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Study information


Module titleDissertation
Module codeEASM023
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Florian Stadtler (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

The dissertation project is the culmination of the MA in English Literary Studies programme. It requires you to conceive, plan, research and write-up an independent study.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The dissertation provides you with the opportunity to test your learning, display your subject knowledge and methodological skills, and explore in detail a topic that interests you. You are encouraged to begin to think about your dissertation during the first term of study and to develop and submit an initial proposal by the end of term two (for part-time students, by the second term of the second year of study). Once the initial proposal has been submitted, you are assigned a supervisor with interests and knowledge appropriate to the chosen topic. Dissertation workshop lectures in terms two and three and a dissertation conference provide you with guidance as you refine these plans and bring your research to completion.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Analyse at an advanced level cultural productions, concepts and theories appropriate to your chosen area of enquiry.
  • 2. Critically evaluate at an advanced level current research in the discipline and in your chosen area of enquiry.
  • 3. Deploy at an advanced level a range of research techniques and methodologies appropriate to the discipline and to your chosen area of enquiry.
  • 4. Present your dissertation in accordance with the norms and conventions appropriate to the discipline.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Demonstrate a sophisticated and intellectually mature ability to analyse cultural productions of the chosen period and relate their concerns and their modes of expression to their historical and / or cultural contexts, and where relevant, an ability to devise, research, and execute a programme of archival research.
  • 6. Demonstrate an advanced and autonomous ability to understand and analyse relevant theoretical ideas and concepts, and, where appropriate, interdisciplinary intersections, tracing the development of debates across disciplinary boundaries.
  • 7. Demonstrate an advanced and precise ability to work from the detail of literary and/or film texts, with a full appreciation of their formal and aesthetic aspects.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Through the dissertation proposal, presentation and the dissertation, demonstrate advanced research and bibliographic skills, an advanced and intellectually mature capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument and to write clear and correct prose
  • 9. Through research for the dissertation proposal, presentation and the dissertation, demonstrate an advanced proficiency in information retrieval and analysis
  • 10. Through the dissertation proposal, presentation and the dissertation, demonstrate an advanced and intellectually mature capacity to question assumptions, to distinguish between fact and opinion, and to critically reflect on your own learning process

Syllabus plan


  • Term 2: Beginning and Developing a Dissertation Topic Workshop Lecture
  • Pathway Specific Workshops – Developing and Refining a Dissertation Proposal
  • Term 3: Presenting your Dissertation Topic Workshop Lecture, Dissertation Conference
  • July and August: Two Optional Writing Cafés


You are entitled to three one-hour supervision meetings with your dissertation supervisor and it is your responsibility to contact the supervisor to arrange the meetings. The first meeting should take place early on in the process to discuss your research to date as well as the scope and the content of the dissertation. In the second, the supervisor will give detailed feedback on an extended dissertation proposal that you submit to your supervisor after the dissertation conference. The final supervision should be used to discuss the remaining sections of the dissertation and it should take place later on in the writing process, and in response to an extract of the dissertation. Supervisors can offer formative feedback on up to 5,000 words.

Supervision can take place in a range of formats (for example, face to face, online, or by phone). It is expected that the formal supervision process will be concluded by 31 July. Since the dissertation is an independent study project, supervisors should not provide any substantial assistance after this date but they will be available to answer questions by email.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching 3Workshop Lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching 3Supervisions to be arranged by student
Scheduled learning and teaching 8Dissertation Conference
Guided independent study586Research, reading and preparation of dissertation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Presentation10-15 minutes8-10Staff and Peer Feedback
Extended Proposal/Plan and written extractUp to 5,0001-10Written feedback with tutorial follow up

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Dissertation 10015,000 words1-10Written feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
DissertationDissertation1-10Referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 50%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will be capped at 50%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Delia Da Sousa Correa, et al, eds. The Handbook to Literary Research, 2nd ed., Routledge, 2010.
  • Aceme Nyika. Postgraduate Handbook : A Comprehensive Guide for PhD and Master's Students and Their Supervisors, Caister Academic Press, 2018.
  • Stephen Potter, Doing Postgraduate Research, The Open University in association with SAGE Publications, 2006.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Dissertation, Film Studies, Literary Studies, Research

Credit value60
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date