ELT Master's Dissertation Award

British Council Master's Dissertation Award with best potential for impact on ELT


For eleven years the British Council has partnered with UK universities to find ELT master's dissertations with potential for impact on policy and practice. The scheme, where universities submit one dissertation from their ELT master's programmes and then judge them along with a panel of British Council experts, is designed to recognise and celebrate the brightest minds in ELT at master's level. By publishing the dissertations on the British Council website, the high quality dissertations become additions to the canon of research in ELT and accessible to practitioners around the world, thereby raising the profile of the authors and universities alike. The scheme is an opportunity for institutions to promote their programmes and for recent graduates to establish themselves in the field.

Each institution is invited to submit one dissertation (in both original and anonymised versions) which has already been marked at distinction level. A summary of no more than two pages, written by an appropriate member of academic staff, should be sent with the dissertation. In addition to summarising the dissertation, this should address the issue of potential for impact. Impact here is defined as the potential of the work to change the attitudes, practices and/or policies of individuals and/or institutions. The British Council will publish the best dissertations and summaries online free of charge. All previously published papers can be found on the our website.

The call for entries for this year is now open.

Conditions of entry

Permission from the author for both the summary and the dissertation to be published in any form by British Council on a non-exclusive basis.

The judging process

The judging process for the awards is a collaborative and thorough process. All dissertations are submitted from UK institutions, marked at distinction level. ELT experts from UK universities and the British Council contribute to the judging. The first round of judging is based on the summaries, and the final round involves the whole dissertation.

Application process
Please submit the following five documents:

  • Two versions of the dissertation – the original version, plus one entirely anonymised with no references to author, tutor or university throughout.
  • The summary – maximum two pages written in Arial 12, single-spaced with a line between paragraphs. Bullet points may be used. The summary should cover:
    • aim and context
    • research questions
    • theoretical perspective and findings.

The first section should contain the summary of the dissertation (which may include the abstract written by the student) and the second should address the issue of potential for impact. This summary should be written or approved by the institution, with appropriate input from the author. Please see an example of a good summary in the FAQs section.
N.B: the anonymised dissertation and the summary must be completely unbranded with no reference to the submitting author, tutor or university. Applications which do not comply will not be accepted.

  • A covering letter on headed paper with the name and email addresses of the submitting university, the member of staff submitting the dissertation and the student, plus confirmation that the dissertation was marked at distinction level, signed by the submitting academic.
  • A signed statement of permission from the dissertation author for submission and publication, with an email address they will have access to up to June 2024.

Deadline for applications: 5pm on Thursday 14 December 2023

Please send submissions and queries to  ELTMasters@britishcouncil.org

See our FAQs about the award for further information.

Research and insight

Browse fascinating case studies, research papers, publications and books by researchers and ELT experts from around the world.

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