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Undergraduate Dissertation


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 6
  • Convenor: Olivia Hamlyn
  • Assessment: a 10,000-word dissertation, including footnotes and excluding bibliography and appendices

Module description

This is a full-year module that culminates in the final production of a 10,000-word dissertation. This is a research-based module in which you will attend seminars on research skills and work closely with an individual supervisor in the development of your dissertation.

This module provides an excellent opportunity for those who wish to engage in an in-depth research project on a topic they have a strong interest in, and provides valuable experience for those who wish to pursue further academic study after the LLB or BSc Criminology and Criminal Justice. Admission on the module is at the discretion of the School.

Enrolling on the module

Writing a dissertation is a difficult, but potentially highly rewarding, task. You will need to be more independent than at any other stage of your studies at Birkbeck. A dissertation is submitted in lieu of a taught subject. You are expected to devote as much time to researching and writing your dissertation as you would to a taught module.

This module is available at the discretion of the School of Law. It is generally expected that students should be on a minimum 2.1 trajectory for admittance on the module, as demonstration of strong writing skills are essential. The support and availability of an appropriate supervisor is essential to enrolment on the module.

To be considered for enrolment on the module, you will need to submit your Research Statement and confirmed or proposed supervisor(s) to the module convenor. This must be done prior to the commencement of the academic year in which you will be taking the module.

The Research Statement should be approximately 500 words and include a description of the central research question you envision addressing in your research. This will need to be sent to the module convenor before you can enrol on the module.

Finding an appropriate supervisor

Contact the potential supervisor directly to discuss your project and potential supervision (view academic profiles on the School website: Although it is advisable to already have the support of a supervisor at the time of submitting your research statement to the module convenor, you may also list three potential supervisors in order of preference. This way the module convenor can help you in identifying appropriate members of staff to approach. Enrolment on the module cannot be confirmed until an academic has agreed to supervise the project.

Non-assessed Compulsory Components

There are several, non-assessed compulsory components in the module. These include a Research Proposal (distinct and more involved than the Research Statement) submitted in the first term, and a draft of the dissertation submitted in the second term.

Observing courses

Dissertation students have the option to observe (without being assessed) any module in their programme which is relevant to their dissertation. If you wish to pursue this option then you should contact the relevant module tutor in advance.