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Dissertation - Marking Criteria

The text below is an extract from the MSc handbook for students

Each dissertation is independently marked by two examiners; one of these is normally the supervisor. An external examiner moderates the assessment. The examiners may conduct an oral examination if they wish to check the depth of the student's understanding and to ensure that the dissertation is the student's own work. Students must obtain a pass grade on the dissertation to pass the MSc degree. The examiners give up to 100 points where the points translate to the following categories:

85100:  An exceptionally high level of understanding and outstanding research potential.

7084.99:  Very high competence and excellent research potential.

6069.99:  Evidence of some creativity and independence of thought.

5059.99:  Sound understanding of the literature, but lack of accuracy or originality.

049.99:  Insufficient or no understanding of the topic, poor quality of work. 

The points are given according to the following guidelines:

Knowledge of subject (25)

2125:  Deep understanding and near-comprehensive knowledge.

1820:  Deep understanding.

1517:  Very good understanding.

1214:  Sound knowledge of relevant information.

1011:  Basic understanding of the main issues.

09:  Little or no understanding of the main issues.

Organisation of material (25)

2125:  Of publishable quality.

1820:  Arguments clearly constructed; material very well-organised.

1517:  Well-organised; aims met with no significant errors or omissions.

1214:  Coherent and competent organisation.

1011:  Lack of clarity in written presentation or aims only partially met.

69:  Major flaws in arguments; aims of project not met.

05:  Arguments are missing/deficient. Disorganised or fragmentary.

Originality, interpretation and analysis  (20)

1720:  Significant originality in the interpretation and/or analysis; project aims challenging.

1416:  Some originality; evidence of excellent analytical and problem-solving skills.

1213:  Good attempt to interpret and analyse existing literature.

1011:  Minor flaws in interpretation/analysis of existing literature.

59:  Poor interpretation/analysis or project aims too simple.

04: Little or no interpretation or analysis; project aims trivial.

Evidence of reading (10)

810:  Independent reading including research papers.

67:   Good use of outside reading.

45:   Some evidence of outside reading.

03:   Little or no evidence of outside reading. 

Bibliography and referencing  (10)

910:  Of publishable quality.

78:   Good referencing and bibliography.

56:   Either poor bibliography or poor referencing.

34:   Poor bibliography and little or no referencing.

02:   No bibliography and little or no referencing.

Style, spelling, punctuation and grammar (10)

910:  Incisive and fluent, no errors of spelling, punctuation or grammar.

78:   Very minor errors of spelling, punctuation or grammar.

46:   Some errors of spelling, punctuation or grammar.

03:   Many errors of spelling, punctuation or grammar.


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