A dissertation may form part of the BA(Hons), taught masters degrees and some diplomas.

About dissertations


  • A 30-point dissertation consists of approximately 10,000-12,000 words.
  • A 45-point dissertation consists of approximately 15,000 words. Word limits may vary between disciplinary areas – consult your Graduate Adviser.

Academic expectations

Although much shorter than a thesis, a dissertation is still expected to show your ability to define and carry out a research project and demonstrate your ability to:

  • Understand sophisticated subject matter.
  • Understand and use the methods of investigation and analysis appropriate to your discipline.
  • Identify and critically evaluate the findings and discussions in scholarly literature and other forms of information.
  • Engage in rigorous intellectual analysis, criticism and problem solving.
  • Engage in independent thinking, informed by relevant scholarly literature and other research.
  • Argue and reach conclusions that are informed by independent enquiry and other available information.
  • Use language effectively to communicate research findings and supporting argumentation.

Formatting and binding

Your disciplinary area will specify how your dissertation should be presented. Please also see the Guide to Theses and Dissertations.


Course codes for enrolment

Dissertations have individual alphanumeric course codes as other courses do.

Semester One or Two enrolment

For many subjects you can complete a dissertation over either a single semester or a full year. If your disciplinary area approves, you may also be able to either:

  • Begin in Semester One and complete in Semester Two, or
  • Begin in Semester Two and complete in Semester One of the following year.


Submission dates

Please see the Calendar for information on submission dates.

Where to submit

Submit your dissertation to your disciplinary area.

Extensions and suspensions


If you are experiencing exceptional circumstances beyond your control, you may be approved a limited extension of time. The following conditions apply:

  • Any extension cannot exceed two months (therefore if your dissertation is due at the end of Semester Two in mid-November, any extension could not be beyond mid-January).
  • You must be enrolled for the extension period, and will be charged fees at the rate of 10 points for each two-month extension period or part thereof.
  • Your request must be endorsed by your disciplinary area and approved by the faculty’s Assistant Dean (Postgraduate).

Contact your supervisor in the first instance. If circumstances such as illness prevent you from studying, it may be advisable to request a suspension and take time off rather than have an extension of time.


You must be enrolled in a dissertation over consecutive semesters. If exceptional circumstances require you to take time off, you will need to request approval to suspend your enrolment. You may be permitted to suspend your enrolment for not normally more than two consecutive semesters. The period of suspension will not count towards the time limits for degree or diploma completion.

See your supervisor in the first instance. Your request must be endorsed by your disciplinary area and approved by the Faculty’s Assistant Dean (Postgraduate).

Essential resources