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Master Dissertation Sample Uk

Advice and resources to support you throughout your dissertation.

Dissertations at Postgraduate level

Dissertations come in many shapes and forms, but there are some factors that are common to all; your dissertation will require a large investment of time and involvement. This in-depth engagement and knowledge with the topic should allow a higher level of analysis and insight to be attained.

Download our sheet suggesting ways to improve your analytical process relating to dissertations:

Dissertation choice

Whether you are choosing your dissertation from a selection of dissertation topics or you are proposing your own dissertation title, there are many factors to consider.

  • How feasible is your project?
  • Is there a starting point for your work, i.e. previous or related research?
  • Do you have enough time to complete it?
  • Do you have enough available resources to work with?
  • Do you have something to say about this topic?
  • Are you interested in the topic?

These are only suggestions of some of the questions that you may want to think about before deciding on your dissertation topic/title. Perhaps one of the most important reasons for choosing your topic is your interest in it. You may be working on your dissertation for many months, therefore having a genuine interest in the topic may help you maintain momentum and make progress with your work.

Remember a good source of advice concerning dissertation choice would be your Supervisor or Programme Director.

To help you get started thinking about your options, download our Choosing your Dissertation topic worksheet:

Planning for your dissertation

A dissertation is a large piece of work completed at a high level of critical analysis - to achieve this you will have to allow time. Try looking at previous dissertations; some Schools hold previous dissertations for viewing. This will give you an idea of the level your work should be at and the amount of work you will have to do as well as the amount of time you will have to devote to achieve this.

You will need time to undertake background research into your topic area  as well as reading around your subject throughout your dissertation experience. If you have experiments, fieldwork, interviews or project placements to undertake, remember to allocate enough time to complete these. Further time will be needed to analyse your data and produce appropriate representations of your results. You will also need time to think critically about your dissertation and deciding on your conclusions. Finally you will bring these all together when you begin writing your dissertation.

Review our Assignments: planning and drafting webpage

Review our Managing your time webpage

Dissertation planner

This is a generic resource for dissertations that should be taken as such. You should consult with your course handbook, course webpage, programme director or supervisor for subject specific guidance surrounding your dissertation.

This can be used to help you consider what stage you are at and get you thinking about possible directions / considerations. It may be used as a word document on your computer, printed off and inserted into your dissertation file or popped up on your wall.

We have left blank spaces within the planner which can be used to produce subject/course/dissertation specific entries.

Writing your dissertation

You should not underestimate the time that should be allocated to writing your dissertation. Writing will involve planning, background research, and drafting.

Drafts are essential check points where you can review your progress and determine if your dissertation is on track.

First draft: For example, your first draft may sketch out your first thoughts, arguments and potential structure, and you may want to review and check these: are you focussed on the right topics? Is your structure and line of thought sensible? This is also a good time to set up your format requirements (e.g. page layouts, references).

Middle drafts: In middle drafts you may be expanding and refining your ideas. You may also find that as you are writing the direction that your dissertation is moving in changes; for example this could be due to your literature research producing new avenues of thought or your experiments turning up unexpected results. You may need to therefore review the focus of your initial question, and review whether your arguments or conclusions are still sensible.

Final draft(s): In your final draft(s) you may be focussed more on ensuring your presentation, spelling and grammar are appropriate and polished, all your references are included and follow the appropriate format guidance, etc.

It is a good idea to take draft stops at all these stages; at a draft stop, you will leave writing for a day and become the examiner of your own work. You will look at your work with an analytical eye, looking for ways to improve. Would a reader find your dissertation manageable to follow: are your ideas linking, have you signposted on from one section to the next, etc? Imagine you are reading your work as someone who is not so familiar with the topic: would they understand your arguments? Is there anything you need to explain more fully? Remember also to look back at your question/title, does your dissertation address it? Does it follow a logical structure?

To look at the academic writing process in more detail you may find it helpful to look at:

This is a generic resource for dissertations that should be taken as such. You should consult with your course / programme handbook, course webpage, programme director or project supervisor for subject-specific guidance surrounding your dissertation.

University of Leicester theses and Masters' dissertations


Nearly all doctoral theses produced by Leicester students, starting with our first award in 1924, are now available on the Leicester Research Archive (LRA). You can browse by department or search all the collection. Please note that if you are a research student student at Leicester you are required to submit an electronic copyof your final thesis as part of your doctorate submission.

Masters' dissertations

dissertations@Leicester is a new online service managed by the Library (with support from IT Services) in collaboration with academic departments.  The system stores completed Masters dissertations selected by departments as examples of good practice for current students.  At the moment, it contains selected dissertations for Criminology, Law, Management, Media & Communication, Museum Studies, Politics & International Relations and Psychology.

Masters' dissertations available from departments

  • Centre for Urban History - postgraduate dissertations can be searched for on the Centre library catalogue
  • English Local History - MA Dissertations can be read in the department and there is a list of PhD theses in preparation or recently completed.
  • Geography - dissertations are available via the Resources Centre

Other UK University Theses

  • EThOS - Electronic Theses Online System
    EThOS has been developed by the EThOS partnership, comprising of several UK Higher Education Institutions and the British Library with funding from JISC, RLUK and other HE partners.
  • EThOS allows you to search over 250,000 theses records, freely download the full text of any UK thesis that has been digitised, and order for downloading any thesis from one of the participating institutions. While many theses are listed but not yet online you may request that they are digitisised; but be aware that this process may take some time.
    If the thesis you wish to read is not listed on EThOS you can place a Speculative Request for them to update their records and digitise your chosen thesis.  You will need to register to make full use of this service
  • Index to Theses
  • The electronic version of the Index to theses accepted for higher degrees by the universities of Great Britain and Ireland covering 1716 to the present.  It includes abstracts where available and also provides links to local repositories (like the LRA) and ETHoS where theses are available for download.
  • Libraries & Information East Midlands: Locating Theses
    A very useful guide to locating print and electronic theses is produced by LIEM and updated annually.
  • History Online
    Lists of theses completed in the U.K. from 1970-present day related to historical research. It also includes information on those currently in progress.

International theses

If a thesis is not available online you can apply for an Inter Library Loan of a thesis. Contact Document Supply for more details.

Subject Databases that index Theses and Dissertations

The following databases index theses and dissertations, as well as journal articles in their subject areas:

In addition to this, you can find information on Library catalogues and on WorldCat.

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