Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)

Module ECON479JN: Dissertation (International) (MSc Finance)

Department: Economics and Finance

ECON479JN: Dissertation (International) (MSc Finance)

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 60 Availability Available in 2020/21 Module Cap None.
Tied to N3K109J
Tied to N3K209J


  • None


  • Advanced Financial Theory (ECON412JN) AND Either Econometrics I (ECON415JN) OR Econometric Methods (ECON478JN)

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • Dissertation (ECON469JN)


  • 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 their degree subject.
  • The dissertation should be theoretically underpinned and should normally involve undertaking empirical research, but may be a critical essay that draws upon academic literature.
  • To provide students with the opportunity to undertake research abroad at a partner University.


  • The dissertation and the research process.
  • Planning a research project and ethical issues.
  • Students review the literature and choose a dissertation topic, which is formally approved by the Board of Examiners. It should be one that is suitable for in-depth investigation, and relevant to their degree route.
  • In producing the dissertation, students will make use of and manage library facilities, databases and other learning resources.
  • Before going abroad, students attend information briefings on undertaking their dissertation abroad and are assisted with the application process by the MSc Study Abroad team. In addtion, students are monitored and supported by the MSc Study Abroad team while abroad, and have a mentor from the partner institution.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students should have:
  • a critical understanding of a relevant topic through utilisation of appropriate techniques of research and analysis.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • To be able to effectively organise, structure and manage a research project at an advanced level, including undertaking critical appraisal of relevant literature, and apply critical judgement and discrimination.
  • To have developed the ability to operate independently on a research topic and exercise appropriate judgement in the selection of material.
  • To have further developed the skills of inquiry, quantitative and qualitative research design, experimental research, data collection and information retrieval, bibliographic search, measurement and analysis, interpretation and presentation of results.
  • To have developed advanced skills of research, analysis and scholarly expression in a chosen topic.
Key Skills:
  • Written Communication
  • Planning and Organising
  • Problem Solving and Analysis
  • Using Initiative
  • Numeracy
  • Computer Literacy
  • Self-discipline, time management and the ability to work autonomously

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

  • Lectures will be used to cover general aspects of the dissertation process, including ethics.
  • Students work independently on their research, analysis and writing up while abroad, under the guidance of a supervisor in Durham and a mentor abroad whose main responsibility is to check progress. Normally the student will meet their supervisor before going abroad and will regularly keep in touch with their supervisor while abroad, via email or Skype. In addition, the student will normally meet their mentor while abroad on no more than three occasions.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 5 1 hour 5
Initial Supervisor Meeting 1 1 hour 1
Supervisory contact whilst abroad (e.g. Skype) Varies 2 hours 2
Mentor meetings 3 1 hour 3
Research, Preparation, Analysis and Writing 589
Total 600

Summative Assessment

Component: Dissertation Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Dissertation 12,000 words max 100% same

Formative Assessment:

Students receive detailed feedback on one draft chapter/section of their dissertation.

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