MA International Relations Course Guide







Trimester 1

3rd Oct 2016 to 13 Jan 2017

​Trimester 2

16 Jan 2017 to 28 April 2017

Trimester 3

1st May 2017  to 28 September 2017

​Dissertation submission/end of course

6th October 2017



1.     Welcome to Northampton and welcome to IR

2.       Learning and Teaching

3.       Structure of the Award MA       

4.       Timetable

5.       Teaching Staff

6.       Reading and Internet Resources

7.       Notice Boards and Blackboards 

8.       First Weeks

9.       Coursework & Assessment Regulations

11.     Classification of Award

12.     Referencing

13.     Plagiarism

14.     Assessment Criteria                                                 





1. Welcome to the University of Northampton and the MA in IR


At the dawn of a second millennium, the pace of integration among the world’s regions and populations is breathtaking. Powerful forces – the emergence of transnational economies, the lightening speed of global communications, and the movement of peoples, cultures and ideas into new settings – are reshaping notions of citizenship, society and community. At the same time, however, older religious hatreds, sectarian violence and new fundamentalisms are recasting existing states and disintegrating individual, national and international notions of security. Such dynamics demand that we rethink why we are and where we are today, but also reconsider historical interpretations of past change within and among the world’s regions. To understand the global condition requires a thorough and sensitive understanding of diverse interests, ethnicities and cultures. The purpose of this new postgraduate award in International Relations (IR) is to foster within you a global perspective and encourage an inter-cultural awareness of contemporary problems.

The MA in International Relations seeks to provide you with an appropriate set of intellectual skills to enable more informed and effective participation in an ‘ever-changing’ global context. Current social, political and economic globalisation demonstrates the inexorable importance of the ‘international’ and the increased relevance of this knowledge dimension at both academic and practice levels. The MA IR aims also to provide you with a suitable foundation for careers in both private and public sectors where there is a need for international sensitivity. Our core purpose is to nurture not only a robust intellectual flexibility but also high levels of analytical, written and verbal skills attractive to employers from globally focused agencies and business. Our aim is to provide you as students of the University of Northampton with an excellent background and competitive edge for further study or a wide variety of careers in an ever-expanding job market.

This study guide is designed to provide the information needed to complete the course, and you will probably need to refer to it in the future. The first sections, however, provide some of the essential information that you will need during the first few weeks of the course - so please read carefully.


If you have problems or are confused about any aspect of the course, please do ask one of the members of staff (listed below).  They will not always have an immediate answer to every question, but will do their best to sort out any problems.


We hope you will have a rewarding intellectual experience and enjoy your time here. Good luck!




Graham McBeath (MA IR Award Leader)




2. Learning and Teaching Strategy

The aims of the MA can be summarised under three headings:

·         To understand better the contemporary world and the principal academic debates governing its study.

·         To foster the intellectual skills that enable more effective participation in an ‘ever-changing’ global context.

·         To complement a student’s existing scholarly knowledge and build upon transferable skills to prepare students either for entry into research degrees or progression to suitable careers.

The timetabling of formal classes is designed to accommodate students who are working, and those who have family or work commitments during the day. Individual modules are normally delivered with two or three-hour classes depending on module.. The advanced nature of MA level study is particularly reflected in the greater emphasis placed upon directed learning in the library. At the same time, informal and interactive lectures are considered to have a role to play in providing guidance and introduction to topics in view of the varying academic backgrounds and/or specialisations from which students are likely to be drawn. In video sessions and workshops, the main emphasis will be on analysing and discussing particular documentaries, news items or academic articles in the light of relevant IR theories or methodologies. These sessions will further open up topics largely through the extended group analysis and discussions that follow.


Overseas MA IR candidates may find that British universities do not operate in ways they are used to, or ways in which they expected. Although such ‘cultural strangeness’ reduces with familiarity, the points below might give a sense of the culture to be expected in our classes at Northampton, and thus help you assimilate any initial surprise.


All students are encouraged to discuss and engage in dialogue. It is this dialogue that we believe helps develop the most powerful learning environment possible. As you come to see there is a range of possible perspectives that can be accepted as important or ‘truthful’, we hope you may also come to feel more confident about contributing your own understanding in order for all students to learn from a discussion of it.

1.     Your lecturers have considerable experience and expertise, but their job is not simply to ‘transfer’ such qualities to students (whose role then would become as passive recipient). Rather the course team’s expertise is directed to promoting substantive multi-way communication about the topic under consideration.

2.    MA IR staff will expect to engage in debate: you are positively encouraged to take a view which may be different from that of your tutor.

3.     For assignments you will usually be given considerable scope to decide your topic and to find a path to accord with your own interests. This can feel very strange at first, to the point where some students ask their tutors what approach they should take in answering a particular question. Do not feel short-changed if your lecturer informs you to follow the path that seems right to you!

4.     Please realize that an MA is hard work. You need to be thinking in terms of three hours library-based study for every one hour spent in a traditional lecture or seminar setting. This will roughly amount to 21 hours spent on campus per teaching trimester.



3. Structure of the Award + Timetable


MA IR is designed to introduce students to the broad scope of international relations and is set within a strong political and sociological framework. To be awarded the MA in International Relations each student must achieve 180 credits. This involves 40 credits of modules in International Relations theory (IRDM025 and IRDM079), 20 credits of methodology/research training (IRDM051) and a 60 credits dissertation (IRDM037). The candidate gains the remaining 60 credits via a number of ‘designated’ (optional) modules. 


A Postgraduate Diploma in International Relations is available if students achieve 120 credits but do not complete the 60 credit dissertation. Alternatively, there is the opportunity to achieve a Postgraduate Certificate in International Relations by successfully gaining 60 credits including 40 credits of IR Theory (i.e. excluding the 20 credits of compulsory methodology/research and of course the 60 credits dissertation module).

It is hoped all candidates might be encouraged and enthused to achieve the MA but it is recognised that some may prefer (or be forced) to study in ‘stages’ funds or time permitting. Providing a named Postgraduate Certificate in IR and a named Postgraduate Diploma in IR gives students the added flexibility of opting in or out of awards as personal or financial circumstance change. It gives each student the added incentive of an identifiable and quantifiable award at each stage of study while encouraging and widening participation. This strategy enables students to complete their study within a timescale suitable to their own specific needs, and also facilitates multiple points of entry.


All MA IR modules cover a wide range of themes in diverse areas of the globe – not just North America and Western Europe but the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia. A key aim is to develop a sensitivity and awareness of varied geo-political settings while comprehending the impact of change upon states, societies and individuals.


In the summer (Trimester 3) you complete IR [2] and Methods training before undertaking your 60 credit dissertation. Over the course of the year, therefore, you achieve a combined total of 180 credits and are awarded MA International Relations.



Note 20 credit modules are at least 12 weeks, while 10 credit modules are (normally) 6 weeks long. Formal classes are 1-3 hours long depending on module. Full time students are not permitted to take more than 80 credits (part time students 40 credits) in any one trimester. 


Below is a table of all modules available in the trimesters. You will notice that, in the fourth column there are numbers that relate to the weeks that the module is taught.


If a module is taught for a period within weeks 1 -10, this means that it will be taught in the First trimester running from September to early January.


If a module is taught for a period within weeks 18 - 34,  it will be taught in the Second trimester running from mid January to May (2017)


In the 5th column you will see the starting date for each module and in columns 7 and 8, the time and the room in which the module will be taught.


In the table on the next page:

'CY' in the 3rd column means that the course is compulsory - you have take the module; 'Des' means it is designated (optional)



Your timetable for Trimester 1 (Autumn) - Sept 2016 to January 2017

Across the whole course you will take:

120 credits worth of Modules


and the dissertation (60 credits)

to make a total of 180 credits to achieve the MA.


In the first trimester you must take: IRDM025 - International Relations Theory (20 credits)


and up to 60 credits worth of other modules on offer for the Autumn

(trimester 1) session  (remember no full-time student may do more than 80 credits worth of study in any one trimester)


note that the credit value (10 or 20) of each module is specified in column 3.


It may be that in Trimester 1 you only take 60 or 70 credits worth of modules (IRD M025 + 3 or 4 other modules) and that is long as you take 120 credits worth of modules across the year (and of course the dissertation to make up the full 180 credits). Have a look at the table below and decide which modules in addition to M025 you will take this 'trimester'.

Modules available for academic year 2016-17




Autumn term 2016 - trimester 1











Ist session




IRD M025

International Relations

20, CY

1-11, 15

5th Oct

Glyn Daly


Wed 2-4

IRD M047

International Politics of Post-Soviet space

10, Des


5th Oct

Les Benson


Wed 12-2

IRD M028

The Politics of Latin American Development

10, Des


6th Oct

Nick Sage


Thurs 4-6

IRD M030

European Integration

10, Des

7-11, 15

17th Nov

Suzanne McDonald-Walker


Thurs 11-1

IRD M031

America After 9/11

10, Des

7,10,15 (N25); 8,9,11 (S029)

17th Nov

David Waller/Ron Mendel

N25 & S029

Thurs 4-6

Law M016

European and International Human Rights

20, Des

1-11, 15

5th Oct

Kirstie Best/Sarah Willis,


Wed  9.30-11.30

IRD M078

Political Economies of International Development

20, Des

1-11, 15

4th Oct

Kevin Deane, Suzanne McDonald-Walker


Tues 4-6










Spring Term 2017 - trimester 2







IRD M079

Major Organisations in the International Order

20, CY


2nd Feb

Various tutors


Thurs 11-1


Peoples Republic of China

10 Des


2nd Feb

Richard Sanders


Thurs 1-3

IRD M048

Politics of  East Africa

10 Des



Kevin Deane



IRD M051

Methodology & Research design

20, CY

18-25; 28-34

25th Jan

Suzanne McDonald-Walker


Wed 9-11

IRD M077

Politics of International Communications

10 Des


31st Jan

Graham McBeath


Tues 11-1

Law M017

National Security, Terrorism & the Rule of Law

20 Des

17-25; 28-31

18th Jan

Nick Cartwright/Simon Sneddon


Wed 2-5


CY = compulsory; Des = optional


Trimester 3 (summer 2016) Dissertation






IRD M037


Compulsory (CY)


3rd June


We encourage you to take at least 60 credits worth of modules in  trimester 1 and 2 to spread out your work-load but, you can do a minimum of 40 credits and a maximum of 80 credits so long as you complete 120 credits of taught modules in trimesters 1 and 2.


for Trimester 1 (5th Oct 2016 -  13th Jan 2017): You have to do IRD M025 (IR Theory (1))

For Trimester 2 (16th Jan - 28th April, 2017) you have to do the compulsory modules: M079 and M051.

Trimester 3 is Ist May - 26th Sept, 2017 - the period in which you write you dissertation to be submitted by 3rd Octoberr, 2017




Tutors teaching on the MA IR Course.

Name of Tutor



Tel no.


Leslie Benson

IRD M047


Kirstie Best

Law M016



Nick Cartwright

Law M017



Glyn Daly

IRD M025 & M079



Kevin Deane

IRD M048, M078



Graham McBeath

IRD M077 & M079



Suzanne McDonald-Walker

IRD M030, M051, M079



Ron Mendel

IRD M031, M079



Nick Sage

IRD M028


Richard Sanders

IRD M033



Simon Sneddon

Law M017



David Waller

IRD M031, M079



Sarah Willis

Law M016



If you call on an outside line, Univ telephone numbers are 01604 89+extension number, so my number is: 01604 892481





2016-17 - Codes for the University Buildings














Delapre Lecture Theatre


Mobile MX










Grendon Lecture Theatre


Senate Building




Student Centre


Holdenby Lecture Theatre






Leatherseller Centre



University weeks and dates for 2016-17

Wk no.



3rd October 2016










7th November








5th December








2nd January 2017










6th February








6th March








3rd April








1st May










5.  Teaching Staff (and see above)


Most of the MA IR staff are located in Fawsley - the building between student refectory and Cottesbroke.  Below is a list of the staff involved in the MA IR with their teaching responsibilities and contact details.


Staff operate a system of ‘office hours’ - times when they will normally be available to see students. Office hours will be posted on office doors. Do not expect staff to always be in their offices. If you need to speak to a tutor and they are not available, contact the tutor by e-mail or consult another tutor.


The Student frameworks team do he administration for the course but your first point of call is Student Services. They can help you with a wide variety of queries and administrative matters, including: changes to your personal details, contacting tutors, and advice about your programme of study. PLEASE inform them about any changes (phone number, address, course, modules etc).




6.  Reading and Internet Resources


Postgraduate study requires an engagement with many key texts in order to familiarize yourselves with the developments and debates in the field.  Each module guide that you will be given will include a list of recommended texts and/or the module leader will give some preferred materials whether they are books, articles or internet site. 


We sometimes say that ‘Doing’ IR involves more than just turning up to lectures and seminars (important though this is). It involves scouring newspapers and TV for information on the issues you are covering, surfing the Internet for useful sites, researching in the library for interesting articles and, of course, talking to friends and family about their experiences and viewpoints.


Some of your modules will require you to purchase a textbook.   This will provide general background reading for the module and will also be used for seminar work.   You will find full details of the books you need in the various module catalogues. 


If you have not studied IR before you may also find it useful to purchase one of the standard introductory texts.  We would advise you to buy at least ONE from the following list: -


*Baylis, J. & S. Smith (2010), The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations, Oxford: OUP.  £29.99


*Brown, C. (2009), Understanding International Relations, London: Palgrave McMillan. £22.99


Burchill, S. & A. Linklater (2009), Theories of International Relations, London: Palgrave MacMillan. £23.99


*Daddow, O. (2009), International Relations Theory, London: Sage. £16.99.


*Dunne, T. & M. Kurki, S. Smith (2010), International Relations Theories, Oxford: OUP. £25.99


Griffiths, M. & T. O’Callaghan (2007), International Relations: Key Concepts, London: Routledge. £14.99


*Jackson, R. & G. Sorensen (eds.) (2010), Introduction to International Relations: Theories and Approaches, Oxford: OUP. £25.99


Mingst, K. (2007), Essentials of International Relations, New York: W.W. Norton. £22.99

Steans, J. & L. Petiford (2010), Introduction to International Relations Theory, London: Pearson. £24.99


Viotti, P. & M. Kauppi (eds.) (2009), International Relations Theory: Realism Pluralism, Globalism and Beyond, London: Pearson. £35.99


*If I was forced to purchase just one book I would choose one or more of these. I use the Baylis volume in my summer school for (mostly) US students and get positive feedback. The Brown book is a good read and I like both titles by Dunne (et al) and Jackson (ed.) and also the Daddow book.


The Internet is now a very useful source of information and we would encourage you to become familiar it. One particular web-site I am drawn to time and time again is:


I use this more than the BBC if only for its truly (i.e. not exclusively western) global focus. It also has useful discussion sections.



Library and IT: Resources and Support


The University has libraries at both Avenue and Park, which are resourced to support the courses based at each site.  As well as books, magazines and journals in print, the library also provides access to thousands of online e-books and e-journals that you can access anytime and anywhere.   Laptop points and wireless access is provided throughout the libraries, and both libraries provide space where you can work, either in groups or individually, including the provision of quiet study areas and group study rooms.  While many students like to bring their own laptops onto campus, the libraries also have PCs (both sites) and Macs (Avenue only) for you to use, as well as providing laptops and media equipment that you can borrow.


To support you throughout your studies, the library has a team of Academic Librarians who can help you find the information you need for your assignments.  The Academic Librarians are specialists at finding accurate, relevant and current information.  At key stages during your course, it is likely your tutors will arrange a session with an Academic Librarian, either as part of your lecture and seminar programme or as a special session in the library.  During these sessions your librarian will talk to you about any specialist resources and tools that the University has for your course.   Students often find that they need individual support and so the Academic Librarians also offer one-to-one sessions where they can advise you on topics such as finding information and referencing.


We have a librarian specifically attached to our Faculty.  She is Cheryl Gardner. She is there to help you with any problems you may encounter in the library and you should not hesitate to contact her if you are in difficulty.  Her office is on the second floor of the Library building and she operates a drop-in system for students. 


The library web address is:



7.  Blackboards


          The School’s electronic (i.e. computer based) blackboard system has been developed over several years to serve as an alternative to the notice boards.  The blackboard is designed to include all the modules each student is registered for. It contains selected information and notes on lectures and seminars.  It can be used among students for exchanging information with other students asking questions to members of staff or to participate in subject discussions.  During your first week at the University you should register with IT services in the Library building.  During your registration you will be given your college email address; don’t forget to ask how to access the blackboard or as we call it NILE! The link to NILE:



8.  First Weeks


During the first weeks of trimester:


Elections will take place to choose a postgraduate student representative. Think about whether you would be prepared to stand as a rep. The job is not terribly demanding and the college provides training. Previous reps have told us that they have enjoyed the experience and it also reads well on your CV. 


§         If case of absence or illness please keep your personal tutor informed. 



9. Coursework Dates


Details of coursework assessments and their deadline dates are to be found in the module guides for the various modules you are studying.  Every effort will be made to ‘spread’ your assessment dates over the modules you are taking, but ensuring you have an even workload is not always possible.



10.  Assessment Regulations


There are no examinations on the MA instead a variety of assessment forms are used.


Full details of the assessment schedule and the weightings of individual assessment items can be found in individual module guide. You will be given on-going advice and guidance on assessments by your tutors.  Your coursework will normally be marked by your module tutor. Assessment regulations and resubmission dates


Please note the following important information regarding the submission of assessments:



All written assessments should be submitted electronically via NILE.



Referral and Deferral

Referred assessments are those where a student is permitted to retake assessment for the module as a second attempt following initial failure (49% or below). In these circumstances, the maximum grade is 50%. Deferred assessments are those where a student is permitted to take assessment for the module at a later opportunity, for example as a result of a decision by the mitigating circumstances panel. In these circumstances, there is no constraint on the grade.


Late submission

Assessments submitted after the deadline, where an extension has been agreed, are subject to the following penalties:

·         Submitted within one week of the deadline – maximum grade of 50%

·         Submitted later than one week of the deadline – referred (i.e. ‘failed’).


Referred assessments

Any item of assessment which has been referred either as graded below a 50% on the first attempt, submitted more than one week after the deadline, or not submitted at all may be ‘replaced’ by an alternative assessment with new deadlines (see below), but with a maximum grade of 50%. Extensions may be granted to referred assessments (based on the usual extension rules, see above); but late submission without extensions of referred assessments will be graded 0.  


Deferred assessments

Any item of assessment which has been deferred may be ‘replaced’ by an alternative assessment with new deadlines with no constraint on the grade.





All assignments must be handed in to the Student Assessment Office under the name of the appropriate tutor.


The front cover sheets for all your assignments will be available outside the Programme Support Team in Fawsley or online on NILE.  Student Assessment Office will not accept assignments which do not have this cover sheet.


Late Submission of Coursework


·         Work received within one week of the deadline will be accepted and marked with a maximum possible mark of  50%


·         Work is not normally accepted more than one week after the deadline.



Extensions may be granted in individual cases, subject to the following conditions: -


·         Extensions of up to one week can be authorised by your tutor.

·         Extensions for longer periods can only be authorised by the

          subject leader.

·         Students should normally apply for such extensions at least

three days before the deadline, after which requests are unlikely to be considered.

·         Requests for extensions must be made on the appropriate

request form.  (Available from SAO or the School of Social Studies Office in Naseby 10)

·         Extensions will normally be for no more than two weeks; if a longer extension is justified, an alternative piece of work will probably be set.

·         The basic criterion for deciding to allow an extension is the existence of exceptional and unexpected factors (eg illness, personal distress), and supporting documentary evidence (eg medical note) will usually be required.


Return of Assignments

Assignments where possible will be handed back to you within three working weeks of their being handed in. They are always returned with an ‘Assignment Feedback Sheet’ which not only tells you your grade but also provides you with a short commentary on what you have written, dealing with content, technique and presentation. The cover sheet is intended to help you identify strengths and weaknesses so that you can improve the quality of your written work.  Specimen cover sheets for some of the types of assessment you may be asked to undertake are provided at the end of this guide. Detailed information about the criteria on which assessment is made and the levels of competence expected within the various grade boundaries are set out on page 24.  You should read this Guide carefully and refer to it when preparing assignments.


Coursework will normally be discussed with you in individual tutorials and if you wish help or guidance when preparing assignments you should arrange a tutorial with the relevant tutor.


NB Please retain the assignment feedback sheets with your written work since both may be required to be seen by the external examiners at the end of the year.  Please also retain your receipt from SAO, as this is your only proof that you have, in fact, submitted the work on time.


Dealing with Problems

Although we hope your time with us will be happy and trouble free, nonetheless you may experience problems of one kind or another. If you do get into difficulties, there are a certain people you can contact to help you sort things out.  Normally your first point of contact should be your personal tutor.  At Master’s level your dissertation supervisor is your personal tutor.  If specialist help seems to be called for, then s/he will often act as a ‘go-between’ and will refer you to the appropriate person.  If your problems are, for example, of a financial nature, your personal tutor will refer you to one of our Financial Counsellors in Student Services; if you are having problems with your accommodation, here again, Student Services can usually help; if they relate, on the other hand, to your programme of studies, then you may be referred to an Academic Advisor.


If your concerns relate specifically to one of your modules and you do not wish to discuss the matter with your personal tutor, then you should contact either the Module Leader (whose name should be in the module guide) or the Course Leader (Graham McBeath).  . 


11. Classification of Award






12.  Referencing in Written Work


The Master of International Relations falls under the Division of Social Sciences and we use the Harvard Conversion of Referencing. The most important reason for correctly referencing any mention of another person’s work is to enable the reader to trace and study that work for him/herself. This allows the reader not only to verify the statements that have been made about the original work, but also to consider the original author’s arguments as first presented. This then allows the reader to make a better evaluation of the arguments being presented in the new work. The ‘Harvard’ system involves two processes: -


·                     Providing a brief reference in the text for any work which has provided you with detailed information

·                     Providing a detailed List of References at the end of the assignment which includes all references mentioned in the text.


Harvard uses brackets in the text and is one of the easiest referencing systems to use. It is widely employed in academic publications, both journals and books. The bibliography at the end of the essay should be arranged alphabetically with full bibliographic information. The alphabetical list should include all the references which have been used (books, articles, reports, government publications, theses, etc.). The references in the alphabetical list should contain the name of the author, the date of publication, the title of publication, the place of publication and the publisher, set out as follows:


Secondary Sources


·         For books


Author/editor, initials. (Date of edition), Title, Place of publication: Publisher.


e.g.,   Bauman, Z. (1992), Intimations of Postmodernity, London: Routledge.


or      Hall, S. and M. Jacques, (eds.), (1990), New Times: The Changing Face of Politics in the 1990s, London: Lawrence & Wishart.


·         for chapters in edited volumes


If citing a chapter from a book, use the author of the chapter in your reference.


          Touraine’s (1992) examination of social movements....


This would appear in your Bibliography as:


     Touraine, A. (1992), ‘Beyond Social Movements?’, in Featherstone M.

     (ed), Cultural Theory & Social Change, London: Sage 125-146


·         Journals


Author surname, initials. (Date), ‘Title of article’, Journal name, Volume number, part number, first and last page.


e.g., Webb, J. (1992), ‘The Mismanagement of Innovation’, Criminology, Vol.26, No.3 471-493


·         for cited  works


This is when you quote from someone, but you have not seen the original and are taking it from someone else's work.


Author of original work's surname, initials. (Date of original publication), Title of original work, Place of publication: Publisher, cited in Author/editor surname, initials. (Date), Title, Place of publication: publisher.


e.g.,   Lemert E. (1967), Human Deviance, Social Problems & Social Control, Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, cited in Griffin, C. (1993), Representation of Youth: The Study of Youth & Adolescence in Britain and America, Cambridge: Polity


Primary Sources


Primary sources should be listed separately and by type.


·         Official publications


Often do not use an author - refer to the organisation or department instead.


e.g.,   Department of Health, (1989), Caring for People, London: HMSO


·         Acts of Parliament


Great Britain Parliament, (Date), Title, Place of publication: Publisher


e.g.,   Great Britain Parliament, (1990), Children Act 1989, London: Sweet and Maxwell


·         for government reports or other publications where there is no author’s name


e.g.,   World Bank, (2001), World Development Report, New York: Oxford University Press


·         Organisations


e.g.,   OECD, (1994), Employment Outlook, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and           Development: Paris


·         Internet Sources


Make use of the document's URL (Internet address). Author/editor, initials.

(year edition), Title [online], Place of publication: Publisher (if ascertainable). Available from: URL [Accessed date].


e.g.    Holland, M. (1996), Harvard System [online], Poole: Bournemouth University. Available from: [Accessed 15 Apr 2004] 


If no specific author is cited, ascribe authorship to the smallest organisational unit (similar to the method for citing works produced by a corporate body).


References in the text of your assignment should always refer to the sources listed in your bibliography.  Following the Harvard system, this is done by placing the author’s surname and date of publication in brackets at the relevant point in the text: for example, (Jones et al. 2001).   When quoting directly from a source you should also include the relevant page number(s): for example, (Jones et al. 2001: 272).


Footnotes may be used in conjunction with the Harvard system when you have a piece of information to give but it is inconvenient to break up the text to give it. Traditionally footnotes appear at the bottom of the relevant page in a smaller font: most word-processing packages will create them for you. Alternatively, you may put all ‘notes’ at the end and signal them in the text by a superscript or number in brackets.


Some final tips to remember!


1.       Above all, be consistent in your referencing.

2.       The main title of the document should be distinguishable in italics.

3.       The date is the year of publication not printing.

4.       For a book the edition is only mentioned if other than the first.

5.       The place of publication is the town not the country.


The University Library and the School Librarian can be contacted about issues regarding referencing and resources. However there is online help available so before you ask check if the online help can come to your rescue!



Quick guide to Referencing (added at request of Lawyers for those assessed in LAW modules ONLY)

Why reference?

Proper referencing allows the person reading your work to check on your sources for accuracy.  It will also help you, should you ever want to revisit a piece of coursework (e.g. if you chose to look at a similar topic in your dissertation).

A well-referenced essay will show the marker that you have researched the topic fully, and will always get a higher grade than a poorly-referenced essay.

Lack of referencing could also lead to charges of plagiarism, which are taken extremely seriously (see below).

This guide is intended only to be a quick referencing guide.  There is a comprehensive guide to referencing available on the Law NILE site.

What sort of sources can I use?

You should be careful only to use academically sound sources.  Sometimes this might be hard to judge, but as a rule of thumb, don't use sources such as:

·         'A' level texts

·         Simplified study guides (e.g. Nutshells)

·         Lecture notes & handouts

You should always use as wide a range of sources as possible, although the specific type will depend upon the particular requirements of the piece of coursework.  You should be concentrating on:

·         Textbooks

·         Journal Articles

·         Official Reports and statistics

·         Case law

·         Statute

·         Newspaper articles (useful for illustrating your points, rather than as an authoritative source)

Steer clear of using sources that you have only found in other pieces of work. Instead, always try to go back to the original source.

When should I put in a reference?

As a basic rule of thumb, when in doubt, add a reference.  You should definitely include a reference when you:

·         Mention a case or statute

·         Directly quote another writer

·         Use another writer's idea or opinion (even if you do not directly quote them)

·         Refer to a fact which is not commonplace (the fact that Tony Blair is the Prime Minister needs no reference, as it is widely known, but the fact that the UK’s first nuclear power station was switched on in 1956 does need a reference, as not everyone will be aware of that)


What type of referencing should I use, and how do I do them?

The two main types of referencing used are the Harvard system, and the numeric system (footnotes).  It does not matter which of these you use (unless you are told to use one type by your module leader).  However, you must only use one of them - don't mix and match Harvard and numeric systems of referencing; for one thing it looks untidy, but it will also suggest to your marking tutor that you have not understood the referencing process properly.


Harvard System

When you reach the end of a passage that has either been directly quoted form a specific source, or where you have used ideas etc from a specific source, you must include the name(s) of the author(s), the year of the publication and, where appropriate, the page number of the quote.

E.G.:  "... a monument to Hoover's authoritarian role" (Kessler, 1993: 36)

This method is the same whether you are citing a book, journal article, and official report or Internet source.



Numeric System

1.                 Type in the text you want to footnote

2.                 From the Word toolbar click 'Insert'

3.                 On the drop-down menu Click 'Footnote'

Click 'OK'

4.                 You will be given an option of 'Footnote' or 'Endnote'. Select 'Footnote'

You should now have a small number '1' at the end of the text you want to footnote. A line will also appear at the bottom of the page and below that line another small number '1' should appear with the cursor flashing next to it.

5.                 Type in the information you need to, e.g.

Cressey, D, The Functions and Structure of Criminal Syndicates, cited in Ryan, P and Rush, G (ed), Understanding Organised Crime in Global Perspective (1997), London: Sage, p.3

6.                 Click on the number ‘1’. You should be taken back to your original text.

To insert more footnotes just repeat steps 1, 2 and 3 from the above list. The computer will now automatically insert footnotes in the number format.

Don’t worry if you have to put an extra footnote in between, say, 1 and 4. The computer will automatically readjust them all for you.

7.                 If you hold the cursor over any of your footnotes within the text of your essay a small window will come up and show you what you have put in the footnote. This saves you constantly having to scroll to the end of your essay to see what you have put.

8.                 If you have already referenced a particular author's work, there is no need to write the whole footnote out again.  The abbreviation op cit can be used after the author and the date to indicate that this has previously been cited. Be sure to insert the relevant page number(s) e.g.

Ryan, P and Rush, G, 1997, op cit, p.5

9.                 The abbreviation ibid can also be used in place of a reference to indicate that it comes from the same place as the footnote immediately before it. A relevant page number should again follow.


Whichever method you use, you will need to include a bibliography and/or list of references at the end of your work.  They are not quite the same:

·         A bibliography should include the full citation for every source you have consulted while researching your essay, regardless of whether or not you have directly used any of the information contained in it.

·         A list of references is simply a list of the sources you have cited in the text.

You will not always be asked to include both a bibliography and a list of references, as there will be quite a lot of repetition between the two.  Of the two, the bibliography is more important.

Constructing a Bibliography

This should be easier if you have used Footnotes rather than the Harvard system of referencing, but is quite straightforward in any event.  A proper bibliography must be a list of sources in alphabetical order (by author) and will include every source you have used in the main text, as well as those which you have used for background reading, but not used directly.

If you cite the same source more than once in your text, you need only include it once in the bibliography.

Citation in references and Bibliography

Cases                             Case name, year, volume, law report, page

Livingstone v Raywards Coal, Co [1880] 5 App Cas 25

Books                                       Author, year, title, publisher, place published

Blackett, P. M. S., 1949, Military and Political Consequences of Atomic Energy, Turnstile Press, London

Essays / Book Chapters   Author, year, title, editor, book title, publisher, place published, pages

Cressey, D, 1997, The Functions and Structure of Criminal Syndicates, in Ryan, P and Rush, G (ed), Understanding Organised Crime in Global Perspective, Sage, London, p.3

Articles                            Author, year, title, journal, volume/issue, page numbers

Bukharin, O., 2002, Making fuel less tempting, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Vol 58, No 4, pp 44-49

Official Reports                Author/Official Body, year, title, publisher, place published

DTI, 2002, Managing the Nuclear Legacy: A Strategy for Action, Department of Trade and Industry White Paper, Cm 5552, HMSO, London



Internet sites      Author, date, title of article/web page, Site publisher, full URL, access date

CCLRC, 2004, Who we are, Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils, Chilton, Oxfordshire. Available at accessed 30/04/04






For the full definition of plagiarism, please refer to the Student Code.

Any finding of plagiarism is recorded on your student record, and there is a range of further penalties which may be imposed.  The Law Society and the Bar Council specifically require that any finding of plagiarism is drawn to their attention while they are deciding whether or not to grant membership to a student applicant.  Also, many employers ask for such information to be supplied to them when references are made for employment.


Examples of referencing

The following passage is repeated three times, with different levels of referencing.  It is taken from an updated version of Sneddon, S T., 1999, An Investigation into Light Pollution in Europe and North America, Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge, Cambridge and reproduced with kind permission of the author.


No referencing

The cost of implementing measures to reduce light pollution is one factor taken into account by the government.  Oxfordshire County Council replaced three worn out street light with full cut-off lamps, at a cost of £150 each, and said that "if the council replaced all unsatisfactory lighting immediately, the cost would be astronomical".

More recent figures obtained show that the total annual running cost of the 50,000 street lamps in Cambridgeshire is nearly £700,000.  This leads to an annual energy cost per street lamp of roughly £14.  There are over 7.5 million streetlights in the UK, so the total annual operating cost equates to roughly £105 million.  Assuming the same 30% waste rate as in the USA, this comes to over £30 million wasted - over £1 every second.

Correctly referenced using the Harvard system

The cost of implementing measures to reduce light pollution is one factor taken into account by the government (DEFRA, 2005).  In 1997, Oxfordshire County Council replaced three worn out street light with full cut-off lamps, at a cost of £150 each (OCC, 1997), and said that "if the council replaced all unsatisfactory lighting immediately, the cost would be astronomical" (Hambleton, 1997).

More recent figures obtained from Cambridgeshire County Council show that the total annual running cost of the 50,000 street lamps in the County is nearly £700,000 (Heath, 1999).  This leads to an annual energy cost per street lamp of roughly £14.  There are over 7.5 million streetlights in the UK (Blair, 1996), so the total annual operating cost equates to roughly £105 million.  Assuming the same 30% waste rate as in the USA (IDA 1990), this comes to over £30 million wasted - over £1 every second.

Correctly referenced using footnotes

The cost of implementing measures to reduce light pollution is one factor taken into account by the government[1].  In 1997, Oxfordshire County Council replaced three worn out street light with full cut-off lamps, at a cost of £150 each[2], and said that "if the council replaced all unsatisfactory lighting immediately, the cost would be astronomical".[3]

More recent figures obtained from Cambridgeshire County Council[4] show that the total annual running cost of the 50,000 street lamps in the County is nearly £700,000.  This leads to an annual energy cost per street lamp of roughly £14.  There are over 7.5 million streetlights in the UK,[5] so the total annual operating cost equates to roughly £105 million.  Assuming the same 30% waste rate as in the USA,[6] this comes to over £30 million wasted - over £1 every second.


As you can see, the final two versions of this passage of text allow the reader to check the information presented in order to assess its authenticity and/or accuracy.  The first version makes it hard to the reader (and therefore marker) to assess which part of the work is your own, and which part you have taken from the various sources.  As a result, the latter two will get higher grades, and the first one is likely to trigger the academic misconduct process.




13. Statement on Plagiarism


Deliberately passing off another person’s work as your own is called plagiarism. This is a form of literary theft and is a cardinal sin. The College has a strict policy about plagiarism and it should be avoided at all costs. The best way to avoid any possible accusation of plagiarism is to ensure that all ideas, comments, opinions, data, etc obtained from another person’s work (whether quoted exactly or put into your own words) are properly acknowledged. 


The University unequivocally condemns plagiarism, which it considers to be comparable to falsifying data and cheating in an examination, and warns students that the Senate looks gravely upon incidences of plagiarism and is empowered to recommend severe penalties where students are found guilty of plagiarism. (See Academic Misconduct)




The University considers plagiarism involves an intention to deceive and entails the submission for assessment of work which purports to be that of the student but is in fact wholly or substantially the work of another. Since it is difficult to establish such an intention to deceive except through practice the University defines plagiarism in the following way.


The University defines plagiarism as the incorporation by a student in work for assessment of material which is not their own in the sense that all or substantial part of the work has been copied without any attempt at attribution or has been incorporated as if it were the student's own when in fact it is wholly or substantially the work of another person.


Further information on the University’s policy on plagiarism can be found on:



14.  Assessment Criteria


Throughout the University postgraduate degrees are assessed using a credit system. The system is explained in the following table.


Grade Criteria: HE Credit level 7/ HEQF Masters Level



An outstanding Distinction




Work which fulfils all the criteria of the grade below, but at an exceptional standard


A very strong Distinction

















Work of distinguished quality which is evidenced by an authoritative comprehensive, detailed and systematic knowledge base and understanding for specialised area of study.  A key feature will be the ability to work with creativity and originality using knowledge and insights at the forefront of the area of study.  There will be a confident grasp of disciplinary methodologies for the discipline/area of study which will be consistently reflected in both own research and advanced scholarship, effectively integrating advanced skills of analysis, synthesis, evaluation and application on a firm foundation of critical facility.  Work will be characterised by strong technical expertise to high professional standards, and there will be sustained evidence of confident, autonomous operation and judgment in complex and unpredictable professional situations both in relation to working with others and in relation to own functioning.  Self-direction, creativity, practical understanding will be combined to demonstrate the qualities expected of an effective self critical independent learner exercising excellent measured judgment, and will be a consistent feature of work.



A clear Distinction



Work of very good quality which displays most but not all of the criteria for the grade above.


An outstanding merit




Work of highly commendable quality which clearly fulfils the criteria for the grade below, but shows a greater degree of capability in relevant advanced intellectual or specialised skills.


A  very strong Merit














Work of commendable quality demonstrating a detailed and systematic knowledge base and understanding in specialised areas, informed by critical awareness of current issues, research based/theoretical insights at the forefront of the area of study.  This will be supplemented by a good comprehensive understanding of disciplinary methodologies relevant to own research or advanced scholarship, which will be reflected in work which integrates skills of advanced analysis, synthesis, evaluation and application with critical awareness.  There will be some evidence of originality in application of skills/knowledge, underpinned by good technical expertise which permits confident, autonomous operation in a range of complex and unpredictable professional situations.  The ability to work autonomously, as a self critical independent learner exercising good and considered judgment, will be a consistent feature of work.


A Merit



Work of good quality which contains most, but not all of the characteristics of the grade above.


An  Outstanding Pass




Work which clearly fulfils the criteria for the grade below, but shows a greater degree of capability in relevant advanced intellectual or specialised skills.


A Very Good Pass














Work of capable quality which clearly demonstrates a systematic understanding of knowledge in specialised areas and a critical awareness of current issues, research based/theoretical knowledge at the forefront of the area of study, together with a sound understanding of methodologies applicable to own research or advanced scholarship.  There may be limitations to the application of this knowledge and/or conceptual understanding of advanced scholarship, but there will be evidence of critical awareness in relation to analysis, synthesis, evaluation and application.  The ability to exercise initiative as an independent and self critical learner in complex and unpredictable professional contexts will be demonstrated, as will threshold levels of technical expertise, although the scope of expertise may be limited.


A Pass



Work of satisfactory quality which contains most, but not all of the characteristics of the grade above.









Work which indicates some evidence of a systematic, coherent and analytical engagement with key aspects of the field of study, including familiarity with current scholarship, and evidence of ability to utilise specialised skills, but which also contains significant limitations. 






Work that falls well short of the threshold standards in relation to one or more of knowledge, intellectual, subject based or key skills at this level.







Work of poor quality which is based on only minimal understanding, application or effort.  It will offer only very limited evidence of familiarity with knowledge or skills appropriate to the field of study at this level.




Nil submission



Crediting Modules


In order to be credited with a module, you must normally achieve an overall grade of at least 50% in the assessment of that module.  The overall grade for the module is determined by the Assessment Board, taking account of the calculation derived from the weighted marks for the various individual items of assessment.

[1] DEFRA, 2005, Light Pollution: What is it? Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, London. Available online at, accessed on 1st March 2005

[2] Hambleton, M., 1997, Council keeps it dark - and gets star prize, Wallingford Herald, 23rd June 1997, p3

[3] ibid.

[4] Heath, 1999, Letter to the author from Richard Heath, Cambridgeshire County Council Environment and Transportation Department.

[5] Blair, S., 1996, The Death of night, Focus, March 1996, p21

[6] IDA, 1990, Economic Issues in Wasted and Inefficient Outdoor Lighting. Newsletter 26, International Dark-Sky Association. Tucson, Arizona.