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Unit information: Dissertation in 2018/19

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Unit name Dissertation
Unit code AFAC30002
Credit points 40
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Koole
Open unit status Not open




School/department Arts Faculty Office
Faculty Faculty of Arts


The Dissertation is an exercise in extended independent research. Students are required to identify their own research topic, formulate the particular research questions to be addressed, identify the main primary sources to be used, set the research questions in the context of the issues arising from the secondary literature, and execute a scholarly and analytical text to high scholarly standards consistent with this level of study. The dissertation should in its choice of topic and/or execution of its research draw imaginatively upon a range of units taken in the Liberal Arts course, giving evidence of an interdisciplinary and/or engaged approach to learning.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the unit students should have acquired the following:

  • a deep understanding of a chosen subject
  • enhanced research skills through the production an extended piece of independent research in accordance with high scholarly standards
  • proficiency in forming their own research questions
  • advanced skills of argumentation and communication
  • an awareness of interdisciplinary approaches to the topic of the dissertation
  • the ability to compile their own bibliography
  • the ability to work with both secondary and primary resources and to draw reasoned and considered conclusions from them

Teaching details

Tuition will be given by a relevant member (or members in the case of co-supervision) of staff, in the form of general advice, bibliographical information and discussion of structure as well as detailed comments on up to five pages of a draft. Each student will receive three hours of supervision. A one-hour briefing session will be held for all students at the end of second year to advise them the nature of the project and to indicate how they can develop a provisional title. In the wake of that supervisors can be assigned and students can meet with them briefly before the summer to discuss ideas and agree some initial reading. A two-hour training session on skills needed to write the dissertation will be held for all students at the beginning of the year, and a library training session will also be arranged. Two further facilitated workshops will allow students to discuss projects, compare approaches and share good practice.

Assessment Details

10,000 word project

Reading and References

Bibliographical references will depend on the topic chosen and the student will be responsible (in consultation with an appointed supervisor) for assembling a bibliography which will include relevant primary and secondary sources.