A dissertation is intended to enable a student to deepen his or her understanding of a particular area of Law.
It gives students the opportunity to choose a topic independently and work under supervision to produce a work of academic research of approximately 7,000 words in length. The dissertation prepares the student for independent research and postgraduate study.
A Law dissertation will only be permitted in a subject already studied by the student in their first or second years. A student taking a dissertation will be assigned a supervisor, who will give guidance to and review the student’s work. In order to ensure academic integrity, this guidance and support will be limited, so the student must therefore have demonstrated sufficient academic ability and self-reliance to undertake the dissertation.
There is a procedure for determining the topic of a dissertation:
By the end of Hilary in Year 2, students must submit, to the Head of Faculty, a proposed dissertation title and abstract of no more than 250 words. This must relate to a subject already studied by the student in their first or second years. If desired the student may submit up to two reserved titles and abstracts meeting the same criterion. The Head of Faculty will identify a validator for the first-choice dissertation (who will usually be the intended supervisor) and pass the title and abstract to that validator for validation as suitable, possibly on condition that a specified amendment is made. If deemed unsuitable this procedure will be iterated for any second- or third-choice dissertations.
By the end of the Easter vacation in Year 2, a dissertation will be validated (possibly on condition that a specified amendment is made) and a supervisor chosen.
On successful validation the student will be informed whether they are unconditionally accepted to take the dissertation or whether acceptance is conditional on results in their second-year examinations.
The following degrees contain this course: