module specification

LL6P03 - Dissertation in Criminal Law (2021/22)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2021/22
Module status DELETED (This module is no longer running)
Module title Dissertation in Criminal Law
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 30
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 300
280 hours Guided independent study
20 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 20%   Research Plan (1,500-2,000 words)
Coursework 80%   Research Essay (7,000 - 8,000 words)
Running in 2021/22

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Monday Morning

Module summary

The module requires the students to undertake detailed, critical research into a criminal law topic of their choice and write a research plan and essay of 8,000 words.

Students are assigned a supervisor based on their choice of topic.

The module is structured so that students are required to present an assessed research plan, which then provides the infrastructure for their extended essay. Students are expected to engage with regular supervision throughout the process.

Students will develop an advanced understanding of their chosen specialist area of criminal law.
The extended essay module will more specifically
• allow students independently to research and develop an expert understanding of an area of law of their choice
• improve both their research and independent study skills
• enhance their ability to develop critical arguments
By researching their chosen area of law, students will be equipped with specialist skills and knowledge, to help them stand out in the job market.

Prior learning requirements

Must normally have an average of a 2.1 grade at level 5.


There is no prescribed syllabus for this module as it is largely an independent study module.

1. The importance of legal research    LO 1
2. The choice of topic                          LO 1
3. Writing a research proposal            LO 1
4. Primary and secondary source research   LO 1
5. Writing a literature review               LO 1
6. The choice of the right methodology   LO 1
7. OSCOLA referencing  LO 1 and 2
8. Structure and planning of the writing up LO 1 and 2
9. Writing a research essay LO 1 and 2

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

This is an independent study module for the most part.

There are a number of lectures and drop-in sessions that are offered for general guidance on how to structure a research plan and to reference using the OSCOLA style of referencing.

Students are also assigned a supervisor who will guide them through the process and provide feedback and feedforward on drafts.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to

1. Conduct independent legal research and to organise, assemble and synthesise large amounts of legal material in order to identify legal problems.

2. Critically appraise, analyse and compose a commentary on issues in the area of criminal law that they have chosen.

Assessment strategy

Research Plan (1,500 – 2,000 words)

Research plan that forms the basis for the dissertation.

Research Essay (7,000 – 8,000 words)

A critically appraisal and analysis of issues in an area of criminal law chosen by the student.


Core Texts on General Research

Knowles, J, Effective Legal Research, (Sweet and Maxwell)
Watkins, D and Burton,M, Research Methods in Law (2nd edn, Routledge 2017)
Salter, M and Mason, J, Writing Law Dissertations: An Introduction And Guide To The Conduct Of Legal Research  (Longman 2007)

Academic Journals and subject specific online resources

Depending on the choice of topic

Online Resources