Choosing Your Dissertation Topic

Choosing your university dissertation topic may seem like a daunting task. It is. The project is pitched to students as the culminating piece of work of their university careers. It takes months to complete, and is often used as a talking point in your first job interviews. Therefore it’s pretty important that you choose a decent subject matter. Since I’m currently in this situation, I’ve decided it would be a good idea to compile a list of tips I’ve gotten from friends on how to choose a topic. Hopefully this is something that could help some of you, too!

  1. Look Back On Past Modules
    Have a look through the topics you’ve covered in your previous classes. There may have been something your lecturer touched on that grabs your attention. If you find something you’re interested in, you might be able to contact that same lecturer for more information on the subject.
  2. What Would You Be Excited To Take A Class On?
    This is probably the most useful piece of advice I’ve received. Is there anything that you’ve been interested in that you haven’t had the opportunity to study yet? This is also a good way of filtering any ideas you’ve had so far – if you’re not into the idea of sitting through a lecture on the topic you certainly won’t want to spend a year researching it.
  3. Think About Your Non-Academic Interests
    This might be handy for those of you who are tired the types of modules you’ve had to take so far. Think about what you like doing outside of college – be that sports, watching movies, reading comics, going out – anything. You’d be surprised what you can link back to your field of study, especially if you’re doing something like Arts of Social Sciences.
  4. Don’t Panic (Unless You Have To)
    You’ll likely have a little time to think about what you’d like to do before you settle on something definite. Use this time to explore different options! Unless you’re down to the last day to choose your topic, I’d advise really mulling it over before you officially set your title. Remember: you’ll be spending up to a year researching and writing this dissertation. Make sure it’s on something that will hold your interest, and keep it manageable!

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