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GEOG490 Dissertation

Full Year, 60 points

Coordination: Postgraduate Committee

The purpose of this graduate level course is to provide you with the opportunity to carry out an individual research dissertation under the supervision of a staff member who is an expert in a related part of a relevant discipline. In addition to conducting research for the dissertation, you will prepare a research proposal, attend a series of seminars, complete a progress report and give a short presentation in the format of a poster, based on your research at the Department's Postgraduate Symposium in August. As a 60 point subject GEOG490 accounts for 50% of the Honours year and as a guide the University of Otago expects that a 60 point paper will require around 600 hours of work. Consequently GEOG490 requires a substantive and sustained commitment from March to submission in October.

For many students, Honours is the most exciting and valuable year at University. Working with individual supervision and following up their special interests enable students to develop their research and writing techniques, and apply the knowledge gained in earlier years of undergraduate study to the solution of real problems. At the end of the year, Honours graduates can either seek employment, well equipped with the skills demanded by today's employers, or they can apply for a scholarship to enable them to proceed to postgraduate study at Otago or other universities.

Each student will be supervised by a member of staff most relevant to the proposed area of research. Identifying a topic and supervisor is very much up to you and you are expected to be proactive in this regard. (see choosing a potential supervisor). You will be expected to meet regularly with your supervisor throughout the course where they will advise on the structure, organisation and presentation of your project.

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A dissertation of up to 20,000 words on an approved research topic.

Paper title Dissertation
Paper code GEOG490
Subject Geography
EFTS 0.5
Points 60 points
Teaching period Full Year (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,227.00
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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Limited to
BA(Hons), BAppSc(Hons), BSc(Hons), PGDipArts, PGDipSci
Enrolments for this paper require departmental permission. View more information about departmental permission.
Teaching staff

Supervisor: Each student will be supervised by a member of staff most relevant to the proposed area of research.

For further information please contact

Paper Structure

Students initiate an independently driven research project. Research is undertaken with a specific sub-discipline of geography/environmental management, supervised and advised by one or more academic staff members.

Teaching Arrangements

Postgraduate seminars run by the School of Geography, and relevant to the research process, are designed with GEOG 490 students in mind. Your attendance at these seminars is compulsory.


Textbooks are not required for this paper.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

On completion of this paper students will be able to:

  • Identify and contextualise a research problem and use the research literature to develop theoretical and methodological frameworks to investigate specific research questions
  • Devise and implement a programme of practical work to investigate the research questions
  • Analyse information and draw conclusions relevant to their research questions
  • Write a report to communicate the outcomes of their research effectively

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Full Year

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system