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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Business School : Business Studies

Undergraduate Course: Business Honours Dissertation (BUST10158)

Course Outline
SchoolBusiness School CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate)
Course typeDissertation AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits40 ECTS Credits20
SummaryThe Business Honours Dissertation is taken in the 4th year of study and is part of the core courses in Business Studies and related degrees. It is a requirement for students aiming to graduate with an MA from the University of Edinburgh.
Course description The dissertation is a 40 credit course (equivalent to 2 full courses at Honours) and equates to one-sixth of the total Honours assessment taken over both the Honours years (6 courses in 3rd Year and 4 courses plus the dissertation in 4th Year). For the MA Honours in International Business or MA Honours in International Business with a Language, the dissertation ranks as one-third of the total assessment.

It is the most independent component of the Business School's undergraduate degree programme as it requires students, supported by their Dissertation Advisor, to identify and define a research topic, conduct the research and report on findings in a substantial piece of academic writing, all within a predetermined schedule of nearly 12 months.

Undertaking the dissertation allows you to develop a deep level of analysis and understanding of the theory and processes of organisations, markets, and the business environment through the completion of a piece of individual research.

Student Learning Experience:

The dissertation provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate their abilities in the graduate attributes that form part of the learning outcomes identified by the University of Edinburgh. In addition practical skills will be built in research and enquiry, personal and intellectual autonomy, communication and personal effectiveness.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 400 ( Lecture Hours 2, Dissertation/Project Supervision Hours 5, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 3, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 8, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 382 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Dissertation submission = 100%.
Feedback Feedback on the dissertation together with the individual marks will be available on ATLAS following the final exam board in early June of that Academic Year.

Review of Drafts before Submission:

By the middle of Semester 1, you will be asked to submit a chapter of up to 5,000 words. For most students this will be the Literature Review, or in some cases another element that has been agreed with your Advisor. You will then receive formative feedback on this chapter in the form of comments and suggested edits from your Dissertation Advisor. This is an opportunity to obtain helpful advice on the content and presentation of the relevant section. You will be able to feed forward the advice from your Dissertation Advisor into the other sections of the dissertation.

In addition your Dissertation Advisor will read and comment on a second chapter of your work. This is normally the Findings or Results chapter. It is important to note that your Advisor will not read and comment on a complete draft of your dissertation prior to submission.

If you are unsure about particular elements of your dissertation, the best way to get a quick response from your Dissertation Advisor is to email them directly.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate research skills in planning, executing and reporting research.
  2. Demonstrate independent learning and critical thinking.
  3. Demonstrate critical and in-depth knowledge of a particular subject area.
Reading List
There is no set text or journal articles for this course but many research methods books and articles may be useful, e.g.:
-Business research methods. Bell, Emma, Bryman, Alan and Harley, Bill. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press; 2019.
-Research Methods for Business Students. Saunders, Mark N.K, Lewis, Philip and Thornhill, Adrian. Old Tappan: Pearson Education UK; 2012.
-Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. Creswell. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage; 2009
-Case study research: Design and methods. Yin. London: Sage Publications; 1989.
-The Integration of Fieldwork and Survey Methods. Sieber. American Journal of Sociology, 78(6), 1335-1359; 1973.
-Thematic Coding and Categorizing, Analyzing Qualitative Data. Gibbs. London: SAGE; 2007.

There is also a range of online resources available to support your dissertation process, including:
-Library resources for dissertations and research methods:
-Institute for Academic Development resources:
-dissertation resource list:

There is a referencing guide available at:
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Research and Critical Enquiry

Upon completing the dissertation you should be able to:
- Undertake an independent piece of research, supported by an advisor, on complex topics,
- Review literature in a critical manner in order to identify research questions and draw conclusions,
- Identify, justify and use appropriate modes of enquiry to answer research questions,
- Use appropriate techniques to analyse research data,
- Reflect on successful and poor time management,
- Feel confident in your project management skills,
- Think critically about a particular topic and evidence,
- Evaluate your own performance against generic assessment criteria,
- Develop cognitive skills such as analysis, synthesis, creativity and evaluation,
- Reflect on how best to communicate information and arguments to a wider audience.

Personal Intellectual Autonomy

The dissertation will develop the following personal intellectual autonomy skills:
- Time management and scheduling a major project,
- Reflect on and understand how you operate best when facing a major task, meeting deadlines and milestones,
- Develop cognitive skills such as those of analysis, synthesis, creativity and evaluation.


The dissertation will develop the following communication skills:
- Prepare and deliver a report according to a set guidelines,
- Communicate original research findings clearly and accurately in writing,
- Relate your research findings to the existing body of knowledge on the dissertation topic,
- Use references, quotations and acknowledgements,
- Reflect on how best to communicate information and arguments to a wider audience.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Victoria Rodner
Tel: (0131 6)50 8074
Course secretaryMiss Isla Dalley
Tel: (0131 6)50 3900
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