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Dissertation (Long) - PHI00101H

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  • Department: Philosophy
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Barry Lee
  • Credit value: 40 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module summary

The Long Dissertation is a three-term 40-credit 3rd year Option in which the student prepares an extended piece of written work (of up to 8,000 words) on new material in substantial depth under the guidance of a supervisor.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2022-23 to Summer Term 2022-23

Module aims

Subject Content

  • To enable students to undertake a substantial piece of independent work on a well-defined philosophical problem, chosen by themselves with guidance from a supervisor.

Academic and Graduate Skills

  • To develop students abilities to apply philosophical tools and techniques, in order to advance understanding of intellectual problems, and to work independently

Module learning outcomes

Subject content

  • Students should be able to display an in depth critical understanding of a philosophical topic of their choosing, with a grasp of the forefront of current research in the area.

Academic and graduate skills

  • Students should be able to analyse complex areas of knowledge, displaying critical awareness and synthesise information and ideas from a variety of sources at the forefront of the discipline; Students should show the ability to work autonomously and self critically, producing a substantial piece of independent work.

Module content

Application for the Long Dissertation

A student who wants to carry out an extended investigation in the third year on a focused and specialised topic can apply to the Philosophy Board of Studies for permission to do a Long Dissertation, submitting a plan of their proposed subject. The intention to apply for such a module should be indicated at Year 3 registration. But formal application can be made at any time up to Friday of Week 5 of the summer term immediately before the student’s final year. [NB, for students taking the Long Dissertation in 2021/22 only, the proposal should be emailed to by Monday, Week 9 of Summer Term, 14 June 2021.]

Students should in the first instance discuss their idea with their supervisor and identify a potential project supervisor. (Students who do not have a Philosophy supervisor should contact the Philosophy link academic for their degree programme.) Students should then approach the potential project supervisor and agree a title and a brief proposal, which the project supervisor can then submit to the Board of Studies for approval.

The proposal should:

  • be clear and precisely worded
  • include a well-defined question or topic of sufficiently restricted scope to be addressed within the 8,000 word limit
  • include some indication of the philosophical background (around 300 to 500 words)
  • include a preliminary bibliography (minimum 6 works)
  • state the name of the staff member who has agreed to supervise the Long Dissertation if it is approved

The subject proposed should not be a mere duplication of topics covered in already available modules, though it may comprise a substantial and detailed development of such a topic. In deciding on a topic for a Long Dissertation, students should take care to avoid extensive overlap with any Year 3 module for which they have registered. Long Dissertations may pursue topics related to Year 3 modules, but students should take steps to ensure that they will not find themselves in a position in which it is difficult to avoid duplication of material in the Long Dissertation and other assessments. It is the student’s responsibility to discuss potential overlap with tutors scheduled to teach the relevant module/s.

Overambitious or poorly researched proposals will not receive approval.

In addition to an approved proposal, students need to have a Year 2 average of at least 60 to be eligible to take the Long Dissertation.

Programme of Work

Autumn (roughly 10c)

  • Five group meetings with a Dissertation Co-Ordinator

—Initial meeting to discuss proposal and review draft bibliography

—Further meetings for which annotated bibliography entries and draft proposals are submitted in advance

  • Summative Assessment (10%), Spring Week 2: Outline (1000 words) and Annotated Bibliography (2000 words)

Spring Term

  • Three meetings to discuss work submitted in advance of 1000-2000 words

Summer Term

  • Two meetings, the first to discuss work on a substantive draft (4000 words) and one to give feedback and guidance on the writing of the assessed essay.
  • Summative Assessment (90%), Summer Term Week 6 (8000 words)


Task Length % of module mark
3000 Word Outline & Bibliograp
N/A 10
8000 Word Essay
N/A 90

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
3000 Word Outline & Bibliograp
N/A 10
8000 Word Essay
N/A 90

Module feedback

Students will receive verbal feedback on draft outlines and annotated bibliographies in group meetings during Autumn Term, and verbal feedback on written work for individual tutorial meetings during Spring and Summer Term.

Students will receive feedback on summative assessments within six weeks.

Indicative reading


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.