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MRES Handbook

Welcome to the Masters of Research Programmes

This handbook is designed to provide an overview of our Masters of Research (MRes) programmes. It summarises the essential information on the two programmes.

You must read this guide in conjunction with the SSEES Student Handbook, where you will find very important general information about Masters-level studies.

Full details of the SSEES postgraduate modules running in 2019-20 are available on the Module Catalogue.

You should also read the UCL Academic Regulations for Taught Programmes.

We wish you the greatest success in your studies and look forward to meeting you during induction week.

Dr Seth Graham

MRes Programme Coordinator and Head of Postgraduate Research)

Fiona Rushworth

MRes Programme Administrator

Introduction: Masters of Research at SSEES

MRes in East European Studies (2 years)

This programme is our flagship postgraduate training programme in interdisciplinary area studies. The programme was originally developed through the government-funded Centre for East European Language-based Area Studies (CEELBAS) launched in 2006 and has since provided the starting point for a number of students to progress into research oriented careers.

The two-year MRes has two internal ‘pathways’ - one in social science and one in arts and humanities. Common to both pathways is a core of beginners and intermediate language (one of our East European languages) and courses in interdisciplinary area studies. Around this core, each pathway incorporates a full suite of discipline-specific research-methods training augmented with a choice of electives from SSEES’s rich offering of content- based courses. Finally, of course, the second year of the programme is defined by the extended research- based dissertation, benefiting from dual supervision. For many students, this dissertation forms the basis of future doctoral studies.

MRes in The Politics and Economics of Eastern Europe (1 year)

This intense programme is specifically aimed at social science students with a background/interest in economics and/or politics and a commitment to developing a career (in academia or elsewhere) in empirically-oriented research work. The core of the programme consists of a suite of social science research methods training (with some flexibility included to allow for different levels of econometric interest), which may also include language training. This core, augmented with an elective course of your choice from the Economics, Business, Politics and Sociology range of courses is intended to prepare you for a genuinely innovative research based dissertation during the second half of the 12-month programme. As with the two-year MRes, the dissertation process benefits from dual supervision arrangements.

MRes in East European Studies (2 years)

The Master of Research in East European Studies is a two-year programme of area specific, language oriented, advanced research training in the methodologies and approaches of economics, politics, history, culture and literature. Graduates of the programme will possess the attributes to complete a PhD within three years or to enter the labour market directly with advanced analytical and research skills, regional expertise and proficiency in a language of the area.

Students on the two year MRes must take 330 credits during the two years, comprising of 60 language credits, 30 credits in Interdisciplinary Area Studies Research (IAS), 75 specialist research methods training, 60 subject electives and a free-standing dissertation worth 105 credits. In addition, all MRes students are obliged to attend regular Research Centre Seminars.

All MRes students are also encouraged to attend the MA/MRes Dissertation Preparation Programme. This programme is not compulsory for MRes students, but it will help to review and update your library and information management skills (essential for undertaking good research) and provide you with a detailed, subject-specific dissertation briefing. Although attendance is not compulsory, all MRes students will be automatically registered on the Programme in order to give access to Moodle resources and timetable information for particular sessions.

You can find information about the modules below on the Module Catalogue

First Year:

CreditsSocial Sciences: year one (150)Arts and Humanities: year one (150)
30 Language (compulsory)Beginners – various (full year)Beginners – various (full year)
75 Methods (compulsory)

SEES0116 Political Analysis (15 credits, term 1)

SEES0117 Political Sociology (15 credits, term 1)

SEES0083 Quantitative Methods (15 credits, term 1)

SEES0095 Advanced Quantitative Methods

(15 credits, term 2)

NB: Advanced Quantitative Methods may only be taken if Quantitative Methods taken in term 1

SEES0107 Understanding and Analysing Data

(15 credits, term 1)

SEES0103 Comparative Analysis in Social and Political Research (15 credits, term 2)

SEES0128 Qualitative Methods (15 credits, term 2)

SEES0116 Political Analysis (15 credits, term 1)

SEES0117 Political Sociology (15 credits, term 1)

SEES0047 Literary and Cultural Theory

(30 credits, term 1)

SEES0107 Understanding and Analysing Data

(15 credits, term 1)

SEES0052 Historical Methods and Approaches

(30 credits, term 2)
SEES0103 Comparative Analysis in Social and Political Research (15 credits, term 2)

SEES0128 Qualitative Methods (15 credits, term 2)

 

45 Electives*Various from SSEES Social Sciences programmesVarious from SSEES Arts & Humanities programmes
Summary30 Language 1- 75 Methods 1- 45 Electives30 Language 1- 75 Methods 1- 45 Electives

Second Year:

CreditsSocial Sciences: year two (180)Arts and Humanities: year two (180)
30 Language** (compulsory)Intermediate – various (full year)Intermediate – various (full year)
15 SEES0096 IAS  (Non Condonable)

SEES0096 IAS: Interdisciplinary Area Studies

(term 2)

SEES0096 IAS II: Interdisciplinary Area Studies II

(term 2)
105 Dissertation (Non – Condonable)20,000 words20,000 words
30 Electives*Various from SSEES Social Sciences programmesVarious from SSEES Arts & Humanities programmes
Summary30 Language + 15 IAS  + 105 Dissertation + 30 Electives30 Language + 15 IAS  + 105 Dissertation + 30 Electives

* On approval of the MRes Programme Coordinator one MA-level module (up to 30 credits) may be selected from another SSEES course or other UCL Departments.

** This should be the same language as in year one.

UCL SSEES is committed to providing our students with stimulating, high quality, research-led courses, however please be aware that we are not always able to guarantee that all courses will be available every year.

If you have queries about the programme or its courses please contact the MRes Programme Administrator, Fiona Rushworth for further information

 

MRes in The Politics and Economics of Eastern Europe (1 year)

The MRes in the Politics and Economics of Eastern Europe is a one-year research training degree in methods and approaches for studying politics, economics and society in post-communist Europe (including Russia and other post-Soviet states). It is intended primarily for applicants planning to do a PhD or MPhil or make a professional career in research, who already have a good knowledge of one or more of the languages of the region as well as some background in the social sciences.

Students on the one year MRes must take 180 credits during the year, comprising 60 methods and/or language credits, 15 specialist electives and a free-standing dissertation worth 105 credits. In addition, all MRes students are obliged to attend regular Research Centre Seminars.

All MRes students are also encouraged to attend the MA/MRes Dissertation Preparation Programme. This programme is not compulsory for MRes students, but it will help to review and update your library and information management skills (essential for undertaking good research) and provide you with a detailed, subject-specific dissertation briefing. Although attendance is not compulsory, all MRes students will be automatically registered on the Programme in order to give access to Moodle resources and timetable information for particular sessions.

You can find information about the modules below on the Module Catalogue.

CreditsTask
105 Dissertation (Non Condonable)20,000 words
60 Methods and/or Language (compulsory)

SSEES Language

(30 credits, terms 1&2)

SEES0116 Political Analysis (15 credits, term 1)

SEES0117 Political Sociology (15 credits, term 1)

SEES0083 Quantitative Methods (15 credits, term 1)

SEES0107 Understanding and Analysing Data (15 credits, term 1)

SEES0095 Advanced Quantitative Methods

(15 credits, term 2)

NB: Advanced Quantitative Methods may only be taken if Quantitative Methods taken in term 1

SEES0128 Qualitative Methods (15 credits, term 2

15 Electives*Various from SSEES Social Sciences programmes (Economics or Politics)
Summary105 Dissertation 1- 60 Methods and/or Language 1- 15 Electives

* On approval of the MRes Programme Coordinator one MA-level module (up to 15 credits) may be selected from another SSEES course or other UCL Departments.

UCL SSEES is committed to providing our students with stimulating, high quality, research-led courses, however please be aware that we are not always able to guarantee that all courses will be available every year.

If you have queries about the programme or its courses please contact the MRes Programme Administrator, Fiona Rushworth for further information.

Supervision and Dissertation

Dissertation Timeline (Exact dates tbc)

Dissertation Introductory Session:       1st week of Dec

Dissertation Proposal Deadline:           Mid-Dec for PEEE students

                                                             Feb  for 1st year EES students (Moodle submission)

Dissertation Workshop:                        Early June (after examinations, end of term 3)

Please note, the Dissertation Workshop in early June is compulsory for MRes PEEE students and second-year MRES EES students. You will be required to prepare short presentations (10 minutes, 5 slides) covering your research question(s), expected outcomes, methodology etc. The sessions will be arranged according to topic and attended by your supervisors.

Aims and objectives of the dissertation

The aims of the Dissertation are:

To provide an opportunity to pursue independent research on a subject of your choice

To provide experience in identifying a clearly focused research question and developing a thesis around it, over an extended period.

To enable students to test their skills in producing a substantial piece of written work of potentially publishable quality (high level of analysis, judgment and clarity of expression);

To develop and showcase your academic development achieved during the MRes programme;

To prepare you for MPhil, PhD or any other research project you might do in your future career.

The objectives of the Dissertation are:

To choose an original topic for your research and to identify a relevant and appropriate research question within that topic;

To search for and understand existing literature on the subject (including classic works, up-to-date publications, periodical and internet sources);

To demonstrate knowledge of secondary sources on the chosen subject as well as your ability to assess critically other authors' views and to structure your own argument;

To take into account, as appropriate, relevant historical background and theoretical frameworks;

To develop your organizational, analytical and stylistic skills;

To work towards making an independent contribution on a particular subject.

Supervision

It is essential for you to begin planning for the dissertation in the first term, in order to locate appropriate literature, data and other documentary materials and to hold an informed discussion of your proposed topic with the MRes Programme Coordinator and any members of staff you approach regarding supervision.

You will be taught by some of the staff working in your area in the first term, but you might not necessarily come into contact with all of them immediately. So you should consult the staff research profiles on the SSEES website in order to identify any members of academic staff whom you might wish to consult in their office hours for additional advice. More details on SSEES academic environment, research centres and seminars can be found in the SSEES Postgraduate Student Handbook.

Because of the enhanced role that the dissertation plays in the MRes programme, MRes students benefit from dual supervision and have the opportunity to approach potential supervisors directly. During the first term, all MRes students should start writing a draft dissertation proposal and approaching members of staff to discuss the possibility of supervision. Students only need to find a principal supervisor – an appropriate secondary supervisor will be chosen by the principal supervisor and the MRes Coordinator. All MRes students need to complete the MRes Dissertation Provisional Proposal Form (available on the Moodle page for SEES0092 MA/MRes Dissertation Preparation Programme, on which you will automatically be enrolled) and get this signed by their principal supervisor to confirm the supervision arrangement. The completed form must be submitted via Moodle by the published deadline. If a supervisor has not been found by the stated deadlines, the student must contact the MRes Programme Coordinator immediately.

Since the dissertation has to be the result of independent effort, supervision is available for guidance only. Advice will consist of consultation in respect of research questions, design, research methods, the plan, structure and focus, and bibliography. Supervision will consist of a maximum of 5 meetings for students on the 1-year MRes programme and 7 meetings (3 in the first year, 4 in the second year) for students on the 2-year MRes programme, so please ensure that you are well prepared for the meetings and use this time wisely. It is your responsibility to email your supervisor and arrange these meetings, which should take place during term-time over the second and third terms.

Supervisors will give advice on the outline of the dissertation and, as far as they are able, on bibliographic and other resources. They will also comment on the initial drafts of chapters. Please be aware, however, that supervisors may be away for parts of the summer vacation and that arrangements should be made accordingly. Staff availability at that time will depend on their commitments to research activity. All students are therefore strongly encouraged to provide a detailed research plan BEFORE the end of the third term.

All MRes students will be registered for the MA/MRes Dissertation Preparation Programme SEES0092. This programme is not compulsory, but all MRes students are strongly encouraged to attend.

Finally, make sure you familiarise yourself in good time – before you start writing – with the relevant guidance on style, referencing and presentation as described in the MA Dissertation Style Guidelines, available on the Moodle page for SEES0092.

Length of the Dissertation

The length of the dissertation varies between MRes in East European Studies (2 years) and MRes in The Politics and Economics of Eastern Europe (1 year).

MRes in East European Studies (2 years) - 17,000 - 20,000 words (including all notes and appendices, but excluding the bibliography).

MRes in The Politics and Economics of Eastern Europe (1 year) - 15000 – 18000 (including all notes and appendices, but excluding the bibliography).

Any word count within these ranges is permissible. All text in the dissertation, including captions, footnotes and appendices, is considered part of the word count

EXCEPTION: Students writing dissertations on Economics or Business who wish to include tables with descriptive statistics etc. may include these in appendices which will not count towards the word count.

For information on the format of the dissertation, submission (including penalties for late submission) and extenuating circumstances, please refer to the MA/MRes Dissertation Preparation Programme booklet.

Scheme of Award

Taught Masters Programmes: MRes 1 Year & 2 Year

In order to be considered for an award from UCL, students must satisfy the Board of Examiners that they have met the academic requirements set out in the UCL Academic Regulations for Taught Programmes: Postgraduate Students (Masters and MRes Programmes), together with any other requirements associated with the programme as set out in the programme literature. Academic Regulations, in the event of a discrepancy, remain the official point of reference.

The Scheme of Award provides for Fail, Pass, Merit or Distinction. The class of degree awarded will be based on the performance in each of the required component elements of assessment. The final classification will be arrived at by taking the mean of the component marks, accounting for the relative credit weighting of each component.

The mean defines the classification (e.g. a mean mark of 57 indicates that the degree awarded is classified as a pass).

Criteria for the Award of a Masters Degree (4.9.12 – Academic Regulations for Students: (Masters Level)

  1. For the award of a Master’s degree students must have completed* 180 UCL (1 Year MRes) or 330 credits (2 Year MRes) credits or the equivalent 1800 learning hours and obtained an overall average mark of 50% or greater which must include a mark of 50% or greater for the dissertation.
  2. A maximum of 30 taught credits (i.e. excluding the dissertation and non-condonable modules) may be condoned if falling in the range 40.00-49.99%.

Classification of Masters Degrees (4.9.12) Academic Regulations for Students: (Masters Level)

Students are eligible for the following, if they have satisfied ALL of the relevant criteria for the classification (Rounding should be applied to obtain the integer marks given below: for example, 64.4 is rounded to 64% but 64.5 is rounded to 65%).

To obtain a PASS:

  1. students must pass and achieve a mark of at least 50% in all component elements (modules) of assessment

Condoned Modules (Academic Regulations 9.3.2)

  1. A maximum of 25% of the programme’s taught element (i.e. excluding the dissertation and non-condonable modules) may be condoned if falling in the range 40-49.99%.
  2. The course in question is NOT a Non Condonable course or the dissertation
  3. The mark of the overall module is at least 40%

To obtain a MERIT:  

  1. The overall mean, based on 180 credits/330 credits, is 60% or greater
  2. The mark for the dissertation is 60% or greater

To obtain a DISTINCTION:

1. The overall mean, based on 180 credits/330 credits, is 70% or greater

2. The mark for the dissertation is 70% or greater

Borderline Criteria for Classification (Academic Regulations for Students:  (Masters Level) (4.10.7)

If the overall mark is 59.50%, an award of merit will be made when all of the following criteria are met:

1.          A Final Weighted Mark greater than or equal to 59.50%
AND
2.          A mark greater than or equal to 60% in the Dissertation

If the overall mark is 58.50%, an award of merit will be made when all of the following criteria are met:

1.         A Final Weighted Mark greater than or equal to 58.50%
AND
2.         Module marks of at least 60.00% in at least 50% of the taught credits
AND
3          Mark greater than or equal to 60.00% in the Dissertation

If the overall mark is 69.50% an award of Distinction will be made when all of the following criteria are met:

1.            A final weighted mark greater than or equal to 69.50%

AND
2.            A mark greater than or equal to 70% in the Dissertation

If the overall mark is 68.5% a candidate is in the borderline zone, an award of a Distinction can be made

1.            A Final Weighted Mark greater than or equal to 68.50%
AND
2.            Module marks of at least 70.00% in at least 50% of the taught credits
AND
3.           A mark greater than or equal to 70.00% in the Dissertation No failure marks can be condoned.

Re-sit and Substitute Modules (4.11.4 Academic Regulations for Students: Masters Level) 

Failure in any course, which is not condoned, will require a successful re-sit at the next available opportunity before the MA degree can be awarded.

Only ONE re-sit attempt is permitted for each course.

Progression (for the 2-year MRes only)

In order to progress to the second year of the degree students must normally have passed modules worth 120 credits.

If you started prior to the 2017/2018 academic year please refer to the correlating academic manual for guidance on classification and borderline cases.

Useful Programme Contacts

The SSEES building is located at 16 Taviton Street, London WC1H0BW.

The mailing address of the Department is:

School of Slavonic and East European Studies

University College London

Gower Street

London WC1E 6BT

Key Contacts at UCL

MRes Programme Coordinator and Head of Postgraduate Research: Dr Seth Graham

Room 527, 16 Taviton Street

s.graham@ucl.ac.uk

tel: +44 (0)20 7679 8735 

UCL Postgraduate Administrator: Fiona Rushworth

Student Administration Office – Room 341, 16 Taviton Street

SSEES-Research@ucl.ac.uk 

tel: +44 (0)20 7679 8775

IMPORTANT! If you encounter any academic or personal problems that may affect your studies, please contact Seth, Fiona or your supervisor as soon as possible! We are here to listen and help you. Always use your UCL email to contact UCL staff and include your student number; make sure you regularly check the UCL account (including Moodle) also during the second year.

Personal Tutors

You will be assigned a Personal Tutor. The name of your Personal Tutor will be listed on your Portico record at the beginning of the first term. You should feel free to see your Personal Tutor during their office hours or at other times (by appointment) whenever you require help or advice in resolving a problem. Your personal tutor provides you with pastoral and academic support and guidance.

Education and Student Support Office

The Education and Student Support Office is based in Room 341 on the third floor of the SSEES building.

Contacting the Office

The preferred and most effective form of communication with the office is via email. Our email address is ssees-student @ucl.ac.uk.

 Please include the following information in all emails to enable a prompt response:

  • Full Name
  • Student Number
  • Degree Programme
  • Year of Study (e.g. First year student)

If you need to visit the Education and Student Support Office in person, the front desk is open during the following times:

10:00 am – 4:00 pm on Monday-Friday

How we contact you

SSEES will mainly use email to contact you about various matters. When you register with Information Systems you will be allocated a UCL email address - this is the address which will be used to contact you. It is very important that you check your UCL email regularly.

Once your email has been set up, please ensure that you have set up a standard signature that shows your name, student number and programme. This will speed responses to your queries up when you email the Programme Administrator or other departments at UCL.

Education & Student Support Administrative Assistant

The Education & Student Support Administrative Assistant acts as the first point of contact for all enquiries when you visit the Education and Student Support Office. Additionally, the Education & Student Support Administrative Assistant should be the first point of contact for any requests to extend a deadline.

Other Administrative Departments you may need to Contact

The academic administration of your course is managed locally at SSEES, but for most other administrative tasks you will need to contact central UCL administrative departments. Offices that it may be useful to be aware of include:

Student Enquiries Centre

Student Fees

Student Funding

Student Accommodation

Term Dates

TERM                           DATE

First Term                    Monday 23 September 2019 – Friday 13 December 2019

Second Term               Monday 13 January 2020 – Friday 27 March 2020

Third Term                   Monday 27 April 2020 – Friday 12 June 2020

College Reading Weeks are the weeks beginning Monday 4 November 2019 and Monday 17 February 2020.

Christmas

CLOSE – Friday 20 December 2019 at 5.30 pm
RE-OPEN – Thursday 2 January 2020 at 9.00 am

Easter

CLOSE – Wednesday 8 April 2020 at 5.30 pm

RE-OPEN – Wednesday 15 April 2020 at 9.00 am

Bank Holidays

CLOSED – Friday 8 May 2020

CLOSED – Monday 25 May 2020

The UCL Calendar 2019/20

Key Documents

There are several important documents that include key information relating to your programme, your responsibilities as a student, and the rules and regulations that govern your registration. These can all be accessed via the ‘Current Students’ page of the SSEES Website.

Student Handbook

This contains key information relating to operation of your programme within SSEES, including details about key dates, coursework submission, penalties that may be applied to your assessment, and contact details.

This document is updated annually to reflect any changes in policy and it is important that you ensure you refer to the handbook for the appropriate academic year.

Timetable

You can find the timetable online.

Please ensure that you check the timetable regularly for any changes, including changes to the location of your classes.

Key Points

Coursework Submission

Assessed coursework needs to be submitted online via Moodle by the deadline set in order to avoid late penalties. All work submitted for assessment should be anonymous.

Late Submission Penalties

Planning, time-management and the meeting of deadlines are part of the personal and professional skills expected of all graduates. For this reason, UCL expects students to submit all coursework by the published deadline date and time, after which penalties will be applied.

If a student experiences something which prevents them from meeting a deadline that is sudden, unexpected, and significantly disruptive and beyond their control, they should submit an Extenuating Circumstances (EC) Form. If the request is accepted, the student may be granted an extension. If the deadline has already passed, the late submission may be condoned i.e. there will be no penalty for submitting late.

Further information:

Late Submission Penalties    

Extenuating Circumstances

Support for Students

Starting a course at a new university, possibly in a new city or even country can be a daunting experience for anyone, regardless of age or background. The most important thing to remember is that there are many sources of advice and support available for every aspect of your life at UCL from the moment you arrive until you graduate and beyond.

Full details of the support available to you can be found on the New Student pages and on the Support & Wellbeing pages. You’ll also find some key links below. 

Students with physical or mental health concerns are encouraged to make contact with the available support services as early as possible so that UCL can put in place reasonable adjustments to support them throughout their studies. However, there may be occasions when a student’s physical or mental health, wellbeing or behaviour is having a detrimental effect on their ability to meet the requirements of their programme, or is impacting on the wellbeing, rights, safety and security of other students and staff. In such cases UCL may need to take action under the Fitness to Study Procedure.

Further Information

Module Registration

PORTICO is the central UCL student-records database. It holds the records that the university needs to help ensure your smooth academic progress from year to year, including your contact details, your course choices, and your future examination results.

Your first experience of Portico is likely to be when you register the modules (courses) that you want to take in Year 1, and this brief guide is intended to help you with this process.

IT inductions

The IS Induction Sessions are available from the ISD (Information Services Division) will provide a good introduction to the PORTICO system if you would like more help. 

Choosing modules on Portico

You will be given more information about module choices during induction.

As soon as you are advised to do so, you can use your UCL userid and password to access Portico and make your module selections. For more information and instructions on how to register for modules on Portico please refer to the online user guide.

Before you select your modules we recommend you check the Online Timetable to find out when they are being taught and when you have a free space in your timetable. You can choose the 'custom timetable' option to look at the timetables for modules you are considering. Your mandatory modules will automatically be added to your personal timetable and the modules you select will be added overnight.

If you want to find out more about the content of individual modules you can do so by going to the department website or by clicking on the programme code while on Portico or in Moodle which will bring up a summary of the module. You can also ask for information during the welcome meetings hosted by departments.

You will be able to view your module selection throughout the year on Portico. Please alert your department immediately if the module information displayed is incorrect.

If you have any questions about module selection please see your Programme Administrator in room 341 immediately or ssees-research@ucl.ac.uk.

If you have any technical queries regarding PORTICO please contact the PORTICO Services Office or phone 020 7679 0637 (internal extension 30637).

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I choose courses from other (non-SSEES) departments in UCL?

You may only choose from the courses listed by the department. Even if a tutor is willing to accept you, it will not be possible to take the course. You can, however, audit a course, if a tutor allows for it.

How do I decide which courses to take?

You can read about courses on the SSEES website, ask your Programme Administrator or visit your Personal Tutor for more advice.

Can I change courses once lectures have begun?

You are encouraged to find out as much as possible about the courses on offer. Course changes will be allowed only in exceptional circumstances. If, you must change a course, please contact the Programme Administrator immediately.

How many classes should I attend?

On the timetable you will notice that there is more than one tutorial group for each course. You only need to attend one group (in addition to the lecture). Tutorials can take place every week or every fortnight, please check carefully. You will be allocated to a group, please check your online timetable for information. You must ask your tutor and inform the administrator if you need to switch groups. Switching of groups is not usually permitted and would be only allowed in exceptional circumstances. Attendance at classes is monitored.

Please speak to your course tutor or administrator if you experience any problems with your courses.