SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

799B Dissertation (MRes) in Anthropology

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Final Year
Taught in:
Full Year

The dissertation is a compulsory component of the MRes Social Anthropology, following on from the compulsory modules 801 Research Methods in Anthropology, 802 Research Training Seminar, a quantitative methods component and the option modules taken as part of the programme.

Students enrolled on the module are assigned a dissertation supervisor early in the year with whom the topic will be agreed. They meet fortnightly with their supervisors to produce a systematic review of the secondary literature which forms an integral part of their dissertation. The dissertation (15,000 words) constitutes the main work in which students demonstrate the extent to which they have achieved the key learning outcomes of research training.

In addition to discussing their dissertation with their supervisors, students present their dissertation work at the two-hour weekly Research Training Seminar (802), which runs through two terms and is convened by the Director of Doctoral Studies. Together the one-to-one supervision and the seminar serve to prepare students for writing their dissertation. 


Compulsory for all final-year students on:

  • MRes Social Anthropology
  • MRes Social Anthropology + Intensive Language

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

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

  • Assess data and evidence critically from manuscripts and digital sources, solve problems of conflicting sources and conflicting interpretations, locate materials, use research sources (particularly research library catalogues) and other relevant sources;
  • Become precise and cautious in their assessment of evidence, and to understand through practice what documents can and cannot tell us;
  • Design a research project, set a timetable, understand the principles of fieldwork, and consider questions of ethics


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules