module specification

SS7P61 - Social Policy Dissertation (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Social Policy Dissertation
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 60
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 600
590 hours Guided independent study
10 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Project 100%   15,000 word dissertation
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North - Not applicable
Autumn semester North - -
Spring semester North - -
Spring semester North - -
Summer studies North - -
Summer studies North - -
Summer studies North - -

Module summary

The dissertation allows the student to undertake an independent and
sustained piece of research into a substantive topic of his or her own choosing. The dissertation must include appropriate research in the field of social policy and be grounded in related social policy theories and scholarship.

Module aims

  1. To undertake an independent investigation of one area or topic within the Social Policy field;
  2. To demonstrate advanced and original application of research knowledge and skills to the proposed topic;
  3. To provide an opportunity for systematic critical reflection on the research topic and its relationship to advanced scholarship in the field of study.


1. Presentation of Dissertation Plan
2. Preparation of Research Proposal
3. Assigning of Supervisors
4. Individual Supervision Sessions
5. Submission of Dissertation

Learning and teaching

A series of introductory dissertation planning workshops will be held in the Spring semester, culminating in initial presentations of dissertation plans by students. Students then work independently on developing their presentations into a research proposal, which must be approved by the course leader before moving on to independent research, supported by a supervisor.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of the dissertation, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate the capacity to critically evaluate and apply methods and techniques appropriate to their own research or advanced scholarship in the field of social policy;
  2. Apply knowledge with originality, based on a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in social policy;
  3. Evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in Social Policy;
  4. Deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, and communicate their findings to  appropriate scholarly standards
  5. Exercise self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks, exercise initiative and personal responsibility for their independent learning

Assessment strategy

15,000 word dissertation – 100%


Becker, S et al (2012) Understanding Research for Social Policy: themes, methods and approaches
Biggam, J (2011) Succeeding with your Masters Dissertation, Open UP
Bryman, A (2012) Social Research Methods, Oxford UP
Denzin, N and Y Lincoln (2011) The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research