Course participants will undertake a dissertation in their area of specialisation. The dissertation is equivalent to four courses.

Participants will conduct a research study on a topic approved by faculty which will be undertaken as a dissertation, ranging from 15,000 to 18,000 words.

Each participant will obtain an ethical clearance form before entering the field. The participant will conduct individual field work research to collect their data with guidance from the supervisor. This will be followed by the analysis of data and writing of the dissertation over the stipulated time allocated. Any research conducted at the University has to seek the ethical approval from the Ethical Review Committee (ERC).

An AKU-IED ERC Sub-Committee reviews students’ dissertation proposals to make sure that the proposals meet university guidelines on ethical research. This committee also conducts workshops to help course participants and supervisors understand and follow the ERC guidelines. The participants and the supervisors need to ensure that the ERC forms are duly filled and submitted to AKU-ERC for approval. The Dissertation calendar has a specific time slot allocated for the due process.

Course participants will be introduced to ERC forms during their courses in Research Methods. It is the student’s responsibility to familiarise himself/ herself with the form thoroughly. According to the AKU-ERC policy, a student will have to submit one hard copy of the research proposal and the ethical clearance form, and soft copies of the proposal and the ethical clearance form along with all the attachments.

No student can start field work without ethical clearance. A clearance letter from the Chair of AKU-ERC will be sent directly to students.

During this time, the course participants will share their research in progress with peers and supervisors in regular weekly sessions arranged for this purpose. The dissertation is assessed by two examiners: an independent internal examiner and an external examiner.