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For example: Describe and evaluate major theories of globalisation.A dissertation is a subject you chose for yourself.
In assessing the Dissertation, consideration will be given to your ability to assimilate, understand and critically analyse primary and secondary materials; to select, evaluate and make effective use of appropriate sources; to present a sustained argument on the basis of appropriate evidence and examples; to express yourself fluently and accurately; and to apply correctly the norms and conventions of scholarly referencing.
There are some obvious differences: an essay is relatively short – usually 1500 to 2500 words – and you are told clearly what to do by someone else.
It gives you a high degree of autonomy in defining your own research question and aims, finding an appropriate method, selecting suitable resources, organising the time that you devote to the project, and seeking and responding to feedback from your supervisor.
The academic skills of managing an extended project, collecting and analysing information, critically assessing sources and arguments, communicating your findings clearly and persuasively according to professional presentational requirements, and showing intellectual creativity and problem-solving ability are all central to the graduate attributes you are expected to demonstrate at the end of a degree programme (see the Undergraduate Level Descriptors in the University's Core Regulations).
They are also important transferable skills which are highly valued by employers.
The Dissertation also provides invaluable practice for those of you who plan to progress to postgraduate study.A list of research staff available for dissertation supervision in any given year can be found here, along with a description of the areas in which they are willing to supervise.Students will be informed of their allocation in early July, at which point they should contact their allocated supervisor to discuss provisional reading.Your Dissertation supervisor will also act as your Academic Advisor in the final year, so your supervisory meetings should include some discussion of your overall academic progress during the year.Check the pre-requisites and co-requisites for the Dissertation in the relevant module outline in the Faculty Handbook.Normal procedures for the submission of summative coursework apply, including those referring to applications for extensions - which can only be approved by the Chair of the Board of Examiners.You should alert your supervisor at an early stage to any circumstances that affect your ability to meet the formative and summative assessment requirements.The module is available in two forms: a 20-credit version (8,000 words) and an extended 40-credit version (12,000 words).Students who are studying one language at Level 3 of the BA in MLAC must do the 40-credit Dissertation; those doing two languages may choose between 20-credit and 40-credit.It is your responsibility to agree deadlines for formative work with your supervisor, meet those deadlines and attend supervision meetings.Failure to do so will be subject to the School’s Academic Progression procedures.