ELT Master's Dissertation Award FAQs

What is the purpose of the scheme?

To recognise the potential for impact of master's dissertation research and scholarship in fields related to ELT. Impact here is defined as the potential of the research to change attitudes or priorities of individuals or institutions with regard to the development of policies and practices at local or regional or national levels. A secondary purpose of the scheme is to encourage students to focus on areas of research that will have impact. 

Who is eligible?

To be considered for the award the dissertation must have been completed in the 2022–23 academic year at a tertiary level institution in the UK recognised as an accredited degree-awarding body. Any submission will have been marked at distinction (70+) level. The dissertation can be completed in any mode (e.g. full-time, part-time or distance learning). 

Does eligibility depend on nationality?

No, the scheme is open to all master's students at UK universities. The nationality of the student is not relevant. 

Can students apply directly or only institutions?

Only UK institutions can apply, with a single dissertation. If an institution mistakenly submits more than one dissertation we will check with you to agree which you wish to submit.

What is the application process?

The institution submits a maximum two-page summary of the dissertation. This should be written by the institution, with any appropriate input from the author. This summary includes a statement of the practical potential of the ideas presented in the dissertation. The application should also include the dissertation itself, in both original and anonymised versions, and permission from the author to publish the dissertation or summary free of charge online.

What form should the summary/dissertation take?

The summary should be written in Arial 12 and single-spaced and submitted in word format. The first section should summarise the dissertation. The second section should outline the potential for impact. Please see the example of a good summary in the attachments below.
In order to allow for blind review, neither the summary nor the anonymised version of the dissertation should contain any branding or other reference to the author, tutor or the submitting institution.

How does the British Council define ‘impact’?

For this award, the British Council defines impact as the potential of the research to change the attitudes, practices or policies of individuals or institutions. Possible elements of impact are:
  • Credibility: A solid theoretical and empirical basis for the findings is necessary for credibility of the dissertation in the eyes of decision makers internationally.
  • Novelty: If a dissertation replicates results that are already available, it is questionable whether it can potentially have a further impact.
  • Applicability: Unless it is clear how the implications of the dissertation can be translated to action on the ground (e.g., in terms of policy decisions, of materials design, or of classroom activities), the potential impact will be lessened.
  • Breadth of impact: How wide or limited is the potential audience for the impact?

What is the evaluation process?

The first ranking round will be based on the two-page summary. The second and third rounds will be based on the full anonymised dissertation. 

Who are the judges?

We will invite institutions to nominate appropriately qualified and experienced individual as a judge. We welcome volunteer judges from participating universities, although there is no commitment of universities to nominate a judge.

What is the deadline for applications?

The deadline is Thursday 14 December 2023.

What will happen with the dissertations judged to be the best?

The dissertations and / or summaries will be published online by the British Council.

What about copyright?

The author agrees to the papers being used for educational purposes globally, and retains rights to publish in other formats. 

Do the dissertation and summary have to be written in English?

Yes, all submitted documentation should be written in English.

Are dissertations which focus on English Literature or the English language eligible for the scheme?

No. This scheme focuses on English language teaching.


Queries should be sent to ELTMasters@britishcouncil.org

Download details (including example summary) of the Master's Dissertation Award 2023

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