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Unit information: Dissertation in 2020/21

Unit name Dissertation
Unit code LAWD30132
Credit points 40
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Phillipson
Open unit status Not open




School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This unit will enable students to carry out an extended piece of individual, legal research, resulting in a 10,000 word dissertation and a 1,000 word blog. This will be done under the close supervision of a member of staff, who will provide overall guidance and support and give successive rounds of feedback to the student on a detailed plan, chapter and full draft of the dissertation.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this unit a successful student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate that they can carry out independent legal or socio-legal research.
  2. Demonstrate in-depth understanding of primary and secondary sources in their subject area.
  3. Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of a given topic and critically engage with it.
  4. Demonstrate that they can plan and investigate a theory or argument in a particular area of law.
  5. Demonstrate they can construct and sustain a coherent argument through an article-length dissertation
  6. Demonstrate that they can summarise a complex argument in blog-form, using a more accessible and informal style of writing, as appropriate to this format.

Teaching details

Five introductory lectures and structured contact with Project Adviser.

Assessment Details

2 x summative assessments:

  • 10,000 word dissertation (90%) (ILOs 1-5)
  • 1,000 word blog (10%) (ILO 6)

The assessments will assess all of the intended learning outcomes for this unit.

Reading and References

Supervisors set initial starting points for reading. Each project title has a list of starting points; these are books, articles, documents, decisions or other material, which act as a springboard for further research. These starting points should be used to identify a research question and a set of issues that will be addressed in the essay. The starting points will help identify sources for further research; thereafter students must generate their own reading and references.