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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Politics

Postgraduate Course: Dissertation MSc International Political Theory (PLIT11013)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeDissertation AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits60 ECTS Credits30
SummaryAll students will undertake a dissertation of no longer than 15,000 words on a topic in the field of International Political Theory, to be submitted by a date specified in the University Regulations. The dissertation is an extended piece of scholarship in which a student is expected to formulate and sustain a substantive piece of independent research on a question within International Political Theory. The work is expected to engage critically and analytically with the literature on its topic, deploying skills, knowledge and understanding developed in the taught elements of the degree. Each student will be allocated a research supervisor by the Spring to advise on and oversee her or his research progress.
Course description The dissertation is an extended piece of writing of up to 15,000 words, based on independent study of a topic largely of the student's choosing. It tests students' ability to conduct research autonomously, to organise effectively bigger quantities of information and to communicate their research findings in a fluent and structured fashion. Within the field of study of International Political Theory, the research will concern the normative and critical analysis of contemporary political issues around the globe.

Outline content
The course largely consists of self-study and research. Here is an indicative timetable of the dissertation writing and supervision process:

- Early February - dissertation meeting with Programme Director;
- Late February - students submit one page outline of proposed project;
- March - supervisors are allocated;
- Late April - first meeting with supervisor, discuss proposal;
- Mid-May - submit first draft chapter;
- June and July - contact with supervisor as mutually agreed;
- Mid-July - finish first draft;
- Early-Mid August - submit dissertation.

This is a dissertation course. Therefore, the primary form of student experience consists of students conducting their own research and working on an in-depth project of their own choice. However, students can expect the following from their supervisor during the dissertation process:

- normally 3-4 meetings;
- detailed feedback on a dissertation plan and one chapter;
- help with and feedback on the general structure and organisation of the argument;
- ongoing help with specific queries.

The supervisor is expected to:
- help the student to define the research problem and focus your argument and topic;
- advise on methodology, coherence and relevance of the dissertation
- discuss mutual availability and methods of contact etc;
- give basic advice on relevant bodies of literature to get the research started and/or refer the student to another member of staff for suggestions on sources;
- discuss and approve draft outline and timetable of work;
- provide diagnostic comment and constructive suggestions on one chapter in good time (normally within two weeks of receipt);
- help with issues of thesis and dissertation structure.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Block 5 (Sem 2) and beyond
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 600 ( Dissertation/Project Supervision Hours 5, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 12, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 583 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) The course is 100% assessed by a 15,000 word dissertation.

The assessment criteria are:
- Formulation and presentation of research problem;
- Review of literature and contextualisation of study;
- Development and coherence of arguments;
- Use of supporting evidence and evaluation of evidence;
- Drawing together major arguments by way of conclusion in relation to the original research problem;
Degree of reflexivity, critical thinking and originality of argument;
Formal presentation of dissertation: correct referencing and quoting; spelling, grammar and style; layout and visual presentation.
Feedback Students will have the opportunity, as noted above, to receive detailed feedback on a dissertation plan and one chapter to ensure that they are on track with their research and build up to the final submission.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Undertake a sustained piece of independent work within International Political Theory that displays and extends the research skills, training and knowledge acquired in the previous coursework.
  2. Engage critically and analytically with the significant literature in the field of their specialist interest.
  3. Apply relevant concepts and approaches of political theory to the investigation of their research question.
  4. Construct logical passages of argumentation in accordance with common canons of inferential rationality.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Mathias Thaler
Tel: (0131 6)51 5769
Course secretaryMrs Gillian MacDonald
Tel: (0131 6)51 3244
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