ESPS9001 - ESPS Dissertation
Prerequisites: Satisfactory progression to final year
Course value: 1.0 unit
Convenor: Dr Mary Hilson
Duration: Two terms. Term 1 (Presentations); Term 2 (Submission of Dissertation)
Contact hours: Term 1: two-hour seminar
Assessment: presentation (15%); dissertation (85%)
Available to: Final Year ESPS students only
The dissertation is compulsory for all final-year ESPS students, with the exception of students taking a full Economics specialism, for whom it is optional. This module consists of research on a topic derived from the field of the student's specialisation.
The theme of the dissertation is chosen during the second year, in discussion with ESPS tutors and course teachers. The research for the dissertation is carried out during the third year abroad, in the country or countries of the major language(s) studied, utilising foreign sources.
In the final year at UCL, students finish writing up and submit a 6,500 - 8000 word paper on their research, which is assessed as one of the four units of the final year.
The dissertation draws together knowledge acquired in the humanities or social science specialisation and in the literature and culture of the country studied, as well as utilising linguistic skills developed during the year abroad.
A successful dissertation may well form the starting point for further, more independent work at postgraduate level, and it will be seen as an important indicator of an aptitude for research.
For those interested in developing a particular aspect of their research at the end of their degree, an opportunity exists for publication of selected articles based on the dissertation in the ESPS annual journal European Social and Political Research.
In the first term of the final year, there will be assessed presentations by students on their dissertation.
Two weeks in advance of their presentation, students submit to the ESPS office an electronic copy of an article in English which will provide other students with a background to the topic, together with a bibliography of three titles for those who wish to pursue the topic further.
The article and bibliography will be uploaded to Moodle. All students are expected to have read the background articles in time for the presentations each week.
In their presentations students explain how they have formulated the problem which their dissertation addresses, their reasons for selecting the topic, and their sources, hypotheses, methods, findings and conclusions.
After the presentation each student receives a detailed response from a discussant.
The class as a whole then offers feedback - concerning omissions and inconsistencies, suggestions for new angles and methods, and comparative insights into links with other topics.
Detailed information on the ESPS Dissertation is included in the ESPS Year Abroad Guide and Dissertation Guidelines, available on Moodle.