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 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. 

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. For this reason, we provide topics for you to choose from.

  1. Choose a topic from one of the following lists:
  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. Proposals should be sent to Ms Victoria Sciberras-Herrera, and they will be discussed by the Board of Studies for your programme. 
The deadline for proposals is June 15 of your second year. Proposals should be sent via email.

A proposal is a brief outline of the proposed work, together with an outline of the methodology and a timeline for the work you wish to carry out. 

All researchers at the university of Malta are required to follow the guidelines for research ethics published by the University Research Ethics committee. All undergraduate projects need ethical approval. Please consult with your supervisor and follow the guidelines on the Ethical Approval page. 

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.    

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 to the Institute Administrative Officer. You need to submit: 

  1. A signed declaration of authenticity
  2. An electronic copy of your dissertation should be submitted via the VLE page for the Dissertation or project study-unit, using Turnitin.     

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 will use a set of criteria as shown in this form.

However, you will also be invited to 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

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 or 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): submission of your dissertation.
  • Third year (June): assessment