SOAS University of London

Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy

Dissertation MA International Studies and Diplomacy

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Full Year

An initial dissertation research proposal (1,500 words) is submitted in Term 1 (Term 1, Year 1 for Part Time students), allowing for the allocation of academic supervisors, followed by a 15,000 word dissertation which must be submitted by 8 September in the final year of study.

Dissertation topics can be wide-ranging reflecting the breadth of Global Studies and International Diplomacy.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

Completing a Master’s dissertation is a crucial component of postgraduate study. At the end of the module, students will have:

  • A solid foundational knowledge of their chosen research topic and its application across a particular area of international law, international politics, economics, international public policy, area studies (particularly relating to Africa, Asia and the Middle East) and contemporary diplomatic practice.
  • Developed the skills to pursue independent research from secondary and in some cases primary sources.
  • Learned how to organise their data and articulate their arguments coherently and clearly. 


There will be an initial introductory lecture at the beginning of Term 1.

Through Term 1 students will be supported by dedicated Tutors through the VLE, and peer support throughout. Students will develop key research skills, and an awareness of research methods through these supported activities.

Each student will have the opportunity for three 1hr supervision sessions with their supervisors.

Scope and syllabus

The dissertation is a core module of the MA in International Studies & Diplomacy; and will be taught through a variety of approaches.

The submission of the research proposal allows for allocation of supervisors by the module convening team and the supervision to begin (The allocation takes place annually in January, allowing approximately 9 months FT or 21 months PT 2 Yr). On the basis of supervised research the student is expected to write a 15,000 word dissertation which:

  • meets acceptable standards of academic writing and presentation;
  • shows a critical understanding of the relevant literature;
  • illustrates develops a focused and clear argument, supported by the relevant use of theoretical material and evidence;
  • makes an original contribution to the area of research.

The original component of the dissertation can be satisfied in a number of ways, among them, the presentation of new data/evidence, (re)analysis or further development of existing analyses, and the critical re-evaluation or re-interpretation of existing theoretical material with reference to the specific, chosen, area of study.

Method of assessment

  • 15% dissertation research proposal. Each student will submit a 1,500 word dissertation proposal in December of Term 1 (Term 1, Year 1 for all Part Time students).
  • 85% dissertation. Each student will submit a dissertation of no more than 15,000 words in September of their final year of study. Resubmission of coursework regulations apply.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules