BASS Politics and Criminology / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Long Dissertation

Course unit fact file
Unit code CRIM30610
Credit rating 40
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Full year
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course unit is designed to provide students with an opportunity to explore and investigate their own research topic. It is an excellent chance to develop your own independent research project, where you can identify, refine, explore in depth, and evaluate what you produce using the knowledge and skills that you have gained over the previous two years.

Indicative content: There are no generic teaching sessions that you have to attend. Due to the individualised nature of your work, you will have one-to-one sessions with your supervisor throughout the academic year. This will ensure that you have dedicated discussions and guidance that is tailored to your research project. You may wish to access the My Learning Essentials workshops run by the library and one or more of the Short Dissertation sessions (details of both are on Blackboard).


Restricted: to BA (Criminology) students if not doing LAWS30620. Also available to students on the BASS Criminology pathway.

Pre-requisites: 40 credits of 2nd year Criminology course units.

Please note that to qualify for the Long Dissertation you must achieve a minimum of 60% in ALL second year modules.


This course unit aims to: (1) engage students with the theory and practice of criminological research; (2) encourage exploration of the dilemmas and synergies associated with particular research designs and methods appropriate to their area of study; (3) enable students to explore a research question in depth by designing, conducting and writing up primary research, engaging in library-based research, or analysing secondary/unsolicited data.

Any proposed empirical research is subject to approval by the University's ethics protocols.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to: (1) appreciate the theoretical and practical issues involved in undertaking an extended piece of research under supervision; (2) gain the ability to explore a research question in depth; (3) demonstrate the appropriate use of research design to address an identified researchable question; (4) show effective use of literature search tools; (5) engage with the dilemmas and synergies of particular research design and methods appropriate to their field of study; (6) demonstrate a critical understanding of how to 'do research'; (7) understand the debates concerning the ethics of research.

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching and learning across course units consists of: (1) preparatory work to be completed prior to teaching sessions, including readings, pre-recorded subject material and online activities; (2) a weekly whole-class lecture or workshop; (3) a tutorial; and (4) one-to-one support via subject specific office hours.

Employability skills

(i) analyse, critique and (re-)formulate a problem or issue; (ii) rapidly and thoroughly review/rate argument and evidence from targeted bibliographic searches; (iii) plan, structure and present arguments in a variety of written formats and to a strict word limit, (iv) express ideas verbally and organise work effectively in small teams for a variety of written and oral tasks; (v) obtain, manipulate and (re-)present different forms of data; (vi) manage time effectively; (vii) reflect on and improve performance through feedback.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Report 10%
Dissertation 90%

Feedback methods

Formative feedback (both individual and collective) will be given on work produced for each supervision meeting. Detailed summative feedback will be given on the submitted dissertation via Blackboard (Grademark).

This unit is assessed by a 1000 word dissertation proposal (10%) and the dissertation (90%).

Recommended reading

University of Manchester Library My Learning Essentials ''Start to Finish: Dissertations" available at:


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 70

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Claire Fox Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Across their course units each semester, full-time students are expected to devote a ‘working week’ of around 30-35 hours to study. Accordingly each course unit demands around 10-11 hours of study per week consisting of (i) 3 timetabled teacher-led hours, (ii) 7-8 independent study hours devoted to preparation, required and further reading, and note taking. 


Admission to the long Dissertation is at the discretion of the Course Unit Leader. Students who do not meet the pre-requisites or who do not demonstrate sufficient commitment to the dissertation will not be allowed to progress with this unit.

The long dissertation is aimed at students wishing to do a piece of empirical research, a significant secondary analysis project, or a ‘desk-based’ study of, for example, specific policies and/or practices. Undertaking an extended literature review in place of these activities will not be permitted for the long dissertation. 

This course is not available to incoming study abroad students.


Up to 5 supervision meetings per semester, arranged individually with the allocated supervisor.

Please refer to your personalised Criminology timetable


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