Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

Module PRP-4020:
MA Dissertation

Module Facts

Run by School of Psychology

60 Credits or 30 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Dr Steven Hosier

Overall aims and purpose

For the MA Psychology Dissertation, students will compose a systematic literature review and develop a proposition that they will advance as an argument. The goal of this module is to fully prepare the student for successful completion of a final Dissertation.

Course content

Students will receive tutorials and guidance in how to plan a literature search, identify relevant literature, conduct a literature review, and develop and complete a final thesis.

Assessment Criteria


Adequate answer to the question, largely based on lecture material. No real development of arguments.


Reasonably comprehensive coverage. Well organised and structured. Good understanding of the material.


Comprehensive and accurate coverage of the area clarity of argument and expression. Depth of insight into theoretical issues

Learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate independent critical thinking in order to develop a research question concerning a psychological phenomenon.

  2. To develop a research methodology capable of identifying and gathering relevant literature.

  3. Analyse and synthesise relevant literature in order to conduct a systematic literature review.

  4. Show evidence of clarity of argument based on theoretical and empirical evidence concerning the findings of research.

  5. Demonstrate ability to communicate in a written format the process of carrying out independent research in a logically structured literature review and persuasive dissertation.

  6. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of report writing for submission to a specialist psychological journal.

  7. Demonstrate ability to succinctly summarise the research and findings and present the dissertation orally, in a conference setting.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
DISSERTATION MA Dissertation 80
Written assignment, including essay Abstract 2
ESSAY Proposal 10

Teaching and Learning Strategy


There will be 18 hours of tutorial meetings to discuss the method by which the dissertation will be achieved.

Individual Project

There will be supervision meetings to check on progress.

Private study

In private study students will develop a strategy by which they will identify and gather relevant evidence that will support their argument.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • 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.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting

Subject specific skills

  • Understand the scientific underpinnings of psychology as a discipline.
  • Apply multiple perspectives to psychological issues and integrate ideas and findings across the multiple perspectives in psychology.
  • Communicate psychological concepts effectively in written form.
  • Communicate psychological concepts effectively in oral form.
  • Be computer literate for the purpose of processing and disseminating psychological data and information.
  • Retrieve and organise information effectively.
  • Handle primary source material critically.
  • Use effectively personal planning and project management skills.
  • Work effectively under pressure (time pressure, limited resources, etc) as independent and pragmatic learners.
  • Problem-solve by clarifying questions, considering alternative solutions, making critical judgements, and evaluating outcomes.
  • Reason scientifically and demonstrate the relationship between theory and evidence.
  • Comprehend and use psychological data effectively, demonstrating a systematic knowledge of the application and limitations of various research paradigms and techniques.
  • Employ evidence-based reasoning and examine practical, theoretical and ethical issues associated with the use of different methodologies, paradigms and methods of analysis in psychology.

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: