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PSME580 Dissertation

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A supervised dissertation of up to 20,000 words presenting the results of an original study on a relevant topic in the student’s area of interest within psychological medicine.

A dissertation is a supervised piece of research as part of a coursework master's programme. The research undertaken must be related to the student's area of practice and must be discussed with the Department Convenor of Postgraduate Studies.

Paper title Dissertation
Paper code PSME580
Subject Psychological Medicine
EFTS 0.5
Points 60 points
Teaching period(s) Semester 1 (On campus)
Semester 2 (On campus)
1st Non standard period (6 January 2021 - 20 December 2021) (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $5,778.00
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $21,348.00

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Limited to
As the dissertation comprises of study towards an endorsement in a specialist area, the programme must conform to the requirements specified in the Schedule published in the University of Otago Calendar.
Teaching staff

Department of Psychological Medicine

Paper Structure
The dissertation represents 6 months' full-time enrolment or 12 months' part-time enrolment. It should demonstrate that the candidate has the ability to carry out research and the ability to carry out constructive criticism and to report the results of such work clearly, accurately, succinctly and critically. It is not required that the results represent a substantial contribution to knowledge in the field. The scope of a dissertation is usually descriptive or explanatory. It can be a re-working/reinterpretation of existing material. For example:
  • A systematic review of moderate scope/size
  • A narrative review with critique/appraisal-based on an understanding of a theoretical/conceptual framework
  • An empirical study involving a simple research design with human participants
  • A case study
  • Programme evaluation
  • Replication study/secondary analysis of existing data
  • Policy analysis
Teaching Arrangements
A candidate shall have two supervisors, at least one of whom shall be a member of the Department of Psychological Medicine. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for supervision should be completed before the project begins. Negotiating the MOU includes agreeing on the responsibilities of supervisor and study, timelines, deadlines, methods of communication and frequency of meetings, etc.
Textbooks are not required for this paper.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Scholarship, Critical thinking, Research.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

The dissertation will demonstrate the student's ability to work independently to

  • Master a high level of understanding of the content and theoretical/conceptual basis of their field of study
  • Critically evaluate the production of knowledge and core theoretical/conceptual elements in their field
  • Formulate a research question and design and carry out an appropriate investigation to answer it (on the basis of empirical inquiry or evaluation and critique of existing literature)
  • Demonstrate understanding of the complexity of the production of knowledge generation of theory by evaluating strengths and limitation of their own research project
  • Demonstrate ability to identify, define, analyse and solve problems in a flexible manner
  • Synthesise findings of the research with the extant knowledge/conceptual base in the field in order to discuss the implication of the findings
  • Build a coherent argument on the basis of existing knowledge theory and reflection and own research findings
  • Access, organise and communicate knowledge effectively in writing

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system

Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system

1st Non standard period (6 January 2021 - 20 December 2021)

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system