18-19 ML3124: Comparative Literature and Culture: 30-credit Comparative Dissertation

ML3214: Optional Dissertation

Convenor: Dr Joe Harris


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This option enables you to write a comparative* dissertation of 10,000 words (including footnotes but excluding bibliography) on a suitable topic of your choice, for which appropriate supervision is available within the SMLLC. It offers you the opportunity to produce an extended piece of independent, research-led work of greater depth and scope than is permitted by the shorter word-limits of other courses. The dissertation is an exciting chance to produce a substantial piece of sustained, independent work.

* The 'comparative' dimension is essential to this dissertation, but 'comparative' can be understood broadly. The dissertation does not have to compare material from different countries or language areas; it might compare works from different cultures or historical periods, works that treat similar issues in different genres or media, or even different critical approaches to the same material. If you are in any doubt, please discuss with your supervisor or the dissertations convenor. If you do not want to write a dissertation on a non-comparative topic, you might prefer to take the 15-credit, 5,000-word ML3208 dissertation instead,


 Dissertation schedule guidelines

•          May: Dissertation briefing session for all second-years (those about to go on YA); content of this meeting to be circulated to students currently on YA
•          By end of June: All students who intend to do a dissertation in following year need to choose a topic and secure a supervisor who agrees to supervise them (see form attached below)
·           Staff members will be limited to a certain number of dissertations per year
·           Those who fail to secure a supervisor at this stage will be moved on to other final-year courses
•          Summer vacation: general preparation for dissertation
•          September: By Friday of Welcome Week, dissertation students have to submit to their supervisor:
·          A bibliography of at least ten items
·          A 200-word proposal or abstract outlining the topic
•          October: Group dissertation briefing session: general guidance
•          October: First 30 min meeting with supervisor
•          November: By Friday of Reading Week, students must submit a general plan for their dissertation
•          November/December: Second 30 min meeting with supervisor
•          January: Third 30 min meeting with supervisor
•          February: Group dissertation briefing session: presentation, footnotes, referencing, bibliographies
•          March: Fourth 30 min meeting with supervisor
•          late April/May: Completed dissertations submitted
The deadline for your dissertation this year is 7 May 2019

 Regulations/restrictions reminders


•          Supervisors are permitted to read and mark 25% of the maximum word length of a dissertation over the course of the year. For a 5,000-word dissertation this means 1,250 words.
•          Students are not permitted to take more than one unit’s worth of dissertations from within the School (joint honours students can take dissertations from elsewhere alongside their School dissertation quota).

 Handing in your dissertation


As well as being submitted onto Turnitin in the same way as standard essays are (onto Moodle, with a coversheet), your dissertation needs to be submitted in hard copy: two copies must be submitted to Ann Hobbs in IN149. Both submissions – online and in hard copy – must be made by 4pm on the day of the deadline. The pages of your dissertation must be bound together in some way.
Please remember to ALWAYS back up your work and not to leave it until the morning of the last day to print it out. Computer failure is NOT recognised as an extenuating circumstance in the College’s Exam Regulations.


Teacher (Course Author): Ruth Cruickshank, Joseph Harris, Danielle Sands