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Students are required to submit three assessed essays of about 4,000 words. The first essay is selected from the list of topics provided at the start of the course. The second and third essays are chosen by the student in consultation with their supervisor.


The dissertation is worth 55% of the overall mark and is submitted at the end of the third term (normally, early June).

Students can expect to have an appropriate degree of supervision in the initial phase of their research, and will work within the research context of one of the Institute's research groups.

Please note that it is only possible to enter the course in October, and the course ends after the final examination meeting at the end of the following June. Although the dissertation is submitted in the middle of June, students may be required to be present for an oral examination or viva on their dissertation later in the summer, typically early September. Students are strongly advised to ensure that they are available for the oral examination.