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Dissertation - the research process

The Taught MA Handbook contains a Dissertation Timeline which sets out the various stages of your research project and when you are expected to reach them. See pp30-31 for details. It is important that all students are familiar with and adhere to these expectations.

Additional support for your research will also be provided by the Dissertations Coordinator (Maxine Berg) through the delivery of the TSM Dissertation Training Programme, which is compulsory for all MA students.

Format: The Basics

  • The dissertation should be typed (or printed), on A4 paper, on one side only.

  • The Table of Contents should list chapters and sections within those chapters.

  • There should be a 4cm (1½-inch) margin at the left-hand side of the page, and an adequate margin on the other three edges.

  • The text of your dissertation should be double-spaced. The footnotes (or endnotes) should, however, be single-spaced.

  • Except for the very first paragraph under a new heading, the first line of every paragraph should be indented. You do not need to add extra spacing between paragraphs: the indentation alone tells the reader that you have begun a new paragraph.

  • Number each page of your dissertation.
  • The dissertation must be anonymous; as shown on page 13 of the Style Guide, the cover sheet should only have your student ID number as a means to identify you.

Comprehensive guidance on the correct formatting of your dissertation, including a sample cover and contents pages, is available in the Style Guide

Word Length

Your dissertation should be 15,000-words long (or 20,000-words long if you are a History of Medicine student). This limit includes all words in the submitted dissertation document, ie your footnotes, bibliography, index, coversheet and any tables and appendices. As stated on p22 of the Taught MA Handbook, 'Marks will be deducted for overlength work (1 mark for every 25 words overlength, or part thereof). You will not penalised for producing underlength work, provided quality is not sacrificed to brevity.'


The two copies of your dissertation must be submitted in a red cover soft binding. This is usually done by Warwick Print. You should upload your dissertation, and then place and pay for your order online. Delivery of your soft-bound dissertation can be made to either the University Bookshop (at no extra cost) or a personal address (for which there will be a charge). Please do not arrange for your dissertation to be delivered to the department.

We recommend that you allow at least three working days for your copies to be produced - please don't leave this until the last minute!


Although extensions for dissertations are not normally authorised, should you need to request one please bear in mind that all extensions need to be approved by the MA Director. Extensions for dissertations may take longer to assess/arrange, and you therefore need to submit your request via Tabula at least five working days before the deadline. Extensions will not be granted after the deadline. Any supporting medical evidence must be uploaded with the request. The process takes a few days and only in exceptional circumstances are extensions approved. Your extension request needs to have been approved (not merely requested) by the deadline; if it has not, you WILL be penalised for late submission.

Submission Deadlines

The deadlines for submitting your dissertation proposal are Friday 23 February 2018 (for full-time students) and Friday 9 November, 2018 (for part-time students)

The deadline for submitting the dissertation itself is noon, Friday 7 September 2018.

Submission Process

Hard copies

Two hard (soft-bound) copies and the email receipt for your Tabula submisssion should be delivered to the Post Graduate Office (H322) by the submission deadline (midday, Friday 7 September). Where it is not possible for hard copies to be delivered in person, they should be posted to the address below, bearing a post mark that pre-dates the midday deadline. They must also be accompanied by a print-out of the Tabula submission receipt as proof of ID.

Rowan MacGregor
History Department
H341, Humanities Building
University of Warwick

Electronic submission

Please follow the normal Tabula submission procedure. In addition to the normal cover sheet, you are required to upload a dissertation submission form confirming your correspondence details for the delivery of your results pack in November (see below), an alternative email address, and your willingness for your dissertation to be photocopied/borrowed. Please ensure that you upload both forms with your dissertation and that all three documents are uploaded as Word documents (NOT PDFs).

Submission by Third Parties

You are expected to submit the bound copies of your dissertations in person; submission by third parties will NOT be accepted unless this has been pre-approved by your MA Course Director, at least two weeks before the submission deadline. It is your responsibility to notify the Postgraduate Coordinator if any such arrangement has been made.

Marks and Feedback

The comments on, and provisional mark for, your dissertation will be communicated via Tabula around six weeks after submission.

When you submit your dissertation, you will be asked for a correspondence address where you can be contacted around November/December 2018, as well as an alternative email address. This is because, after the Exam Board meets in November, one copy of your dissertation and a letter from the department confirming your final marks and degree result will be posted to you. For this reason, please think carefully about the address you provide here; packs will be posted to that address. If you don't yet know where you will be living around that time, please provide an address where mail can be safely received on you behalf (maybe your parents'?).

Please note that final marks and overall awards will not normally be communicated by email - you'll need to wait for your pack to be delivered to the correspondence address you provide.