Honours dissertations / projects

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.

For information on copyright related to dissertations, please see this document.

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. 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. 

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. If in doubt about which area you would like to work on, you can also consult the following list of topics that have been suggested by potential supervisors.

Once you have identified the topic and have secured the supervisor’s acceptance, you need to write a brief proposal (of 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. Proposals should be sent via e-mail to Ms Victoria Sciberras-Herrera, the Institute's Administrative Officer, and they will be discussed by the Board of Studies for your programme. 

The deadline for submitting you proposal is 30th May of your second year.  

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. In relation to this, note that all researchers at the University of Malta are required to follow the guidelines for research ethics published by the University Research Ethics Committee. So, in order to avoid unnecessary delays, please consult with your supervisor and follow the guidelines on the Ethical Approval page.   

The deadline for submission of your dissertation is 10th May, of your third year. 

When you have completed your dissertation, you will need to submit it for evaluation. More specifically, you need to submit an electronic copy of your dissertation via the VLE page for the Dissertation or Final-year Project study-unit, using Turnitin. Your dissertation needs to also include a signed declaration of authenticity.     

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. To do this, they typically use this set of criteria

However, you will also be invited to viva voce examination. The viva will take the following form: 

  • You will give a presentation of around 10-15 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

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 two hard-bound copies of your dissertation to Ms Victoria Sciberras-Herrera, the Institute's Administrative Officer, alongside an electronic version for the University Library over e-mail. All copies should include a signed declaration of authenticity, while the electronic version must conform to the standards set by the University of Malta Library.

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

  • Second year, Sem 2 (around April): 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 10): submission of your dissertation.
  • Third year (June/July): assessment and viva.