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Year One: Politics and International Studies, Warwick

During your year at Warwick, you will follow the taught portion of one of our 10 core MA programmesLink opens in a new window (ie, Part I of the degree as described on the course structure page), taking your core and optional modules alongside the rest of the MA cohort.

The Joint Dissertation or Capstone Project

Expectations at Warwick in Year One

The Joint Dissertation or Capstone Project counts towards the two parts of the Double Masters – at Warwick and at American. You begin at Warwick on the Dissertation option but at American have the choice of continuing with the Dissertation (Major Research Paper) or changing to the Practicum ProgrammeLink opens in a new window. The dissertation is primarily supervised by a faculty member SIS with an advisor in PAIS. The Practicum is supervised solely at American University but students also submit a reflective exegesis at Warwick, which is marked by a PAIS faculty member, to accompany the Practicum final report.

Although you will complete the joint dissertation or change to the practicum in Academic Year 2 at American, you must still submit a provisional dissertation topic, meet with your PAIS dissertation advisor, submit a provisional plan on which you'll receive feedback, and then submit a provisional joint dissertation title during Term 3 of your 1st Year at Warwick. You are also encouraged to take part in the MA Dissertation Conference.

Since the plan and title are provisional at this stage, you can adapt or even completely change the plan and title during Year 2 at American in consultation with your SIS supervisor. Please inform the PAIS PG Team if you do agree a new title during Year 2 or if you switch to the Practicum.

You can find the start dates for American on their webpages and you will normally be contacted by SIS about arrival dates and any orientation or welcome activities. 

During the summer after Warwick Term 3 there are no formal teaching requirements and no further assessments to submit so it is up to each individual student to decide how to spend their time. You are encouraged to undertake preliminary work on your dissertation topic. You can also do preparatory work for the second part of the Double Degree at the partner institution, find work or internship opportunities, take a holiday, or some combination of all of these.

Please bear in mind when AU's academic year begins and when you will need to travel to Washington, DC for the second part of your Double Degree.

You are not required to be resident at Warwick during the summer period after Term 3 and before the start of your second MA at the partner institution. However, Warwick facilities such as the Library and study spaces will be available should you choose to access them. 

PAIS provides Dissertation Clinics during the summer which you can take part in if you wish. You can also continue to seek advice from your PAIS advisor, the PAIS Course Director for the Double Masters, and the PAIS Programmes Team, bearing in mind that periods of annual leave may mean that they will not be available at all times, particularly during August.

It is the student’s responsibility to consult with both AU supervisor and PAIS advisor to an adequate extent, though your AU supervisor should be considered your primary supervisor since you will complete the dissertation in Year 2 at the partner. The extent to which you consult with the Warwick advisor during this 2nd year can be agreed between you and your advisor but the expectation is that the majority of advising in Year 2 will be conducted by the AU supervisor. You should adhere to dissertation/capstone requirements at AU in terms of deadlines and submission. A copy should be submitted both to AU and to Warwick (the latter via Tabula). PAIS will match the deadline set at AU.

While the scope of the dissertation is similar at our partner universities and the University of Warwick, it is your responsibility to incorporate the guidelines of both institutions into the work. This may concern formatting, referencing etc. The length of the Joint Dissertation is to be no more than 15,000 words excluding abstract, footnotes, bibliography, and any appendices. There may be some exceptions to this rule depending upon the partner institution - please adhere to the rules and regulations of the partner while completing your dissertation there in Year 2 but inform the PAIS PG Team and PAIS Double Degrees Course Director of any deviation from the usual word limit.

If you take the Practica option as the Double Degree capstone/joint dissertation, you will be assessed by SIS in the usual way and will receive the AU grade on your transcript as the capstone project for the AU Master's in International Service. For the Double Master's to be awarded, however, and for you to complete the MA at Warwick, we will require an additional reflective piece of writing to be submitted to PAIS. This 7,500 word exegesis or reflective essay will support the practicum final project and will be submitted in lieu of the Joint Dissertation at Warwick.