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Research Dissertation - HIS00087M

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  • Department: History
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Natasha Glaisyer
  • Credit value: 90 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23
  • Notes: This is an independent study module

Module summary

This module gives students the chance to work at an advanced level as independent scholars. Most taught modules are assessed by essays that require independent research. The research dissertation (independent study module) develops these skills further, and applies practices introduced by the research training module. It is the culmination of the MA, and is heavily weighted in terms of assessment.

Typically, students discuss a preliminary idea with their MA convener in the Autumn Term and conduct preliminary primary and secondary research to scope the project. In week 7 of the Spring Term they submit a 500-word dissertation proposal (this is the summative assessment for the Research Training module). Substantive work on the dissertation commences once the taught programme has been completed, supported by a dissertation adviser allocated by the department. This will normally involve a period of advanced ‘secondary’ research leading to a literature survey, and ‘primary’ research using documents and leading to the writing of specialist chapters, or sections. The finished dissertation has a maximum word limit of 20,000 words, and uses standard academic conventions.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Summer Term 2022-23

Module aims

The dissertation aims to:

  • develop skills of source analysis and interpretation
  • assess a range of primary source material and relevant secondary literature
  • develop students’ powers of historical argument
  • develop skills of primary research, including project and information management, independent working and the ability to research primary and secondary materials independently

Module learning outcomes

Students who complete this module successfully will:

  • have carried out independent research, collecting the relevant primary and secondary materials
  • have presented and completed a substantial piece of independent research related to relevant secondary literature
  • have shown the ability to use and evaluate historical sources
  • have shown the ability to use appropriate methodology for their research
  • have shown the ability to present research in accordance with scholarly conventions used in a consistent manner

Module content

Teaching Programme:
Students are undertaking an independently researched project, not a taught module. They will continue, however, to have support, advice, and feedback from their dissertation advisor as they work to produce their dissertation. They will have meetings with their advisor in the Summer Term and Summer Vacation to discuss the feasibility of the project, and to provide feedback on a draft chapter. Students will also attend a dissertation workshop in the Summer Term at which they will present their dissertation plans.


Task Length % of module mark
Graduate/Postgraduate Dissertation
20000 word dissertation
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

A dissertation written and presented according to departmental conventions.


Task Length % of module mark
Graduate/Postgraduate Dissertation
20000 word dissertation
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will receive written feedback within 20 working days of the submission deadline. For more information, see the Statement of Assessment.

Indicative reading

There are no key texts for this module.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.