PIM91-Dissertation in Public Policy

Module Provider: Graduate Institute for Politics and International Studies
Number of credits: 40 [20 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring / Summer term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Prof David Marshall

Email: d.p.marshall@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

To provide students with an opportunity to analyse in some depth a specific topic within the realm of their studies on public policy; to display the ability to carry out primary and secondary research.


The aims of the dissertation are to:

  • develop students’ capacity for independent research and critical analysis;

  • deepen their knowledge of a specialised topic within their programme of study;

  • develop their ability to write an extended piece of analysis.

Assessable learning outcomes:

The student will demonstrate their learning outcomes by:

  • formulating a relevant, coherent and clearly defined research project;

  • analysing complex issues in a critical fashion;

  • generating sources of information and ideas;

  • collecting appropriate data;

  • providing a systematic, objective and carefully structured analysis of the information collected;

  • drawing relevant conclusions from the analysis and relating these to the existing literature.

Additional outcomes:

Students will develop the ability to work on their own initiative and learn to organise their work on a longer term project within a tight schedule. The dissertation will also offer the ability to demonstrate originality in the chosen research sphere.

Outline content:

A supervised though largely independent research project of 8,000 words on a subject arising out of the student’s programme of study in public policy.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Tutorial supervision.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Supervised time in studio/workshop 2 2 2
Guided independent study 30 40 324
Total hours by term 32.00 42.00 326.00
Total hours for module 400.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Dissertation 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Students are required to submit an 8,000 words dissertation by an agreed deadline (which under normal circumstances would be in mid-September).

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:

50% overall module mark

Reassessment arrangements:

Reassessment arrangements: Re-submission of the dissertation by an agreed deadline.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Printing and binding: 2 bound copies including printing from Mailbox in the Student Union is approximately £30. A less expensive option is home printing then securely bound in a soft PVC clear fronted punched pocket or clip presentation file which are available from stationery shops for approximately £5 for two.

Last updated: 20 April 2018


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