School of Global Studies

Postgraduate dissertation with placement

The School of Global studies offers postgraduate students the opportunity of doing a dissertation with placement. It is an exciting way to develop and undertake research skills which directly feed into your dissertation. It’s a great way to get experience in a field in which you may want to pursue your career after you finish your course.

The School of Global Studies offers postgraduate students an opportunity to undertake a Dissertation with placement. Students find a placement by working at an organisation and alongside their time at the placement they are able to collect primary data for their dissertation. Examples of primary research might include collecting data, interviews, surveys using questionnaires or even looking at archival material.

Placements give students the opportunity to gain skills specific to their subject or industry of choice as well as developing employability skills required for real-life work. It also increases their knowledge of an industry or sector, allowing them to make more informed decisions about future career choices. At global studies we are able to offer you the opportunity to work and research in an industry of your choice and which will allow you to make those career choices.

The dissertation period is between June – August. We ask for a minimum of 6 weeks at the placement organisation and you can be there longer but must bear in mind the submission date for the dissertation.

For more information, contact Su Richards, globalplacements@sussex.ac.uk

Student experiences

Sam Jeremy: Treeconomy

I was lucky enough to be put in touch with the co-founder of my placement company via a friend. I reached out on LinkedIn and introduced myself and my studies at Sussex. After which, I suggested the idea of a research placement as a way of gaining work experience and means for collecting first and secondary data for my dissertation thesis. 

The process for organising this was straight-forward with the help of Su Richards, who was a great help in explaining the process and guiding me through the logistics. At the company I am researching various topics that will be covered at the COP26 conference later this year. It has helped to develop my writing skills and I have been able to learn about various topics.

I have also been able to share my work on LinkedIn and other social media channels. Overall, the placement has been a great opportunity for me to gain further knowledge and experience in my field of study and has contributed towards my research for my dissertation. Although, it does take up a bit more of your time, the skills and experience I have gained have been worth the extra effort.

Marianne Glascott: Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority

This year, I completed a research placement with Sussex IFCA. Sussex IFCA is responsible for conservation, research, governance and compliance for the Sussex coast; it fitted well with my dissertation outline.

I set out to make contact through several strands in parallel:

  • Through Sussex University academic contacts, via an email request to lecturers who I thought might have links
  • Through linked in messaging to the head of Sussex IFCA and requesting his email address for a follow-up email
  • Through the Sussex IFCA website and contact details
  • Through Su Richards in the course placement office for previous placement contacts

In each case, I made sure to construct emails/messages so that:

  • A call to action was contained within the email subject line
  • Ensured my request was contained within the first line of the content
  • Emails were short, to the point and had links for further information
  • All links were established using a hyperlink (ctrl K) and so looked professional and easy to use

The terms of reference for my placement were negotiated and agreed upon with the Sussex IFCA management team.

The placement has been invaluable. I have established a productive network to complete my research and identify opportunities for post-Masters work and further funded PhDs. I was introduced to key contacts within the Met Office, Sussex Wildlife, Blue Marine, Plymouth & Portsmouth Universities, UCL and the Royal Zoological Society. These contacts have since become mentors, and their guidance has informed my dissertation. They provided advice and guidance and have been a reference point when I have needed help. Through Sussex IFCA, I have been able to work with an experienced group of professionals, all with relevant PhDs, who have broadened my thinking and enabled me to experience a broader range of marine research methods. I have also been able to appreciate the complexity of regulation and governance of the UK coast. In addition, they have been kind, supportive and encouraging. As a result of completing the placement, I have had a much richer experience than otherwise. I believe future employers will look favourably on this broader experience and will be able to gain an additional reference from Sussex IFCA.

Mishal Mathews: National Health Mission India  

Dissertation with Placement is one of the parts that I looked forward to in my course. My research was on migrant wellbeing during lockdown in Kerala and I was able to secure a placement with National Health Mission, Ernakulam, Kerala as Project Assistant Trainee for its Adithi Devo Bhava project. The project works for the migrant workers in Kerala.

I am also involved with their Let’s Reach Out Kerala initiative which addresses the issues of migrant workers stranded in Kerala during lockdown. I was able to do primary research, thanks to my placement. I could have not been able to interview migrant workers and local body members without their help. Though it was carried out online, I was glad to have done data collection where I could put into practice the research methods taught as part of the coursework.

I also got access to their archives and case studies which were a rich secondary source data. Along with these help in data collection, the placement also added to my knowledge of the issue and helped me develop a strong on-ground understanding. The experience and knowledge thus gained through this placement were essential in helping me secure my job with the United Nations University as a Research Assistant for their PROWELLMIGRANTS project. During my interview for the job, I could share knowledge and insights from my experience, which I am certain played a major role in getting the job.