Swansea University Policy for the Preparation and Submission of Directed Independent Learning

1.     Introduction

This policy outlines the requirements for the submission of assessment, for directed independent learning for Postgraduate Taught Master’s students. The directed independent learning can take a variety of forms, chosen to be the most appropriate for the programme, and/or to enhance the employability prospects of the students. This can be defined at programme approval and will be equivalent to the effort required to prepare a dissertation of up to 20,000 words.

Faculties/Schools should inform students of any requirements regarding the submission of directed independent learning in the Faculty/School Handbook, including advice on the general layout (if different to the guidance below), referencing conventions and any subject/discipline specific requirements.

2.     Bar on Access - Restricting access to a commercially or otherwise sensitive piece of work

The bar on access protects a student’s intellectual property - or that of the company they work with.

Work deemed to be commercially valuable or sensitive in other ways, for example, in the use of material that is restricted by agreements or other contracts, can be protected by placing a bar on access which will mean that it will not be available to the general reader for up to five years (the period can be extended in special circumstances).

Full details on the bar on access request process are included in the specific Postgraduate Taught Master’s regulations.

Where a bar on access is granted a different statement is used on the Statements and Declarations page (see below).

3.     Number of Copies

The piece/pieces of work must be submitted in accordance with the University’s requirements. Faculties/Schools may choose one of the following options:

  • To accept an electronic copy;
  • To accept two soft bound copies and an electronic copy.

Faculties/Schools must inform students of the method of submission in the Faculty/School Handbook.

Work which is of particular relevance to Wales or Celtic Studies may be deposited in the University Library (copies may be decommissioned after one year).

4.     Word Count or Limits

The word limit for a piece or pieces of directed independent learning shall be defined at programme approval and will be equivalent to the effort required to prepare a dissertation of up to 20,000 words. Faculties/Schools must specify the exact requirements in their Faculty/School Handbooks.

The word limit should not include appendices (if any), essential footnotes, introductory parts and statements or the bibliography and index.

5.     The Internal Layout

If the work is submitted as a single volume the layout will generally follow this pattern:

Title Page  Including the title and any subtitle, the full name of the candidate, the programme degree e.g. MA History, Swansea University, <year>
Summary A brief description of the work: its aims, methods and conclusions. Not more than three hundred words, using single line spacing.
Declarations and Statements A standard statement and the required declarations (see below).
Contents page The division of the work, with page numbers
List of tables, illustrations, etc.  
Definitions or Abbreviations  
Main body of work Appropriately divided and with chapters and sections continuously paginated. 
Glossary (if required)  

Candidates must include the standard declaration in 6.2 (statement 1), and one of the statements in 6.3 (statement 2). 6.     Declarations and Statements

6.1   Declaration

This work has not previously been accepted in substance for any degree and is not being concurrently submitted in candidature for any degree.

Signed ……………………………….            Date ………………………….

6.2   Statement 1

This work is the result of my own independent study/investigation, except where otherwise stated. Other sources are acknowledged by footnotes giving explicit references. A bibliography is appended.

Signed ……………………………….            Date ………………………….

6.3   Statement 2

Candidates shall use option one (6.3.1 below) unless a bar on access has been approved by the University. Where a bar on access has been formally approved candidates shall use option two (6.3.2 below).


Option One

I hereby give my consent for my work, if relevant and accepted, to be available for photocopying and for inter-library loan, and for the title and summary to be made available to outside organisations.

Signed ……………………………….            Date ………………………….


Option Two

I hereby give my consent for my work, if relevant and accepted, to be available for photocopying and for inter-library loans after expiry of a bar on access approved by the University.

Signed ……………………………….            Date ………………………….

7.    Formatting

Paper type (soft bound copies)

White, A4-size, with sufficient opacity to prevent any show-through: to achieve this you should employ paper with a weight of 70 to 100 gsm.

Print (soft bound copies)

Text should be printed in black ink on one side of the page only. This prevents show-through and helps to ensure that photocopies are clear.

Character or Print Height

Print or character size should not be less than 8 pt (2.50 mm) but, normally, the text-size would be equivalent to 12 pt Times New Roman.


Margins should be 4 cm (1½ inches) wide on the left-hand side and 2 cm (¾ inch) on the right-hand side.

Line Spacing

Double or one-and-a-half line spacing should be used in the main text. However, single spacing should be used in the Summary and in any indented quotations and footnotes.

Page Numbering      

Pages should be numbered sequentially. Page numbers should be placed top-right or bottom centre.

8.     Academic Integrity

The first requirement for work submitted in candidature for the degree is that it presents the results of the candidate's own work. Clearly, this demand does not exclude quotations or the representation of the views or results of other scholars in the field. Indeed, another expectation is that the candidate will relate his or her own work to that of other researchers and will clearly and unambiguously distinguish between their own thoughts, conclusions and results and those of other scholars.

The standard mechanism for ensuring that a plain distinction is made is by means of quotation marks, for direct quotations from the work of other scholars, and references to acknowledge indirect use of the work of other scholars. References must be sufficiently precise to enable the reader to obtain and consider the original work.

References are used to indicate the works mentioned in the text but the bibliography, placed at the end of the work (before the index), will not only provide the necessary details of cited work but also other works that have been useful in your study, even if they are not explicitly cited in the text.

9.     Referencing

Faculties/Schools should specify their referencing requirements in the Faculty/School Handbook; guidance on referencing styles is also available on the ISS website.

In addition, Endnote software for managing bibliographic references is available on all open access PCs. A personal copy of the Endnote software for home use can be bought at a reduced price from the Library. Information on how to obtain Endnote for home use is available from the IT Support office in the library (itsupport@swansea.ac.uk).

10.   Time Limits

Submission of the piece/pieces of directed independent learning shall be in accordance with the time limits for postgraduate degrees. Faculties/Schools must inform students of the submission deadline in the Faculty/School Handbook.

11.   Time Limits and Extensions

A candidate's time-limit may be extended by the Student Cases Board (or Board nominees) in exceptional cases. Extensions may be granted on compassionate grounds, in cases of illness, serious domestic difficulties, or inordinate professional commitments (part-time students only) which can be demonstrated to have adversely affected a candidate's ability to complete within the stipulated period.  

A full and reasoned case, supported by appropriate medical or other independent evidence, must be made by the Faculty/School and submitted to Education Services where it will be considered, administratively, on behalf of the Student Cases Board. A clear statement must be supplied, showing that the Faculty/School concerned has evaluated the situation in which the candidate finds him/herself as a result of the illness or other circumstance and that it considers the requested extension to be appropriate. Such a statement will, wherever possible, follow direct contact between the candidate and the Faculty/School.