MA Dissertation: 5 Tricks to Make It Easier

July 2016 by


By the time you come to doing your MA dissertation, it is likely that you will have already done a dissertation at undergraduate level. This leaves many people feeling confident that they know what is required for their MA dissertation, however this is often not the case. This article will give you the 5 best tricks which will help combat the difference in level between BA and MA and (hopefully!) make your life easier.

Current literature

It is important that for an MA dissertation that you are using the most up to date resources in the field.

While you may have got away with using older material at Bachelors level, it just won’t cut it for a Master’s degree. You can filter the date of literature on Google, or of course check the date of publication. Making the most of recent literature will show your supervisor that you are up to date with current themes and provide new insights into your work.

Wide range of resource types

It is essential that you are showing your tutor that you searched high and low to find all of the relevant information on your topic.

A good idea is to sign up to a newspaper archive if you are doing archival work. Look for all appropriate journals, films, TV series, documentaries, books, newspaper articles etc. This will make sure that you not only have a wide range of different mediums to view the work from but you are also respecting that each type of resource displays information in a different fashion.

Ask the supervisor

Each supervisor is different. Each supervisor prefers certain styles of writing and certain formats of providing information. If you are not sure what constitutes the jump in level from BA to MA dissertation, then ask… The tutor will know exactly what they are expecting from you and if you listen to their advice and implement these points then it will put you in good stead for the work.


I know that this is an obvious one but sometimes people underestimate this point. The topic that you chose at undergraduate level might have been appropriate for a BA degree, but do not assume that something similar would be appropriate at Masters level. Students often attempt to undertake a similar styled project at MA as they did at BA and find themselves falling drastically short. A MA dissertation of 15,000 words is significantly longer than 10,000 words, so make sure that you plan for all that extra writing. Some people even write MA dissertations of up to 25,000 words – now that’s a lot of writing!


At Undergraduate level there are a series of formatting errors or small punctuation and spelling mistakes that you can get away with.

Trust us – you will not be so lucky at Masters Level. Your supervisor will be looking for a professional writing style that highlights your dissertation writing experience. Make sure that you maintain a level of quality checking whilst completing your work and it will save you time correcting errors later on.

By utilising our 5 top tricks, you will find writing your MA dissertation a lot less daunting. Make sure to plan ahead, use relevant literature and we are sure you will pass with flying colours! Best of luck.



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