From Shrek to Tinder: The best and wildest diss topics from this year

The devil’s lettuce even makes an appearance

Despite having not been allowed on uni campuses for the entire of the last year (cheers Boris), and y’know, being in a global health crisis, dissertations still had to be written (and cried over). The months of monotony and hard work couldn’t even be broken up with pub trips or a cheeky night out at the student union. Regardless, it’s all over now, and the class of 2021 have managed to come up with some banging topics for their dissys this year.

We have rounded up some of the best topics from from all around the UK (warning: reading about these will make you question your own diss topic).

Georgina, East Anglia, Shrek


Film student Georgina wrote her dissertation on Shrek, titling it “‘Do you think maybe he’s compensating for something?’: Analysis of how and why Shrek (2001) inverts Disney’s fairytale films.” In it she reimagines a feminist reading of Shrek, along with talking about how Shrek subverts the conventions of fairytales.

Speaking to The Tab, Georgina said her idea for Shrek came from a tipsy chat she had with a friend in second year. She said: “We were talking about Shrek as a meme and I said something like ‘it’s actually quite groundbreaking’”, before she and her mate talked about it some more and realised it could be her dissertation idea.

Evie, Bristol, Taylor Swift

This iconic dissertation, written by Bristol uni student Evie Chiles, is titled “Look what you made her do: Swift negotiations with an inherently sexist music industry”. If the play on words in the title doesn’t catch your attention then the subject matter certainly will.

Evie analyses all of the hysteria surrounding T-Swizzle that we’re so used to seeing in the news, such as her “good girl persona” and the threat of successful women. She also writes about the power of her fanbase, Swifties. Love you Taylor x

Lucy, Southampton, Tinder

Language student Lucy titled her dissertation “Swiping & Typing: Investigating the salience of the language use in Tinder biography construction and its impact on attraction when evaluating a potential match”.

Lucy told The Tab her dissertation was about the influence of language use, whether that be puns, abbreviations or grammar, on attraction. 70 people carried out a survey involving rating real life Tinder profiles – first rating just the bio, and then the whole profile.

Lucy found that grammatical inaccuracies had an overall negative impact on attraction levels of a potential match. Make sure to spellcheck your bios lads x

Morgan, Cambridge, Queerness in Wales

Morgan’s dissertation, titled “Beyond metronormativity: Queer place making in rural Wales” earned him thousands of likes and retweets on Twitter. Many commented asking to read it, and there are rumours that Dafydd from Little Britain (RIP) got a whole paragraph.

Tom, Lancaster, Ricky Gervais

Drama student Tom wrote on “The signs of embarrassment: A semiotical analysis of cringe culture within the 21st century, with particular reference to Extras, The X Factor, and the wider cultural influence of YouTube”. Now that’s a mouthful. Extras creator Ricky Gervais himself retweeted, showing his approval with a simple thumbs up emoji. Jealous.

Ben, Northumbria, Weed

Ben titled his diss “Is cannabis the cure? It’s got ‘high’ expectations! The law and literature review of medicinal cannabis and cannabinoids”.

The Tab spoke to Ben on why he chose to write about the devil’s lettuce. He said: “Weed is the most commonly used illicit drug in the world, but recently it is becoming legalised medicinally and recreationally. It seems that there are good aspects to it and it does show promising benefits, but a lot of people have forgotten the extensive research of the negative effects that weed can have on the developing brain and mental health.” You’re not wrong Ben.

Alex, Leeds, Lady Gaga

Media student Alex titled her diss ‘The man, the woman and the monster: How Lady Gaga’s various performative bodies challenge structures of gender and sexuality”. Lets hope her diss supervisor doesn’t have a poker face when reading this x

Isabelle, London, Tracy Beaker

Drama student Isabelle titled her diss “Tracy Beaker made me want to grow up in care: How the representation of care and care experienced people in Tracy Beaker impacts care experienced people”. All of us at some point have wondered what it’s like to grow up in the dumping ground, and this diss does an in depth analysis into the ethics behind it.

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