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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Dissertation (MSc/Dip Public Policy) (PGSP11524)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeDissertation AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits60 ECTS Credits30
SummaryThe dissertation is expected to engage critically and analytically with the literature in the field, building upon relevant concepts and theory covered in the taught element of the degree and deploying a range of primary and secondary sources as well as appropriate data analytic, data collection and bibliographic skills. Each student will be allocated a research supervisor in the second semester.
Course description The dissertation is your chance to undertake an extended piece of independent scholarship. Students usually undertake a balance of empirical and theoretical work, but are not specifically required to conduct primary empirical research.
The subject should be chosen then on the basis of your own interests, what staff are able to supervise, and what is feasible in terms of the literature, resources and time available. Therefore, choose a topic that interests you, and which has a clear focus and definable boundaries.
You are free to choose the research strategy and methods that seem appropriate and practical to answer your research question. MSc dissertations can thus take a variety of forms, including:
- Analysis of documents, such as policy documents
- Analysis of secondary data (quantitative or qualitative data)
- Fieldwork based, involving the generation or collection of primary data
- Analysis primarily aimed at advancing conceptual and/or theoretical insights
- Any combination of the above.

Outline content

The following is a suggested schedule. In practice the exact timetable may vary following discussion between student and supervisor regarding the nature of the project.
- Attend dissertation workshop and decide on the broad topic. Approach potential Supervisor and supervisors allocated.
- First meeting with supervisor to discuss dissertation proposal/plan/timetable
- Exploratory and background reading and ethical self-audit
- Research, reading and writing and second meeting with supervisor to discuss progress
- Submit draft chapter; meet with supervisor, discussion of submitted chapter
- Complete reading, data gathering.
- Contact with supervisor as mutually agreed
- Complete the first draft, including references
- Finalise the bibliography and revise, edit, proof-read
- Submission

The dissertation enables you to pursue in some depth an academic interest in a topic (largely) of your choosing. The aim is to give you the opportunity to demonstrate your ability to apply appropriate research methods and engage critically and analytically with relevant concepts and theories covered in the taught element of the degree as you seek to answer your distinct research question.
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 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  60
Course Start Block 5 (Sem 2) and beyond
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 600 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 12, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 588 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% coursework
Feedback The dissertation has a 15,000 word limit. The dissertation is marked by two internal examiners and may also be reviewed by the external examiner. All marks are provisional until confirmed at the Exam Board.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. To test the ability of students to undertake a sustained piece of supervised but independent work in the area of social and/or public policy, displaying the research skills, training and knowledge acquired in the previous coursework.
  2. To test the ability of students to demonstrate an ability to engage critically and analytically with the literature in the field of their specialist interest.
  3. To develop and test the ability of students to employ relevant social science concepts and theories in formulating a thesis.
  4. To examine the ability of students to manage the conduct, presentation, and timing of an independent research project, employing appropriate data analytical, data collection and bibliographic skills.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Jay Wiggan
Tel: (0131 6)50 3939
Course secretaryMrs Casey Behringer
Tel: (0131 6)50 2456
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