NATIONAL MA EDUCATION (WALES) DISSERTATION AND SUPERVISION POLICY
This Policy aims to ensure a consistent national approach to the support, supervision and ethics approach of students’ research for the dissertation element of the National MA Education (Wales) programme. It will apply to the National MA Education (Wales) and its pathways only, irrespective of which participating institution students are studying at.
To ensure the equitability of the student experience across the partnership, this Policy supersedes relevant local policy within Participating Institutions for this programme.
Participating Institutions must provide advice and guidance to students with the aim of facilitating the production of a dissertation to meet the requirements for award at Level 7 of the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications. The work must be the candidate’s own, (the content shall be the responsibility of the student), albeit achieved with the benefit of advice and guidance from one or more academic supervisors.
Students must be available for supervision when undertaking the dissertation element of the programme. Students who are absent without authorisation may be withdrawn from the Participating University in accordance with appropriate local Attendance/Engagement Monitoring policies.
Supervisors should provide a minimum of four supervision sessions, and be available to provide addition support and guidance for students where necessary.
Supervisors should also exercise great care in the comments made to candidates regarding the final outcome of the degree to which the dissertation will contribute. Supervisors should not attempt to predict that a student will pass with merit/distinction, for example.
Selecting a Topic
The Programme Director should ensure that the topics are appropriate for a Postgraduate Taught Masters research related degree programme. It is expected that the topic would normally be agreed by the end of the Advanced Research and Enquiry Skills Module. Topics should be recorded as appropriate within the relevant participating institutions.
The proposal should lie within the broad field of expertise of the Supervisor(s) and be aligned to the student’s area of research.
The subject should be identified following discussion between the student and the supervisor(s) and should be approved following the relevant processes within each participating institution. Where possible, topics should be so designed that more than one member of staff may assist the student. The names of staff suitably qualified should be conveyed to the student.
As students will be working on subjects and with data which may be sensitive, it is likely that all students will require ethical approval for their dissertation research. Students will be supported in developing ethical research and in gaining the necessary approval through the Advanced Research and Enquiry Skills module.
Given that students will be working across seven participating institutions and will require consistent decision making irrespective of location of study, the following approach has been agreed for Ethics Approval:
- Ethical approval requests will be submitted using local processes working within the nationally agreed criteria and in line with the National MA Education (Wales) Ethics Approval Policy.
- The National Ethics Approval Board will consider local decisions on ethics approval as needed to ensure consistency of decision making across the partnership.
The proposal should be agreed in accordance with University’s deadline for submission and should be suitable for completion within the allotted time span.
Students experiencing unexpected extenuating circumstances should notify their institution as soon as possible, and an extension to the time-limit may be considered.
Timetable of Supervision
A minimum of four formal compulsory supervision meetings must be held with students throughout the dissertation module. Meetings between the Supervisor and student, may be provided either online or in person, as agreed by the student and supervisor, with student attendance at these meetings monitored in line with the participating institutions’ polices.
Normally the same supervisor would be expected to be present for all meetings. Where this is not possible, the relevant participating institution must arrange for supervision to be covered by an appropriately qualified nominee.
A record of each meeting, agreed between the Supervisor and the student, shall be kept including dates, action agreed and deadlines set. The student shall be responsible for maintaining this record and shall submit it with the work. Supervisors should keep a copy of this record.
A record will be kept of students who fail to attend meetings and such records shall be available to relevant Examination Boards/Appeals Committees.
Feedback on Draft Dissertations
Along with regular supervisory discussions, students may submit one chapter of their dissertation for more detailed feedback, and supervisors may provide general comments and feedback on a draft of the complete dissertation.
Students will submit an electronic copy of their dissertation, with appropriate cover sheets as required, through the submission process of the participating institution, by the deadline stated.
Students should also submit a copy of the written record of their formal meetings on supervision with their dissertation. This record shall be kept in the student file within the participating institution and may be utilised as evidence in cases of appeal.
Students who fail their dissertation at the first attempt and who are permitted to resubmit their work, should be given one formal feedback session, including written feedback on the reasons for failure, immediately following confirmation of the result by the relevant participating institution’s Progression and Awards Board.
Feedback should reflect any comments from examiners (internal plus, where applicable, external), and the student should be informed of any necessary changes required.
Eligible students will have ONE resubmission attempt, which will be capped at 50% if successful.
Ethics Approval Process
Students must follow the agreed National Ethics Approval Process