SO7002 - Social Sciences Postgraduate Dissertation

What will I learn on this module?

In this module you will demonstrate advanced and independent critical thinking skills about the research process and a specific, substantial topic of your choice. In doing so you will develop robust, coherent and substantiated, advanced academic arguments in an identifiable area of enquiry. There are a number of options for the dissertation: literature-based, empirical, or placement-based dissertations. In formulating, research, and writing your dissertation you will be guided by your dissertation supervisor. The dissertation is the culmination of your taught experience and will enable you to deploy the skills develop during the taught programme.

How will I learn on this module?

The dissertation is an independent piece of research that you will conduct in close consultation with your supervisor and, if you choose to do a placement-based dissertation, in cooperation with the placement organisation. The dissertation will have a series of taught workshops focussing on dissertation skills. Where you do a placement-based dissertation, you will also work with your organisation on the data collection process.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The dissertation workshops will discuss dissertation-relevant topics such as research questions and working with theory. In addition, your supervisor will provide guidance throughout the process of dissertation writing. It is the role of the supervisor to provide formative feedback on your progress for non-assessed work, which is designed to ‘feed-forward’ and help you to monitor your progress and to reflect on areas or skills necessary for continuous academic development. The supervisor can also direct you to specialist technical support (in particular Skills Plus).

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Demonstrate the ability to formulate, plan, execute and write up a substantial, individual piece of research of 15,000 words in total
2. Demonstrate skilled ability in the consideration and application of relevant theories, methodology and ethical issues in relation to a piece of research
3. Produce robust, independent, coherent and substantial, advanced academic arguments in relation to specific issues and questions in criminology and criminal justice or international development or public administration
Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
4. Demonstrate advanced transferable skills in time management, project management, resource management, critical thought, independent working, flexible working, dissemination and communication
Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. Demonstrate an ability to engage in critical thinking and reflection about the research process and specific ethical and cultural issues in criminology and criminal justice or international development or public administration

How will I be assessed?

Assessment is by 100% dissertation. Progress will be monitored in regular meetings with the dissertation supervisor, and the student is entitled to submit to the supervisor for comments two draft chapters, for which the supervisor will provide formative feedback (MLO 1-5)





Module abstract

The dissertation module is your chance to display your knowledge and skills to research a substantive piece of work of your choice. You can do this as a literature-based, empirical, or placement-based dissertation. You will write the dissertation independently, guided by your supervisor, and – where you have chosen a placement-based dissertation – in cooperation with your placement organisation.

The module will therefore enable you to showcase your skills in a topic that you have chosen. It is therefore also is crucial in developing your employability skills, including data collection and analysis, concise writing, carrying out a substantive piece of research and effectively communicating the findings of your research.

Course info

Credits 60

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 16 months Full Time
2 other options available

Department Social Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start January 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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