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Dissertation Experience

2 August 2018

Considering postgraduate study? A bit put-off by the dissertation? Here, some of our students explain why the dissertation isn’t something to be feared and give some tips on how to tackle it!

Jamie Summers – MA Broadcast Journalism

The support is great – tutors are at hand whenever required to offer advice, but without being interfering. I think the process is being handled well, and is a vast improvement on my experience at another university at undergrad.

Advice for those thinking of postgrad study – don’t worry about the dissertation. In many ways, it is an easier experience than undergrad because you know what to expect. It is tough, but if you are doing a postgrad degree, it is in a subject you should really relish, and therefore it is a great opportunity to do something you love. Think of it as a positive, rather than something to be fearful of!

Martin Berger – MA Digital Media and Society

I had to write a literature review for one of my classes which we could use for our dissertation. This was a great help since I had fairly soon one important part of my dissertation and received feedback on how to improve it. Over the following months I met regularly with my supervisor and discussed my progress, where I had problems, and what worked well.

In general, my supervisor has been amazing. He always gives me constructive criticism and he also pushes me to be as ambitious as possible and I really appreciate his input. Furthermore, we had a second dissertation workshop after the second semester ended. We discussed our progress with our course mates and gave each other feedback. Lecturers gave us some general advice on how to write a great dissertation and how to avoid common mistakes.

Michael Woodland – MScEcon Politics and Public Policy

Unlike my undergraduate experience, you are expected to complete the dissertation over the summer months as opposed to studying in term times alongside other modules, which allows you to properly focus on the project. Moreover, the word count has been increased from my undergraduate degree from 8000 to 20,000 words, which (may appear daunting!) allows you to go into detail on a topic you are really interested in and become a real expert in your chosen specialisation.

I would say to anyone who is put off undertaking the postgraduate study by the size and challenge of this final work, don’t be! It is a real chance to genuinely shape an assessment around a topic that is engaging to you and properly caps off your postgraduate degree by demonstrating that you can do what academics often do.

Philippa Taylor – MA English Literature

I’ve been really pleasantly surprised by all the support and encouragement available for my dissertation for my English Literature MA. My supervisor has always been available to me for advice on both content and writing style, as well as providing reassurance when I felt overwhelmed. We also have fortnightly dissertation workshops, which means that I regularly see other students from my course to compare notes, as well as having the opportunity to ask questions and discuss how to approach introductions, conclusions, time management, and general formatting. While completing the dissertation is certainly a daunting prospect at times, the support and advice available from my supervisor and peers have played a vital role in keeping stress at bay, as well as helping me to enjoy this final project and to see it as a rewarding, and even enjoyable, end to a wonderful year!