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Economics Dissertation

EC4130 - Dissertation

  • ECTS Weighting: 15
  • Semester/Term Taught: Michaelmas + Hilary Term
  • Contact Hours: A schedule of meetings should be agreed between student and supervisor by the end of October.
  • Module Personnel: Coordinator of dissertations - Professor Michael King

Module Content

1. In the Moderatorship examination candidates taking BESS single honours economics, PPES single honours economics or TSM Pattern B (majoring in economics) may be permitted by the Department of Economics to substitute a dissertation for an economics module.The dissertation will be undertaken under the supervision of a member of the Department of Economics. Dissertations should not be undertaken lightly and are more suited to the academically strong student who has developed a keen interest in a particular facet of economics. A dissertation involves the undertaking on an analysis of an original research question, which may be theoretical or applied. A dissertation is not a term paper!

2. Normally only students who have achieved at least a 11.1 in their Junior Sophister examination will be permitted to do a dissertation. Dissertation topics will normally be related to a Sophister course taken by the candidate in either the JS or SS and the supervisor might well be the person giving that course.

3. Dissertations (two copies) must be submitted for examination to the Economics Department by 5pm the Friday of Week 8 of Hilary Term. It is in the student's strong interest to maintain contact with his or her supervisor while writing the dissertation and students are recommended to agree a meetings protocol with the supervisor by the end of Week 3 Michaelmas Term. After giving initial guidance on dissertation structure, data sources, etc. a supervisor would normally expect to read each chapter in draft form and to return these chapters with comments to the student. The supervisor would expect to see a full final draft of the dissertation two weeks prior to the submission date. Where the supervisor is of the opinion that the draft dissertation is not of a pass standard he or she will inform the student of that opinion at this time.

4. Since the abolition of the General Paper there is no 'fall-back' option for students in the event of a dissertation project running into difficulties. You should therefore take a full complement of lecture modules until you and your supervisor pass the point at which you have a satisfactory dissertation.

5. The probability of dropping out of the dissertation stream is reduced by submitting a well thought out dissertation proposal by the end of October; by commitment to a regular schedule of consultation with the supervisor and doing regular work on the dissertation. The main reasons why people have dropped out of the dissertation stream in the past have been factors such as;

  • Not enough work done by Christmas;
  • The pressures of job search;
  • The feeling that a wrong decision was made to do a dissertation;
  • Inability to access data that had originally been promised;
  • Complacency and easy option expectations are wrong: Dissertations do not necessarily achieve better grades than examinations.

6. The key issue in a dissertation if to decide the question you wish to try to answer. This should be narrowly focused and manageable. The dissertation should display a thorough grasp of the theoretical principles involved and should be properly referenced and located in the literature.

7. Length should be about 8,000 to 10,000 words and in no case should exceed 12,000 words. Dissertations should be typed and ring-bound. A major factor in dissertations being over-long is extensive literature review. Students should only include in their review literature which is directly relevant to the thesis they are examining in the dissertation.

8. The crucial dates in seeking permission to undertake a dissertation are the
following:

  • Submit a one page preliminary proposal to the Department of Economics by the end of Week 12 of Hilary term in your JS year
  • Plan a modicum of vacation work on your topic to facilitate submission of your formal dissertation proposal (2-3 pages) by the end of Week 3 of Michaelmas term. A decision will be given in the following week giving/not giving formal approval for the student to proceed.
  • Present a short progress report in Week 8 of Michaelmas Term. It is strongly advised that you continue to attend your fourth module until such time as this progress report is approved by supervisor/coordinator.

Module Pre Requisite

EC2010

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