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Unit information: Dissertation (Psychology) in 2021/22

Unit name Dissertation (Psychology)
Unit code PSYCM0084
Credit points 60
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Fielding
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Psychological Science
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

The aim of this unit is to apply research techniques to a particular psychological question, under the supervision of a member of academic staff. The project is typically conducted during the Summer term but preparation should start earlier, when NHS Ethics or other more complex ethical approval is required. This unit will also give students exposure to the diversity of research being conducted in the School via their participation in the experimental hours scheme.

Intended Learning Outcomes

The central learning outcome is that students should understand the principles underlying design, implementation and communication of a research project.

On successful completion of this unit, a student will be able to:

  1. Identify an appropriate research question that requires the application of quantitative, or qualitative, techniques in psychological science.
  2. Demonstrate initiative in the design, development or enquiry required to address an original research question.
  3. Select accurate techniques and demonstrate personal responsibility for conducting an empirical investigation in psychology.
  4. Summarise solutions to a research problem and interpret research findings.
  5. Write up a research report appropriate to psychological science.

Teaching Information

The project process begins with a presentation of the topic areas UoB members of academic staff are able to supervise.

Once a student is allocated a supervisor there will be regular meetings with the supervisor during which there will be discussion of hypotheses and appropriate design/analysis to test those hypotheses. During the course of the dissertation process, there will be timetabled meetings to ensure that projects are on track. Supervisors do not read drafts of dissertations; therefore, students should note that discussions with their supervisors play a critical role.

Assessment Information

Formative Assessment:

  • Research Project Proposal (mandatory)

Summative Assessment:

  • Research dissertation in American Psychological Association (APA) style with a maximum of 8,000 words (100%).


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. PSYCM0084).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.