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Department of Politics and International Studies

Independent study project in Politics

Course Code:
Unit value:
Taught in:
Full Year
The ISP is a 10,000 word essay (dissertation) on an approved topic within the areas of interest of the department. The essay allows students to engage in independent research on a topic of their choosing under the guidance of an academic supervisor. Students learn how to ask a pertinent question and how to go about answering it through research and writing. Students are required to attend four workshops on doing an ISP – two in Term 1 and two in Term 2. The purpose of these workshops is to provide support throughout the process over the year. Students who would like to undertake an ISP should start planning in towards the end of the second term of the preceding year. They must submit a title and a short synopsis (max. 500 words) of the topic to the supervisor and ISP Convenor for approval by the last Friday of September, prior to the beginning of the academic year. Approval will depend on the feasibility of the proposal and the availability of appropriate supervision. Acceptance to the course depends on the attainment of a 2.1 average in second year courses.


To take this course you must have a mark of 2:1 or above in Year Two. Students CANNOT take BOTH an Independent Study Project and two Extended Essays.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate their substantial understanding of a key issue, topic or theme relating to Politics.
  2. Organise their ideas in response to theoretical and empirical material and plan, develop and present a written argument in relation to this.
  3. Show their ability to effectively gather, manage, synthesize and employ relevant data in support of their written argument.
  4. Demonstrate their capacity to work independently under the guidance of an academic supervisor.
  5. Show that they have followed good academic research practice and have achieved a good level of competence in academic writing.

Method of assessment

Assessment is 100% coursework