Dissertation Proposal Form Uwe

Approval pathway diagrams

  • Category A projects
    Externally funded project involving human participants (not NHS patients) (students and staff)
  • Category B projects
    Externally/internally funded project involving human participants (NHS patients) (students and staff)
  • Category C projects
    Externally/internally funded project using human tissue as defined by the Human Tissue Act 2004
  • Category D projects
    Internally funded project involving human participants (not NHS patients)
  • review process
    The research ethics review process via the university or Faculty research ethics committees.

Completing an ethics application

You should aim to prepare ethics applications early, as the processes and procedures of scrutiny can take up tosix weeks to complete.

Human participant research

Please complete the application form for research involving human participation and ensure you read the guidance in the form. Please consider carefully any ethical issues relating to your research.

Applications should provide sufficient information for a decision to be reached by the Committee.

Human tissue research

All research using human tissue requires ethical approval. Please complete the application form for research involving human issue and ensure you read the guidance in the form. Human tissue is defined as material that has come from a human body and consists of, or includes, human cells. 

See the Policies and Procedures for the University's policy relating to research using human tissue and the operating procedures related to the ethical review, oversight and management of human tissue research.

Student research

There are specific operating procedures that relate to the ethical review process for student research projects. Please see Student project review and the Student research FAQs.

Research with ethical issues but not involving human participants

Research which does not involve human participants but which is high risk or has potential for negative impacts on the environment or society may be submitted for review by a UWE research ethics committee.  

You can apply using the application form (research not involving human participants). Please ensure you read the guidance in the form and consider carefully any ethical issues relating to your research. You can also download Guidance for Ethical Approval of Research Projects without Human Participants.

Applications for approval by /

On receipt of a valid completed application form and all supporting documentation the or officer will register the application. The application is scrutinised by members of the Committee, who decide whether or not to approve the application, and where necessary, seek further information from the applicant. In exceptional circumstances a may refer the application to the for review. The approval process may take up to six weeks or longer over the summer vacation.  

Application outcome and feedback

Applicants will be notified and generally feedback from the or will be made available. Applicants are encouraged to regard the comments and feedback from a research ethics committee as helpful and to respond constructively, especially where further work is required for the Committee to be able to reach a favourable decision.

Applications for approval by and other research ethics committees

If your project is research, and involves NHS patients, service users, organs, tissue, data or other bodily material, or is to be conducted on NHS property you may need NHS Research Ethics (REC) approval.  Please note, this will be in addition to, and in advance of, the University's research ethics approval but will not normally require two separate applications.

Details on how to apply to the  are available on the NHS Health Research authority website. If you are unsure as to whether you require approval, please refer to the approval guidance available on the Health Research Authority website.

Some projects in social care settings may be submitted to the National Social Care Research Ethics Committee.

Amendments to the research protocol

Once ethical approval has been given by /, the researcher is required to notify the Research Ethics Committee, in advance, of any proposed significant amendment to the original protocol (for example changes to the study population, revised methodology) using the official amendment form. The Committee may then wish to review its opinion.

Further advice and guidance

For further advice on how to seek research ethics approval for your project, students should consult their supervisor, and staff may contact a member of their Faculty Research Ethics Committee. See further information on guidance and support.

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The course consists of two taught modules, and a fully supervised major research project. The content of elements of the course will vary according to which award you have enrolled for and will be determined by your supervisor.

In the first semester (October - February), you will take the following compulsory module:

  • Module 1: Research Methodologies (30 credits) - This is an interdisciplinary research methodologies module that runs for 12 weeks. The first six weeks consist of a series of interdisciplinary lectures and seminars focusing on particular research skills,methodologies and approaches. In weeks 7 - 12, you will work with your supervisor to develop discipline-specific research methodologies.

Over the first two semesters (October - April) you will take:

  • Module 2: Research Portfolio (30 credits) - This is a discipline-specific research module that runs for 24 weeks. Based on the original research proposal you develop, your supervisor will draw up a reading list of significant works that will support or extend your project. Through a series of supervisions, you will develop your discipline knowledge and complete a research portfolio.

From February, you will work to complete your extended project, which will be handed in by the beginning of September.

  • Extended Project Module (120 credits) - The extended project can take a variety of forms depending of the nature of the discipline you are researching. It could be a written dissertation of up to 25,000 words; or, if practice-based the practice element could account for 50% of the project. In this latter case, the written component would be at least 12,500 words. Your supervisor will help you determine the appropriate balance for your research.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved we will inform you.

This structure is for full-time students only. Part-time students study the same modules but the delivery pattern will be different. 

Learning and Teaching

Teaching will consist of a mix of scheduled lectures and seminars to the whole group, and one-to-one supervision with your designated supervisor.

You will be supported through directed learning and independent study, and will engage in essential reading, research, assignment preparation and completion.

You will benefit from a higher level of close supervision than you would on a taught MA, allowing you to hone and develop your research skills.

You will also learn valuable presentation skills, covering not only how to present your research to your peers and at conferences, but also how to present yourself online by developing a compelling research portfolio.

The tutors you will work with are all experts in their field, with extensive experience of research themselves. Many of them are active members of UWE Bristol's research centres and have extensive links with industry and other organisations.

See our glossary of teaching and learning terms.

Study time

The MRes lasts one year full-time or two years part-time, running from September to September in both cases.

As this is a research degree, most of your time will be spent on independent study, but you will have regular contact with your supervisor and there will be timetabled sessions for the first six weeks of the Research Methodologies module.

The formal teaching sessions will take place at Frenchay campus and individual tutorials will be located where your assigned supervisor is based.


Research Methodologies is assessed by:

  • A presentation lasting approximately ten minutes examining different disciplinary and methodological approaches to your study (30%)
  • A Research Proposal that contains a detailed description and justification of your proposed research (70%)

Research Portfolio is assessed by:

  • A literature/texts review of material supplied by your supervisor (30%)
  • A portfolio containing analytical readings of key texts/sources/artefacts relevant to your project that includes material you have generated through your own research (70%)

Extended Project is assessed by either:

  • A written dissertation of up to 25,000 words
  • If practice-based, a 12,500 written component and an artefact (for example, a film, sculpture, exhibition, installation, online material or other creative or cultural output)depending on what is appropriate to your practice

See our full glossary of assessment terms.

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