School: School of Government and Society
International Development Department

All MSc students are required to write a 10,000 - 12,000 word dissertation. This contributes one-third (60 credits) of the overall assessment.

The dissertation is an opportunity to apply the content of the modules studied to a topic of interest to the student. It may address an issue of theoretical or practical importance. Students may relate the topic to their own work and/or their own country, but this is not compulsory. Most important is that the topic chosen is practicable, in the sense that there are adequate sources of reliable information available here at the University of Birmingham or that students can obtain. Please also note that students cannot be allowed to travel to countries or parts of countries where the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advise against all but essential travel.

Preparation for the dissertation starts with a dissertation module during the Spring term. Dissertation proposals are submitted in February and supervisors are allocated by mid-March. Students are expected to prepare and write a draft literature review and fieldwork methodology chapter (if applicable), during the period from March through May. Fieldwork will then be undertaken (if appropriate) in June/July and writing up must be completed by the end of August.

All of IDD’s on-campus taught Masters degree programmes enable students either to carry out individual dissertation related fieldwork in a country and on a topic of their choice or to take part in an organised study visit, in the case of the MPA programme. Students on the MPA (HR) and MPA (Finance) programmes have the option of joining the study tour if they wish to. A contribution towards the fieldwork is made from the tuition fee with an upper limit set each year. The same amount is used per student to cover the study tour. Students other than those on the MPA programmes who undertake desk based dissertations can make a case to use their fieldwork allowance for other suitable academic purposes, such as attending conferences or workshops relevant to their dissertation.

The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.