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Course Components

Dissertations & Projects

FULL DISSERTATIONS (for Research Master's and PhD students only)


HEQF credits: 30 at level 8.

Course convener: Professor A Seegers.

Entrance requirements: Compulsory for all Honours students in the Politics, International Relations, Public Policy and Administration, and Justice and Transformation programmes.

Course outline: POL4007H is a whole year course in which students must:

  1. complete the Survey of the Discipline-module;

  2. complete the Project Support-module;

  3. make a public presentation of their proposed research project; and

  4. submit by 1 November an independent research project of 10,000-15,000 words (30-50 pages).

The topic and format of the project will be provided by the convener of the programme in which students are enrolled. By the end of this course, students should be able to use existing evidence to answer well-formed, theoretically driven and policy relevant questions about political phenomena.

DP requirements: Participation in and completion of the Survey of the Discipline- and Project Support-modules.

Assessment: Coursework 20%; Research Project 80%.



HEQF credits: 96 at level 9.

Course convener: Professor R Mattes.

Entrance requirements: Admission into the Master’s programme.

Course outline: At Master’s level, students must submit a supervised dissertation on an approved topic not exceeding 25,000 words. Students are required to present a dissertation proposal for approval prior to the allocation of a supervisor. Residential Master’s students are required to participate in the Departmental Master’s/PhD seminars. (Additional modules of the Research Methods course may be required in conjunction with the dissertation project.)

DP requirements: Completion of minor dissertation by Faculty deadline dates, on an approved topic not exceeding 25,000 words (excluding referencing and bibliography).

Assessment: By dissertation assessed by two Faculty-approved external examiners.



POL5000W Research Masters in Political Studies

POL5003W Research Masters in Public Administration

POL6000W PhD in Political Studies

POL6001W PhD in Public Administration

The Research degrees are by dissertation/thesis only.

Faculty rule FM3 and University General Rules apply.

Applicants must have the required academic background and submit an acceptable research proposal for which supervision is available. Research degrees are encouraged where the field of research is clearly defined, the student wishes to concentrate on a specific research topic and has demonstrated the ability to do so.

Examination is by dissertation/thesis alone.

  • A master's dissertation should not exceed 50,000 words in length (excluding referencing & bibliography).
  • A doctoral thesis should not exceed 80,000 words in length (excluding referencing & bibliography).