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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 13/04/2022 12:56:16

Title of Module: Masters Dissertation

Code: EDUC11064 SCQF Level: 11
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 60 ECTS: 30
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Education & Social Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:L  McAuliffe

Summary of Module

The dissertation module represents the final stage of a number of master's programmes in the Division of Education in the School of Education and Social Sciences, including (but not limited to) the MEd Education Studies (with specialisms) and the MEd TESOL.

Through planning and conducting a rigorous small-scale enquiry into a relevant and approved area of study within their chosen field (which must be of direct relevance to the master’s programme on which the learner is registered), learners will be required to demonstrate the complete synthesis and integration of the range of knowledge, skills  and attributes outlined in the SCQF Level 11 descriptors.

The module is equivalent to three 20-credit modules (60 credit points in total) and is assessed through a dissertation with an indicative word count between 9,000 and 13,500 words (subject to discussion with the learner’s designated supervisor).

The module contributes to the development of the following graduate attributes:

  • Critical and analytical thinking;
  • Resilience, autonomy and motivation;
  • Effective communication and collaboration,

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1


Term 2


Term 3check mark

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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Knowledge and critical awareness of the main areas of an education subject or discipline – including features, boundaries, terminology and conventions.

L2. A critical understanding of principal and specialised education theories, principles, concepts and existing research of relevance to the learner’s dissertation. topic.

L3. Extensive, detailed knowledge and understanding of the principles and features of educational research.

L4. Application of appropriate research knowledge and understanding to plan, conduct and report the findings of a small scale study aiming to address research issues and questions related to the master's programme on which the learner is registered.

L5. Present reasoned arguments and express ideas in a clear, coherent style that follows closely the UWS academic writing and referencing guidance.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 11.

• Knowledge that covers and integrates areas of an educational subject or discipline – including their features, boundaries, terminology and conventions.

• A critical understanding of principal education theories, principles and concepts of relevance to the learner’s dissertation topic.

• A critical understanding of a range of specialised education theories, principles and concepts as they apply to the learner’s subject or discipline.

• Extensive, detailed and critical knowledge and understanding in the learner's subject or discipline, much of which is at or informed by developments at the forefront of educational research.

• Critical awareness of current issues in an education subject or discipline of relevance to the programme on which the learner is registered.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 11.

• Use a range of specialised skills, techniques, practices which are informed by subject or discipline developments.

• Apply a range of standard and specialised research or equivalent instruments and techniques of enquiry.

• Plan and implement a research project, investigation or study which relates and contributes to the scholarship about the topic which is explored in the learner's dissertation.

• Demonstrate originality or creativity in the application of knowledge, understanding and practices which relate to a subject or discipline.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 11.

• Apply critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis to issues which are at the forefront or informed by developments at the forefront of a subject or discipline.

• Identify, conceptualise and define new and abstract concepts and issues.

• Develop original and creative responses to concepts and issues which relate to the topic explored in the dissertation.

• Critically review, consolidate and extend knowledge, skills practices and thinking in a subject or discipline.

• Deal with complex issues and make informed judgements in relevant professional situations in the absence of complete or consistent data/information.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 11.

• Communicate, using a range of advanced and specialist skills.

• Communicate with a range of audiences (as appropriate) and fellow professionals acting as a source of advice on particular aspects of the subject or discipline.

• Use a wide range of software to support and enhance work at this level and specify new software or refinements and improvements to existing software to increase effectiveness.

• Undertake critical evaluations of a wide range of numerical and graphical data in order to inform developments in, and approaches to the subject or discipline.

• Contribute to the literature on, and public discussion of, the subject or discipline.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 11.

• Exercise substantial autonomy and initiative in professional and equivalent activities, demonstrating initiative in enhancing the work of the subject or discipline.

• Demonstrate responsibility for own work and/or significant responsibility for the work of others (as appropriate).

• Demonstrate leadership and initiative and contribute to potential change and development.

• Demonstrate critical reflection on own and others’ roles and responsibilities.

• Demonstrate the management of complex ethical and professional issues and make informed judgements on issues not addressed by current professional and/or ethical codes or practices.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Other:Appropriate Postgraduate Diploma e.g. Pg. Diploma (Inclusive Education; Leadership for Learning; Mental Health and Education; Enhanced Educational Practice; Early Years; TESOL; Education Studies) or equivalent specified core and optional modules of relevant Master’s programme.
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
Learners will be expected to engage with and work through a series of scheduled formative activities which will enable them to develop and produce draft outlines of key chapters which will ultimately contribute to the process of producing their dissertation to the required standard. Learners will be supported by a designated supervisor who will provide formative feedback and further guidance related to the formative tasks throughout the dissertation process. Online discussion, as a means of seeking out and/or facilitating peer support will also form part of the overall approach to teaching and learning on this module.

The dissertation module is structured around key themes associated with: Choosing a Research Topic; Research Question and Aims; Conducting a Review of Literature; Data Collection; Data Analysis; Presentation and Discussion of Findings; Conclusions and Recommendations. Learners review relevant literature; develop and implement the research plan; analyse the data and develop findings; draw conclusions and make recommendations. Finally, learners integrate all elements in the dissertation.

In full time master's programmes or as part of a formal UWS collaborative agreement, this module might also be available in blended delivery format, in which case, up to nine hours of face to face tutorials or other appropriate synchronous input(s) may be provided during the course of the module (and this will be accounted for/factored in as part of the total 'student learning hours' detailed below.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Asynchronous Class Activity160
Independent Study440
600 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Access to internet:
As all elements of coursework are provided online, and formative and summative submissions are also made online, via the University’s virtual learning environment, participants must have access to an appropriate internet connected device which will enable full engagement with, and the development of, work at Masters level.

Cohen L., Manion L., and Morrison, K. (2017) Research Methods in Education (8th ed). London: Routledge.

Leedy, P.D. and Ormrod, J.E. (2015) Practical Research: Planning and Design (11th ed). Harlow: Pearson.

Newby, P. (2014) Research Methods for Education (2nd ed). Oxon: Routledge.

Learners should also access electronic journals in the field in which the topic of their dissertation is situated.

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

Where a module has Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body requirements these will be listed here:
Completion of all formative tasks.
Attendance at face to face events if the module is blended.
Completion of the dissertation.

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardEducation
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelCareer-Long Professional Learning
ModeratorA Killen
External ExaminerY Wang
Accreditation Details
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
There is a single summative assessment for this module which will involve the submission of a dissertation, equivalent to 3x20 modules of academic credit, which combines research and theoretical perspectives within the context of the subject or discipline. The dissertation carries an indicative word count between 9,000 and 13,500 words (subject to discussion with the individual’s designated supervisor). The final summative submission will count towards 100% of the grade awarded.
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Learning Outcome (5) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Dissertation/ Project report/ Thesischeck markcheck markcheck markcheck markcheck mark1000
Combined Total For All Components100% 0 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
Aligned with the overall commitment to equality and diversity stated in the Programme Specification, the module supports equality of opportunity for students from all backgrounds and with different learning needs. Using Moodle, learning materials will be presented electronically in formats that allow flexible access and manipulation of content (part-time and distance learning students should check with their programme leader for any queries). The module complies with University regulations and guidance on inclusive learning and teaching practice. Specialist assistive equipment, support provision and adjustment to assessment practice will be made in accordance with UWS policy and regulations. The University’s Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Policy can be accessed at the following link: Our partners are fully committed to the principles and practice of inclusiveness and our modules are designed to be accessible to all. Where this module is delivered overseas, local equivalent support for students and appropriate legislation applies.
UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.