This blog post definitely marks the end of an era…

I feel beyond grateful and blessed for all the support I received from my family, friends, the University of Birmingham, and those following my Masters journey!

Now it’s my turn to help future Masters students understand a bit more about the process and requirements of MSc Dissertations.


In this article I’m giving my own personal tips and suggestions; things that helped me enjoy writing my dissertation and that generally made this process easier and more effective (for me!)

I wrote this post based on your most recurring questions on my Instagram stories. So let’s go:

When should we start thinking of a topic?

I started brainstorming quite early on – around September – but I was nowhere close to picking my final topic back then! Keeping my options open was important before settling on a dissertation topic. I wanted to take the first semester as an opportunity to learn about more topics, find out new areas of interest, and generally be open to new ideas.

I would advise you to start considering topics more seriously around January time. After your first exams, as you really don’t want to worry about exams and dissertation at the same time!

When do we officially start drafting/writing up?

The exact date changes year by year. This year, our Dissertation Research Proposal– which aimed to present the research topic, literature and methodology– was due on 27 April.

I started drafting my dissertation proposal document around mid-March. I would advise anyone to start working on the proposal at least one month in advance. It is an important paper that sets the whole tone of a dissertation. Continuing to actively work on your dissertation after receiving feedback for the proposal is also very important!

How can I paraphrase correctly?

To paraphrase correctly you simply need to change the way a sentence is phrased, without changing its overall meaning. Use Grammarly to help you paraphrase more effectively if you don’t feel confident enough doing it yourself at the beginning. If you are not sure whether the new sentence makes sense or not, ask someone else to read it with a fresh mind!

Moreover, don’t forget to still acknowledge the author of the initial idea (in a parenthetical citation). Paraphrasing doesn’t change the fact that you are not the original source of the idea, and plagiarism should always be avoided!

How many pages does a Masters dissertation have to be?

Honestly, there is no set number of pages for a Masters dissertation! From my experience, we had to write a 12,000 word study, so the number of pages was pretty much the same for all of us, depending on the choice of content each student made.

For example, some dissertations could be more text-based, whereas others could also have a lot of figures that take up a lot of space. My paper was 75 pages long!

Do we get to pick our supervisors? And how many times can we meet/speak to our supervisor?

In the second semester we were given a list of potential supervisors. This included their personal interests and areas of expertise in Marketing.

We selected our top three options and we all got – if not our top option – one of our top three! I was lucky enough to be given the supervisor I had wanted to work with from the beginning, since we had very similar interests and ideas.

After the initial meeting in semester two, we met our supervisors for a maximum number of five meetings and with a total time for all meetings of up to five hours.

How did I make it work for me?

Of course, email communication does not count in the five hours. I chose to only (virtually) meet my supervisor to discuss feedback and important comments on each section that I was completing. I chose to have email communication with him for less important questions.

Due to the circumstances this year, we only had Zoom and Skype meetings and we did approximately five meetings of 45 minutes each, every three to four weeks.

The end of my journey

Many of you had these questions and I truly hope that my answers could help you!

It’s been an amazing journey this year (although a bit weird too…) but I’ve truly enjoyed my degree. I loved writing my dissertation, and I feel blessed that I had the opportunity to meet so many amazing people this year!

Words cannot express my emotions right now, as this really feels like the end of an era… An era full of determination, hard work, good but also not so good days! It’s all part of life though, and I will forever be grateful for my Masters journey :’)

I love you, Birmingham!

Lots of love and positive vibes to all of you,
Eleni x x x