10-24% over-length will incur a penalty of 5 marks

- Work that is more than 25% over-length will be refused

- Dissertations are submitted anonymously via Tabula.

Below we have included examples to 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