Module DXX-4103:
MGeog Dissertation

Module Facts

Run by School of Natural Sciences

60 Credits or 30 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Dr Graham Bird

Overall aims and purpose

The purpose of the module is to enable students to plan, implement and report, to a specialist readership, an original and independent piece of geographical research on a subject of their choosing. The piece of research allows the student to develop specialist knowledge within an aspect of geography for which they have a particular interest.

Course content

The content will vary from dissertation to dissertation.

Assessment Criteria


A dissertation that deals with a potentially difficult topic on which relatively little work has been done. An introduction that shows originality in the choice of topic, provides an excellent context and rationale for the study, clearly identifies the research question, states the objectives of the study (and if appropriate, the hypotheses to be tested in it). A literature review showing excellent and critical understanding and knowledge of the chosen topic. A clear description of the methods used to collect and analyse data / information. Clearly presented results. A discussion that shows understanding, an excellent synthesis of the data and much original thought regarding interpretation. The discussion makes imaginative suggestions about the possible applications of the findings and further areas of research. Excellent presentation: well written; tables and figures correctly numbered and labelled; a comprehensive set of references.


A dissertation that adds original information to an existing body of work. An introduction that outlines the research question and states the objectives of the study (and if appropriate, the hypotheses to be tested). A literature review that covers the fundamental concepts of the chosen topic. A clear description of the methods used to collect and analyse data / information. Clearly presented results. A discussion that shows understanding of the results and puts them into context. Satisfactory presentation: tables and figures correctly numbered and labelled; a complete set of references.

Learning outcomes

  1. Self-direction, motivation and originality in pursuing a line of research.

  2. Use of appropriate techniques to collect and analyse geographical data in a safe and ethical manner.

  3. Synthesis and critical evaluation of information from a variety of sources.

  4. An ability to draw valid conclusions from systematically-collected data, even if these are incomplete.

  5. Clear and comprehensive communication of research findings, in writing, to a specialist readership.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
DISSERTATION Dissertation 90
INDIVIDUAL PRESENTATION Individual presentation 10

Teaching and Learning Strategy


Supervision meetings, presentations & year group meetings

Private study

Reading, data collection, data analysis and production of assessed presentations and the final written submission.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Develop and identify research question(s) and/or hypotheses as the basis for investigation.
  • Conduct fieldwork and/or laboratory work competently with awareness of appropriate risk assessment and ethical considerations
  • Recognize and apply appropriate theories and concepts from a range of disciplines.
  • Consider issues from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives.
  • Apply subject knowledge to the understanding and addressing of problems.
  • Collect, analyse and interpret primary and/or secondary data using appropriate qualitative and/or quantitative techniques.
  • Awareness of the concepts of spatial and temporal scale in understanding processes and relationships.
  • Appreciation of the reciprocal nature of human-environmental relationships.
  • Apply appropriate techniques for presenting spatial and/or temporal trends in data.
  • Employ appropriate social-survey methods.
  • Preparation of effective maps, diagrams and visualizations.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the importance of risk assessment and relevant legislation


Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: