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Unit information: Dissertation in 2018/19

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Dissertation
Unit code AFACM0006
Credit points 40
Level of study M/7
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 show systematic knowledge, originality in the application of knowledge, a critical awareness of current issues and a comprehensive understanding of applicable research techniques. The research should be informed by work at the forefront of its topic which will be critically evaluated. It 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 academic approach informed by interdisciplinarity and/or engagement with contemporary issues and contexts.

Intended learning outcomes

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

  • advanced and systematic understanding of a chosen subject
  • awareness of issues and debates at the forefront of their subject
  • comprehensive understanding of research techniques applicable to their subject
  • conceptual understanding of their subject enabling critical evaluation of current research and methodologies, and the proposal of new hypotheses
  • the ability to deal with complex data systematically and creatively, and to communicate results of their analysis clearly

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 feedback on a significant section of the draft (e.g. the introduction or an important section). The amount of supervision will range between three and five hours. At the end of the previous year, while students are abroad, they will in consultation with the Programme Director devise a provisional subject of research and liaise with an appropriate member of academic staff (a potential supervisor) who can help refine the scope and identify initial reading for the summer. Two two-hour sessions on advanced research methods applicable to the humanities as a whole will be held for all students at the beginning of the year, and a library training session will also be arranged.

Assessment Details

10,000 word research 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.