Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2007-2008 (archived)


Department: Economics, Finance and Business (Business)


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 60 Availability Available in 2007/08 Module Cap
Tied to N1K017
Tied to N1KC17


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To provide students with the opportunity to conduct an in-depth investigation at an advanced level of an issue which is applicable and relevant to business and/or management. The positioning of the dissertation at the end of the programme is intended to promote integration of material covered in the core and elective phases.


  • Students can choose to pursue either of two types of dissertation: a business project in which they work with a host organisation; an issue-led investigation which is not focused on just one organisation but instead examines a management issue by, for example, conducting and analysing a survey of practice in a number of organisations.
  • The topic (which is formally approved by the Board of Examiners) should be one that is suitable for in-depth investigation.
  • MBA dissertations have typically been based in a wide variety of organisations, including: profit-seeking companies in both manufacturing and the service sector; nationalised industries; public agencies and local authorities; non-profit seeking organisations; global multinationals; and owner-managed small firms.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students should:
  • be able to critically analyse a specific issue or area of management or business in depth and to explore its significance in practice.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module students should:
  • be able to critically apply knowledge and different forms of reasoning to form a discriminating analysis of issues currently being experienced in specific organisational and business contexts;
  • be able to conduct an independent piece of advanced research, over a longer period of time than has been possible on the programme hitherto, thereby further developing analytical and research skills needed to explore business and management problems in depth;
  • produce a substantial piece of written work demonstrating critical analysis of a specific issue.
Key Skills:
  • By the end of the module students should:
  • have further developed the skills of self-organization and motivation in managing time and activities in working to a deadline.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Individual meetings with the appointed supervisor, up to 8 but normally 5-6 during the dissertation period. This is considered appropriate, as the dissertation module is underpinned by the core module 'Methods of Inquiry'. One-to-one meetings enable monitoring of progress towards achieving the learning outcomes.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Individual Supervision 4
Research, Preparation and Writing 596
Total 600

Summative Assessment

Component: Dissertation Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Dissertation 15,000 words maximum 100%

Formative Assessment:

The Supervisor will provide feedback on one chapter.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University