Frequently Asked Questions
The Final Year Project (FYP) is a distinctive feature of University of Limerick undergraduate experience. The FYP presents you with an opportunity for both personal and academic development. It is probably the longest and most focused piece of research that you will undertake in your degree, and it plays an important part in determining the final award classification.
The FYP is a student-driven learning experience, and it gives you the opportunity to study a topic of your own choosing in depth and at a point when you are reaching academic maturity. A successful FYP combines the skills of acquiring, managing and critically analysing information with those of planning, collating and communicating.
In many cases, you will find your topic through the examples on the website. Sometimes you might be able to take these proposals as inspiration for a similar topic and find a supervisor who agrees to take that on. Many topics are very open, you will need to narrow it down to something that really interests you and is manageable in consultation with your supervisor.
During the initial stages of selecting a research area, you may find it helpful to think about the modules and topics that you have enjoyed studying in the past, and which you would like to find out more about. Similarly, you might think about the different methods and approaches that you have been introduced to, and try to see if they could be applied to a new topic. Since you will spend about a year working on your FYP, it is crucial to select a topic that will sustain your interest
Once you have a rough idea about a possible topic, you should seek out a supervisor. This is your responsibility, and it is important that you make it a priority, as faculty are only able to supervise a limited number of FYPs. Once you arrange supervision, you should discuss how to go about your project, and which methods and approaches are suitable.
Your first port of call should always be your supervisor. If you're having problems securing a supervisor you should contact your Course Director and/or the Departmental administrator of your course director (a list of contacts can be found here).
Finding a supervisor
From 2020 we will have a new online system in place, which we will be in touch with you about.
Your supervisor is someone who is interested in your progress and in your work. You are responsible for setting up meetings, and in some cases there may be arrangements through your supervisor for joint meetings with other students. Please do not expect your supervisor to be available immediately and drop everything he/she is doing in order to read your draft the day before the deadline – arrange to meet at reasonable intervals during office hours and allow some time before you expect feedback. Do discuss milestones and timelines with your supervisor and stick to them. Your supervisor will be happy to be there for advice and consultation – but it is your work, your writing and your FYP.
Researching your FYP
Once you have settled on your research question(s) you should identify the key tasks that need to be completed. These might be, for example, interviews that you intend to conduct, books and articles that you plan to read, questionnaires that you intend to distribute, data that you want to collect, and so on. Some of these tasks might be quite complex, and you should also spend time thinking about the different things that you will need to do in order to successfully carry out those tasks. For example, if you want to interview people, you may need to spend time in advance applying for ethical approval, reading up on interview techniques, preparing your questions, contacting your interviewees and arranging interview times.
Once you have a rough idea about your key tasks, then you should plan out how and when you are going to carry them out. You may find it helpful to illustrate your research plan with a Gantt chart. When planning your research schedule, don’t forget to factor in time for revisions, for breaks, and for your other commitments (such as exams).
The Glucksman library contains an extensive catalogue of books and academic journals, both in print and online, and it should be your first port of call. When searching for materials on your research topic, you may find it helpful to use the various subject databases available on the library website.
If there is a book that you think might be important for your project but is not held by the Glucksman library, then you may be able to order it through ‘Inter-library loans’. You should enquire at the Library Information Desk, or speak to the Faculty Librarian for guidance. The librarian for the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences is Pattie Punch (firstname.lastname@example.org).
You must give full consideration to the ethical implications of your research. In particular, all research activities involving the use of human beings participating in research must be reviewed and approved by the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee. In the first instance, you should speak to your supervisor for guidance.
Writing your FYP
The Regional Writing Centre is available to all students who seek support to enhance and develop their academic writing skills. They are based in C1-065, and offer one-to-one peer support, occasional workshops, and an extensive repository of online resources. The Writing Centre is able to provide support to students throughout the FYP writing process. Visit the useful videos page for further information on the Writing Centre.
It is important to reference your work throughout, so that readers can locate the sources you have used; to indicate that you are familiar with what other people have written about your topic; to support the claims that you advance; and to avoid accusations of plagiarism. You must give a reference whenever you quote directly from another source (whether it is a book, journal article, website, movie, etc.). Likewise, ideas, theories, data and statistics must also be referenced, whether quoted directly or paraphrased in your own words.
Different disciplines employ different referencing conventions. If you are unsure, you should ask your supervisor to clarify what is expected of you. English prefer you to use the Modern Languages Association (MLA) style guide, a copy of which can be found in the UL library.. Most other disciplines prefer you to use the Harvard system, detailed in the UL Library’s document ‘Cite it Right’ and in this helpful guide.
Many students find it helpful to use bibliographic software to manage their sources, such as ‘Endnote'. You can find out more about Endnote on the library website, and at the library's helpful tutorial.
The library at UL supports students in their learning - find out how they can help you here.
Your FYP should be between 9,000 and 13,000 words in length. These limits include annotation but exclude appendices, bibliographies, tables and graphs. A project may not exceed these limits without the consent of the supervisor.
It is important that you present the final product in a professional way. The FYP must include an abstract, a table of contents and a bibliography (appendices may also be included, where appropriate). The project should be typed on one side only, on A4 sized paper or equivalent. One-and-a-half or double line spacing should be used, except for indented quotations and annotation, which should be in single line spacing. The left and bottom margins should be 3.5 cm wide and other margins should be 1.5 cm wide.
The cover of your FYP should include the UL logo (you can find a version here), your name, the title of your project, and the name of your degree programme.
The title page of your FYP should include your name, your ID number, the title of your project, your supervisor’s name, the name of the external examiner (contact your supervisor or department administrator for this), the name of your degree programme and the date.
The material within your FYP should be arranged as follows:
- Title and subtitle
- Abstract (on separate page)
- List of contents
- List of tables, illustrations, etc. (if appropriate)
- List of accompanying material (if appropriate)
- Preface (if appropriate)
- Acknowledgement (if appropriate)
- Author’s declaration
- Definitions; List of abbreviations (if appropriate)
- Text, divided into chapters, sections, etc.
- Appendices (if appropriate)
- Glossary (if appropriate)
- List of references
Once you have printed and bound your FYP, if you notice any errors, you may insert a correction sheet listing these. Ask your supervisor if you are unsure if you need this or not.
If your FYP did not require ethical approval from the Research Ethics Committee, then you should include a signed and dated version of the following declaration in your FYP. If your FYP did require ethical approval, then the final sentence should be altered to reflect this:
‘I hereby declare that this project is entirely my own work, in my own words, and that all sources used in researching it are fully acknowledged and all quotations properly identified. It has not been submitted, in whole or in part, by me or another person, for the purpose of obtaining any other credit / grade. I understand the ethical implications of my research, and this work meets the requirements of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee.’
Submitting your FYP
You should submit one bound copy and one electronic copy of your project to the appropriate department office office no later than 16h00 on the due day of delivery.
The project can be printed double-sided, on A4 sized paper or equivalent. One-and-a-half or double line spacing should be used, except for indented quotations and annotation which should be in single line spacing. The left and bottom margins should be 3.5 cm wide and other margins shall be 1.5 cm wide.
Projects can be bound in the Print Room in the Main Building, but please note that the print room is especially busy during FYP deadlines so you should aim to have your project bound at least the day before the deadline.
FYPs submitted after the project deadline without an extension will be considered late.
Compliance with the final submission deadline is a crucial aspect of the project exercise.
Students should apply for extensions through their supervisor who will liaise with the FYP coordinator and report a decision. Except in exceptional circumstances approved by the supervisor and FYP Coordinator, extensions will only be granted under criteria that would merit an ‘I’ Grade. All applications must be accompanied by supporting documentation from the Medical Centre or Counsellor’s Office and should be made no later than two weeks prior to the submission deadline.