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Honours dissertations/projects
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B.A. Honours and B.Sc. Honours students who are in their second year are advised to start planning for their final-year dissertation during their second year. The guidelines and procedures below are intended to help you plan your project adequately.

Guidelines on style, length and language of dissertations are on this page. 

1. Preliminary meeting

A preliminary meeting will be held with the Institute Director and Chairman towards the beginning of the second semester of your second year. You will be notified of the date of this meeting. Typically, this meeting will be called around April or May. The aim is to address frequently asked questions about dissertations and final year projects.

Around this time, the Institute will also make available a list of possible dissertation topics and supervisors, to help you make your choice. 

2. Choice of topic and supervisor

It is important to identify a supervisor and a topic as soon as possible. Bear in mind that academic staff will usually be willing to supervise a topic if they have the necessary competence; this ensures that you get the best possible supervision. We strongly recommend that students begin to discuss potential topics with supervisors as soon as possible after the preliminary meeting described above. 

A good procedure to follow is the following:

  1. Having identified a topic, discuss it with a potential supervisor. This process often results in a narrowing down or specification of the topic (remember: your project has to be feasible!). 
  2. Once you have identified the topic and have secured the supervisor’s acceptance, you write a brief proposal (no more than 500 words) that gives the proposed title of your dissertation and describes the research question you will tackle, together with a brief outline of the proposed methodology. 

2.1 Identifying a topic

Students can identify any topic to work on, as long as they have a supervisor who accepts the topic. To facilitate the process, the Institute of Linguistics staff annually propose a list of topics. These can be accessed from the links below:

3. Writing your proposal

Once you have identified a topic and secured acceptance from a supervisor, you will be asked to write a short proposal. This usually takes the form of a brief outline of the proposed work, together with an outline of the methodology. 

Depending on what you propose to do, your methodology may involve work with human subjects (informants, children, adult speakers of a language etc.). Any work involving such participants is subject to ethical approval, on which see below.

3.1 Obtaining ethical approval for your proposed methodology 

If you are using human subjects (e.g. recording informants, conducting experiments, using questionnaires or interviews) you will need the approval of the University Research Ethics Committee (UREC). There are two steps involved in this process:

  1. Submitting an ethical approval form to the Institute of Linguistics Research Ethics Committee;
  2. Once the Institute committee approves your application, this will be forwarded to UREC, to process at their next meeting. 

Full information, including deadlines and guidelines, is available on our Ethical Approval page. 

4. Proposal submission 

You need to submit your proposal to the Institute Board of Studies. Proposals will need to be forwarded to the Institute administration prior to the start of your third year. You need to submit your proposal by May 31st of your second year.

5. Work on your dissertation and completion

Most of the work you do on your dissertation will take place in your third year. However, we strongly recommend that the preceding steps are completed by the start of your third year. This will ensure that you have ample time to conduct your research. Preparatory work can also be conducted in the Summer preceding the start of your third year; your supervisor will provide guidance on this.

You are expected to submit your dissertation by 1st May of your third year, in time for assessment in June/July. 

6. How to submit your dissertation 

When you have completed your dissertation, you will need to submit it to the Institute Administrative Officer. You need to submit:

  1. A signed declaration of authenticity (available here); 
  2. Four soft-bound copies of your dissertation, one for each examiner and one for the person 
who chairs your examination board. 
  3. An electronic copy of your dissertation should also be submitted via the VLE page for the 
Dissertation or project study-unit, using Turnitin.  

7. How dissertations are assessed 

Dissertations or final-year projects are assessed by an exam board consisting of a Chair, two examiners (one of whom may be the supervisor) and an external examiner from another university. These individuals will read your work and determine a mark. However, you will also be invited to a viva voce examination. The viva will take the following form:

  • You will give a presentation of around 15 minutes. The audience will include members of your exam committee, as well as your friends;
  • This will be followed by questions from the audience.
The viva voce is normally held in June or July. The purpose of the viva voce is to discuss your work with the examiners, who will have read your dissertation closely. If there are aspects of your work which your examiners find unclear, the viva voce is also a chance to clarify these.

Your final mark on the project/dissertation will be determined after the viva

7.1 Final steps after the viva

Your examiners may request some changes to the dissertation once the viva is over. These will need to be finalised before you submit the final version of the dissertation. Once this is done, you will need to submit four hard-bound copies of your dissertation to the IoL Administrative Officer.

A timeline

As a guideline, the following is a typical timeline for your project. Understandably, individual projects will sometimes have different requirements. However, note that delaying certain steps -- especially Ethical Approval -- can compromise the pace at which you are able to complete your work.

  • Second year, Sem 2 (around March): preliminary meeting with Institute Director and Chairman
  • Second year, Sem 2: identification of a supervisor and topic
  • Second year, Sem 2: draft of your proposal and submission of ethical approval forms, if relevant
  • Third year: work on your project under your supervisor's guidance
  • Third year (May): submission of your dissertation.
  • Third year (July): assessment

Linguistics Circle (06 Dec)
Georgios Yannakakis, Institute of Digital Games, University of Malta

Title:  AI designing games for us with (or without) us

Date: Wednesday 6th December 2017 at 12:00 hrs

Venue: GW164

Change in Name
As of April 2017, the Institute has officially changed its name to Institute of Linguistics and Language Technology.

Class timetables are now available from this page.

For study-units LIN1063, LIN1065, LIN2013 and LIN5063, please click on this page to check the Academic English timetable.

Ethical approval
Deadlines for submission of ethical approval forms to the Institute Research Ethics Committee are now available on the Research page.
Posts of Part-Time Research Support Assistant or Officer I/II
Posts of Part-Time Research Support Assistant or Officer I/II for the MASRI project that aims to build a Maltese speech recognition system.  
Post of Part Time Research Support Officer I, II or III
Post of Part Time Research Support Officer I, II or III  for the Maltese Sign Language Research Project.
Last Updated: 23 March 2017

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