Skip to main content

Unit information: Dissertation: Practical & Written Element in 2020/21

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Dissertation: Practical & Written Element
Unit code FATVM0010
Credit points 60
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Piper
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Film and Television
Faculty Faculty of Arts


All MA students are expected to take one of three optional dissertation units. The optional unit will provide a structured and supervised opportunity for MA students to independently pursue an agreed form of creative enquiry. This will involve researching and producing an advanced piece of practice work, to be accompanied by a critical and/or theoretical written element.
The unit involves devising a realisable topic, which has the potential to contribute to knowledge of the subject. It would normally be expected that this topic would arise from work already undertaken on the programme, as the dissertation is an opportunity to explore a specialist area in more detail.
Creative practice may take a variety of forms, including a moving image screen work, a script and treatment, or parts thereof. The title, scale and form of each piece of work will be negotiated through supervision. In every case the work will be expected to meet the requirements of summative Masters level work. The practice and written element together provide the means for advanced creative enquiry through realisation and reflection.

1. To provide a focus for in-depth independent research
2. To establish a path for advanced research
3. To explore a range of possible methodological and/or stylistic approaches
4. To gain in-depth knowledge of a specialist area
5. To present the findings in a dissertation.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the unit, students will be able:

1. To identify and articulate a research question used to direct an independent creative enquiry.
2. To distinguish between a range of different stylistic and/or practice-as-research methods and select an approach suitable for their chosen project.
3. To become familiar with existing work on a particular subject (both written and audio-visual) and/or to understand processes in the selected areas of practice, and to use that work in order to shape their own independent project, providing necessary analysis of, and contextual justification for, the selected production and research practices.
4. To design, conduct and complete a creative research project that is realistic in scope, directed by the research question and shaped by existing work in the field.
5. To make a sustained academic argument that reflects upon, contextualizes and/or develops the findings of the practical exploration of the particular creative research question.

Teaching details

The practical component is supported by both technical and production support as necessary, and by supervision as required at each stage of the production process. The written element is also supervised. Experiential learning is central to the practical elements of the dissertation and practical work is closely supervised.

Assessment Details

An admissible and agreed form of practice (one of options a) b) or c) below (70%)


The written element (part two above, 4,500 words) (30%)

A complete script for a short film, this should be equivalent to approximately 15 minutes of screen time in length OR a well-developed treatment proposal plus a number of completed scenes/sections.


A short film of up to 15 minutes.


A comprehensive portfolio of solo or collaborative pre-production work

PLUS (in all cases) written element of 4,500 words.

Reading and References

As appropriate to individual dissertation, under the guidance of supervisor.