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BA Politics and Chinese

Year of entry: 2021

Course unit details:
Dissertation in Chinese Studies

Unit code CHIN30000
Credit rating 40
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Full year
Offered by Chinese Studies
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course unit is a guided research unit, in which the student submits a 12,000-word dissertation on a subject of her or his own choosing that relates to the Chinese-speaking world (subject to approval by the convenor). The student will be expected to identify and develop a dissertation topic appropriate to the scale of the project. They will shape a central research question that should provide scope to explore sophisticated critical issues and undertake complex research and analysis. Following some initial lectures on key issues related to undertaking and designing a dissertation project, the convenor will allocate the student a dissertation supervisor, who will provide guidance with relevant research methods, writing skills and analysis of data. Thus, this course unit affords the student the opportunity to design and undertake a large research project, and will involve significant independent research.


IMPORTANT: Students are reminded that they should seek formal ethical approval before undertaking any research for their dissertation that involves third parties (e.g. interviews, questionnaires, etc.). This includes any preliminary research that students may wish to undertake during their year abroad or the summer prior to their final year. They should contact the dissertation convenor for guidance on how and when to apply for such approval.



None. However, an average mark of 60% at Level 2 is highly recommended for admission onto this course unit. From 2019-2020 an average mark of 60% at Level 2 will be a requirement for admission onto this course unit.


  • To develop a better understanding of the languages, cultures and/or histories of the Chinese-speaking world
  • To explore an aspect of the languages, cultures and/or histories of the Chinese -speaking world in greater analytical depth
  • To develop critical thinking, conceptual reasoning and analytical skills
  • To place an analysis of culture and/or history in their social, aesthetic and political context

Knowledge and understanding

  • Show an in-depth knowledge of an aspect of the languages, cultures and/or histories of the Chinese -speaking world
  • Show familiarity with key scholarly debates and literature about their chosen topic 

Intellectual skills

  • Define a topic for research
  • Write and revise a key research question
  • Write analytical plans for extended pieces of work
  • Develop a written argument of depth and complexity, using primary sources and critical literature, with a standard of scholarly presentation of the material produced appropriate to Level 3 study. 

Practical skills

  • Use the library, electronic and online resources
  • Engage in significant independent research
  • Design a large-scale research project appropriate to Level 3 study
  • Organize a large volume of information

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Manage time effectively, self-motivate and work to deadlines
  • Communicate a coherent and critical argument of depth and complexity in written form
  • Use information and communication technology (ICT)
  • Assess the relevance and importance of the ideas of others
  • Demonstrate powers of analysis
  • Display good literacy skills in English
  • Show awareness of and responsiveness to the nature and extent of intercultural diversity.


Assessment methods

Dissertation title, abstract and
annotated bibliography
Dissertation plan          5%
Draft chapter Formative
Dissertation       90%


Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

  • Written and oral feedback on the title, abstract and annotated bibliography in week 8-9


  • Written and oral feedback on the dissertation plan in week 12


  • Written and oral feedback on draft chapter no later than 10 working days after submission


  • Written feedback on the dissertation



Recommended reading

Suggested further readings

  1. Chambers, Ellie, and Northledge, Andrew, The Arts Good Study Guide (Milton Keynes: Oxford University Press, 1997)
  2. Reardon, Denis, Doing Your Undergraduate Project (London: SAGE, 2004)



Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 391

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Gregory Scott Unit coordinator

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