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LLM Dissertation Guidelines: Submission Requirements and Assessment Criteria


Your dissertation is a crucial part of your LLM degree programme - it is this that distinguishes an LLM from the intermediate award of Postgraduate Diploma. The dissertation must constitute original contribution to the corpus of legal knowledge within the relevant Award discipline.

‘Original’ in this context is not understood to be synonymous with the ‘substantial contribution to world knowledge’ required of a PhD, or ‘contribution to world knowledge’ required of an MPhil.

The requirement that an LLM Dissertation should be an ‘original piece of work’ may be satisfied if it is based on empirical work that has not been done before; if it is a synthesis of issues not put together before; if it considers topics that people in the discipline have not looked at before; if it examines existing knowledge in an original way; or if it brings new evidence to bear on an old
issue. It is not required that the dissertation combine all these features.

The following rules apply to a Masters dissertation module

• A master’s dissertation shall be assessed as a project module.

• A master’s dissertation module shall be undertaken as the final part of a master’s award.

• Where students are referred to the second assessment opportunity, a maximum period of six months is permitted for the resubmission of the dissertation.

Please note that the submission deadlines are absolute and based on UWE server time,  therefore you are strongly advised to submit work well ahead of the deadline dates to avoid situations where penalties could be incurred. Penalties are imposed if a submission is made up to 24 hours after the deadline, and the highest mark you can receive will be the minimum pass mark (if the assessment is passed). After the 24 hours have passed, the work will not be accepted for marking.

1. The dissertation must be submitted online as a MS Word file. No particular font is prescribed but Times New Roman or Ariel is recommended. The title of the work and the author's name should appear in not less than 16pt, all other information in not less than 12pt print.

2. Pages should be typed using 1.5 or double line spacing. Standard top and bottom margins of not less than 1"/25mm should be used throughout. The margin at the left of the page shall not be less than 1.5"/40mm.

3. The title page of the dissertation should provide your name, student number, title of dissertation and word count (please see appendix 1 below).

Assignment Brief

4. Quotations which are longer than 3 lines should be indented and single spaced.

5. Quotations which are shorter than 3 lines should appear in the text in single quotation marks.

6. References must be provided in footnotes in oscola style.

7. Pages shall be numbered consecutively throughout the main text

8. Preliminary pages should be ordered as follows:

• Title page (laid out as shown below)

• Contents Page

• Acknowledgements (if any)

8. Chapters or sections should be numbered consecutively. There is no prescribed system of headings, but please ensure your usage is consistent. The use of numbered paragraphs throughout (e.g. in the form 1.1.1, 1.1.2) is not deemed appropriate for an
academic dissertation.

9. Appendices of supplementary material (e.g. questionnaires, raw data, selected original source material, etc) may be included after the concluding chapter. These should be kept to a necessary minimum, but do not count as part of the word limit.

10. A complete bibliography of sources should appear at the end of the dissertation. It should be ordered alphabetically by author. If you prefer, the bibliography can be sub-divided into categories (books, journals, official reports, etc). The bibliography must comply with OSCOLA.

11. The dissertation must conform to A4 size.

12. The word limit is 15 000 words and students must certify the word count of the dissertation on the title page. The FBL word limit policy applies to the LLM Dissertation.

13. Footnotes, bibliography and appendices are not included in the word limit. Students should not attempt to get around the word limit by placing vast amounts of text in the footnotes.

14. It is your responsibility to make arrangements to consult with your supervisor. Please contact your supervisor in good time to arrange supervision sessions. If you leave it until the last minute you may find staff are on annual leave and are therefore unavailable. In these circumstances you will be unable to see another member of staff for supervision.

15. Please submit a library permission form attached to the front of your dissertation. A copy can be found in Appendix 3 at the end of this handbook.

16. A breach of any of the guidelines shown above will incur a deduction from the marks attributed to presentation. 

Throughout your time with us, you will receive regular communication from your module leaders, and also administrative staff. It is your responsibility to ensure that you read everything that you are sent, and act upon it where appropriate.

The main communication channel used is the Blackboard for all the modules you are currently studying. Blackboard provides the main communication channel for module specific information and these too should be checked regularly for new content and

There are a range of facilities and services available to go to for advice and support depending on what the issue is. Remember - asking for help at the earliest possible stage will help you in the long run. Your first point of call should always be your Supervisor and Research Coordinator, as they will be able to sign post you to the right services and will be able to deal with specific matters relating to teaching and learning.

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