Dissertation module (PO40006)

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Module code


Module Details

The Politics Dissertation consists of an extended piece of work (around 10,000 words) written on a specialist topic within subject areas close to the research specialisms of members of staff who provide one-to-one supervision throughout the year.

The aim of the dissertation is to give students, in the last phase of their honours degree, the opportunity to exercise and develop a range of skills they have acquired in the earlier levels of their programme in an extended piece of written work.

Dissertation topics are selected by students from a range of 'special subject' areas indicated by individual members of staff, reflecting their research interests (see below).  The undertaking is phased - from initial idea to plan to draft to final submission.

8 Politics members of staff can supervise you:

  • Dr Scott Brown
    Research areas: EU foreign policy, US foreign policy, China's foreign policy, transatlantic relations, EU-China relations, US-China relations, IR theory, great power competition.
  • Dr Elliot Bulmer
    Research areas: Scottish politics (devolution issues, Scottish nationalism, independence). Constitutional politics broadly (politics of constitutional change in Scotland and the UK, British and Commonwealth constitutional history, but also constitution-building and its relation to peace processes and regime transition globally). Country-level / regional: Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Malaysia, Myanmar, Ukraine. Political theory / philosophy: constitutional theory, civic-republicanism, Christian Democracy, political theology.
  • Dr Edzia Carvalho
    Research areas: Human rights, international organisations, foreign aid, democratic institutions and consolidation, qualitative studies of voting behaviour, Indian and South Asian politics, media and public discourse
  • Dr Martin Elvins
    Research areas: Illegal drug policy, transnational crime / drug trafficking, organised crime, policing, surveillance.
  • Professor Kurt Mills
    Research areas: Human rights, humanitarian intervention, international criminal justice, humanitarianism, African international relations, international organisations.
  • Professor Cameron Ross
    Research areas: Russian politics, Soviet politics.
  • Dr Dejan Stjepanović
    Research areas: Territorial politics, nationalism, migration, citizenship, European politics.
  • Dr Abdullah Yusuf
    Research areas: Peacekeeping, Middle-East Politics, Political Islam, Countering Islamic Extremist Terrorism, Politics of the UN's Transitional Administrations/State-building.

You can also find additional information on our research on the University's Research Portal.

Once you are accepted by a supervisor and register for the dissertation module, you will not be able to substitute PO40006 for a taught module in Semester 2 (under University Regulations you can, however, make such a module change within the first two weeks of Semester 1, 2020).

If you have any other queries related to a Politics dissertation, please get in touch with Dr Abdullah Yusuf.

The allocation of a supervisor will be made by Politics staff based on your choice of topic and the expertise and availability of staff to supervise a topic. You are not required to contact any member of staff in advance of choosing the module.


Your dissertation (around 10,000 words) counts for 100% of the final mark.


Initial discussion takes place at the end of the second semester of your third year.  Once you have been accepted by a supervisor a series of meetings will be arranged for on-going evaluation of your progress during the final year of your degree.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On completion of the dissertation you will have developed abilities to:

  • Identify a 'research question' in a given area of political studies.
  • Plan in detail the pursuit of the necessary lines of investigation towards the solving of that question.
  • Determine appropriate methodologies.
  • Locate, evaluate and assimilate relevant source materials.
  • Construct a sustained piece of concise and lucid analysis in the form of an extended paper.


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