BSc Global Development with International Study

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Global Development Dissertation

Course unit fact file
Unit code MGDI30000
Credit rating 40
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Full year
Available as a free choice unit? No


Students will work under the supervision of an individual lecturer to produce an 8,000-word dissertation on a specific research topic in the field of Global Development. The student will identify the topic in consultation with the lecturer.


  • Develop students’ ability to evaluate arguments and methods in social science applied to questions in Global Development.
  • Develop students’ ability to respond to critical feedback on their work.
  • Develop students’ oral and written communication skills.
  • Develop students’ ability to identify and apply specific research methods that can be used to address a particular question.
  • Develop students’ ability to apply numerical and statistical skills.*

* The relative importance of this aim will depend on the student’s chosen dissertation topic, as described below.

Teaching and learning methods

The course unit will begin with a series of seminars in which the convenor and colleagues explain the aims of the course unit and provide examples of different types of dissertation. A key part of the course unit is that students will (i) identify an appropriate research topic and (ii) appropriate research methods to explore the topic and evaluate relevant arguments. The seminars will provide an opportunity for interactive discussions about how this is to be achieved, supplemented by an initial supervision meeting with the student’s supervisor. Three subsequent supervisory meetings will be designed to help to guide the student in conducting independent research. The supervisor will also provide written comments on a draft of the student’s work.

The main assessment task is a written dissertation; a supplementary assessment task is a short oral presentation summarising the student’s work. The assessment criteria (and student guidance on the criteria) will refer to the learning outcomes listed above. Normally, there will be ten hours of contact time for the student: six hours of seminars and four hours of supervision meetings. It is not anticipated that students will use every single research skill and method that they have encountered in the previous five semesters: part of the work for the dissertation will be the selection of specific methods appropriate to the chosen topic, which will require critical judgement. It is likely that there will be substantial variation in the breadth and depth of the numerical and statistical component of the dissertation. Nevertheless, all students will need to show critical understanding of both qualitative and quantitative research methods, and the application of such methods, when selecting the method(s) appropriate for their study.

Intellectual skills

  • Evaluate social science knowledge and understanding, making effective use of feedback and employing strategies for improvement.
  • Identify and apply specific research methods that can be used to address a particular question.

Practical skills

  • Appraise the application of numerical and statistical methods appropriate to the research question.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Appraise the use numerical and statistical skills in academic and professional contexts.
  • Effectively communicate in writing and orally.
  • Work independently, taking responsibility for time management and organization.
  • Demonstrate an open and independent mindset, appreciating the importance of equality, diversity and inclusivity.
  • Make effective use of feedback and employ strategies for improvement.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Dissertation 90%
Oral assessment/presentation 10%

Feedback methods

There will be formative assessment through (i) discussion of the student’s initial work in supervision meetings and (ii) written comments on a draft of the dissertation before its submission.This can be a full draft.

Summative assessment with feedback on Blackboard. The content and timing of feedback will be consistent with University policy.

Recommended reading

The student will identify appropriate reading material in discussion with the supervisor

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Seminars 12
Independent study hours
Independent study 388

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
David Fielding Unit coordinator

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