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Dissertation Presentation

Style of Writing

The writing style of your dissertation must include correct English grammar and spelling. In general the third person should be used (though take care to differentiate between what you have done and what has been done by others). The first person singular (I) should not be used.


Dissertations should be typewritten on A4 (297 x 210 mm) paper with : -

  • Either Single or double sided and using 1.5 line spacing.
  • A margin of at least 35mm on the left hand side, 15mm on right hand side. We recommend 25mm top and bottom and that these latter should contain the header and footers.
  • Page numbering - WMG, and many text books, recommend Arabic (1,2,3) numbering beginning with the first page of the Introduction and that any preliminary pages are numbered using small Roman numerals (i, ii, iii). However, BS 4821:1990 states that all the pages should be numbered in a single sequence beginning with the title page, which should be counted but not numbered. BS 4821:1990 recommends the top outer corner of each page for the location of the page number.
  • The header should contain the chapter heading.
  • Character size should be not less than 2.0 mm for capitals and 1.5mm for lower-case. (e.g. 12 point font, ranging from 12 point Times to 12 point Helvetica)
  • Each chapter should begin on a new page
  • Every figure will have a figure number and title
  • Every table will have a table number and title

Copies must be of good legible quality (although laser printing is NOT mandatory) and margins should allow for photocopying and binding. Please allow sufficient time to format your dissertation appropriately. If you use colour printing you must either ensure that both copies of your dissertation are in colour or that when photocopied in black and white the dissertation is still clear, logical and legible.

Length of Dissertation

There is no strict regulation length for an MSc dissertation.

However, for a 90 CAT project this will normally be expected NOT to be less than 15,000 words and not grossly exceed 20,000 words for the main body. Dissertations of 15,000 words or less would not be failed because of their length but they may be deemed unsatisfactory for failing to introduce issues in the Introduction, failing to cover sufficient breadth and depth in the literature review, insufficient detail to fully describe the methodology, lack of critical analysis, insufficient discussion etc. or any combination of these, or all of these. Dissertations are judged on their quality and not on their length. Additionally, it should also be noted that dissertations that grossly exceed 20,000 words may be penalised for irrelevant content.

In general the Supervisor will advise on the format and content of the dissertation, although if required the Projects Manager or Academic Director of Graduate Studies can also be consulted.

For a 60 CAT project this will normally be expected NOT to be less than 10,000 words, and not grossly exceed 13,000 words for the main body.

You can exclude tables, appendices and references from the word count.

Binding the Dissertation

Two properly bound copies of the dissertation must be submitted; thermal binding is acceptable, ring binding is not. There are no specific requirements regarding the colour of the cover and binding. Softbinding is the cheapest option and is perfectly adequate for our purposes (although you may wish to get one copy of your dissertation hardbound for yourself). Please handwrite (with a marker pen) your surname, first name and student number on the spine of each copy of your softbound dissertation. If you choose to submit hardbound copies to the department, please ask the print company to print your name and ID number on the spine (NB WarwickPrint do not offer this service).