Dissertation (MA HE)

The Dissertation is taken as the last unit of the MA HE. There are three enrolments per year, in September, January and April. Please contact the programme leader, Bernard Lisewski b.lisewski@mmu.ac.uk to discuss eligibility and enrolment.

NB: to register for the Dissertation unit (60 M level credits), you must have completed the PG Diploma (120 M level credits) stage of the MA in HE programme. 

The Dissertation should focus on an area of Higher Education academic or professional services policy and or practice. It can be composed of one of three formats:  

  • A traditional research-based Dissertation using primary research or a combination of primary and secondary research or
  • A structured and critical examination of a topic/material/issue or
  • A product plus accompanying narration

Where participants elect to produce a research-based Dissertation the work will normally follow the traditional pattern of rationale, conception, literature review, methodological design, data collection, analysis, and synthesis of outcomes.

Where participants are conducting a structured examination of existing data this may take the form of a systematic review of literature, a case study of intervention, an organisational study or a study of an aspect of curriculum or professional service delivery. 

Where participants elect to produce a product this will be narrated via a written introduction, methodology and bibliography with a brief executive summary. 

These are only examples and participants are encouraged explore any aspect of their Higher Education practice in a variety of ways. During the Researching Higher Education unit which precedes the Dissertation unit, there will be discussions on possible topics and formats. An individual supervisor will be allocated at the start of the 12 month period of registration for the Dissertation.

Non-desk literature based Dissertations are strictly subject to MMU’s Ethics Procedures.

Unit Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, participants should be able to:

  • Critically evaluate relevant Higher Education literature in the context of your individual research
  • Apply relevant research paradigms, theoretical frameworks and methodologies in the context of your Higher Education research
  • Plan, organise and execute an ethical enquiry in a Higher Educational context illustrating critical analysis and evaluation
  • Synthesise assumptions, arguments and evidence in developing an organised and coherent research project


Participants are encouraged and facilitated to form and sustain an informal community of practice with their peers and supervisors during their Dissertation year.  We aim to foster and provide peer and tutor support, critical questioning and feedback.  Meetings to discuss and present and critically feedback on ‘work in progress’ will be arranged to facilitate such interactions.

Meetings with supervisors occur at intervals as agreed between the participant and supervisor and up to 5 hours of tutor time are allocated.

Unit Assessment

Formative assessment:

  • Submission of formal ethical ETHOS application and approval if required.
  • Participants to present their ‘work in progress’ to a group including peers and supervisors, at a defined point during the period of registration.

Summative assessment:

Participants will produce an extended piece of work. There is flexibility in the formats as previously described.


Please contact the Dissertation Unit Leader (and Programme Leader), Bernard Lisewski b.lisewski@mmu.ac.uk for further information about eligibility and enrolment.

Please do not register for this unit until you have acquired 120 M level PG Diploma credits or their equivalent.

As well as registering below, in some circumstances you may need to complete an application form to study this unit. Please check on the application form page »

Please contact the UTA CPD team if you have any queries.

Delivery Dates and Registration

Please note: Units are delivered online. Processing time required for applications and preparation time for participants means that the last registration date cannot be extended

Timetables for units that are currently running can be found at the bottom of this page. Go to current timetables »

Summer 2021

Online sessions begin:
Tuesday 27th April


Venue: online


Click here to see full timetable


Taught sessions on n/a

27 April 2021, 2-3pm Dissertation starters' get-together online
25th April 2022 Assignment Submission Moodle


Timetables for currently running units:


Taught sessions began: Thursday 9th April 2020, 12:00am

Click here to see full timetable

Dissertation - Flexible

Taught sessions on n/a

9th April 2020 Moodle Available Moodle
23rd April 2020
Dissertation starters get-together TBC
12th April 2021 Assignment Submission Moodle


Taught sessions began: Tuesday 29th September 2020, 12:00am

Click here to see full timetable


Taught sessions on n/a

29th Sept 2020
Dissertation Unit Briefing: Welcome and Introduction Microsoft Teams
13th Sept 2021 Assignment Submission Moodle


Taught sessions began: Tuesday 12th January 2021, 12:00am

Click here to see full timetable


Taught sessions on n/a

12th Jan 2021, 10-11am Dissertation starters' get-together TBC
10th Jan 2022 Assignment Submission Moodle


Please contact the UTA CPD team if you have any queries.