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Postgraduate Module Descriptor

LAWM640: Dissertation

This module descriptor refers to the 2017/8 academic year.

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

Although the precise content and delivery of the module may vary, it is anticipated that the syllabus will include the following elements in the order indicated:

2x 2 hour lecture covering the following topics:

Design and structure of a dissertation 

Methodology and skills

1x 2 hour lecture on good academic practice

In addition, all students will have three individual research meetings with their appointed supervisor. Although the precise content of such meetings will vary according to the particular needs of each individual student, it is expected that the meetings will cover three important steps towards a successful dissertation (see below for details). In addition, the students can of course liaise with their supervisors for ad hoc advice as and when required. 

Learning and Teaching

This table provides an overview of how your hours of study for this module are allocated:

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

...and this table provides a more detailed breakdown of the hours allocated to various study activities:

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities6One lecture of two hours on methodology, design and structure of a dissertation. One lecture of two hours on good academic practice. 1x 2 hour lecture on good academic practice
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity33 x 1 hour research meetings. It is expected that the meetings should each last about one hour. Each meeting is designed to guide the students on 3 important steps to a successful dissertation namely, 1. Devising adequate research question(s), 2. Refining a structure and 3. Feedback on a sample chapter for advice on academic writing skills
Guided independent study591Independent study, with supervisor’s help as and when needed. Such hours will be spent in order to carry out the necessary research as well as the writing up of the dissertation, a symbiotic process, with the guidance of the supervisor. Although the precise organisation of the work will differ for each student, it is expected that a student should spend 50 hours on devising the research question, 50 hours on refining the structure, and the rest divided equally among reading/analysing the material and writing up the dissertation.

Online Resources

This module has online resources available via ELE (the Exeter Learning Environment).