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MAR8001 Masters Dissertation A

Semester 1, 2011 On-campus Toowoomba
Units : 2
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Arts
School or Department : School of Humanities and Communication

Contents on this page


Examiner: Brian Musgrove
Moderator: Bryce Barker


Pre-requisite: Students must be enrolled in Program: MSTA


This 2 unit course enables students enrolled in the Masters program to commence their dissertation under supervision. The dissertation shall consist of a 12,000-15,000 word assignment on a topic chosen by the student and approved by the supervisor, and may be either the result of original investigations, or embody a critical appraisal or analysis of primary or secondary source material. This course must be taken only with MAR8002 (in separate semesters).


On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. develop a research proposal, including defining a topic, developing a research design, incorporating an annotated bibliogaphy and justifying a methodology;
  2. undertake independent research, under supervision, on a proposed topic;
  3. review the literature relevant to a selected dissertation topic;
  4. develop an annotated bibliography in a full literature review;
  5. apply and justify methodology appropriate to a research topic.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Proposal 40.00
2. Literature Review 40.00
3. Methodology 20.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • There are no texts or materials required for this course.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
INITIAL PROPOSAL 1 0 18 Mar 2011 (see note 1)
PRELIMINARY PROPOSAL 1 0 22 Apr 2011 (see note 2)
ORAL PRESENTATION 1 0 06 May 2011 (see note 3)
DETAILED PROPOSAL 1 100 10 Jun 2011 (see note 4)

  1. An initial proposal (maximum length 500 words) must be received and a supervisor allocated before students are confirmed into the Honours Dissertation course. Students successfully completing this course will normally be awarded the result of IIP and proceed to MAR8002. Further details about the due dates will be provided at the first class meeting and up on Study Desk.
  2. Preliminary Proposal and Literature Review (maximum length 1500 words). Students who obtain an unsatisfactory progress report at this stage may be advised against proceeding. Further details about the due dates will be provided at the first class meeting and up on Study Desk.
  3. Oral Presentation of Proposal, including written summary for circulation (maximum length 1500 words). Further details about the due dates will be provided at the first class meeting and up on Study Desk.
  4. Detailed Proposal and Draft Methodology (maximum length 3000 words). Further details about the due dates will be provided at the first class meeting and up on Study Desk.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to participate appropriately in all activities (such as workshops and consultation with supervisors) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To successfully complete an individual assessment item, a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks or a grade of at least C-. This statement must be read in conjunction with Statement 4 below.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without extenuating circumstances and without prior approval, then a penalty of a maximum of 5% of the assigned mark may apply for each working day late, up to a maximum of 10 working days, at which time a mark of zero can be recorded for that assignment.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of a passing grade, students must meet the requirements of designated examiners.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade for Part 2 of Dissertation/Project courses (where IIP is a possible temporary grade for Part 1) - If the progress reports are deemed satisfactory by the student's supervisor and the course examiner, the student will be awarded an interim grade of IIP, indicating satisfactory performance in the course. When the Dissertation/Project has been assessed in its entirety, the grade of IIP for the first part of the Dissertation/Project will be changed to the final grade. For example, if the student received an HD for his/her dissertation/project at the completion of Dissertation/Project 2, then the grade of IIP for the first part would be changed to an HD.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no set exam for this course. However the Dissertation/Project will be examined under the conditions set out for the program.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Given the details under (6) above, there are no deferred exams for this course. However, if any deferred/makeup work is granted, it would have to be submitted by a date set by the examiner.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read USQ Regulations 5.1 Definitions, 5.6 Assessment, and 5.10 Academic Misconduct for further information and to avoid actions which might contravene University Regulations. These regulations can be found at the URL //

Assessment notes

  1. (a) The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner. (b) Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be despatched to USQ within 24 hours if requested by the Examiner. (c) In accordance with University's Assignment Extension Policy (Regulation 5.6.1), the examiner of a course may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances such as documented ill-health. (d) In the event that a due date for an assignment falls on a local public holiday in their area, such as a Show holiday, the due date for the assignment will be the next day. Students are to note on the assignment cover the date of the public holiday for the examiner's convenience. (e) Students who do not have regular access to postal services or who are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner of the course to negotiate such special arrangements. (f) Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in the course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of the course within the normally prescribed time may be awarded the temporary grade: IM (Incomplete-Makeup). An IM grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non-directed personal study. (g) Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or sit for an examination at the scheduled time, may apply to defer an assessment in the course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded: IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  2. Students are strongly advised to maintain regular contact with their supervisor.

  3. It is imperative that Dissertation/Project students check with their supervisor(s) whether they need to obtain ethics clearance for their Dissertation/Project.

  4. The dissertation shall be typed and bound and shall conform with the Faculty of Arts style guide for the presentation of theses and dissertations.

  5. Preliminary proposal (on enrolment in the course) - In order to facilitate the satisfaction of these assessment requirements, students must submit a one page preliminary thesis proposal with application for enrolment.

  6. Assessment of the dissertation normally shall be carried out by two qualified examiners, at least one of whom is external to the University of Southern Queensland, and none of whom is supervising the student for this thesis.

  7. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all chapter drafts, as well as the final draft of their dissertation, be written in an acceptable standard of English expression. If students' initial work is not of an acceptable standard, students will be encouraged to use the services of a copy-editor, or to seek assistance from a competent writer of English. It is not the supervisor's principal role to correct English spelling, expression or grammar, although appropriate advice will be given. Dissertations or drafts of chapters of dissertations that are not expressed to a standard of English expression acceptable to the supervisor will be referred back to the student for correction, and will not be submitted for examination until corrected. Students who fail to address this aspect of their dissertation risk failing the course. Any expenses incurred in having drafts checked by copy-editors will be met by the student. Please also note that while copy-editing may be carried out by someone who is not the student, all the substantial content of the dissertation must be the student's own work.

  8. Final results shall be awarded by the Honours and Postgraduate Committee of the relevant School, following receipt of the completed examiners' reports.