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3: Assessment


In this section of the Handbook, we will provide information about the assessment methods that are used throughout the degree programme, as well as the various policies and procedures that are in place. You can find details of all policies relating to assessment and feedback on our Assessment and Feedback webpage. In particular, here you will find a link to the Department's Assessment Strategy.

We have always been focused on enhancing teaching and learning. Through the richness of the curricula and syllabi, you are able to develop a range of skills, capacities and capabilities, which are designed to meet the aims and learning objectives of the courses and modules. It is appropriate that different learning objectives are assessed in different ways and this is reflected in a wide variety of types of assessment.

As a Department we are mindful of the different academic backgrounds of our students, particularly those who come to us from outside of the EU. We are aware that the UK higher education system may be very different to systems in which you have previously studied. With this in mind, we do our best to help familiarize you with the academic culture in the UK, particularly around how learning takes place in lectures and classes, approaches to assessment, expected standards of work, marking and plagiarism.

Assessment methods

The assessment methods for each core MSc module are summarised in the table below. Assessment methods for optional modules can be viewed on the relevant module webpageLink opens in a new window.

Name and Code of ModuleAssessment (weight)Exam (weight)

Microeconomics A

Test 1 and 2 (5% each)Three-hour examination (plus 15 minutes reading time) in January (90%)

Microeconomics B

Test 1 and 2 (5% each)

Three-hour examination (plus 15 minutes reading time) in January (90%)

Macroeconomics A

Test 1 and 2 (5% each)

Three-hour examination (plus 15 minutes reading time) in January (90%)

Macroeconomics B

Test 1 and 2 (5% each)
Three-hour examination (plus 15 minutes reading time) in January (90%)
EC902 Quantitative Methods: Econometrics A

Test 1 (4%) and Test 2 (6%) for Introductory Maths and Statistics

Test 3 (10%)

Group project (25%)

Three-hour examination (plus 15 minutes reading time) in May (55%)
EC910 Quantitative Methods: Econometrics B

Test 1 (4%) and Test 2 (6%) for Introductory Maths and Statistics

Test 3 (10%)

Group project (25%)

Three-hour examination (plus 15 minutes reading time) in May (55%)
EC959 DissertationProposal (1000 words) submitted at the end of June (10%) and Dissertation (8,000 words) submitted in September (90%) 
Various EC-coded optional modulesSome modules have assessed courseworkExaminations in May

For MSc BES Economics Track students:

Name and Code of ModuleAssessment (weight)Exam (weight)
Microeconomics A
Test 1 and 2 (5% each)Three-hour examination (plus 15 minutes reading time) in January (90%)
Microeconomics B
Test 1 and 2 (5% each)
Three-hour examination (plus 15 minutes reading time) in January (90%)
EC907 Quantitative Methods: Econometrics A (for MSc BES Economics Track students)

Test 1 (8%) and Test 2 (12%) for Introductory Maths and Statistics

Test 3 (20%)

Two-hour examination in May (60%)
EC987 Quantitative Methods: Econometrics B (for MSc BES Economics Track students)

Test 1 (8%) and Test 2 (12%) for Introductory Maths and Statistics

Test 3 (20%)

Two-hour examination in May (60%)
PS922 Issues in Psychological ScienceThree Class Tests (11% each), Modelling Assignment (67%) 
PS923 Methods and Analysis in Behavioural ScienceTwo Assignments (36% each), Weekly brief assessments (16%), Presentation (12%) 
PS916 ProjectProject (20,000 words) submitted in August (100%) 
Various optional modulesSome modules have assessed coursework Examinations in May

Marking criteria

The pass mark for all MSc modules is 50%. Listed below is the criteria we use in the Department of Economics for marking work on the MSc.


An outstanding piece of work, showing complete mastery of the subject, with an exceptionally developed and mature ability to analyse, synthesise and apply concepts, models and techniques. All requirements of the set work are covered, and work is free from errors. The work demonstrates originality of thought, with strong critical reflection and the ability to tackle questions and issues not previously encountered. Ideas are explained with great lucidity and in an extremely organised manner.


An excellent piece of work, showing mastery of the subject, with a highly developed and mature ability to analyse, synthesise and apply concepts, models and techniques. All requirements of the set work are covered and work is free from all but very minor errors. There is good critical reflection and the ability to tackle questions and issues not previously encountered. Ideas are explained very clearly and in a highly organised manner.


A good piece of work, showing a sound grasp of the subject. A good attempt at analysis, synthesis and application of concepts, models and techniques. Most requirements of the set work are covered, but there may be a few gaps leading to some errors. There is some critical reflection and a reasonable attempt is made to tackle questions and issues not previously encountered. Ideas are explained clearly and in a well organised manner, with some minor exceptions.


A satisfactory piece of work, showing a grasp of major areas of the subject, but probably with areas of ignorance. Analysis, synthesis and application of concepts, models and techniques is mechanical, with a heavy reliance on course materials. The requirements of the set work are covered but with significant gaps. Little or no critical reflection and limited ability to tackle questions or issues not previously encountered. Ideas are explained adequately but with some confusion and lack of organisation.


A failing piece of work. There is a weak attempt at analysis, synthesis and application of concepts, models and techniques. Only some of the requirements of the set work are covered. Inability to reflect critically and difficulty in beginning to address questions and issues not previously encountered. Ideas are poorly explained and organised.

Below 40

A failing piece of work. There are extremely serious gaps in knowledge of the subject, and many areas of confusion. Few or none of the requirements of the set work are covered. The student has failed to engage seriously with the subject and finds it impossible to begin to address questions and issues not previously encountered. The levels of expression and organisation in the work are very inadequate.


Many modules have coursework, which are summative assessments that contribute to your final module mark and define the progress you have made towards the module's learning objectives.


Each piece of work must be submitted by a particular date set by the Postgraduate Office and module leader. You will be given notice of these deadlines; the Department’s guidance to markers specifies a minimum of four term-time weeks between work being set and submitted. It is your responsibility to arrange your own programme and manage your time accordingly. We advise you always to leave a safety margin in case of last-minute difficulties in obtaining books, printing files, IT problems and so on.

Please note that the submission deadlines and test dates can be found in TabulaLink opens in a new window.

Word limit

You should remember that work is judged on quality rather than quantity and word limits must be adhered to. If you feel, however, that you can say what you want to say in fewer words then do so. We do not include a 10% margin above the word count. Excessive length will be penalised, and the marker may ignore any material in excess of the word limit. Module leaders will indicate any exceptions to the standard word limit regulations, such as references. Do not include additional material in the form of lengthy footnotes or appendices unless this is specifically authorised by the coursework assignment.


You must provide a general bibliography at the end of your essay, listing all the works (and people) you consulted when researching the essay. Do not omit any sources. Do not ‘pad out’ the bibliography with works you have not consulted.

Methods of submission

You should submit assessed coursework via electronic submission in Tabula.

You can submit your work electronically up until 12 noon on the deadline day and all work is date-and time-coded. Penalties will be applied to work submitted after this time. You are strongly encouraged to complete e-submission prior to 11:00 on the day of the deadline in order that you can inform us of any problems that may arise. The system can become very busy just before a deadline and neither this, nor computer difficulties will be accepted as a reason for late submission.

It is your responsibility to check carefully that you have uploaded the correct file via e-submission. Failure to upload the correct file will result in a penalty of five marks per day until the correct file is produced. Penalties only accrue on working days (not weekends or public holidays).

Here are some key points to follow to ensure you don't make a mistake:

  • You must ensure your document includes your student ID number, but not your name, as all marking is carried out anonymously. You should also include the final word count.
  • The assignment must be a 100% electronic submission and so any object such as graphs, figures or equations will have to be incorporated into your electronic document.
  • To submit your document online, you will need to create a PDF document. You can download a copy of the free software ‘PDF ConverterLink opens in a new window’ from ITS and follow the instructions. Alternatively, on a Warwick PC go into Software Center and install Power PDF. You will then be able to create a PDF within Word by choosing the Nuance PDF tab and then selecting Create PDF. If you do not have any PDF software installed and can only use the Microsoft Word SaveAs PDF feature you MUST select the options button and then untick ‘Bitmap text when fonts may not be embedded’. If you do not the file will be unreadable and you will be asked to resubmit your work and may receive a late penalty.

  • Name the resultant PDF file as follows: module code-assignment number.pdf. For example EC924-a1.pdf would be the name for your first assignment for EC924 Monetary Economics.
  • Check the final document before uploading to ensure it has been converted accurately.
  • Double check that you are submitting the correct document and that you are submitting it to the correct module/assessment.
  • If you submit more than one document for your assignment these should be submitted simultaneously.
  • You must take care that you have logged into Tabula using your own username and that you are not logged in using a friend's account who has used the computer before you.


You can obtain a short deadline extension of up to 5 University working days for eligible assessed work without the need for evidence. Self-certification may only be used twice in an academic year and groupwork, presentations and tests are not eligible. You can view the full list of eligible assessments on our Self CertificationLink opens in a new window webpage. Please be aware that you can only apply for 1 self-certification per assessment and you can only self-certify a maximum of 5 days in advance of the assessment submission date.

You should submit your request using the personal circumstances portal in Tabula. If you make a request, you will be given a 5 working days extension to all eligible assessment deadlines that fall within the self-certification period. Further guidance on how to use the portal can be found on the self-certifyLink opens in a new window webpage. You can continue to request extensions on specific assignments using the specific extension procedure explained in the next section.

Specific deadline extensions

To seek a specific extension for assessed work you must make a request in TabulaLink opens in a new window via the Coursework Management portal. Please email opens in a new window if you have any difficulties. The Programme Manager will authorise all extension requests for modules delivered by the Department of Economics. If you are taking an external module that does not use Tabula coursework management, then please submit a Mitigating Circumstances claim in Tabula and we will liaise with the delivering department. Students taking external modules who do not wish to disclose information outside their home department may contact their home department to request support for a specific extension request. Further details about mitigating circumstances for examinations are given in the Examinations section of the Handbook.

Any requests for extensions should be made in a timely manner and ideally by the assessment deadline. Requests must be supported by evidence, which should be submitted within 5 working days of making your request. Evidence that is in any other language than English must be accompanied by an official translation. Should there be an unexplained delay of more than one week before submitting your evidence we may not be able to agree to your extension request.

Extensions are not available for technological difficulties — you should anticipate that your hard drive will crash, your work will be destroyed by a virus, or that your laptop will get stolen. Make sure you back up to One Drive or your network disk space. Do not store your backup with your computer and definitely not in your laptop bag. Note also that extensions will not be granted on the basis of a student being in hotel quarantine, full- or part-time employment, or undertaking a summer internship. For assessments that are spread out over a long period of time, such as dissertations, there is an expectation that almost every student will encounter some difficulties in their lives during this period. As a result, it is anticipated that you will handle these situations without impacting on your final submission. Thus, low-level and short-term illnesses will not be considered as a basis for an extension for this type of work.

Mitigation for tests and waivers

If you experience technical difficulties within the window of a test then you should contact the Postgraduate OfficeLink opens in a new window to see if the problem can be resolved. If the problem cannot be resolved then you should submit a mitigation application through your personal circumstances records on Tabula.

Please do not contact your personal tutor, or any member of academic staff with this information. The Department will not accept screen shots of your answers as a substitute for the official submitted answer sheet though the platform upon which the test is delivered. Examples of technical mitigating circumstances and evidence requirements are given in the table below.

The Department cannot grant an extension to a test or reschedule the date of any test. If you are unable to take a test, or your illness is of such long duration that it prevents you from submitting a piece of work within an appropriate extension, please submit an application for mitigating circumstances in Tabula with supporting evidence.

Please note that requests made to condone absences from tests due to attendance at an interview or an assessment centre will not normally be accepted, unless there is clear evidence that the interview could not be postponed. We expect you to make clear to potential employers who may invite you to attend interviews and assessment centres that you have certain commitments throughout the academic year, and that attending tests is a compulsory part of your course.

If your mitigation is accepted, and your application is for a failed piece of assessed work with a credit weighting of 3 credits or less, then the assessment may be waived. The overall module mark will be calculated as a weighted average of the remaining components. The cumulative total of waived assessments can not be more than 6 credits for the academic year. If your home department is not Economics, after you have applied through the Personal Circumstances section on Tabula, your home department must inform the Department of Economics whether your mitigating circumstances have been accepted.

If the credit weighting of the failed work is more than 3 credits, then the claim for mitigating circumstances will be considered by the Exam Board. You may be permitted a further opportunity to sit or resit a failed module, or the assessment may be discounted for the purpose of degree classification if there is evidence of severe mitigation and the assessment is not more than 30% of the weighted degree credit.

The Department of Economics defines technical mitigating circumstances as those events which are you of your control; this might include (but is not limited to):

Mitigating EventEvidence Required
Loss of internet connectionDetailed timeline and description of events and screen shot of internet connection error message or IT Network Activity report.
Slow internet connectionDetailed timeline and description of events and internet test screen shot (taken within 1 day of event) OR departmental record of logging concerns relating to internet speed.
Examination submission system issues e.g., unable to accept file type or size, other file upload error, incorrect link or other information providedDetailed timeline and description of events and screenshot of file upload error message or IT upload data report.
Failure of computer or scanning equipmentDetailed timeline and description of events and screenshot, photograph or detailed description of equipment and when it was last known to be working.
Building related incidents (power cut, fire alarm, flood)Detailed timeline and description of events and photographs of event taken at the time e.g., being outside the building due to a fire alarm, building works having caused a flood etc.
Access issues to test delivery systemDetailed timeline and description of events and copy of emails or delivery system queries from the time of the test showing steps taken to resolve issues.

Late submission or failure to submit

Work submitted late will be marked subject to a penalty, unless an assessment deadline extension has previously been approved. All work submitted late (after 12.00 noon on the due date) will incur a five-mark penalty per day (not including weekends, University closure days and public holidays) with a minimum mark of zero for an assessment. Late work must be submitted by the original method of submission for that particular module.

For work that is submitted electronically, do not leave it too close to the last minute. Penalties cannot be removed in situations where the network was busy around the time of the submission deadline. You must also check your submitted work. If you initially submit the wrong document and either you or the marker identifies this, you can still submit the correct one, but a late penalty will be applied as detailed above. Penalties cannot be adjusted if you or we later find that you have submitted a wrong file or a corrupted document. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are submitting the correct assignment to the correct link by the deadline. For problem sets, where solutions are discussed in module Support and Feedback classes immediately after submission, any late submissions will receive a mark of zero.

A zero mark will be recorded when a candidate fails to present themselves for a test or submit an item of assessment for a module for which they have been registered.


A percentage mark will be awarded and recorded on each piece of assessed coursework. All marks that contribute towards degree credit are moderated across the range of marks and across the first markers. Usually this involves taking a preliminary sample, then sampling more thoroughly where the preliminary sample indicates discrepancies. The agreed marks remain provisional until confirmed by the Exam Board. Thus, you are told your marks on a provisional basis. Due to moderation, the mark on your assessment may not be the same as the mark on Tabula. The mark on Tabula is your final moderated mark.

Marks for all assessed work will be returned to you within 20 University working days of the submission deadline/test date through Tabula. Please note that this excludes weekends and other days when the University is closed. You will receive a notification when your mark is available in Tabula. All assessment and examinations marks are only provisional and will not become finalised until after the Exam Board. The 20 University working day deadline does not apply to exam marks, dissertation marks and some final coursework assessments.

Querying of assessed work marks

University regulations state that you may not query a mark awarded on a piece of assessed work or examination on the basis of academic judgement. We will reject any requests by students to have their work reviewed on the basis that they disagree with the marker’s evaluation of their performance. You are entitled to approach the module leader or lecturer to discuss your performance in the assessment, but not to lobby for a re-mark. We will, however, allow a student who believes that the marks for a piece of work in a module run by the Department of Economics have been totalled incorrectly, to request an arithmetic check on the paper. The Department has the right, after such an arithmetic check, to adjust the mark upwards or downwards.

Should you wish to request an arithmetic check of your marks for an assessment, please complete an Assessed Work Mark Check formLink opens in a new window and submit it, together with the marked copy of the assessed work in question, to the Postgraduate Office within seven working days of the date the assessment feedback was published.

We will then carry out a check of the marks. If no discrepancy is found, you will be advised of this. You will be advised that there is no right to a further check or questioning of marks. Should a discrepancy be discovered, we will calculate the correct mark for the work and adjust this on our systems. You will then be contacted to collect your work, which will have the corrected mark annotated on it.

Feedback on your assessed work

Learning is a dynamic process and feedback plays an important role in helping you to develop your knowledge and build confidence in your own abilities. Therefore, our aim is to provide you with as much feedback as is reasonably achievable, given the volume of students taught on any module. The Department takes very seriously the provision of feedback on assessed work. We are sensitive to the importance of this and have mechanisms in place to enhance the quality of the feedback on assessed work.

You will receive a written evaluation of your coursework on a range of relevant criteria including comprehension, analysis, critique and presentation. You may also receive written comments in the margins of your work. These should enable you to understand the basis of the mark you have been given and how you may improve your work in the future. You will also find the mark you received on Tabula.

Where relevant, the lecturer will provide generic feedback about what was expected, together with reflections on what students typically did well or where they might have struggled. You may also be provided with a mark distribution for the assessment (modules with 40 or more students).

Occasionally, you will receive paper feedback on your work. The Postgraduate Office will announce days/times for the collection of specific pieces of assessed work. The Department does not accept responsibility for work which is not collected by students within four term-time weeks of its being made available for collection.

If you are not satisfied with the quality of the feedback you have received, you should approach the module lecturer or tutor. However, prior to doing this, you must be able to demonstrate that you have reviewed your personal feedback, and any generic feedback, and reflected on both through re-reading your work. You are also advised to make use of Advice and Feedback hours to further discuss your feedback, noting, however, that markers are not permitted to re-read your assessment. If you still need more information, go to the Postgraduate Office, who will forward your request for more feedback to the Director of Graduate Studies (Taught Degrees).

Other types of feedback

There are many channels through which we aim to give feedback other than at the point of returning assessed work. Here are some of the different ways in which we provide you with feedback throughout your MSc course:

Solutions: Formative assessments (e.g., quizzes, tests and problem sets) may have a set of written solutions, which you should use to work back over the questions and learn from any mistakes.

Support and Feedback Classes: These feedback sessions are a prime opportunity to ask questions and generate discussion. Most classes are based on exercises or problem sets which should be prepared in advance. Time during classes is given to working through answers so that you can see what you did well and what less well. The solutions/guidance provided in class are an invaluable source of feedback. We try to keep the number of students in a class as small as possible so that each student’s needs can be accommodated.

Advice and Feedback Hours: These are an opportunity for you to meet with your lecturers and tutors on a one-to-one basis and receive invaluable feedback and guidance or simply discuss interesting topics.

Email: Tutors and lecturers are accessible by email to receive and respond to individual questions. Lecturers are often available at the end of lectures to respond to questions.

Past student performance: The performance of previous cohorts is given on each module webpageLink opens in a new window.

This academic year, online Forums hosted on Moodle will also be used by lecturers and tutors to engage into different discussion topics thus providing additional feedback throughout your learning journey.

If you wish to have feedback on more general issues beyond module-specific questions, feedback can be obtained from a variety of sources, including the Postgraduate Office, the Director of Graduate Studies (Taught Degrees), the Director of Student Engagement and Progression (PGT), or your Personal Tutor.

Feedback and concerns

We want to reassure you that the marking and moderation for all our assessments is fair, consistent, robust and reliable and hence give you confidence that when you receive a mark, the mark has been arrived at following a detailed and rigorous process.

If you have any concerns or feedback about the assessment process, then please contact the Programmes Manager in the first instance. Please see Section 5 for further information on your feedback to us and raising concerns.

Academic Integrity

What is academic integrity?

Academic integrity means committing to honesty in academic work, giving credit where we've used others' ideas and being proud of our own achievements

The Department follows the Academic Integrity FrameworkLink opens in a new window approved by the University. Students should ensure they are familiar with this, and with Regulation 11Link opens in a new window, which governs academic integrity.

A breach of academic integrity is called 'academic misconduct'. This this term can include deliberate cheating, which Warwick's regulations define as 'an attempt to benefit oneself or another, by deceit or fraud... [including] reproducing one's own work or the work of others without proper acknowledgement'. However, a breach of academic integrity can occur inadvertently, for example due to being in a rush to complete an assignment, or by not checking what’s expected.

Misconduct includes:

    • Plagiarism. Presenting someone else’s work or ideas as your own;
    • Self-plagiarism. Submitting the same work that you have already submitted for another assessment, unless this is permitted;
    • Taking a copy of another student’s work without their permission;
    • Passing someone your work to use as they see fit.
    • Collusion. Working with one or more other people on an assessment which is intended to be your own work;
    • Contract cheating. Where someone completes work for you, whether for remuneration or not, which is then submitted as your own (including use of essay mills or buying work online);
    • Arranging for someone else to impersonate you by undertaking your assessment or examination, in person or otherwise;

      • Accessing, or attempting to access, unseen assessment materials in advance of an in-person or online examination, or to obtain or share unseen materials in advance of an in-person or online examination, or to facilitate such activities;
      • Submitting fraudulent mitigating circumstances claims or falsifying evidence in support of mitigating circumstances claims (this may also be considered a non-academic disciplinary matter);

      • Fabrication or falsification of research, including falsifying data, evidence or experimental results;
      • Presenting someone else’s work or ideas as your own.

      What is plagiarism?

      It is important for you to avoid the suspicion of plagiarism in your assessed work. It is not plagiarism to cite without attribution ideas and theories that have passed into the public domain. The more widely you read and research your coursework, the quicker and better you will know what is and is not in the public domain, and the more safely you will be able to determine what can go without a supporting reference. You should ensure that you complete the tutorial developed by the Library on Avoiding PlagiarismLink opens in a new window. You may also access a brief video on plagiarismLink opens in a new window prepared by the Department.

      The best way is to ensure that you adhere to good practice, represented by the rules for references and citations. Usually this means that when you first take notes from a book or article you should be careful to preserve the details of author, title, date, and page numbers. Such precision is an important transferable skill in itself, and shows that you are acquiring a professional approach.

      Students who lack confidence in writing sometimes prefer copying or quoting from the textbook to expressing ideas in their own words. Why should they use their own words when somebody else’s words are better? Such students do not intend to cheat. They escape serious consequences by scattering quotation marks and references, sometimes, in large quantities. The marker is uneasy because it is not clear that the student has done more than a bit of intelligent cutting and pasting. It is impossible to be sure that the student has an independent understanding of the topic. Such work may pass, but will not get a good mark.

      Copying or paraphrasing lecture notes or online sources, even with quotation marks and citations, is something we would especially discourage. When you copy from a published source at least you have the security of knowing that the work that you are copying has been scrutinised by referees (of academic journals) and reviewers (of books). Lecture notes are not subject to independent scrutiny and have no such guarantees of quality. Notes provided by lecturers, or eventually online sources, should be only a starting point of your research, not your finishing point. Again, work based on lecture notes and/or online sources will not get a good mark.

      Some other tips for avoiding plagiarism are:

      • Identify which key sources you may need to read and reference in good time before you start your assessment
      • Always be honest in your bibliography or literature review – it’s often the first place markers look when they start reading your assignment. It will also help you identify gaps in your own preparation if you only include sources you have genuinely consulted.
      • Read widely, and consult scholars who disagree with each other on theories or ideas and decide where you stand on the topic in question; just be sure to demonstrate how the existing literature has informed your writing, even if you come to your own conclusions
      • Don’t be afraid to use your own words – you’ll learn more, find your own voice as a writer, and your work will be more interesting to read. Just make sure you reference each theory and concept as well as each quotation, and be careful not to paraphrase or to stitch others’ ideas together as your own.
      • Organise and structure your work in your own way, this will help you develop your thinking and research on the subject and avoid inadvertently replicating others’ lines of argument or discussion

      Academic Referencing

      When to acknowledge sources

      One of the most important skills to develop is a recognition of when you need to acknowledge a source. You should do this:
      • when you quote directly using other people’s words. Text taken directly from someone else must always be in quotation marks. You are strongly advised to avoid this practice, which, if done repeatedly demonstrates only copy-paste skills. Use your own words to show knowledge and understanding of the material
      • when you paraphrase the ideas, arguments or theories of others, including lecture material in your own words
      • when you use evidence from the work of others to support your own arguments
      • when you rework published data or use it as the basis of your own calculations
      • when you include charts, tables and diagrams produced by other people. If the source you have taken the material from has copied it from someone else, you must reference both the original author and the source you have used yourself
      • when you reuse material that comes from work you have previously submitted for assessment whether at Warwick or elsewhere

      In each of these cases you need to incorporate a specific citation into the text or tables of your coursework. You must also include the source in your bibliography, but it’s not enough just to include the source in a bibliography or list of references at the end.

      Any textbooks you do use should be included as a reference in your bibliography at the end of your coursework. However, you do not need to give references for ideas and theories which have passed into the public domain and appear in any number of textbooks: for example “Economic theory suggests that demand curves for normal goods are negatively sloped.” The same logic means that you can refer to a vacuum cleaner as a hoover, even if it is made by Panasonic or Miele, because the Hoover Corporation failed to register its name as a trademark before it entered the public domain.

      Further guidance is provided in the Moodle course Introduction to Referencing.

      How to acknowledge sources

      There are many possible forms of citation. The one we favour takes the form of abbreviated references in the text (rather than footnotes or endnotes) coupled with a list of references with full detail at the end. Each text reference is limited to the author's last name, date of publication and page reference. Some examples:

      (1) According to Howlett (1994, p. 3), the need for rapid mobilisation is a crucial reason why market institutions may not sufficiently adjust the allocation of resources to wartime priorities.

      (2) The original application of rational expectations to macroeconomics is usually attributed to Lucas (1972).

      (3) One theory argues the first industrial revolution occurred in Britain due to a unique combination of factor prices (Allen 2009).

      Avoid the use of footnotes to add extra comments and asides. If what you need to say matters it should go in the main text. If it doesn’t belong in the text, leave it out. If you are required to or choose to use footnotes as the means of referencing, you should include the full reference in the footnote, as well as in the bibliography.

      Creating a bibliography

      Complete references belong at the end of the essay. These should contain precisely those articles and books that you cite in the text, no more and no less. In particular, markers will be alert to you including references to sources that you have not used and have only listed to make your bibliography appear larger.

      Your references might comprise books, chapters and journal articles, alphanumerically by author's last name and publication date, with the book title or journal title underlined or in italics, and article or chapter titles in quotation marks. The principle here is that it’s the library catalogue entry that gets italicised or underlined. Place of publication and publisher are optional for University coursework though not if you aspire to publishable scholarship. Note that if
      you cite articles or chapters you should also give first and last page numbers. For the above examples:

      Howlett, W.P. (1994). “The Wartime Economy, 1939-1945.” In Floud, R., and McCloskey, D., eds, The Economic History of Britain Since 1700. 2nd edn, vol. 3, 1-31.

      Lucas, R.E. (1972). “Expectations and the Neutrality of Money.” Journal of Economic Theory, vol. 4, 103-24.

      Allen, R. The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

      For further guidance on reference style, consult a well-known economics journal such as the Economic Journal.

      Common pitfalls in academic referencing

      Citations and references can be misused. Here are some points on which to take care.

      • An essay is an exercise in writing, not in using other people’s words. This means that, unless something is extremely effective, you should not quote. You can summarise the thoughts of others, but make sure that the writing is your own style. We want to know what you think.
      • Do not use citations as a substitute for argument. What gives your argument authority is logic and evidence, not the number of scholars you can find who agree with you, so don't pad the bibliography with material you haven't used. It will not impress the marker. The marker does want to know that you have read widely, but to read widely without understanding benefits no one. Using large quantities of references can sometimes actually signal to the marker that you do not really grasp the topic in detail. Use references selectively as proof of your good faith as a scholar, not to batter down disagreement or bury points of difficulty.
      • Only cite what you yourself have used. For example, you may read something that itself refers to another source. Thus Gordon (1998), Macroeconomics, p. 490, discussing excess volatility in aggregate consumption, refers to an article by Marjorie Flavin (1981) in the Journal of Political Economy.

      Suppose the point matters to your essay. Whom do you cite: Flavin or Gordon? If you cite only Flavin it makes you look good: here’s a student who seems to have gone into the subject in depth. But you run the risk of making an inappropriate citation: you have to trust Gordon; was his purpose in making the citation really the same as yours? The correct form is “Flavin (1981), cited by Gordon (1998, p. 490)”. That makes Gordon, not you, responsible should the citation prove incorrect or inappropriate. Better still, if the point really matters, go to the original reference and read it yourself. Then you can cite it confidently without risk of being caught out.

      It is particularly important to note when a table, chart or diagram has been reused by someone you are citing. You must include reference to the source you used but also show that the author themselves took the material from someone else.

      Academic misconduct or poor academic practice?

      Warwick distinguishes between academic misconduct and poor academic practice. Academic misconduct is defined as follows:

        Academic misconduct are acts or omissions by a student which give or have the potential to give an unfair advantage  in an  examination or assessment, or might assist someone else to gain an unfair advantage, or an activity likely to  undermine the  integrity essential to scholarship and research. (Regulation 11)

       Academic misconduct requires the intention to obtain an unfair advantage, or knowingly engaging in a behaviour  that has  the potential to give an unfair advantage, irrespective of whether such advantage is actually obtained. (Regulation 11)

      Poor academic practice is less serious than academic misconduct, but should be avoided nonetheless:

       Poor academic practice is the failure to observe principles of academic integrity. It typically (but not exclusively) occurs  when referencing is inadequate, but not in a way suggesting that the student attempted to gain an unfair advantage.  (Regulation 11)

       Poor academic practice should be used where the extent of plagiarism or other misconduct is limited. It can be used  in  particular at earlier stages of a student’s degree, when they might only have an imperfect understanding of the principles of  academic integrity. It can be found, e.g., where a student has referenced the material used but not indicated that it is a  verbatim quote. (Guidance on Regulation 11)

       There is no penalty for poor academic practice: marks are not deducted, instead work is assessed under the marking criteria  (e.g., the University Marking Scales have an implicit expectation in respect of good academic practice).  (Regulation 11)

      Should poor academic practice be identified in your work, the Department will provide you with resources to help you to improve on your academic practice skills. Please also see the section on Academic Referencing in this Handbook.

      Student collaboration and academic integrity

      Discussing your work with your colleagues can be a positive and fruitful learning experience. Often it is enhanced by showing your colleagues what you have done. However, there is no good reason for another student to ask to borrow a file on which your essay, project work or exam scripts are recorded. If your work is copied by another student, and the copying is detected, you lay yourself open to accusations of abetting or colluding with their academic misconduct, or even of engaging in academic misconduct yourself. The same risk of suspicion of academic misconduct will occur if you do not use the material yourself but pass it on to a third person, because without your involvement the academic misconduct would not have been able to take place.

      Collaboration, or working cooperatively with other students, is an excellent way of acquiring knowledge. Teamwork enables you to cover material more quickly and more efficiently. Having to explain things to others clarifies them and fixes them in your mind and can be an important part of your learning experience. But collaboration can give rise to concerns. Sometimes students fear that collaboration may lead to accusations of plagiarism, in the sense of passing off others’ work as your own.

      We think there is a clear distinction between the cooperative acquisition of knowledge and the copying of another’s work and submitting it as your own. You may discuss an assignment with classmates, but you should always use your own words when working on an individually submitted piece of work. If you find yourself in a situation where cooperation with another student has become so close that you find yourselves working towards a joint result, discuss it with your tutor before submitting your work.

      In terms of collaboration during University exams and tests, whether online or in-person, this is strictly forbidden. You should not engage in any contact of any kind with third-parties, including other students, while the exam or test window is open. This includes, but is not limited to: telephone conversations, instant messaging, text messaging, group messaging and email messages. Making contact with others to discuss a University exam or test during an exam or test window is a form of academic misconduct. You should also not share your previous exam/test scripts with other students, or use exam/test scripts obtained from other students in your assessed or examined work.

      How we investigate suspected breaches of academic integrity

      Here is a summary of our Departmental academic integrity procedure:

      (1) Where a marker decides that they suspect academic misconduct in a piece of assessed work, they will report it to the module leader and an initial discussion will take place between the marker and the module leader. Where academic misconduct is suspected by an invigilator or other member of University staff in an in-person, or online, examination, the Invigilator will raise their concerns with the student and inform them that a report of suspected academic misconduct will be made to the Head of the Department.

      (2) Should the module leader (in the case of a piece of assessed work) or Head of Department (in the case of an examination) confirm that there is a suspicion of academic misconduct, they will refer the case to Academic Integrity Lead for Economics who will determine whether the case should be investigated. Should the module leader or Head of Department determine that the student's work is showing poor academic practice but not academic misconduct, they will refer back to the marker or module leader for the work to be marked and to provide the student with guidance and advice on how to improve their academic practice.

      (3) Should academic misconduct be suspected, an Academic Conduct Panel (ACP) will be convened in Economics, which comprises one of the Assessment, Feedback and Academic Integrity team as Chair, plus at least one other member of academic staff, and the Assistant Programmes Manager. The student will be invited to attend this Panel, along with a student-nominated representative for support, if desired, and/or to submit a statement. The Panel will consider the evidence gathered, including the student's written statement and/or verbal statement.

      (4) The ACP will consider whether the case constitutes: (i) poor academic practice, (ii) academic misconduct or (iii) neither academic misconduct or poor academic practice.

      (5) In the case of (i), guidance will be provided by the Module Leader to the student to help them improve on their academic practice and referencing.

      (6) In the case of (ii), the ACP will make a report (including any additional evidence or statements) and a recommendation as to the appropriate sanction to the Head of Department (or their Deputy). The Head of Department will review all of the evidence and agree with the recommendation or make their own determination, which may include referral to the Academic Registrar.

      (7) The student will be written to and informed of the outcome and any applicable sanction, they will be provided with a copy of the report.

      (8) The student may either accept the sanction or may request, within ten University Working Days of being informed by the Head of Department of the sanction, that the case be referred to the Academic Registrar to be considered by a University-level Academic Integrity Committee (AIC).

      (9) If, at (6) the Head of Department decides to refer the case upwards, it will be heard by an University-level AIC.

      (10) The AIC will decide whether there is a case to be heard, and if so, a meeting will be convened, to which the student and their chosen representative will be invited.

      (11) The student will receive the decision of the AIC in writing after the meeting;

      (12) The student has the right of appeal against either the decision of the AIC or the sanction applied.

      Please note that the level of proof required for suspected academic misconduct to be found proven or not proven is the civil standard ‘the balance of probabilities’, that is, on the basis of the available evidence it is more likely than not that the student committed academic misconduct.

      Consequences of breaches of academic integrity

      Breaches of academic integrity are damaging. They damage the perpetrator, who does not learn how to be an economist, but learns how to be dishonest. It damages relations between tutors and students, because it generates suspicion. It damages all students when they leave, because the perpetrator will eventually devalue the reputation of a Warwick degree. It damages all academic staff, who have to spend time policing the rules in place of teaching and research.

      Breaches of academic integrity are regularly detected and penalised and the penalties are severe. The policies are strict even if it’s the first time your work has not met standards of academic integrity: here are some of the possible consequences:

      The University makes the following sanctions available to an Academic Conduct Panel:

      (i) A reduction in mark for the assessed work to reflect the impact of the academic misconduct. The mark may be reduced down to zero;

      (ii) Require re-submission of the original work with revised referencing, for a capped mark;

      (iii) Require re-submission of a new piece of work for a reduced or capped mark.

      In addition to those above, an Academic Integrity Committee may impose the following sanctions:

      (i) Determine that the student’s previous work, for which credits had already been accumulated, is to be investigated for academic misconduct by the student’s home department;

      (ii) Recommend to the Academic Registrar that the student be withdrawn from the University, either for a temporary period or permanently under Regulation 36;

      (iii) Determine that a student shall have no right to resubmit, or remedy failure with respect to, the piece or pieces of work in respect of which the case was referred to the AIC.

      Academic Integrity Advice and Support

      The University provides comprehensive guidance on academic integrity and links to resources on the Academic Integrity website.Link opens in a new window

      If you have any questions on this, you should seek advice in good time from either the module leader, your module tutor, or your Personal Tutor. For advice on the Department's Academic Integrity Procedure, please refer to the Assistant Programmes Manager on opens in a new window. There is also a a department Academic Integrity pageLink opens in a new window, where you will find further information and guidance.

      Dissertation guidelines for MSc Economics and MSc Economics and International Financial Economics


      The main aim of the dissertation is to encourage independent study and to provide a foundation for future original research. In terms of learning, the dissertation should provide you with a number of research skills, including the ability to:

      1. Define a feasible project allowing for time and resource constraints;
      2. Develop an adequate methodology;
      3. Make optimal use of library resources;
      4. Access data bases, understand their uses and limitations and extract relevant data;
      5. Work without the need for continuous supervision.

      Topic selection and allocation of supervisors

      Your first task is to determine your dissertation topic and possible supervisor. Topics will be suggested by module lecturers, especially on the optional modules, and by members of faculty. In the Spring Term you will have Research Methods lectures that explicitly direct you to sources of inspiration. Alternatively, you may already know the topic you wish to pursue. A word of advice: it is critical that you choose a topic that you are really interested in and not something that you think sounds good.

      Stage 1

      Information on potential supervisors will be made available in a spreadsheet, which gives you a list of all supervisors available for 2022-2023, along with their main areas of interest and their suggested dissertation topics. Alternatively, you can browse the staff personal web pages for information, or approach members of staff directly with your research ideas.

      Students need to approach their potential supervisor and confirm supervision with them in writing (an email is sufficient). Note that supervisors will only be able to accept a limited number of students each. If you have a preferred tutor in mind approach them early with a clear idea of a topic you would like to pursue to avoid disappointment.

      Once you have decided on a topic you should go to the online form on the dissertation webpage. On this form, you are asked to indicate:

      (i) your thesis title, and

      (ii) a short (max 200 words) description of your planned research.

      (iii) your dissertation supervisor (if you have reached an agreement with a supervisor).

      The deadline for submitting this form is 12.00 noon on Tuesday 4 April 2023 (week 27).

      Stage 2

      If you have not made an agreement with a supervisor then you will be asked to sign up for one of the remaining supervisors on Tabula, and the slots will be filled on a first-come first-served basis. You will be notified of the date and time for doing this by email.

      By the start of week 34 of the Summer Term, i.e. Monday 22 May 2023 (week 34), all students will be allocated supervisors.

      Changes in title must be agreed with the supervisor. A request for a change in supervisor must be made directly to the Director of Graduate Studies (Taught Degrees). Changes will only be made if both original and new supervisor agree.

      Timetable for Summer Term

      Tuesday 4 April 2023 (week 27) - 12.00noon

      Deadline for submission of proposed title of dissertation and prospective supervisors online formLink opens in a new window.

      Monday 22 May 2023 (week 34)

      MSc dissertation supervisors announced.

      Wednesday 31 May 2023 (week 35)

      Deadline for submitting ethical scrutiny form (if applicable).

      Monday 5 June - Fri 16 June 2023 (weeks 36/37)

      During this period supervisors will arrange for all supervisees to give short presentations of their ideas in a group session.

      Monday 26 June 2023 (week 39)

      Deadline for submitting Dissertation Proposal by e-submission.

      Monday 11 September 2023 (week 50)

      Dissertation submission deadline for MSc in Economics and MSc in Economics and International Financial Economics.

      Monday 4 March 2024 (week 23)

      Dissertation submission deadline (for resit candidates).

      The role of the supervisor

      The role of the supervisor is:

      • To advise you on the feasibility of your chosen topic and ways of refining it;
      • To provide some references to the general methodology to be used;
      • To provide general guidance to the literature review and analysis of the chosen topic.

      Supervision will take place mainly or entirely during the summer term. This means that both you and your supervisor need to use the time efficiently. The role of the supervisor during the summer term is to help you develop your dissertation proposal and then to mark and provide feedback on your proposal. During the summer vacation the expectation is that you will be working independently, and your supervisor’s role will be to read and make some comments on a final draft of your work.

      Additional support to develop research skills

      In the Spring Term and Summer Terms we run Research Methods lectures and workshops to equip you with the necessary skills required for research and help to prepare you for your dissertation. The weekly sessions will explain the dissertation process, how to select your topic, what makes a good dissertation, how to complete literature reviews and identify your data. We will continue to build on you skills in econometrics packages with a session on STATA. A Library dissertation training session will explain available resources and how to access databases. A detailed schedule for the lectures and workshops will be announced in the Spring Term.

      We provide weekly surgeries run by PhD students in the summer term and vacation to help answer queries about your topic and deal with software and econometric problems. Full details of this facility will be circulated in week 34 of the Summer Term.


      It is very important that you identify appropriate data source(s) for your dissertation if you are doing an empirical topic, and you should discuss the availability of sources with your supervisor an early stage.

      Some organisations will only supply data on the condition that it would be stored on the Department's secure servers and that the Department would take legal responsibility for it. Unfortunately, the Department is unable to meet these conditions, and in this situation, you would need to use an alternative data source.

      Please also be aware that the Department does not typically pay for data sets or cover other costs relating to MSc dissertation data collection (for example, surveys). Therefore, please identify data that are already available or can be acquired free of change. Our Economics Academic Support Librarian is happy to help you find the information you need for your research, show you how to use specific resources, or discuss any other issues you might have.

      Ethical scrutiny

      At Warwick, any research, including dissertations for Masters degrees, that involves direct contact with participants, through their physical participation in research activities (invasive and non-invasive participation, including surveys or personal data collection conducted by any means), that indirectly involves participants through their provision of data or tissue, or that involves people on behalf of others (e.g. parents on behalf of children), requires ethical scrutiny.

      Note that your research does not require ethical scrutiny if it does not involve direct or indirect contact with participants. For example, most research involving previously existing datasets where individual-level information is not provided, or where individuals are not identified, or using historical records, does not require ethical scrutiny, and this is likely to include most research conducted in the Department. Research involving laboratory or field experiments, or the collection of new individual level survey data, always requires ethical scrutiny.

      It is your responsibility to seek the necessary scrutiny and approval, and if in doubt, you must consult your supervisor.

      If your research work requires ethical scrutiny and approval, checks are conducted within the Department in line with rules approved by the University’s Humanities and Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee. Please consult with your supervisor and complete the Department’s form for ethical approval of student researchLink opens in a new window.

      The form should be submitted to the Postgraduate Office by Wednesday 1 June 2022 (week 35).

      The dissertation proposal

      There are two parts to the dissertation proposal: a presentation and a written proposal.

      First, you will be required to present your proposed topic to your supervisor and fellow students in a group. This will help you focus your ideas, especially via feedback from other students and your supervisor. Please note that some supervisors will organise individual meetings for presentations. The presentations should take the following format:

      • You will have 10-15 minutes each, comprising your 5-10 minute presentation followed by five minutes of discussion and comment;
      • The presentation should either use Powerpoint or PDF;
      • You must identify the title of your proposed research, the research objective, the data and any computing/statistical tools required (for example, Stata);
      • The research objective should be briefly expanded into a justification of why you want to study this question — why it is important followed by a short description of what you intend to do;
      • One slide is adequate for covering related literature.

      Then, based on your presentation and any feedback you receive, you have to write a detailed dissertation proposal to include a literature review and research plan. This should be a maximum length of 1,000 words excluding all appendices, footnotes, tables and the bibliography.

      Please note that your supervisor will not comment on a draft of your proposal before you submit it.

      The dissertation proposal will be assessed and carries a mark worth 10% of the mark for the dissertation module as a whole. The deadline is Monday 26 June 2023 (week 39) and you should submit your proposal electronically via Tabula.

      Dissertation format

      The dissertation is worth 90% of the total mark for the dissertation module. There is no minimum word length and concise expositions are encouraged. The dissertation should be a maximum length of 8,000 words, excluding acknowledgements, appendices, footnotes, words in graphs, tables, notes to tables and the bibliography. Note there is a limit of 15 pages for the appendices, footnotes, and tables. Abstract words, quotations and citations count towards the word limit.

      We recommend that you use Microsoft Word or Scientific Word, both of which can easily insert equations. The first page of the dissertation itself should include the title, your name, date and any preface and acknowledgements. Pages must be numbered. We have no particular preference for how you format your dissertation. The structure of your dissertation will be decided upon by yourself and your supervisor. We have published some top past dissertations and proposalsLink opens in a new window to show you what headings/sub headings other students have used, and how the dissertation might be organised. Every dissertation will normally include:

      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Literature Review
      • Methodology
      • Data
      • Results/Discussion
      • Conclusion
      • References

      References should be collected at the back in alphabetical order and should contain sufficient detail to allow them to be followed up if required: at a minimum you should cite author, date of publication, title of book or article, journal of publication or book publishing company.

      Submitting your dissertation

      Your MSc dissertation must be submitted electronically via Tabula under module code EC959.  The name of the PDF file should be your student ID number. As well as the PDF of your dissertation, you should submit your “log” (output) file, noting that you will need to upload the .PDF file and the .txt output file at the same time – if you upload them separately the second one may overwrite the other. Please note that we reserve the right to ask to see further details of your data and any econometric and other programmes you have used to analyse it. So, we advise you to keep electronic copies of data and programs (including do-files if applicable) until after the Exam Board has met.

      At the same time, you must also submit a completed Dissertation Submission Form. No paper copies of your dissertation are required.

      Deadlines and extensions

      There will be two deadlines each year for MSc dissertations. The September deadline applies to all MSc students who have passed their examinations at the first attempt and are not taking any re(sit) exams in September. The March deadline will be for those students who are doing re(sit) exams in September, and for those who may have asked for an extension due to mitigating circumstances.

      Students who are doing one re(sit) exam and are able to hand in their dissertation for the September deadline will be permitted to do so, on the understanding that this is done at their own risk; the dissertation will not be considered if they have not met the criteria for the taught component of the MSc (see the section on MSc Exam SchemesLink opens in a new window). In the case of two re(sit) exams, we strongly advise you to defer your dissertation until March of the following year. However, if you really feel you have to do your dissertation over the summer, for example, because you are going straight to a job, or for other reasons, you must discuss the situation with your supervisor, and obtain his/her agreement. Please note that we cannot give you a short deadline extension in September because you have got resit examinations. If you have failed or missed three or more exams, we require you to defer the writing of your dissertation until after the September exams, without any exceptions.

      If you cannot make your September or March deadline due to medical, or other mitigating circumstances, you must fill in an extension request form, available on Tabula. If your application is approved, you will be permitted to submit your dissertation by the agreed extension date or the next biannual deadline (either March or September). You need to supply suitable medical or other evidence within one week of submitting the extension request. The evidence you provide should cover a substantial part of the dissertation period detailing why you were unable to work on the dissertation. Please note that extensions will not be granted for any of the reasons listed below:

      • Short-term illnesses.
      • Periods of hotel quarantine.
      • Being in full- or part-time employment.

      Assessment and feedback

      To achieve at least a pass, a dissertation must demonstrate a high level of competence in both analysis and expression. This can be achieved in several ways, for instance by:

      • Providing a critical survey of some area of the subject. This should be written in such a way as to take the non-specialist reader from the beginnings of the topic up to the frontiers. It should integrate and synthesise existing ideas, demonstrate the relationships between them and assess their significance. It is not enough to simply catalogue previous work. However lengthy the bibliography is, a dissertation which shows no deep grasp of the motivation, content and structure of the literature will fail. Though ‘originality’ in the sense of a demonstrable theoretical or empirical innovation is not required in order to pass, it is expected that some degree of original thought will be needed to place the ideas of others in a coherent setting;
      • Applying techniques developed by others to a data-set not previously used for that purpose, with a clear motivation for doing so;
      • Examining the robustness of an existing theoretical model to changes in its underlying assumptions, with a clear motivation for doing so.

      At least two examiners will assess your dissertation. Markers will use the 20-point scale shown in the next section when marking the proposal and dissertation (though note that the final mark agreed by first and second dissertation markers is not restricted to the 20-point scale to enable averaging if appropriate).

      No feedback on the result of your dissertation is possible until after the Exam Board meets in November 2023, when your mark and comments will be provided through Tabula. Second markers are not required to write comments, though they can do so if they wish. If the second marker does write comments these can be included separately, or they can be combined into a joint report.

      20-point marking scale

      ClassScaleMark rangeMark which can be awarded








      90 - 99

      86 - 89

      80 - 85

      76 - 79

      70 - 75











      67 - 69

      64 - 66

      60 - 63








      57 - 59

      54 - 56

      50 - 53










      Very low

      Very low


      47 - 49

      44 - 46

      40 - 43

      36 - 39

      30 - 35

      21 - 29

      1 - 20










      Research project guidelines for MSc Behavioural and Economic Science


      You will carry out novel research in the area of behavioural science. You will work within one of the departments’ labs, designing and running independent empirical work that addresses a current research question. You will have the support of experts in the field and will produce research suitable for publication in an international journal.

      Projects are:

      • 30 CATS
      • Empirical (that is an experiment, computer program, survey or observational study);
      • Physically safe and ethically acceptable (conform to the British Psychological Society Code of Conduct);
      • Practical in terms of demands on time, equipment, number of subjects required and laboratory space.

      Topic selection and supervision arrangements

      Potential research project topics will be provided in the Spring Term. When the topics are published, please do contact supervisors. You will indicate your project preferences via an online form, with projects allocated centrally.

      Ethical scrutiny

      You must read the British Psychological Society Code of Human Research Ethics. If you are conducting research using the internet, you must also read the British Psychological Society guidelines on internet mediated research. Both documents can be found on the BPS websiteLink opens in a new window.

      At Warwick, any research that involves direct contact with participants, through their physical participation in research activities (invasive and non-invasive participation), that indirectly involves participants through their provision of data or tissue and that involves people on behalf of others (e.g. parents on behalf of children) requires ethical scrutiny. It is your and your supervisor’s joint responsibility to ensure that ethical approval is secured, and this should take place very early in the Summer Term.

      If you consider that ethical approval is necessary, please consult with your supervisor and submit the relevant form for ethical approval to opens in a new window. When there are multiple students on the same project, we will only require one form.

      Format and submission

      Projects might typically contain one or two experiments or a significant econometric analysis of a large data set. The research in the report should be of a publishable standard. This normally means that the research is relevant and innovative, that there are no major methodological flaws and that the conclusions are appropriate.

      With your supervisor choose an appropriate target journal. The formatting of the dissertation must be as for submission to your target journal. Write up your report following the journal submission guidelines. Include on the front page of your report the name of the journal you select. Avoid writing in a more generic 'thesis style' as you may have done for past projects.

      Project reports, excluding appendices, should not exceed 20,000 words, and should normally be much shorter. Your target journal may well have a word or page limit which you should follow.

      Appendices of test material, raw data, protocols, etc. need not be submitted with your project, but copies of these materials must be given to your supervisor (see below).

      No paper copies are required. Please submit online through Tabula as a PDF.

      Raw data

      You must retain all of the data that you collect. You must submit all of your data directly to your supervisor when you submit your project. Ideally, you should also submit R scripts (or another language) for the complete analysis of your data.

      Deadlines and extensions

      There will be two deadlines each year for MSc projects. The first will be in August and the second one will be in March. The August deadline will be for all MSc students who have passed their examinations at the first attempt and those with the option to proceed to the project. The March deadline will be for those students who are required to do one or more re(sit) exams in September, either for core modules, or for optional modules where a mark of less than 40 was achieved at the first attempt. The March deadline is also for those who may have asked for an extension due to mitigating circumstances.

      Students who are required to re(sit) one exam and are able to hand in their project for the August deadline will be permitted to do so, on the understanding that this is done at their own risk; the project will not be considered if they have not met the criteria for the taught component of the MSc (see the section on Exam SchemesLink opens in a new window). In the case of students being required to take two re(sit) exams, our advice is that you defer your project until March of the following year. Please note that we cannot give you a short deadline extension in August/September because you have got resit exams. If you have failed or missed three or more exams, we require you to defer the writing of your project until after the September exams, without any exceptions.

      If you cannot make your August or March deadline due to medical, or other mitigating circumstances, you must fill in an extension request form, available on Tabula. If an application is approved, the student will be permitted to submit their dissertation by the agreed extension date or the next biannual deadline (either March or August). You need to supply suitable medical or other evidence within one week of submitting the extension request. The evidence you provide should cover a substantial part of the project period detailing why you were unable to work on the dissertation. Please note that extensions will not be granted for any of the reasons listed below:

      • Low-level and short-term illnesses.
      • Periods of hotel quarantine.
      • Being in full- or part-time employment.


      References should be in the style of your target journal. Minimally they should contain the author, date of publication, title of book or article, journal of publication and volume or book publishing company. Almost all journals are very specific about referencing. If there is no guidance (very unlikely) follow the APA conventions.


      Assessment is based upon the project report. In assessing reports, some of the points markers will have in mind are:

      • How well has the student been able to formulate the research question or hypothesis and establish why it is an important question to ask? How precise is the hypothesis?
      • How well does the student know relevant theoretical and empirical literature and can they frame the research question in the light of such literature?
      • How clearly has the student described the design and procedure of the investigation and specified the subject sample(s) investigated? (Could the reader replicate the investigation on the basis of the information given?)
      • How clearly and how thoroughly has the student been able to describe and analyse the data obtained? How well does the student understand the logic of descriptive and inferential statistics? Can the student explore findings intelligently and not simply number-crunch?
      • How well does the student interpret the findings in relation to the original rationale for the investigation? How aware is the student of limitations in the design of the investigation (also important for meta-analysis and analysis of existing data sets) or in the way the research question was formulated? How well can the student point to what might next be done in the light of what has been learned from the investigation?
      • What is the overall quality of writing, presentation, organisation and attention to detail?

      At least two examiners will assess your project, employing the criteria described elsewhere in this handbook. No feedback on the result of your project is possible until after the Exam Board meets in November 2023, when your mark and comments will be provided through Tabula. Second markers are not required to write comments, though they can do so if they wish. If the second marker does write comments these can be included separately, or they can be combined into a joint report.