Dissertation planner for your undergraduate studies in the UK

When you sit down to start your undergraduate dissertation, it might seem like a big task you have to complete all in one go. But it's actually a good idea to start writing it bit by bit. Writing helps you clear up your thoughts and it feels good to have some words on the page. You might have other assignments to complete, so it's important to make time specifically for your dissertation.

Your undergraduate dissertation project is a chance to explore your own ideas freely. However, it also brings new challenges because it's probably a larger piece of work than you've ever done before. While you might be used to revising and writing essays, your dissertation needs careful planning, lots of research and good time management to do well.

What is a dissertation?

A dissertation is a comprehensive research project you complete as part of your undergraduate or postgraduate degree. It is usually based on a topic that you have chosen yourself, but sometimes in response to a set question. It's likely to be the longest piece of academic work you'll ever produce. An undergraduate dissertation in the UK can be anywhere from 8,000 to 15,000 words long!

Why would you have to write an undergraduate dissertation in the UK?

  • Most higher education institutions in the UK require one.
  • Writing an undergraduate dissertation in the UK can enhance your employability. You'll learn skills like gathering and analysing data, writing reports and managing your time well.
  • Even though it's a lot of work, an undergraduate dissertation lets you dive deep into a topic you care about. So, picking a topic you're passionate about will make the experience better and maybe even more fun!

7 steps to writing an undergraduate dissertation


Writing your dissertation is a crucial part of your degree. It shows how well you can research, understand data and explain your ideas clearly. While undergraduate dissertations can be tough, they're also satisfying because you get to study a topic in-depth and make a big impact in your field.

Feeling ready to begin but not sure where to start? Usually, these are the initial steps for writing a dissertation:

1. Pick the right topic

Make sure your topic:

  • matches what you're studying and where your interest lies. This way, you'll be excited and already have some knowledge about it.
  • makes you curious and sparks lots of interesting questions.
  • is not too narrow or too broad. If it's too narrow, it might be hard to find information. If it's too broad, it might be tough to cover everything.

Think about what you want to do in your career after graduation. Consider topics that are relevant. Also, stay open to modifying your undergraduate dissertation topic as you explore more.

When you find a possible topic, talk to your supervisor. They can help you make it better, find good sources and plan your research.

2. Understand what you need to do

Make sure you know what's expected by:

  • reading the marking criteria carefully.
  • checking the module guidelines and anything else needed for your assignment, like a project plan, literature review, or critical reflection.

Before you start planning, find out:

  • the academic writing style and format for your subject.
  • the number of words needed.
  • when and where to hand in your dissertation.

3. Do thorough research

At this point, you'll need to review existing literature on your chosen topic. This means collecting books, articles and studies from libraries and online resources. This helps you see what research already exists and shapes your own research questions.

Remember to take good notes on each source and keep them organised. You'll need to judge and analyse these sources to check if they're reliable and helpful for your research. This will be handy when you're writing and citing your sources.

Don't forget to ask your advisor for help during your research. They can give you useful feedback, suggest relevant sources and support you along the way.

4. Create a strong thesis statement

A good thesis statement acts like a map for your undergraduate dissertation in the UK. It sets out your main argument or question and guides your paper in a clear direction. Before you start writing, make sure you fully understand your thesis statement because it will shape everything you write.

When making a thesis statement:

  • be clear and specific; don’t use vague statements.
  • your thesis should be something that can be supported or proven wrong with evidence.
  • ensure your thesis is doable — you should be able to research and write about it within the given time.

Once you have a draft of your thesis statement, show it to your supervisor and other trusted peers. They can help you improve it.

If your research ends up proving your original statement wrong, it can be disappointing. But remember, it’s a normal part of research.

You don’t always have to find an answer to do good research. Sharing your process and what you've found, even if it's not conclusive, can help others and bring new ideas.

5. Proofread and improve your undergraduate dissertation

Once you've spent a lot of time working on your undergraduate dissertation in the UK, it might feel like a relief to finish writing. However, proofreading is super important to make sure it's polished and free of mistakes.

Here are some tips:

  • Read your undergraduate dissertation out loud. This helps you catch errors you might miss when reading silently.
  • Change where you work to see your writing in a fresh way.
  • Focus on one thing at a time, like grammar, spelling, or punctuation, so it's not too overwhelming.

When editing your undergraduate dissertation:

  • First, look at the overall structure and flow. Make sure your ideas make sense and are in good order.
  • Then, check carefully for grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes. You can use a grammar checker, but it's essential to proofread yourself to catch any specific errors related to your subject or style.
  • Also, make sure your undergraduate dissertation in the UK follows the right format with the correct font, size, margins and spacing.

6. Get feedback and finalise

After you've made your last changes, ask your advisor to review your work.

When asking for feedback, tell them exactly what you want to know. You might ask about the overall structure, if your arguments are strong enough, or how clear your writing is.

Be ready to hear all kinds of feedback, even if it's not what you hoped for. Your advisor wants to help you do better, so it's important to listen and use the feedback to improve your work.

7. Hand in your undergraduate dissertation in the UK

Once you've dealt with all the feedback, you're ready to submit your final work. Before you submit, make sure you follow all the rules carefully. Hand in your undergraduate dissertation on time because late submissions might risk a penalty or even get turned down.

Most often, you'll submit your undergraduate dissertation online. You'll usually need to upload a PDF file to a website. Follow the instructions closely; sometimes you might have to give extra details like your student ID or the title of your dissertation.

In some places, you might still be asked for printed copies. If that's the case, you'll need to hand in a bound copy of your dissertation to your department office. You might also need to pay the binding fee.

Ask your advisor or the department office about how exactly to hand in your printed dissertation. You might have to give several copies and include a title page, summary and table of contents.

Although these steps might seem daunting, a tool like a dissertation planner can smoothly guide you through every stage.

What is a dissertation planner?

A dissertation planner is a detailed guide that assists you in writing your dissertation, from contemplating your question to final submission. At each phase, you'll discover valuable advice and assistance. This tool aids in planning the various stages involved in completing a dissertation.

The ultimate dissertation planner is here to guide you through every step of writing your undergraduate dissertation in the UK, starting from when you begin thinking about your question all the way to when you submit your final work. It includes helpful tips and cues to plan your work and manage your time at each stage. There are spaces provided throughout for you to add notes and entries to organise your dissertation.

Remember, this dissertation planner is a general guide to assist you. It doesn't replace the specific advice you might get from your teachers or dissertation supervisor. Their guidance about your subject and your dissertation is crucial.

Getting ready
Tasks Timetable Notes
How to accomplish this?
Brainstorm possible research topics. Talk about the practicality of these with the appropriate academic faculty.      
Contact your research supervisor. Ensure their accessibility throughout your dissertation period and establish the best means of contacting them.      
Check the accessibility of training or guidance. Are there any courses, books, or programmes that can assist you with your undergraduate dissertation? For instance, resources related to research methods and referencing.      
Develop your dissertation plan by considering a timeline, calendar, or mind map to emphasise important stages, specific milestones and deadlines for your dissertation.      
Beginning your research
Tasks Timetable Notes
How to accomplish this?
Schedule meetings with your supervisor early in your project or research. These meetings will help you ensure that your project is on the right track.      
Begin by dissecting the research process. What tasks do you need to undertake? This could involve activities such as conducting a literature search, engaging in fieldwork or a placement, conducting surveys or interviews, doing desk research, or performing lab work.      
Stay organised with your notes, sources and data. Discover a method that suits your needs.      
Think about your contingency plans — what actions will you take if there are unforeseen delays or unexpected results? Be aware of who to contact and by what deadline.      
The process of writing
Tasks Timetable Notes
How to accomplish this?
Develop a preliminary framework outlining the sections, main points and discoveries. Utilise this framework to organise your content.      
Begin to populate your outline by making initial drafts. These drafts can be revised and modified as your thoughts and understanding evolve.      
Seek input — schedule meetings to receive feedback on your drafts from your supervisor.      
Review — Have you covered your dissertation title? Are all sections relevant? Does each section transition smoothly to the next? Is anything lacking?      
Last phases
Tasks Timetable Notes
How to accomplish this?
Consult your programme handbook or instructors for instructions on the suitable referencing and citation style to use.      
Ensure that you've applied the accurate font, format and layout conventions for your undergraduate dissertation. Refer to your programme handbook or consult your instructors for guidance.      
Always allocate time for final proofreading and for making final corrections.      
Check the submission deadlines (electronic and/or paper copy). Estimate the time required for printing and binding your undergraduate dissertation in the UK.      
Helpful notes
My research question is:  
The due date for the undergraduate dissertation is:  
Online resources:  
Helpful links

*Feel free to duplicate and paste the dissertation planner provided above, then modify it as needed.

Write undergraduate dissertations in the UK with Global Banking School (GBS) courses


GBS is one of the leading higher education institutions in the UK, known for its industry-specific courses in fields such as finance, business, tourism, education and more. With a wide presence in the major cities of the UK, GBS is dedicated to its mission of “changing lives through education”.

GBS undergraduate courses that include dissertations:

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This course is designed for individuals aspiring to a management career or aiming to become future business owners. This degree is structured to equip you with the knowledge and abilities essential for gaining a competitive advantage.

BSc (Hons) Accounting & Financial Management

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BSc (Hons) Business & Tourism Management

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This course will equip you with the fundamental principles and current trends shaping health and social care, nurturing the skills and understanding essential for a rewarding career. You will delve into topics like quality of life, effective caregiving and strong communication, establishing a firm foundation in personalised health and social care provision.


Frequently asked questions about undergraduate dissertations in the UK

Word counts for dissertations vary significantly among various fields, institutions and academic levels:

  1. An undergraduate dissertation in the UK generally ranges from 8,000 to 15,000 words
  2. A master’s dissertation typically falls between 12,000 and 50,000 words.
  3. A PhD thesis commonly extends to the length of a book: from 70,000 to 100,000 words. However, these are not rigid rules; your word count might exceed or fall below the figures mentioned. Always refer to your institution’s guidelines to ascertain the required length for your specific dissertation.

Yes, an undergraduate dissertation is important as it allows students to demonstrate their research, analytical and critical thinking skills while delving deeper into a specific subject area.

The complexity of an undergraduate dissertation can depend on the circumstances, but it always demands commitment, effective time organisation and proficient research and writing abilities. While tutors typically offer guidance, the dissertation project is mainly self-directed. For many students, this assignment stands as the lengthiest, most challenging and significant task completed during their higher education studies, entailing months of groundwork and diligent effort.

"Dissertation" and "thesis" are terms often used interchangeably, though they vary in academic level. The key distinction between them lies in the stage of academic pursuit when they are accomplished. In the UK, a dissertation is submitted towards the end of a bachelor’s or master’s degree, while a thesis is submitted to obtain a PhD. In the U.S., it is the other way around.

A dissertation planner is a structured guide that helps you organise and manage the various stages of writing a dissertation.

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