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Unit of study_

MECO6904: Dissertation Part 1

Semester 1, 2024 [Supervision] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This unit requires students to commence the conduct of their own research projects under the supervision of a member of staff and write a dissertation of 12000 words (completed in the second semester of enrolment in MECO6905). In some cases, these projects will give students the opportunity to extend lines of enquiry suggested by units of study already completed for the degree. In other cases, students may have an interest in an area not covered by the coursework programs offered during their candidature that can be developed as a supervised project.

Unit details and rules

Unit code MECO6904
Academic unit Media and Communications
Credit points 6
MECO6928 or MECO6932 or MECO6935 or MECO6947
24 credit points from Digital Communication and Culture or Media Practice or Health Communication or Strategic Public Relations or Publishing degree tables.
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Agata Mrva-Montoya,
Lecturer(s) Agata Mrva-Montoya,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Research proposal and drafts as required
More information is available on Canvas.
0% Ongoing n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9

Assessment summary

Students are expected to complete a research proposal, ethics application (if required), draft method or theoretical framework, and draft literature review which contribute towards the final dissertation.


Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a High distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a Distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Work of outstanding quality, demonstrating an excellent standard of written English and of criticism, logical argument, interpretation of materials or use of methodology. Evidence of extensive research and use of primary sources, a thoughtful structure, substantial additional work and independent learning. This grade may be given to recognise particular originality or creativity.


75 - 84

Work of superior quality, demonstrating a command of language, sound grasp of content, efficient organisation and selectivity. Evidence of relevant research, additional work and independent learning.


65 - 74

A sound performance, competent and appropriate. Work that is well written and demonstrates good research skills. Demonstrates a clear grasp of the basic skills and knowledge. Work of good quality, showing more than satisfactory achievement.


50 - 64

A satisfactory attempt to meet the demands of the assignment.
Demonstrates understanding and command of basic skills and core knowledge. The assignment may have significant weaknesses, or may not be wholly successful or coherent, but shows at least satisfactory achievement in more important aspects.


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

Support for students

The Support for Students Policy 2023 reflects the University’s commitment to supporting students in their academic journey and making the University safe for students. It is important that you read and understand this policy so that you are familiar with the range of support services available to you and understand how to engage with them.

The University uses email as its primary source of communication with students who need support under the Support for Students Policy 2023. Make sure you check your University email regularly and respond to any communications received from the University.

Learning resources and detailed information about weekly assessment and learning activities can be accessed via Canvas. It is essential that you visit your unit of study Canvas site to ensure you are up to date with all of your tasks.

If you are having difficulties completing your studies, or are feeling unsure about your progress, we are here to help. You can access the support services offered by the University at any time:

Support and Services (including health and wellbeing services, financial support and learning support)
Course planning and administration
Meet with an Academic Adviser

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 First meeting with supervisor: schedule meetings for remaining semester Seminar (0.5 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6 LO9
Week 03 Second meeting with supervisor Seminar (0.5 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6
Week 05 Third meeting with supervisor: submit ethics application if needed Seminar (0.5 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO8
Week 07 Fourth meeting with supervisor: submit draft method or theoretical framework Seminar (0.5 hr) LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9
Week 10 Fifth meeting with supervisor Seminar (0.5 hr) LO5 LO7 LO8 LO9
Week 12 Sixth meeting with supervisor: submit draft literature review Seminar (0.5 hr) LO6 LO7 LO8

Attendance and class requirements

Once enrolment has been formalised, you should arrange a meeting with your supervisor without delay. It is generally advised that you should meet with your supervisor for a minimum of four one-hour sessions per semester, or a half-hour each fortnight. You might find that this varies at times of high output, towards the end of each semester for example, so this guide should be regarded as a minimum requirement; and you may negotiate meeting times, duration and frequency with your supervisor. While it is the student’s responsibility to submit work on time, the supervisor will guide you in establishing a feasible program of study. 

Dissertation students should expect from their supervisor guidance in the design of their research project (methodology), and advice in planning, timing and protocols for undertaking research. Students can expect to meet with their supervisor each fortnight for one hour.

Your supervisor will determine whether your progress in MECO6904 is adequate to proceed to MECO6905, so it is vital you attend meetings and produce draft work during this first semester of your research in time for this assessment to be made (usually in Week 13).  

Masters Dissertation students are considered part of our research school and are encouraged to attend the Honours students seminars in MECO and other research seminars organised by the dicipline. Please contact your supervisor for more information. Please ask your supervisor to have your name added to the mailing list for Sydney Ideas and the Media at Sydney seminars.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

An extensive list of resources is available on Canvas.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. understand the principles and practices of scholarly research for dissertation writing
  • LO2. plan and write a research proposal, a research plan and where necessary, an ethics application
  • LO3. demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between research design and choice of methods
  • LO4. demonstrate an understanding of the ethical implications of the chosen research method
  • LO5. engage with existing scholarship in a specific field of inquiry and identify an area for explication, elaboration or addition to knowledge in that field
  • LO6. understand the generic requirements of a literature review
  • LO7. demonstrate a detailed understanding of the production processes of scholarly composition, referencing and attribution at an advanced level
  • LO8. demonstrate use of appropriate media, tools and methodologies to produce a dissertation
  • LO9. use information in critical, creative and scholarly thinking

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

We value your opinion and regularly review our operations based on this feedback.

Students need to have an average WAM of over 75, and submit a project proposal approved by a supervisor before they can join the unit.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.